To Lipo Or Not To Lipo? The Pros And Cons Of Liposuction

Lipo Sucks! Literally

Liposuction, lipoplasty, liposculpture plasty or simply lipo, is the 2nd most popular cosmetic surgery among women, and 4th among men. In 2015, it was requested by more than 1.39 million patients worldwide.

Developed by two, Italian-American surgeons in 1974, the procedure literally sucks unwanted fat from various parts of the body. Patients who decide to undergo liposuction generally have a “normal” body weight, but want to remove stubborn body fat from specific parts of the body. Popular areas include the thighs, stomach, back, neckline and upper arms.

Lipo is not a treatment for obesity is not a “weight-loss method”. It does not even remove cellulite, dimples or stretch marks (sorry ladies). Rather than provide any immediate physical health benefits, the aim is to enhance how a person looks. This is done by contouring the body. For those looking for a little less love in their “love handles”, or to slim down the “saddle bags”, then liposuction is the perfect option. However, like any cosmetic surgery, there are techniques to understand and risks and benefits to consider.

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How’s It Done?

A hollow instrument called a cannula is inserted under the skin and attached to a power, high-pressure vacuum. The most popular lipo technique is tumescent liposuction. Several liters of a saline solution, local anesthetic and vessel-constriction epinephrine (adrenaline) is pumped below the skin of the target area. Small tubes, microcannulas, then suction the fat. The additional liquid helps create space between the muscle and fatty tissue, allowing the cannula to move more freely. Other variations include wet liposuction, super wet liposuction. Depending on the amount of liquid. Dry lipo (no liquid added before) is rarely used due to high risks of bruising and bleeding.

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Other Techniques

Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) is another popular technique. Also known as ultrasonic lipo, it involves energizing the cannula with ultrasound and melting the fat on contact.  The ultrasound vibrations burst the cell walls of the fat, liquefying them. This makes the fat easy to suck out. In more stubborn areas (i.e. back and male breasts), UAL can be the best option.

However, it is important to note that this method requires a longer incision in the skin. This can increase risks of skin or internal burns. The procedure also takes more time and is generally more costly. It usually involves some tumescent (suction) assisted lipo to remove the melted fat.

Power-assisted lipo or (PAS), or powered lipo is similar to UAL. This method uses a specialized cannula equipped with a mechanized system that rapidly moves back-and-forth. This eliminates manual movements by the surgeon and makes the fat easier to remove. For smaller areas (i.e. neckline), PAS allows more precision and may result in less swelling and pain.

Laser-assisted, or laser-guided lipo (LAL) is another technique. The procedure uses tumescent fluid and is slightly less invasive than more traditional methods. With the help of a microcannula, laser energy targets subcutaneous fat (fat under the skin). Once again, this makes the removal process easier and reducing the risk of side effects.

What Are The Pros?

  • Stubborn fat is well- stubborn. Lipo removes fat deposits, stubborn to diet and exercise. In addition to adopting a healthy lifestyle, it can kick start patients to lose excess weight naturally.
  • It permanently removes fat cells, making it impossible for them to regenerate or grow back. As long as the patient maintains a steady weight, the contour changes resulting from lipo can be long-lasting.
  • It is the most popular cosmetic surgery among Americans and Brits, and second most popular cosmetic surgery worldwide. Generally speaking, lipo is a safe.
  • The recovery time is short and most patients are mobile within 2-3 days of the procedure. Extra bed rest may be needed for patients who have larger amounts of fat removed.
  •  Lipo can drastically improve self confidence and body image and patients report seeing changes in as little as 3-4 weeks.

What Are The Cons?

  • Similar results are achievable through normal diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle. The procedure is for patients who have failed multiple times at achieving results naturally.
  • After the procedure, patients who do not lead a healthy lifestyle may risk their remaining fat cells growing bigger. They may also redistribute to new “problem areas”.
  • Lipo is not a treatment for obesity or long-term weight-loss, nor does not remove cellulite, dimples or stretch marks.
  • All major surgery carries the risk of bleeding, infection and adverse reactions to anesthesia. Bruising of the skin (sometimes extreme) and swelling as common.
  • Skin burns, temporary numbness and scarring may also occur. Contour irregularities are common in patients who have poor skin elasticity.

