Pressure sores tend to occur in bedridden individuals. It is more common among the elderly, though persons of any age can get affected. Pressure sores could be as a result of spinal injury or any prolonged debilitating illness. It is a cause of increased stress in the affected individual and caregivers. It results in increased medical expenses.
Proper care can help us reduce the incidence (prevent) and achieve early healing of pressure sores. The following three aspects form an important part of care among individuals at risk of developing a pressure sore:
The onset of a skin breakdown must be viewed seriously. It may not be possible to eliminate all of the risk factors that can lead to a pressure sore. However, with adequate care, it is possible to prevent this condition.
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Removal of small skin swellings is common in our practice. Patients usually get them removed for the following two reasons,
In most cases, removal of the swelling is a simple and straightforward procedure. It is usually carried out under local anesthesia in adults. Patients usually go home after the procedure and follow up as an outpatient for inspection of the wound and suture removal. In case a biopsy was done, the case is reviewed once again after the biopsy report.
One of the reasons why patients come to a plastic surgeon is due to the concerns relating to the postoperative scars. In other situations, the referrals are due to the relative difficulty in obtaining closure in regions such as folds near the eyes, mouth, or nose. In the majority of cases, we remove the swelling with a small margin of skin. This can vary based on the type of swelling. Some of them mandate a narrow margin while others require a wider margin. This is based on clinical presentation. Additional pre-operative investigations may be ordered in some cases.
The removal of swellings consists of two parts. First is the removal, resulting in a wound. And the second is the closure wherein the tissues are approximated to achieve optimal healing. In most cases, the second part is done with a straight line closure. However, this may not be possible in certain situations. This may be due to wide separation between the wound edges, or proximity to regions such as eyes, nose, or mouth. In such situations, we resort to techniques such as skin grafts or flaps. We make intelligent use of neighboring or distant tissues to effect good closure. Some of the swellings may not arise from the skin. They may originate from other structures like fat. Removal of such swellings gives us some liberty concerning the placement of the surgical wounds. Some orientation of the surgical scars may be associated with a better outcome compared to others. Knowledge about the orientation of optimal incision lines helps us give a better looking postoperative scar.
Removal of these swellings is associated with a good outcome in most individuals. A small subset of individuals tends to have problem scars. It is usually possible to predict the scarring tendency of an individual by observing previous scars on the body. Two possible adverse outcomes related to the tendency for stretched out scars and hypertrophic scars. Though scar hypertrophy can be treated, patients need to be aware of such a possibility.
Removal of skin swellings is a minor and safe surgical procedure with very little downtime. With good technique, it is possible to get good outcomes in most individuals.
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Patients with gynecomastia have increased gland in addition to the fat. Fat is found both within the glandular tissue and immediately underneath the skin. Fat in both these places contributes to the deformity. In an overweight individual, the proportion of fat is more than that of a person with ideal body weight. During the surgical correction, fat is removed with the help of liposuction. Small cannulas are introduced under the skin and fat is removed with the help of suction combined with repeated movements of the cannula. Removal of fat leads to an improvement in the contour.
Prolonged and severe gynecomastia is also associated with excess skin. In most individuals removal of the breast tissue leads to the recoil of the skin during the months following surgery. However, in certain individuals, this recoil may not be complete. We may have to perform additional skin excisional procedures to improve the contour in such cases.
Individuals with excess weight should try to reduce weight by non-surgical methods. This involves dietary and lifestyle modifications. There are many advantages to doing so. It leads to better postoperative outcomes with more pleasing results. This is in addition to the other health and psychological benefits. Operating in a near-ideal bodyweight individual also means a simpler and shorter surgery. There is a lesser chance of wound-related adverse events such as infection and prolonged healing. BMI or body mass index is commonly used to assess the weight in comparison to the height of the individual. We usually discourage operations on individuals with a BMI greater than 30.
Being overweight increases the deformity associated with gynecomastia. However, it is possible to give a good outcome with surgical correction in conjunction with the appropriate lifestyle and dietary changes.
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These are uncertain times. There is a lot of uncertainty regarding health and finances. Each one of us is affected as a result of Covid19.
