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Cosmetic Surgery FAQ


Suction-assisted lipectomy – liposuction

Removes unwanted fat deposits from specific areas of the body. Liposuction is a method of removing localized fat that doesn’t respond to dieting and exercise, not a substitute for weight reduction.

Who is a candidate for liposuction?

The best candidate is someone who has localized fat deposits despite exercise and weight control. The better the elasticity to the skin the better the candidate. Patients who are slightly overweight can also benefit from liposuction.

Once the fat is removed will it come back?

The fat which has been removed with not come back. However, the fat cells left behind can grow and increase in size if diet and exercise are not maintained.

What are the most frequently treated areas?

In women the outer thighs, inner thighs and abdomen are the most treated. In men the abdomen, breasts, and love handles are most treated. Almost all areas of the body can be treated including the neck, arms, back, breast, abdomen, inner & outer thighs, hips, knees, calves, and ankles.

How long do I need to wear the compression garment?

It is generally recommended to wear the garment for 4 — 6 weeks postoperatively. You will want to wear it initially because it will give you comfort and support as the healing process continues the amount of time in the garment will lessen.

Lip Enhancement

Is there is a new procedure to make my lips look fuller?

Yes, lip enhancement can be obtained in one office visit with immediate results. Dr. Lopes uses several fillers for injecting lips such as Restylane® and Juvedérm®. Whether you are looking for fuller lips or reshaping the natural lip line, Dr. Lopes uses a variety of injection techniques.

Eyelid Surgery

Aesthetic eyelid surgery is performed on adults of all ages. Some people have eyelid surgery to correct problems that are a result of aging, while others have inherited traits that cause them to seek treatment as early as their 20s and 30s.

What is a blepharoplasty ?

The Blephasplasty procedure removes excess skin, muscle and fat from the upper and lower eyelids. This gives a more youthful and rested look to the eyes. Generally, the crow’s feet are not addressed with this technique and would require Botox® Cosmetic, collagen, or skin resurfacing.

How long will it take to heal?

Most patients will experience bruising and swelling post operatively. This varies among patients. Elevating the head, decreased strenuous exercise, low salt diet, and cool compresses can help minimize these effects. The sutures are removed by 4 — 5 days. Thereafter, most patients will go out in public with cover up makeup or sunglasses.

How is the procedure performed?

The blepharoplasty procedure is usually performed in an outpatient surgery center or plastic surgeons office surgery suite. Most physicians perform the surgery using intravenous sedation with local anesthesia but can be performed using general anesthesia if multiple procedures are done during the same time (i.e. face and brow lift).

Breast Augmentation

Women who choose to have breast augmentation surgery do so to improve their self image. Some feel dissatisfied because their breasts never developed to a size that meets their expectations. Others want to bring balance to a breast that is somewhat smaller than the other. Often, woman want the procedure to restore their natural breast volume, which may have decreased as a result of pregnancy, weight loss or aging.

What types of breast implants are used today?

There are two basic types of breast implants: saline filled breast implants and silicone breast implants. There are no FDA restrictions on saline implants, which is similar to your natural biological body fluids. Silicone implants are now FFDA approved for use in primary breast augmentation surgeries.

When can I go back to work/exercise?

You should be able to work within 4 — 7 days depending upon the level of activity required to do your job. After 1 week you can increase your level of exercise gradually as your comfort permits and your surgeon recommends.

Will pregnancy and/or nursing affect my implants?

Your body will undergo it’s normal response to pregnancy and postpartum despite the implants. Usually breasts get larger with pregnancy and nursing and may change (i.e. get larger, smaller or droopy after pregnancy). However the implant doesn’t change. Most women who are able to breast-feed can breast feed with the implants particularly if placed in the submuscular position.


Men and women whose face and neck have begun to sag, but whose skin still has some elasticity and whose bone structure is strong and well-defined are the best candidates for a facelift. Most patients are in their forties to sixties, but facelifts can be done successfully on people in their seventies or eighties as well.

