Dr. Wigoda’s Notes: Liposuction Vs. Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) – What’s the Difference?

As the Florida economy warms up, so is the demand for beach body plastic surgery procedures such as lipo and tummy tucks.  Fort Lauderdale plastic surgeon, Dr. Paul Wigoda, warns patients to do their homework first, learning the risks and potential results. Last year, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reported almost 9.5 million cosmetic procedures; with Liposuction being the second most popular choice for women.

“People need to educate themselves on the difference between cosmetic procedures such as tummy tucks versus liposuction,” said Dr. Wigoda, plastic surgeon and Chief of Plastic Surgery at Broward General Hospital.

Liposuction and tummy tucks are procedures performed to contour the body. While they both involve removing excess fat, they accomplish different things.


Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty, is a surgical procedure that involves making small incisions where the fat is to be removed using thin, hollow tubes called cannulas to suction the fat out. Typically, the area is anesthetized using a combination of lidocaine and epinephrine. The person may elect for local or general anesthesia. There are different types of liposuction including ultrasonic, laser assisted, power assisted, and traditional suction assisted. Which one is used often depends on the surgeon’s preference and experience.

Liposuction surgery may be considered to treat areas of excess fat in the stomach, buttocks, hips, love handles, saddlebags, thighs, calves, ankles, breasts (including male breast enlargement), back, arms and neck. Liposuction is equally effective in both men and women.

Good candidates for liposuction

  • If you have areas of fat deposits that are out of proportion with the rest of your body and do not go away with diet and exercise –sometimes referred to as “diet resistant fat”
  • Areas with minimal amounts of excess skin (Liposuction removes fat not skin) and good skin elasticity

Tummy Tucks

Abdominoplasty will enhance your body contour by making your abdomen firmer and flatter. You may find that you feel more comfortable in your clothing and are more confident about your appearance

Good candidates for Tummy Tucks

If you have

  • If you have excess or sagging abdominal skin
  • A protruding abdomen that protrudes out of proportion to the rest of your body
  • Abdominal muscles that have been separated and weakened
  • Excess fatty tissue that is concentrated in your abdomen

In this procedure, a long incision is made in the lower abdomen, just above the pubic area. The abdominal muscles are tightened, excess fat is removed, and excess skin is trimmed away. Tummy tucks, also called abdominoplasty, are great for men and women who have loose sagging abdominal skin, weak abdominal muscles, and excess fact that has settled under the skin around the stomach.

While you can achieve dramatic changes in your appearance, including a change in your dress or pants size, you won’t necessarily lose a significant amount of weight using these methods. If you are looking to lose weight, then it is best to follow a healthy diet routine of diet and exercise.

Tummy tucks and liposuction can be regarded as complementary procedures that, combined with other healthy lifestyle choices, can help you look and feel your best.

In brief:

Tummy Tuck vs Liposuction

• Though both tummy tuck and liposuction are surgical procedures to get rid of excess fat, tummy tucks also address problems with loose skin and muscles.

• Liposuction may be less painful and has a shorter recovery time but will not be the ideal procedure if the primary problem is loose skin and/or loose muscles.

• Liposuction is, in some cases, better for younger patients as the results tend to be better when the skin is firm and elastic while tummy tuck can be suitable for patients of all ages

• Tummy tuck is preferred when there is loose skin or muscles, while for persons who have concentrated areas of excess fat, liposuction is more appropriate.

Smoking Makes Nipples Fall Off? Dr. Paul Wigoda Says Yes!

Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon Dr. Paul Wigoda confirms that smoking can make your nipples fall off after certain surgeries.

“I encourage all my patients to quit smoking before surgery,” said Dr. Wigoda who pioneered the technique painless breast implants.

For decades the Surgeon General has warned that smoking can cause health complications. Yet the Center for Disease Control reports that 19% of Americans over the age of 18 smoke. Not only is smoking unhealthy in general and can lead to diseases like lung cancer, it can cause serious complications during and after plastic surgery.