Though Covid19 is a recent disease and the first case was reported in December 2019, we have come to know a lot about this illness in this short period. However, there is a lot we are yet to know. An improved understanding would help us better deal with this at the level of an individual and that of the community. Though it leads to a mild illness in those affected, a small percentage can have a severe outcome. Because of this, and that the virus can spread rapidly, a lot of individuals can become simultaneously be affected by it. This leads to the possibility of our existing health care becoming overwhelmed. Hence, we take multiple steps to prevent the rapid spread of this virus. Some of the steps are easy and some are difficult.
One of the recommendations during this pandemic is to defer elective surgeries. Especially those in which the outcome may not significantly change if they are done at a later date. An example would be aesthetic or cosmetic surgery. Now, why should we postpone such types of surgeries? There are multiple reasons. One is that hospitals tend to be more exposed to individuals affected by Covid19. It is also known that many of the people with Covid19 can be mildly symptomatic and yet have the ability to transmit the infection. Another reason is that many individuals may come in close contact with a patient during the procedure and in the postoperative period. Many of the interventions may generate aerosols which can lead to a greater chance of transmission. We would also like to conserve our resources so that all our protective equipment and manpower can be used in case there is an escalation during a community spread.
All elective surgeries are not similar. In certain cases, it would be important to treat certain illnesses early since early intervention leads to better outcomes. An example would be cancer surgeries. It is also important for individuals with chronic illnesses to continue with medical care. An example would be dialysis in those with chronic kidney disease.
Cosmetic procedures are meant for improving appearance. Postponing such surgery is unlikely to influence the outcome.
Even during these times, there are a lot of things we can do to improve our health and appearance. We should exercise. Even if going out is not an option we would be able to exercise inside our homes and yards. Eating right is important. Eat only when we are hungry. Eating should not be a remedy for boredom.
As mentioned before these are uncertain times. But it is also certain that this uncertainty can't be permanent. Till then it is important to stay safe and wear masks (cloth would do) when we step outside.
Pushback otoplasty is done for improvement in the appearance of prominent ears. It is usually carried out under general anesthesia in children and local anesthesia in adults. During this procedure, ear cartilage is removed and reshaped so that it lies closer to the head. It is carried out either as a short stay or outpatient procedure. Pain is controlled with the help of oral medications.
After the procedure, a dressing is given in the form of a head wrap with a bandage. The ears are inspected on the first postoperative day for the presence of any collection. The bandages are retained for a week.
At the end of the week, the dressings are removed. Patients can shower once the dressings are out. For two weeks following the procedure, a headband is advised to be worn constantly. After this period, a headband should be worn during the night.
It is common to have swelling of ears following surgery. This gradually subsides over time. Most of the swelling disappears by the end of a month. Pushback otoplasty is a cosmetic procedure. It does not alter the hearing. It helps individuals with prominent ears to obtain a better body image.
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Hair transplant is a surgical procedure for redistribution of hair from areas of relative abundance to those with deficiency. It is most often carried out for male pattern baldness (MPB). In MPB, the hair of the posterior (back) of the scalp is relatively spared when compared to the hair in front of the scalp. The word, 'relatively' is important since the hair in the posterior part of the scalp is not completely unaffected by the changes in MPB. However, this property of relative sparing of the posterior scalp hair in MPB continues even after grafting (transplant).
Hair shafts occur as small groups called follicular units. During a hair transplant, a follicular unit is removed from the donor area (usually the posterior scalp) and implanted at the recipient area (usually the front of the scalp). A follicular unit may contain one, two or three hair shafts. The number of follicular units transplanted in a procedure depends upon the donor and recipient areas. Male pattern baldness usually requires the transfer of a large number of grafts. This is in contrast to the small numbers required for hair loss associated with small scars.
As mentioned previously, the posterior (back) part of the scalp is usually used as a donor area for hair transplants. Less preferred donor areas include beard and body hair. In certain individuals, the posterior scalp hair may be inadequate as a source for donor grafts. This can be due to the progress of MPB. This is observed as reduced density (hair follicles per square cm) and thinning (miniaturization) of hair follicles. It can also be as a result of a previous harvest of hair follicles during a hair transplant. An individual with a poor donor area also tends to have an advanced stage of MPB.