Is Lipo Right For Me?

Lipo is not for everyone. Patients must be in good health, over 18 years old. They must also consult with their GP before deciding to move forward. Those with circulation (blood flow) problems, diabetes or a compromised immune system should not undergo the procedure. It is also important that patients have good skin elasticity. This allows the skin to mold itself to new contours and prevents sagging in the treated areas.

Once again, lipo is not a treatment for obesity or a long-term weight-loss method. For patients who experience stubborn fat deposits or suffer from a medical condition, lipo is an excellent option.  

Read More: Liposuction 101 (How Stuff Works: Health) 

Central Europe: The New Heart Of Cosmetic Dentistry

Patients from the US, UK and Western Europe are packing their bags and heading to Central Europe for cheap, quick and quality dental work.

Creating The Perfect Smile

Cosmetic dentistry has quickly become the fastest growing field in the dental industry, as well as the medical tourism market. In the past, dentistry has largely focused on prevention and restorative problem-solving, and while it still does, the advent of cosmetic dentistry has provided additional elective treatments to the everyday patient in search of the healthiest and most beautiful smile -the perfect smile.  

There is no shortage of treatments to select from. Patients are opting for everything from teeth whitening procedures to composite bonding, porcelain and composite veneers, crowns, bridgework, dental implants, inlays and onlays. For a complete list of treatments, visit our full cosmetic dentistry treatment guide.

While cosmetic dentistry is on the raise, prices are still considerably high in the US, UK and parts of Western Europe. UK prices for private dentistry are notoriously steep, and finding a practice that accepts NHS can be time consuming and nearly impossible in some cases. Even with coverage, patients are often hit with hefty additional charges, making it more than the cost for a similar treatment abroad. In the US, only the most basic dental care is covered by health insurance plans, leaving more than 150 million Americans without dental coverage.

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Putting Central Europe On The Map

In recent years, Central European countries have capitalized on cosmetic dentistry, catering to the medical tourism population. Global leaders, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria and Poland have made considerable investments in ultra-modern, state-of-the art clinics, especially in their capital cities, to attract patients. As a result, this has created a highly competitive industry, ensuring that top-notch service and the latest technology and equipment are of the foremost priority. Many dentists are also trained internationally and a proficient level of english is absolutely necessary for both dentists and their staff.

To no surprise, medical tourists are flocking to these countries by the thousands, taking advantage of the high standards of quality, convenient, low cost flights, great value and opportunity to visit one of Europe’s most adored cities.

Savings Worth Travelling For 

Patients are saving anywhere between 50% to upwards of 75% by packing their bags and travelling to Central Europe. In Hungary, which boasts more dentists per capita than any other country, patients may only pay £329/£379/ $429 for a single crown. In the UKthis could cost closer to £800/ €922 /$1045.

Similarly, and the shortest flight from the UK (1 hour and 45 minutes), lies the Czech Republic- the literal heart of Europe, and epicenter of cosmetic dentistry. It’s capital city, Prague, bursts at the seams with history and culture as well as cosmetic clinics. For patients seeking porcelain or composite veneers, prices may be as low as £247/€297/$322.

Uk prices average north of £600/692/$783. Cost of flight and two nights accommodation in Prague’s city centre totals less than £200/€230/$261 and wait times are typically low- some less than a week. The Czech Republic is also held to some of the most rigorous health regulations and accreditation requirements in Europe.

Leave Relaxed- And With A New Smile 

Into the bargain, Central Europe is home many of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Prague and others, ranking among the world’s TOP 50 cities on the Numbeo’s quality of life index. This list is largely influenced by the quality and affordability of healthcare, as well as safety and cost of living. 

Cosmetic dentistry, like medical tourism, has emerged and grown out of demand and necessity. Patients are finally looking outside of the box (and away from their local providers), and finding affordable, quality answers in Central Europe. Not only will your wallet be satisfied, but dental travel fulfills the dream of a perfect smile, while giving each patient some well deserved R&R and the remarkable opportunity to explore a new city and country.

