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Dr. Rod's Blog 

Benjamin Rodriguez MD, FACS

Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery

 ABMS Double Board Certified  


Aging gracefully: Tips and advice for general maintenance

Patients who come into the plastic surgeon’s office might have one or more procedures in mind, but in general, they want to look good for their age and slow down the aging process. From keeping skin looking smooth and bright to helping their weight-loss goals by minimizing problem areas and contouring the figure, there are many options available. Every plan starts with a healthy lifestyle, filled with a balanced diet and regular exercise. 

Here’s an article on how you can age gracefully with the help of cosmetic surgery and medicine:

The face. A man or woman who has already had a facelift, eyelid lift or rhinoplasty is going to be happy with their new look after surgery. They have addressed a major problem that was causing them problems. Once that is corrected, there may be procedures that can help them continue to put their best face forward.

Sleep is a major factor in keeping skin looking young and fresh
Injectables can help you look more approachable

The hands. Many people don’t realize that their hands age along with their body until it’s too late. Wrinkles, sunspots and loss of fat and volume can be gradual or if you’re like most, hit overnight when you realize you haven’t used gloves enough or put sunscreen on your hands.

News article addressing hand rejuvenation
Information about hand rejuvenation

The body. After a breast augmentation, tummy tuck or body lift procedure, most are excited about their new physiques and feeling confident. Are there areas where liposuction or nonsurgical fat reduction could help? Cellulite or spider vein treatment?

If one part of your body is bothering you, liposuction can help
Cellulite doesn’t have to be something you have to live with now
Are dark veins making you feel self-conscious about your legs?

How to make your breasts more attractive

 We all know there is a lot you can do with hair and makeup. But, did you ever consider that there is a lot you can do with your breasts? If you interview a group of plastic surgeons about breasts, you will be confounded by the number of ways to improve their appearance. Allure magazine recently interviewed a group of specialists – medical and style-wise. They found that breasts can be augmented, reduced, lifted, made symmetrical, injected, separated, moisturized, pushed together…and that’s just for starters.

If you think your breasts are too small, you’re not alone. In 2012, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), Americans spent more than $1 billion on breast augmentation surgeries. If you’re considering implants, here are pearls of wisdom from board-certified plastic surgeons that have performed multiple implant surgeries:

  • Do not ask for overly-large breast implants – especially if they’re high profile (full and round). If your implants are too big for you and overly high profile, you can permanently damage your breast tissue and affect your ribs.
  • Do not expect your augmented breasts to look like the breasts of your favorite actress; leave the pictures at home when you have your plastic surgery consultation. Your ideal breast size will be determined by your personal measurements, including rib cage size, breast width and a dozen other factors Dr. Rodriguez will discuss with you.
  • It is important to understand that your implants will not lift your breasts. Only a breast lift will lift your breasts.

If you have decided on breast implants and you want a natural-looking appearance, you may want to avoid over-sized high profile implants . Overly large, high profile implants may have the following tell-tale signs:

  • Breasts that have a sharply defined 360 degree border (like a bell)
  • Oversized implants that create a wide, bony gap between your breasts
  • Implants so large, they will not fall to the side when you lay on your back
  • Breasts that appear (in profile) as full on top as on the bottom
  • Implants that are placed so high that your nipples point downward

There are things everyone can do to maintain breast beauty:

  • Keep your breasts out of the sun. Sun exposure causes breasts to droop by breaking down collagen and elastin fibers in the skin.
  • If sun exposure and gravity have created lines and spots between your breasts, nonsurgical treatments like chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing and tightening can help.
  • According to a 2012 study, breastfeeding prevents breast aging.
  • Even though the size and shape of the areola may suffer, skin quality is better in women who breast fed. Although pregnancy has a generally negative effect on breast appearance, breast feeding creates a special hormonal environment, which is similar to internal hormone replacement.
  • Moisturize your breasts daily to slow down the aging process.

There have been some changes in breast development that scientists ponder. For example, compared with the previous generation, twice as many girls are developing breasts as early as age seven. Further, today’s average bra size is 36DD – that is up two full cup sizes from 2002. Remember though, not every bra is treated the same. Like clothing, bras of the same size vary from brand to brand. Be sure to get measured and get the right bra for your body type. That will help you look your best and have optimal support.

If you are considering surgical breast improvements, Dr. Rodriguez can assess what will work best for you. No matter your breast size, keep your cleavage out of the sun and moisturize! 

Mommy makeovers: Getting your body back

The top three cosmetic surgery procedures in 2012 were breast augmentation, liposuction and tummy tuck – the three procedures that make up a standard Mommy Makeover. These procedures focus on improving the figure and giving women back a sense of control and self-esteem. 

What should my Mommy Makeover consist of:


Before and after photos of tummy tuck with breast surgery:

Most patients want to know if it’s worth it – patients give it a 98% positive rating. Share some patient stories and let them know they’re making the right decisions.

Are Mommy Makeovers worth it?

RealSelf rating:

Video testimonial:

The numbers don’t lie – see the increasing numbers for Mommy makeover procedures. Also, vaginal rejuvenation which is becoming popular for moms as well saw a 64% increase from last year.

Cosmetic surgery statistics:

Press release about vaginal rejuvenation:

Vaginal rejuvenation: What does it all mean?