In spite of these challenges, it is possible to improve upon the appearance of those with a poor donor area. In such a situation we try to achieve improvement with the help of fewer grafts. Frontal forelock occupies the portion behind the central part of the forehead. Many individuals with advanced male pattern baldness tend to retain hair in this region. A relatively full forelock does not give an unnatural look in an individual with advanced hair loss. The forelock helps frame the face when an individual is observed from the front. It would be the part of the scalp that would be visible as a person steps out of an elevator. Increasing the density in the forelock region would require lesser grafts when compared to the rest of the scalp.
In patients without donor deficiency, other areas that are addressed include the hairline and mid-scalp. These occupy the area adjoining the forelock. The crown is given lesser importance when compared to the previously mentioned areas because of the lesser aesthetic significance and the requirement of a large number of grafts.
Salvaging the remaining hair follicles is also important in a person with MPB. MPB is usually a progressive condition and left untreated many can progress to more advanced stages of baldness. This is especially true in the case of younger individuals in whom the hair loss has not stabilized. Preservation of remaining hair follicles is achieved by means of medications. These medications include nutritional therapy, topical Minoxidil, and Finasteride. It is important for individuals to make an informed decision about the use of these medications. They should be taken for long periods for adequate results.
Male pattern baldness with poor donor areas offers some challenges for hair restoration. But often it is possible to improve upon the appearance with the help of medications and a limited hair transplant.
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Gynecomastia is a commonly seen condition among young men. It presents as fullness near the nipples that give a feminine appearance to the male chest.
A very frequently mentioned symptom among such individuals is the appearance of the nipple and the surrounding pigmented skin (areola). Other than the fullness, the appearance seems to look worse when exposed to warmth and improves when exposed to cold or mechanical stimulation. A certain part of the consultation is usually devoted to an explanation of this phenomenon.
The pigmented skin surrounding the nipple has radially (like spokes of a wheel) oriented smooth muscles in the skin. Exposure to cold and mechanical stimulation leads to a contraction of these smooth muscles and a resulting contraction of the skin (areola). When the smooth muscles are relaxed the areola tends to look globular. The globular appearance of the areola is considered to be less aesthetic.
The presence of smooth muscles in the skin should not be confused with the skeletal muscles situated in a deeper plane. Similar smooth muscles are also found in the scrotum and react in a similar way to variations in temperature and mechanical stimulation. The presence of smooth muscles in the nipple-areola is normal. It is found in everyone.
In individuals with gynecomastia, the presence of glandular tissue makes the nipple-areola region more prominent. It also makes the above-mentioned changes in appearance due to the smooth muscle activity more prominent. But that does not mean that the variations as a result of the smooth muscle activity are abnormal.
Gynecomastia surgery is undertaken for improvement in the appearance of the male chest. With the removal of the excess breast tissue, the prominence of the nipple-areola is reduced. As the areola is no longer stretched out due to the glandular tissue, the changes of the overlying skin are also significantly reduced. As in other cosmetic surgical procedures, this can also lead to a better body image and more self-confidence.
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Gynecomastia is a relatively common condition that can affect men of all ages. It may result in significant mental distress in those affected by it. A frequently asked query is regarding the necessity to undergo surgical correction of gynecomastia. Usually, gynecomastia is a benign condition. As in most cosmetic surgical procedures, the desired outcome is an improvement in appearance and body image. Hence, gynecomastia surgery is most beneficial in those who are distressed by this condition.
In other words, the surgery may not be indicated in those who are not affected by the appearance.
Uncommonly gynecomastia can be a result of some other pathology. These can be ascertained by clinical examination and blood tests. In such situations, it may be necessary to ascertain the cause of gynecomastia. Because of this, we recommend the medical screening of gynecomastia. The treatment to undertake any cosmetic surgical correction is a personal one. It has to be arrived at after proper consideration of the possible outcomes, recovery, and complications.
Breast augmentation is an important part of sex reassignment surgery (SRS) in transwomen. It helps avoid the use of external padding to achieve a feminine appearance. It enables an individual to integrate better with the body image.
There are both similarities and differences in breast augmentation in SRS when compared to augmentation carried out in women to enhance the appearance of breasts. Breast augmentation is usually achieved with the help of silicone implants. The technique is largely similar to breast augmentations carried out in women for hypomastia. However, there are certain differences relating to the preoperative requirements, and outcomes.