John and Marie’s Heartening Journey Through IVF

We never thought it would happen to us. Infertility was “other couple’s problem”-not ours. John and I were in our early thirties, fit, active with absolutely no health problems. We were career driven and had spent the better part of our twenties working hard to achieve some kind of financial security in order to start a family. Yet, after nearly a year and a half of trying to conceive, we had nothing to show besides our sheer disappointment.

Dreams Of Starting A Family

Growing up in a family of five children, I had always pictured myself as the modern day mum with a gaggle of screaming child running around the house, food and paint splattered on the walls and ceiling. John (35) and I (34) met in law school and one of the things that helped solidify our relationship, and later our marriage, was the shared dream of having a big family. John, like myself, came from a large family (the oldest of four boys) and becoming a father had always felt like part of his destiny. We were used to working hard at school and in our firms, but starting a family had always seemed like something that would come easy, and naturally when the time was right. Neither of us could have imagined that infertility would soon become one of the most challenging, exhausting, yet rewarding journeys of our life.

Our infertility journey began in Cardiff, Wales, were John and I lived and worked at the time. We first visited our general practitioner and he recommended we visit a fertility specialist in town and begin discussing our options. John and I knew from the start that we might not be able to rely upon our national healthcare system, NHS, to help fund our treatment. One year prior, friends of ours (both 34 at the time) were approved for IVF treatment under NHS, but were only covered for two full cycles and placed on an 8 month waiting list due to a lack of approved Welsh clinics. Even for women under the age of 35, it may take up to 3-4, sometimes 5-6 full cycles of IVF until successful. After two unsuccessful cycles they ended up seeking treatment from a private clinic in London, where each round cost north of £6,000, and this did not include the initial consultation, necessary STD testing or hormone stimulation medication.

The NHS state that around 32.2% of IVF treatments for women aged 35 or under result in live births, this percentage declines with the age of the woman being treated, by the time a woman is 44 there is just a 1.9% chance of success.

Eventually John and I were approved under NHS and put on a 6 month waiting list. In the meantime, I joined numerous online forums, investigated clinics, and read every infertility book I could get my hands on. It was amazing how quickly my life became consumed with the topic of infertility. John used to tease me about the ridiculous amount of knowledge I had about IVF, even before our first treatment, but I think we both knew my information obsession was a distraction from my fear of maybe never becoming a mother.

Thinking About Starting IVF? Click Here For Your Full IVF Treatment Guide

We we finally began our first treatment cycle at a clinic in Wales where our physician explained that the case of our infertility was due to contributing factors- from both John and myself. For women, with each passing year of ovulation the number and quality of available eggs diminish. By age 30, the chances of having a baby begins to decrease by 3-5% each year. After age 40, fertility reduces to an even greater extent. After a semen analysis, it was also revealed that John had a below average sperm count- likely due to environmental factors such as “gender-bending” chemicals and or other lifestyle influences.

We proceeded with the first cycle, and our physician was able to extract several healthy embryo to be fertilized and transferred. At the time, and according to other IVF patients I’d spoken with, it’s common to go into your first cycle with an “all-or-nothing” mentality. Any fertility specialist worth their salt will tell you that 3 or more full IVF cycles may be required before becoming pregnant, but this is easy to forget when you’re in the physical, emotional midst of it all.

When the cycle was complete, John and I waited the necessary two weeks before taking an at home pregnancy test. The results? Negative.

If At First You Don’t Succeed

I was crushed, but John encouraged me to stay positive and that we’d keep trying. Typically after the first cycle it is possible to begin a second cycle after one or two complete menstrual cycles, however, with the long wait times we knew that time was not in our favor be staying in the UK. That is when I hopped back on the web and started to do some research. It was time for a new plan.