First, smokers have a higher risk of developing respiratory complications, like pneumonia, with any surgery that requires general anesthesia. Second, there are many cosmetic procedures – such as facelifts, breast reductions or lifts, and tummy tucks – where large areas of skin and fat are undermined (separated from the tissue below) to tighten the skin. Blood flow to the skin decreases during these procedures. If the skin does not receive the minimum amount of blood flow needed to be healthy and survive the surgery, the skin dies and the person ends up with an unsightly wound.

In people with healthy blood circulation, this isn’t a problem. However, smoking inhibits the circulation of blood because nicotine is a vasoconstrictor. It causes blood vessels to constrict (close). This constriction further reduces blood to flow to the areas that are trying to heal. As a result, the skin or other tissue – including fat, nipples, and areolas – can die.

Dr. Wigoda specializes in breast implant surgery and breast reconstruction surgery and says, “In my practice, I ask all patients who smoke to quit at least one month prior to their surgery if they are having a procedure that involves undermining skin. Although there is less risk with breast augmentation or liposuction procedures, I still encourage all of my patients to quit smoking because of the damage it does to the body.”

Patients who smoke age quicker, their skin is less healthy, and they lose elasticity faster – all of which makes them look older than they are. Most Americans only think lung cancer or emphysema is the primary risks of smoking. The reality is that smoking affects the entire body, including all organs, because it affects all the blood vessels. This is why smokers are more likely to have heart attacks and strokes.

To look your best, feel your best, and increase your chances of having a great outcome from cosmetic surgery, give up the unhealthy habit of smoking.


Cosmetic vs. Plastic Surgery – Dr. Paul Wigoda Tells What Matters

In the land of before and after photos, it’s important to note that cosmetic surgeons and plastic surgeons are not one in the same. The differences will help you when choosing a surgeon for a procedure.

On the surface, it may seem like there is very little difference. Cosmetic surgery is focused on surgical procedures that enhance a person’s appearance. Reconstructive surgery specializes in correcting body abnormities caused by trauma, disease, birth defects, and other problems. While most plastic surgeons have the training needed to do both reconstructive and cosmetic surgery, no cosmetic surgeon is fully trained in reconstructive surgery, and often, not even fully trained in cosmetic surgery.

Training for cosmetic surgeons consists of:

* Four years of college

* Four years of medical school

* Training in a specific medical discipline such as dermatology

* Certification through the appropriate medical board for their discipline

There currently are no specialized residency training programs for cosmetic surgery. The only specialty that includes cosmetic surgery as part of the residency training is plastic surgery. In spite of this, any doctor can perform any type of cosmetic procedure. You could very well get an ophthalmologist performing breast augmentations.

Training for plastic surgeons consists of:

* Four years of college

* Four years of medical school

* 3-7 years of surgical residency

* 2-3 years of plastic surgery residency

* Certification through the American Board of Plastic Surgery

When it comes to getting cosmetic surgery, plastic surgeons are clearly the best trained. The bulk of a plastic surgeon’s experience comes from treating patients with disfiguring injuries. Unlike doctors trained in other disciplines, they are more likely to have experience performing cosmetic surgery on all parts of the body, and they learn under the direction of more experienced surgical staff, over a two to three year period.

Plastic surgeons also have the knowledge and experience needed to reduce scaring. It is a well-known fact that cosmetic procedures, like face lifts, leave scars. A well-trained plastic surgeon, however, can hide scars or minimize their appearance so you can feel confident in your new look.

Dr. Paul Wigoda, MD is a certified member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery who specializes in plastic and reconstructive surgery. He is the Chief of Plastic Surgery at Broward General where he frequently does life saving surgical procedures. He has hospital privileges at three area hospitals. In 8 years of having his own accredited surgery center, he has never had to transfer a patient to the hospital. However, if there is a problem during your procedure, he has the ability to make sure you get the best care necessary.