Am I a candidate for a facelift?

Facial aging varies depending on genetics and environment — such as sun damage, smoking, stresses, etc. There is not a particular age to have or not to have a facelift. Generally, a facelift turns back time. It improves the sagging neck, jowls, “turkey gobbler neck bands” and the deepened nasolabial lines. It is usually combined with other procedures such as an eyelid and forehead lift, fat grafts, and skin resurfacing to promote a more youthful appearance.

How long does a facelift last?

This varies according to the individual. Generally speaking, most patients may require a smaller second procedure anywhere from 7 to 15 years later.

How long before I can be out in public?

Depending upon bruising, swelling and no complications, most people can go out in public in 1 to 2 weeks but may require camouflage makeup.

Laser Hair Removal

What methods are there for Hair Removal?

Shaving, waxing, and electrolysis have been the methods most widely used for hair removal. However they are slow, painful and not permanent. The use of laser light has become more and more popular as the most effective way to provide a permanent reduction of the hair follicles. There are many different wavelengths of laser light that can be used, some are more effective than others.

What is Sciton ™ ClearScan ™?

ClearScan ™ is a Longpulse Neodymium:YAG laser. This laser has quickly become established as the most versatile wavelength available for hair removal. Not only is it effective for skin types I and II, but because of the relatively low levels of epidermal melanin absorption, it is the best choice when treating skin types III-VI. Additionally, the ability to safely treat sun-tanned patients makes this the laser of choice not only for hair removal but also for treating vascular lesions.

Can all skin types be treated?

Yes all skin types I through VI can now be safely treated. Skin type I is somebody that always burns, never tans (fair skin, blonde hair and blue eyes). Skin type VI never burns (black skin, black hair).

Can tanned skin be treated?

Tanned skin can be treated safely, but always inform your physician if you have been tanning or sitting in the sun within the last three weeks and he or she will adjust the laser parameters to accommodate the increase melanin in your skin. The darker your skin the lower the setting used, which may in turn require additional treatments.

Will it be painful?

A system for providing epidermal cooling has been provided that should ensure a pain free treatment. However since pain thresholds vary so much from individual to individual, a topical anesthetic can be provided. Let your physician know if you have a low threshold of pain.

Can you explain what happens during hair removal treatment?

Your physician will discuss with you if you need any topical anesthetic. You will need to shave the day before your procedure. No waxing or dilapatory prior to procedure. A cooling plate will be placed over the area to be treated. The laser light will then be scanned over the treatment area. Treatment times will vary depending upon the area to be treated.

What should I expect after the treatment?

Some redness and slight swelling may be present in the area that has been treated, however his should subside within a few hours. If any prolonged redness or swelling occurs then consult your physician.

How many times do I need to be treated?

You need to be treated three to five times at approximately 5-8 weeks between treatments. This is because there are three phases of hair growth – Anagen, Catagen and Telogen. Only the hairs in the growth phase, Anagen, can be successfully treated.

Can there be complications?

This risk of pigmentation problems is very low, however discuss all your concerns prior to the treatment with your physician.

Vascular Lesions

What lesions an be treated?

Facial Telangiectasia, Red Spider veins and blue vessels up to 4 mm can be treated. Multiple treatments may be necessary.

How does ClearScan ™ treat blood vessels?

The laser energy form ClearScan ™ penetrates deep down and is absorbed by the cells in the vessel wall and the blood causing coagulation and sealing off the blood flow. The vessel walls then collapse and eventually dissolve.

What can I expect after the treatment?

Some redness, slight swelling may be present in the area that has been treated, however this should subside within a few hours. Bruising may also occur. If any prolonged redness or swelling occurs then consult your physician.

Can tanned skin be treated?