Within days I had posted on every IVF discussion board I could find, joined online support groups and exchanged dozens of emails with other patients in search of a better solution. To my surprise, an overwhelming majority recommended I look at clinics abroad. I was not convinced. Surely people were going abroad for lower prices, but didn’t this mean quality would suffer? Luckily many other former patients (many of which are now happy parents) had this same concern in the beginning. A woman named Ava from Germany, who became an IVF pen pal of sorts, wrote me the following:

“Don’t feel alone Marie, my husband and I had the same worries about quality and the state of the clinics abroad. We needed something affordable, but also with high standards and success rates. To help ensure that we find a trustworthy clinic we began working with a medical travel facilitator. This changed everything. We were able to compare quotes, explore each clinic and their accreditations, speak with our physician directly and in addition, all of our travel and accommodation was arranged for us. It helped eliminate a lot of stress during the process and we finally felt like we had someone on our side.”

Still hesitant, I didn’t see the harm in reaching out to a medical travel facilitator myself. It didn’t take long until I started to see why Ava was so keen on her discovery. I was immediately provided with quotes, clinic profiles, step-by-step treatment guides, booking dates and travel options. It was full-service, and exactly what any (already stressed and mentally drained) IVF couple could ask for. John was on board and in 3 weeks we were on our first trip to Prague, Czech Republic.

Setting Our Sights Abroad

As soon as we arrived we were greeted at the airport by our medical travel representative. After being escorted to our hotel to check in, John and I had our initial consultation at a state-of-the-art clinic, lasting about 90 minutes. Before leaving Wales, we’d been prepped on what medical documents to bring from our previous IVF treatment, so everything was prepared. Our physician discussed the treatment plan with us in detail, completed the standard testing and administered my hormone stimulating medication. At this time some couples chose to travel home and divide their treatment into two trips, but after the strain John and I’s relationship had been under the past few months, and with the help of our full-service facilitator, we decided to turn this IVF cycle into a mini-holiday.

For about 6 days we enjoyed Prague’s stunning views, cobblestone streets and old world charm, relaxing in our hotel and finally spending some quality time together that didn’t involve appointments and clinic waiting rooms. During this time one ultrasound was performed to monitor the stimulation and assess the outcome.

shutterstock_153759038After 7 days John and I returned to the clinic for the second phase. Once again, this included an embryo retrieval, sperm collections, fertilization period and embryo transfer. Our physician and I agreed to transfer two embryo- a standard number to increase success rates. An hour after the procedure, John and I were free to go. In all, our full-cycle (testing and medication included) cost £1944. With flights and accommodation included our total trip came to about £2900, still £3100 less than our friends in the UK. 

Two weeks after arriving home, John and I finally prepared ourselves for the second pregnancy test. The results: Positive! We were overwhelmed with joy. All the stress of the past two and a half years faded away in an instant and just three months ago we welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world, Jenny.

Since IVF our lives have changed (for the better), and I’ve had a lot of people tell me how “brave” and “strong” John and I are for enduring the IVF process- but I think it’s more than that. IVF isn’t about bravery or strength, but instead at the core, about the unwavering desire to start a family, and the lengths you will go to make your dreams of parenthood a reality. It is a difficult process to undergo as a couple, both physically and emotionally, and we are eternally grateful for our families, the skills and knowledge of our talented physician, the clinic staff for making us comfortable. And above all, we are appreciative for the assistance and excellent service of our medical travel facilitator. Without their help and organization and we would have never connected the dots and made our trip, treatment, and new family possible.

On Your Own IVF Journey? Click Here For An Online Consultation Today! 

 

Europe’s Fastest Growing Country For Medical Tourism

Do you know who invented the first soft contact lenses?

How about the surgeon who completed the first full face transplant in 2011? Or the Nobel Prize nominated scientist who pioneered antiviral drugs crucial to the fight against HIV? Thanks to a small country in the heart of Europe, all of these scientific discoveries and technological advances have been made possible.

Medical Tourism: The Czech Republic

What it lacks in size, the Czech Republic surely makes up in innovation, coining the old Czech proverb “Zlaté české ručičky a chytré české hlavičky” or “golden Czech hands and clever Czech heads.”