With any type of surgery, it is extremely important to choose a board certified physician who attended an accredited medical school residency and very importantly, trained thoroughly in the type of surgery you are having. A weekend course does not qualify. Meet them, carefully review their credentials, ask for testimonials, speak to your friends, and gather all of the information on your procedure to make an informed decision. Cosmetic surgery may be elective, but your health and well-being is not.


Dr. Wigoda Warns: Silicone Belongs at Home Depot, Not in Your Body

When considering plastic surgery, it is paramount to seek out the services of a board-certified doctor versus someone whom you discovered online, out of the country or at a “pump party.” There has been an increase in the number of people seeking procedures from unqualified personnel to save time and money, but at what expense?

Is it really worth it to jeopardize your health? Dr. Paul Wigoda states:

“Patients need to use common sense and have cosmetic procedures done only by a board certified physician whose credentials they can easily check. Patients think it sounds great to save a few hundred dollars without realizing that their face or body can be destroyed and the “physician” is nowhere to be found.”

In the USA Today article, Illegal silicone buttock injections can be deadly, experts say, a Detroit woman was admitted to the ER coughing blood and out of breath. She soon confessed that she had been to a home party to receive liquid silicone injections for a butt implant. It was clearly not the medical grade that is used for breast implants. This variety was the kind you can purchase at Home Depot. The chemicals in the silicone quickly traveled to her lungs, becoming stuck in the airways which caused clots in the smaller vessels of her lungs. A potentially deadly situation!  “In my opinion,” says Dr. Wigoda, “there is absolutely no indication for silicone injections anywhere in the body. Besides the fact that it is illegal in the US to inject it for cosmetic purposes, the potential complications can be severe.” In 2008 a Miami man was arrested for allegedly injecting women’s buttocks with silicone at a “pumping party.”  The Florida Department of Health said he was charged with illegally practicing medicine. There are so many tragic stories in the news of women who have sought this procedure and consequently, died shortly thereafter.

There are two possible side effects of the silicone – it can travel to the lungs or the brain and the brain is 100% fatal. This woman was lucky enough to have gone to the ER to receive immediate treatment. Others are not so fortunate.

Dr. Wigoda says, “The complications include not only death, as mentioned in the article, but severe disfigurement. I have personally taken care of a patient who had silicone injected in her cheeks. Years later, the silicone had migrated down to her jaw and made her look like she had extremely large jowls. I had another patient injected in Mexico in her thighs and 10 years later the silicone had migrated into her feet. She could barely walk and her feet where double the size of normal.”

There have been many cases in which women have opted to save money and attend home parties to enhance their bodies, but at too great of an expense. This procedure involves using an extensive amount of liquid silicone and a large gauge needle because the silicone is very thick and this can cause it to travel to the bloodstream.


Painless Breast Implants by Dr. Wigoda in Florida

As demand for breast implants rises in Florida and beyond (a whopping 296,203 breast augmentations were performed on American women in 2010), Dr. Wigoda’s signature painless breast implant procedure has similarly risen in popularity among Florida women.

Thanks to Fort Lauderdale plastic surgeon Dr. Wigoda, getting a breast implant has now become virtually painless. On his Painless Breast Implants website www.painlessbreastimplants.com Dr. Wigoda has gathered testimonials of many women who took the plunge and couldn’t be happier with their results. Last summer, one patient even blogged about the experience from start to finish.

Most Florida women can resume normal activities within a day or two after surgery and feel virtually no pain. Dr. Wigoda’s technique is very atraumatic with a quick recovery and almost no pain. Over the years, Dr. Wigoda has perfected his technique using ten-plus years of South Florida plastic surgery experience to match the correct incision and implant to each patient. Each year over 350,000 women have breast augmentation surgery in the U.S. and Dr. Wigoda offers potential patiends behind-the-scenes access via his Facebook Page, YouTube Channel and Twitter feed.