Tanned skin can be treated with ClearScan ™, however you should always inform your physician if you have tanned in the last three weeks prior to a treatment or if you have any concerns. The darker your skin the lower the setting used which may require additional treatments.


Most of us are busy people who want to see results from laser resurfacing, but we do not want to spend a lot of time away from our active lives recovering. Dr. Joanne Lopes can treat you with a Sciton PROFILE medical laser designed specially for the MicroLaserPeel “little downtime” procedure.

What is the MicroLaserPeel?

It is an intra-epidermal laser peel that precisely ablates the outermost layers of the skin. The procedure is individually tailored to the nature of the condition to be corrected. Skin conditions such as: wrinkles, scars, acne scars, laxity, keratoses, or pigmentary problems have been very successfully treated with a MicroLaserPeel.

Who Should Consider a MicroLaserPeel?

If you are looking for more than microdermabrasion or light chemical peels, and have little time for a prolonged healing process, then the MicroLaserPeel was designed for you.

How is the MicroLaserPeel different from Microdermabrasion?

Generally, microdermabrasion only removes the stratum corneum (10 microns). The MicroLaserPeel is a partial-to-full epidermal peel (20-50 microns) and is performed with topical anesthetic. Because this procedure ablates deeper into the epidermis, it is the perfect step between microdermabrasion and full skin resurfacing.

How many MicroLaserPeels can be done?

Typically, the procedure is repeated 2-4 times, spaced 6-8 weeks apart, but many peels may be done to achieve the desired result.

What can you expect?

You will experience smoother, healthier, more vibrant skin, with a significant, immediate change in skin texture and tightness as compared to microdermabrasion.

How long is the healing process?

Healing takes 3-4 days. The procedure can be performed on Thursday or Friday, so you can return to work the following Monday. Symptoms immediately following the procedure resemble a sunburn, with minor sloughing on the second day. Redness will begin to fade by the third day, and be easily covered by makeup on the fourth day.

What should I know about pre- and post-treatment care?

Dr. Lopes will provide you with very detailed pre- and post-treatment information.

Tummy Tuck

When can I exercise after my Tummy Tuck?

I always like to ask people what type of exercise do they do , and then I can help guide them with their routine.I always encourage people to walk immediately. Just getting up and going to the bathroom and walking to the car to and from from my office will help prevent deep vein thrombosis after surgery. I usually tell people that any type of heavy duty exercise will take about four weeks before they can partake in it. However if they want to do the elliptical stairstepper or anything that minimizes tension on the abdominal wound before four weeks this is OK. You definitely do not need to do any type of abdominal exercises such as sit ups and planks because I have done a surgical muscle tightening for you .Isolating out your arms ,such as bicep curls is OK before four weeks.Just let me know what you want to do and I will be able to guide you.Just remember you won’t be training for a marathon around your perioperative period so you might want to look at your schedule before booking your surgery.

When can I pick up my baby?

My common response to this question is that you can pick up your baby as soon as possible. You need to use your upper body strength so as not to put any tension on your abdomen. I tend to think of babies is not being dead weight. A 20 pound bag of potatoes is much heavier than picking up a 20 pound baby. Babies have a certain amount of give that helps when you go to pick them up. However, if you have a three-year-old you may want to explain to them that you can’t pick them up because your tummy has a boo-boo. If they want to sit on your lap that’s not a problem just tell them to be careful.

When do I get my sutures out?

No worries here. Your sutures are absorbable and do not need to come out.

How much weight will I lose after my tummy tuck?

Abdominoplasty is a body contouring procedure.The intent of the procedure is a flatter and tighter abdomen. Both muscle and skin tightening occur. The abdominal apron is excised. Typically, depending upon the weight of the skin and fat that is removed you may lose anywhere from 1 to 5 pounds. In other words, don’t count on weight loss count on body contouring.

Have a question for Dr. Joanne Lopes?

Please call our office at (757) 497 - 5400 or fill out our contact form and we will respond to you by phone or email per your request.

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