In keeping with tradition, the Czech Republic, an EU member since 2004, has recently become one of the most sought after destinations for medical tourism. Its capital city, Prague, often referred to as the “Jewel in the Crown” of Europe, or “The City of a Hundred Spires”, is one of the most popular tourist destinations around the world, enchanting more than 7 million visitors each year. Now, the vibrant and historical Czech capital is attracting more than just its usual beer and culture seeking crowds, but also thousands of medical travelers in need of everything ranging from cosmetic dentistry, breast augmentation and liposuction to “tummy tucks”, LASIK eye surgery and IVF. Other notable cities in the Czech Republic include Brno, Ostrava, and Pilsen.

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Only a two-hour plane ride from London, its close proximity to the UK and Western Europe has made the Czech Republic the ideal location for those seeking medical procedures abroad. Along with its convenience, the Czech Republic maintains the highest standards of professionalism and top-notch quality, and considerably low prices when compared to other countries.

According to Iveta Jabouková of the Czech Tourism board, nearly  3 million CZK (£94,290/€109,978) has been dedicated to boosting the Czech Republic’s medical tourism profile this year alone.

Why Are People Choosing Medical Tourism?

This year, an estimated 11 million patients will hop on a plane, train or drive across borders for a medical treatment. Recently, Western Europe and the UK have felt the impact of major public sector cuts, resulting in a decrease in the quality of medical care in countries such as Germany, France, and Great Britain. Less spending on public healthcare has resulted in longer wait lines and understaffed hospitals and clinics.

Recent stats show that the average wait time for an approved treatment in the UK is more than 18 weeks- the worst it’s been in 7 years. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS), covers routine screenings, treatment for the long-term condition and end-of-life care, but often excludes prescription costs, optical and dental services, and infertility treatments such as IVF. Unapproved patients are forced to seek out expensive private practices, which are often unaffordable.

Fed up with long waiting lists, uninsured procedures, and hefty prices, an increasing number of people are looking overseas for medical care. When the quality of care, wait time and cost are considered, it makes a lot of sense. Financial savings from medical tourism can be significant. For instance, a silicon breast augmentation in the UK costs £3,400-£5,000 (3,965-5831). In the Czech Republic, an all-inclusive surgery will cost you £2,600 (3,032) including travel, accommodation, and insurance.

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Similarly, dental veneers in the UK or United States can cost anywhere between £400-1000 (466-1,166) per tooth, depending on the material used.In the Czech Republic, costs may be as low as £290 (338) per tooth including the preparation, local anesthesia, and patient care. On average, medical tourism can save patients anywhere from 30-80% and keep wait times as short as one week.

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What To Expect in the Czech Republic

While cheaper prices are attractive, the superior quality of care is what sets the Czech Republic apart. Its medical industry is highly regulated and there are strict state regulations and accreditation requirements for all healthcare facilities, both state-operated and private. Accredited organizations such as ISO and JCI ensure that patients receive world-class treatment. Many private clinics provide ultra modern facilities. This ensures that each client has a luxurious place to stay during their treatment and recovery, as well as round-the-clock care.

Read More: How To Prepare For Your Trip Abroad 

And if you think to become a medical professional in the Czech Republic was a park in the walk- think again. First, medical students must graduate from their accredited universities after a minimum of six years. Next, they must pass a series of first level exams followed by a two years residency with an experienced practitioner. For instance, a plastic surgeon must spend two years in general surgery and four years studying plastic surgery theory and gaining practical practice in a state-certified clinic before ever having the opportunity to operate themselves.

Over the past 2 decades more and more western-style, privately owned clinics have opened throughout the country.Quite often they are run by Western-trained doctors. English literacy is high, especially in Prague, and with cultural differences at a minimum, it is perfect for seasoned or first-time medical traveler.

All in all, the Czech Republic is the perfect place to relax and recoup after a procedure. It is also ideal for a pre or post-op sightseeing holiday and soaking in everything the city has to offer- a much-needed break from the daily grind. You gain quality of care and keep money in your wallet, all the while having an opportunity to experience one of Europe’s finest cities.