As in other procedures carried out in SRS, breast augmentation requires the clearance and referral letter from a mental health professional. Most individuals are also on hormonal therapy under the guidance of a physician. Hormonal treatment helps in breast development and the enlargement of the nipple and areola. Improvement in the size of breasts with hormonal treatment leads to better soft tissue coverage over the implants. This helps in optimizing outcomes. Breast augmentation is usually carried out after two years of hormonal treatment.
The contour of a male chest is different when compared to a female chest. The male chest tends to be wider and more muscular. Also, the soft tissue cover including skin tends to be less yielding in a natal male when compared to a natal female. The crease that separates the breast from the lower part of chest is known as the inframammary fold (IMF). The distance between the nipple to IMF is lesser in men when compared to women. Breast augmentation leads to an increase in this distance. The nipple and areola (pigmented skin surrounding the nipple) are more laterally (towards the sides) placed in men when compared to women. In women, the nipple-areola is more centrally located in the chest. These variations in the anatomy also influence our decision making relating to the implant selection and outcomes.
Ideally, the nipple and areola should be on the apex of the breast mound. The lateral position of the nipple relative to the chest in a natal male can lead to a lateral position of the nipple after the placement of a large diameter implant. This is factored into the decision making during implant selection. Traditional silicone implants are hemispherical. Profile or projection refers to the height when the implant is kept on a flat surface. A high profile implant also has the advantage of helping us to achieve the maximum projection for a given breast volume. It is common to opt for a relatively lesser diameter and high profile (projection) implants.
The placement of the implant can be under the breast tissue (sub-glandular) or partly under the muscle (sub-pectoral). Both approaches have their relative advantages and disadvantages. The decision is taken after taking into account clinical examination findings and discussion with the individual. Breast augmentation is carried out as a short stay procedure. The recovery is similar to breast augmentation carried out in females for hypomastia. Most individuals return to work within a week of undergoing the procedure. The implant is initially found to have a prominent upper pole fullness. This settles into a more natural-looking appearance over the next few months.
Breast augmentation is a relatively simple procedure with significant benefits in suitable individuals. It is an important part of the gender confirmation procedures. It is associated with positive effects on body image, self-confidence.
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A + B = C. So C - B = A. This may apply to simple arithmetic, but things get a bit complex when we are dealing with weight gain and weight loss.
We store our excess energy in the form of fat. Excess calories we may have acquired from our diet. This excess of fat gets stored in our body as fat deposits in different locations. Fat immediately under the skin can be pinched. This layer of fat is found between the skin and muscles. This is also the layer that can be removed with liposuction. Fat also gets stored deep inside our body, close to our internal organs. This is visceral fat. We can neither pinch this fat nor get it removed with plastic surgery.
A proper diet can help us get back to our ideal body weight. In some situations, bariatric surgery achieves the same end. However, a prolonged period of increased fat has effects beyond the fatty tissue. It stretches out the overlying skin. Visceral fat also stretches out the fascial layer. This layer is closely associated with the abdominal muscle layer. When we lose fat, the size of the fatty layer reduces. This may be dramatic in cases of severe weight reduction as with weight loss (bariatric) surgery.
The stretched out skin and fascia may not get back to the dimensions before the weight gain. As a result, individuals end up with loose folds of skin. To improve this appearance, we have to surgically remove the excess folds of skin. These surgeries are together clubbed under body contouring procedures. We usually wait for a year or more for the weight to stabilize and allowing the skin to recoil by itself before attempting any skin correction. The same approach is used for different body parts, arms (brachioplasty), abdomen (abdominoplasty), thighs (thighplasty) and torso (body-lift).
The presence of stretched out skin and fascia is the reason why liposuction may not be the right procedure for abdominal fat. Liposuction can't do much to tackle the laxity of skin and underlying abdominal fascia. With liposuction alone, we may worsen the skin laxity of the abdomen resulting in an increase in loose folds of skin after the procedure. The same line of reasoning is applied to individuals who present for a reduction in the size of arms. We undertake it in two stages, with the first being deflation with diet or liposuction and a second stage with the removal of loose folds of skin.
To conclude, we have to tackle the laxity of skin and deeper fascia in cases of weight loss following periods of excess weight gain. These may have undergone irreversible changes. Treatment of such deformities often requires the management of tissues like skin and fascia with the help of body contouring procedures. Such an approach helps us to optimize aesthetic outcomes.
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I like to keep it simple.