Cosmetic Trends: Fads vs. Truths

There are articles and advertisements online, in print and on television everyday talking about the latest device, product or technique that will get you fast results for cheap. This extends from the most extensive surgeries, like a facelift to smaller treatments like a facial or noninvasive laser. Most of the claims should be taken with at least a grain of salt, but some shortcuts and claims could lead to more serious complications like hospitalization and corrective surgery. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is – exercise caution.

Facials, creams and potions

Snails, bird poop and gold are just a few things that have made headlines on ingredients for anti-aging treatments that focus on good skincare recently. Here are a collection of articles discussing these strange fads and alternatives like microdermabrasion, laser skin resurfacing and chemical peels.

- Latest skincare fad: Live snails?

-  Study: Gold in your skincare products accelerates aging

- Will bird poop facials take off as a new skincare fad?


Lunchtime facelifts

There are many ways to lift a face and some patients do well with a mini-lift with minor incisions and a quick recovery, but most of this cannot be achieved over an hour lunch. Injectables and skin resurfacing treatments is more appropriate for that time frame. 

- 3 questions to ask before committing to plastic surgery

- Lifestyle Lift changes national ads after probe

- Branded Surgery Is Not Always the “Quick Fix” it is Advertised To Be

Illegal injections

Perhaps the most alarming trend is the increase in illegal injections of potentially toxic and unverified products from unlicensed individuals due to the popularity of buttock augmentations and Botox. It seems like there’s a news story every week about the arrests of these unscrupulous criminals who prey on vulnerable patients who do not have the resources and information to make better decisions. 

- Mother-daughters arrested for illegal Botox injections

- Putting the medical end of your medispa under the microscope

- Woman sought for administering plastic surgery without a license

Battle of the bulge: Fighting the fat

The best candidates for plastic surgery are those who are interested in living a healthy lifestyle and want to look and feel their best. This is fortunate, because while plastic surgery can do a lot of things, it cannot guarantee a loss of cholesterol, a dramatic amount of weight-loss or remove dangerous visceral fat that surrounds the organs. What it can do is help you achieve your aesthetic goals while you are on your way to a healthier body and future.

If you have made large gains in weight-loss, removing excess skin and fat can help you fully appreciate your new body and shape. Likewise, if you have had children or aging has emphasized areas that always carried a bit of extra weight, you can tighten and re-contour areas to help motivate you to stay in shape. Now more than ever, there are surgical, nonsurgical and minimally invasive ways to deal with the fat that plagues your life.

Not all fat is the same

Fat is not a bad thing - in fact, we need it to function normally. Fat stores excess calories in our body so we can use it when we deplete our immediate stores. It releases hormones that control metabolism and keeps us warm. However, like many other things, too much of a good thing becomes bad.

The worst fat out there is visceral fat. It wraps around the organs and increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses. Subcutaneous fat lives directly under the skin and generally has less health implications than visceral. Liposuction breaks up and removes deep subcutaneous fat, avoiding the superficial layer of fat to prevent damaging the skin.

Location, location, location

The biggest sign of having too much visceral fat is a large abdomen - that’s why those with an “apple shape” are at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. Those who are “pear shaped” are luckier in that respect, being that the deep subcutaneous fat around the buttocks and thighs can be treated effectively using liposuction.

Exercise and a healthy diet can help reduce both types of fat and increase health, but most people have at least one area where the fat is stubbornly resistant. Most men will have deposits in their chest (gynecomastia), waist area and buttocks. Women will usually carry extra in their breasts, hips, waist and thighs. Liposuction can also treat smaller areas like the neck, arms and lower legs.

The science

Much research has been done on liposuction. An American study in 2011 showed that those with high or unhealthy levels of triglycerides and cholesterol saw some improvement after liposuction (average of 43% reduction). This shows doctors that having high levels of subcutaneous fat affects our health along with dangerous visceral fat. Having liposuction is a benefit in these cases, but should not be seen as a cure all. In fact, a Brazilian study found that exercise helps prevent visceral fat from forming after liposuction. While the subcutaneous fat cells are removed, visceral fat can come back and increase at any time.

Lastly, fat that disappears is usually gone from the location that has been treated, but might come back to another area. To see the best results, it’s advised to maintain a consistent weight, but if you do gain weight, that fat will end up elsewhere. Multiple studies and professional experience shows that liposuction patients might lose weight initially, but will usually gain back the fat in another area. This is why liposuction is meant to contour the body, not help you lose weight.


While most fat is stubborn, cellulite is an especially stubborn (and dreaded) type of fat that most women have on their thighs and buttocks. New scientific research has shown that bands of tissue running through superficial fat pockets create the dimpled, cottage cheese-like effect of cellulite under the skin. In men, the bands are crisscrossed like mesh to hold the fat down, whereas women have bands that wrap around small groups of fat cells squeezing them together and creating lumps.

While you can be skinny and still have cellulite, weight-loss and exercise are effective methods for minimizing the look of cellulite. This will tighten muscles and reduce large fat cells that push out against the bands under your skin. Some surgical lift procedures that combine the use of liposuction and skin excision can improve the condition by smoothing and tightening the skin and tissue.

Take a stand

Whether your problem with fat is deep or superficial, the best plan of attack begins with a healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude. Weight-loss to reduce fat might involve the help of your primary care physician, a nutritionist, a fitness professional and lastly, your plastic surgeon. Knowing what your choices are and building a plan to achieve your goals is the first step.