5 Things To Consider Before Breast Augmentation

Today women have more options than ever when it comes to breast augmentation. And the truth is-there is no single breast implant that is perfect for everyone.

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1. Choose the right type of implant for YOU!

There are many things to consider when choosing the right breast implant. With the guidance of your surgeon, you will have to make several decisions about the type of implant you want and the look you are going for. Instead of worrying about precise measurements, focus on achieving natural-looking breasts that match your body’s frame. Understand the pros and cons of each:

Silicone vs. Saline Saline implants usually have more rippling, stretch the tissues more, are heavier and feel firmer. Silicone implants have less rippling, are lighter, feel very natural, and stretch tissues less.

Round vs. Teardrop (anatomical) Round implants tend to be more popular and reliable. The selection of breast implant to be used is dependent on the dimensions of your chest, your current breast shape and size, skin elasticity and the appearance you desire.

2. Find breast implants that match your lifestyle

Many women who want larger breasts forget to think about how this will impact their current lifestyle. When choosing breast implants, it’s important to factor in your lifestyle and fitness routines. For active women, it’s important to find breast implants that will let you continue to work out comfortably. Consider the following factors:

Implant Size-  Breast implants that are too wide or large may interfere with how you move your arms. In general, small to moderately sized silicone gel implants will be the lightest and be less likely to hinder movement.

Implant Placement- For more active or athletic women, your surgeon will likely recommend placing the implants under the pectoral muscles. This is called sub pectoral, and can help with stability.

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3. Select the right incision location

Breast augmentation is an invasive cosmetic surgery, so it’s important to remember that all operations leave a scar that will take to time to heal and fade. There are 3 possible incision positions in which the breast implant can be inserted, depending on your personal preference, your body type and your surgeons personal preference. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages:

Inframammary- This is the most popular surgical approach, allowing excellent expose of the space where the implant will be placed. It involves a 4-5cm incision which is made under the natural crease along the bottom of the breast.

Periareolar- This is when the surgeon creates a small, semi-circle at the border of the areola (pigmented skin surrounding the nipple). The size of the implant that can be used may be limited by the size of the areola. Risks include loss of nipple sensation and possible distortion in the incision.

Axillary- This incision is in the armpit, leaving no visible scar on the breast itself. However, if the scar does not fade with time, it can be obvious when the arm is elevated, preventing you from wearing short sleeved clothing. Bruising is considerably more common with this incision and there are some technical disadvantages with this approach during surgery.

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4. Know the risks involved

No one likes to talk about it, but as with any surgery, there are always possible risks and potential complications. Luckily for breast augmentation they are generally rare, and if they occur are detected and managed during your post-op follow-up. The most common risks and complications include:

Capsular contracture- This is when the body forms scar tissue around the implant, often referred to as a “capsule”. In up to 5% of women, this capsule can thicken and shrink making the implant firm and hard and in some cases painful. The shape of the implant may also be distorted, and if severe enough, the implant may have to be replaced or removed.

Calcium deposits- Deposits can form in the capsular tissue around the implant and are often confused with calcium deposits seen in cancer. Removal for further examination may be necessary.

Fluid accumulation- Natural bodily fluid and blood can accumulate around the implant after surgery; and treatment  to drain the excess fluid may be required.

5. Consider your recovery time 

After the surgery is finished, most women are ready to go home within a few hours. Some surgeons may ask that the patient stay overnight. Some discomfort and pain are normal, and your surgeon may recommend pain relief and antibiotics to help aid the healing process. A post-op surgical bra will also be provided and worn for 6 weeks after surgery.  Tips for a quick recovery include:

  • Lots of rest, plenty of fluids and small, healthy meals regularly. 
  • For the first 1-2 weeks it is recommended that you sleep on your back or side.
  • Avoid smoking for at least 3 weeks after surgery.
  • Returning to normal activities and work is fine, but avoid heavy upper body activities and strenuous physical activity for at least 4 weeks after surgery. 

It is also worthy to note that more active, athletic women can generally expect to heal more quickly due to their improved cardiovascular health.

Want To Know More About Breast Augmentation? Check Out Your Full Treatment Guide Here