Florida Tummy Tuck Talk: Plastic Surgery Advice from Dr. Paul Wigoda in Florida

Dr. Wigoda sees patients who are bothered by their stomach every day in his Fort Lauderdale plastic surgery office. Most request information about liposuction and Tummy Tucks, also called abdominoplasties. Dr. Wigoda takes care to differentiate between the two procedures, pointing out that liposuction merely removes fat, while tummy tucks are actually three procedures in one:

  1. Removes fat
  2. Removes excess skin
  3. Tightens muscles

When considering getting a tummy tuck, it is crucial to consider your surgeon’s credentials, facility and reviews. Other key considerations:

  • A tummy tuck procedure takes longer than liposuction.
  • The tummy tuck recovery period is longer than that of liposuction (approx. 6 weeks)
  • A tummy tuck can be more costly.
  • A tummy tuck can leave longer scars.

To tuck or not to tuck? If you have good skin tone and no loose skin, you might just need liposuction. If you have loose skin that is hanging, then a tummy tuck may be more appropriate.

Fort Lauderdale Botox Tips by Dr. Wigoda

Florida Plastic Surgeon Dr. Wigoda reveals truths and myths about Botox, the most popular procedure performed by Florida Physicians in a new YouTube video.

For approximately 30 years, Botox has been used to treat wrinkles and has become a very routine procedure. The New York Times reported that 5.4 millon people were injected with Botox last year alone. Most Florida patients undergo the Botox procedure every 4-6 months.

Despite the popularity of Botox, there are still some myths surrounding its uses. Dr. Wigoda reveals the truth about several of these myths:

  • Botox is mainly used for the upper face including the upper forehead, crows feet and the glabellar area between the eyebrows.
  • In the lower face, instead of using Botox, fillers are used.
  • Botox is not a poison; however, it is made from bacteria.
  • Contrary to common belief, side-effects are extremely minimal and rare.
  • Botox doesn’t inhibit any day-to-day activities such as exercise.

In a time of recession, Dr. Wigoda says that Botox is a cost-effective alternative to plastic surgery in reducing wrinkles and preventing new ones from forming.

In addition to its common uses, Botox has been recently proven to relieve migraines. Some Florida patients get Botox every 3-4 months to relieve migraines and/or to treat wrinkles.


Skinny on Lipo: Dr. Wigoda’s Liposuction Frequently Asked Questions

As the heat index here in Florida continues to climb and people spend more time in their bathing suits, many Floridians are considering getting liposuction to get the body they want. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Wigoda warns patients to educate themselves on the different types of liposuction and to do their research before choosing their Florida plastic surgeon for any procedure.

What is liposuction? Also known as lipoplasty or liposculpture, the procedure removes excess fat deposits, slimming and shaping specific areas of the body. Liposuction can treat stubborn fat pockets in several places on the body, including abdomen, flanks, back, thighs, inner knees, arms, neck and hips. Liposuction can be performed on its own or combined with other plastic surgery procedures such as breast augmentation, a facelift or tummy tuck.

Contrary to common belief, liposuction is not a weight-loss solution. The procedure was designed to treat small areas of fat. Many patients seek liposuction to remove stubborn fat deposits that linger in spite of diet and exercise.

Considering having lipo done? There are several different types of liposuction procedures:

  • Ultra-sonic liposuction
  • Smart lipo
  • Suction assisted liposuction
  • Power assisted liposuction

Dr. Wigoda recommends ultra-sonic liposuction as he believes it to be most effective in achieving your desired results. Despite the current popularity of Smart liposuction, Dr. Wigoda does not feel it is as effective as ultra-sonic liposuction and has only become a buzzword due to heavy marketing.

It is also important to know what type of doctor your surgeon is. While legally any doctor can perform a liposuction, patients should only entrust their bodies to board-certified plastic surgeons for cosmetic procedures.

Dr. Wigoda urges any patient considering liposuction to do their research and consult a Florida plastic surgeon with good credentials and reviews.

Plastic Surgery Nightmares: Dr. Wigoda’s Warning Signs

Dr. Paul Wigoda hates to see  this type of headline: ‘Woman dies during plastic surgery’ published  last month in the Miami Herald. Considering the demand for plastic surgery procedures increased almost 9% in 2010, according to statistics released by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery; consumers need to do their plastic surgery homework.

While Plastic surgery is popular in Florida, risks and rewards should be considered. With the recent news of patient deaths at discounted plastic surgery centers, the safety of plastic surgery procedures is a reminder to take the time to research and ask the right questions.

Dr. Wigoda, a Board Certified Florida Plastic Surgeon, says that these mishaps can be avoided. he gives some important pointers when looking for a Florida plastic surgeon:

1. Background check. It is important to check the surgeon’s credentials. Your surgeon should be a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and not just a Cosmetic Surgeon as the requirements to be a Certified Plastic Surgeon are a lot higher and require surgeons to maintain this status every year.

2. Tour it. Check the facility where your Florida Plastic Surgeon works. It should be clean and not have a history of problems.

3. Google it! Do an online search of the facility and the Florida Plastic Surgeon you are considering. If results are bad, start looking for another surgeon.

If you do a Google search of the discount plastic surgery centers, you can find information, which may be helpful when you are making your decision. Click here for one example and click here for another

4. Save now and pay later. Basing your decision on price could lead to your choice of the wrong Florida Plastic Surgeon and cost you your life or many problems that could have been avoided.



Plastic Surgery Nightmares: Dying is High Price at Discount Centers

Rony Wendrow died during a cosmetic procedure at StraxFour people have died after cosmetic surgery performed by doctors at a Strax
Rejuvenation & Aesthetics Institute since 2008 — more than at any other physician
office in Florida.

Dr. Paul Wigoda tells patients beware of discount plastic surgery centers that have
a high turnover of doctors and history of deaths. Research and safety should be top
priority when choosing a plastic surgeon.

No clue of how a patient died during a plastic surgery procedure?

Death and plastic surgery should not be in the same sentence. A South Florida
cosmetic surgeon says he has “no idea” why a patient suddenly died during a routine

“In all honesty, I have absolutely no idea what happened. We have no clue at all,” Dr.
Harold M. Bass told local media. Bass is one of 14 independent surgeons who operate
at Strax, a local surgery center. Wendrow is the fourth patient to die in three years after
receiving cosmetic procedures at the center, reports Sun-Sentinel Health writer Bob
. An attorney for the center refused to comment on the incident, instead
pointing out that the death average at Strax is “lower than the national average.”

“It is shocking to hear the news of Ms. Wendrow’s passing,” says Dr. Paul Wigoda, Chief
of Plastic Surgery at Broward General Hospital. “Although there are risks associated with
any surgery, including cosmetic surgery, one death is one too many and four in three
years is nothing short of appalling. My condolences go to the family and friends of Rony

Dr. Wigoda strongly encourages plastic surgery candidates to conduct thorough
research before selecting a plastic surgeon. It’s worth noting that the rates of plastic
surgery complications, including death, are much higher at “discount surgery centers”
than in private doctors offices.

Dr. Wigoda includes a section on his website dedicated to helping patients do their
homework and has published numerous blogs on the subject including “Is Your Plastic
Surgeon Board Certified? Questions to Ask Before Plastic Surgery”
and “How to Spot
the Red Flags.”
Make sure your surgeon is a board-certified plastic surgeon, not simply
a “cosmetic surgeon.”

Making the choice to undergo cosmetic surgery is not one that should be taken
lightly. Even the most famous and experienced plastic surgeons have less than-stellar
results with patients from time to time, and occasionally have patients that experience
complications during plastic surgery. It is imperative to choose a well-qualified surgeon
that you feel comfortable with, to minimize the risk of complications.