We have all heard about the famous Dr. Reza Nabavian and his amazing skills as a plastic surgeon. Dr. Reza is a well-known professor of plastic surgery at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles where he has served as the director of aesthetic surgery education. Dr. Reza has a private practice in Santa Monica.

He is a visiting consultant and director of Cosmetic Center at Royale Hayat hospital. “One of the constants in my life has been movement and travel.” Born in the middle East, growing up in Italy, UK, and educated in USA, Dr. Reza has a deep understanding of aesthetics and cultural influences on style and beauty.

We had the pleasure of discussing common misconceptions and myths in plastic surgery. With so many surgical procedures and new technologies flooding the social media, it is really difficult to realize fact from fiction. Dr. Reza shares his advice with us.

What are your thoughts on liposuction? Liposuction is a very effective procedure to shape and contour the body. But it is not a good solution to weight loss and it is not effective in tightening loose skin. Many of my patients in the Middle East wonder if performing liposuction on one of area of the body will cause other areas to become larger. This is not necessarily true. Liposuction results can maintain their excellence if the patient maintains reasonable weight. In fact, liposuction helps some patients to be more enthusiastic about fitness and healthy diet. However, if someone gains large amount of weight, some parts of the body can become larger.

The second myth about liposuction is the effect on skin tightening. Some surgical devices such as laser lipo or vasor are advertised to also cause skin tightening. However, the effect on skin tightening is very minimal.

Another point of confusion on liposuction is regarding non-surgical fat removal such as
Coolsculpting. While Coolsculpting can have a small effect after many sessions on a small area, it is far from being a reliable and effective alternative to liposuction.

What are some patient concerns regarding breast implant surgeries? Two areas of concern for patients are breast cancer and breast feeding. Several studies have determined that there is no correlation between silicone breast implants and primary breast cancer. However, I continue long term follow up of my patients to ensure proper screening and examination.

With regards to breast feeding, the risk to breastfeeding after implant surgery is very small. Milk production occurs in superficial breast tissue that is not disrupted by the implant.

Tummy tucks have been very popular in the region specially after multiple pregnancies and weight loss. How should women proceed to make decisions? A common question people ask is whether they can get the tummy tuck at the time of their C-section. I would advise against it. The skin is looser because of hormonal changes during pregnancy and it takes 5-6 months before they are ready to have a tummy tuck procedure.

The other factor is the need for body contouring with the tummy tuck. The new technique in tummy tuck allows me to not only remove loose skin and repair the muscle but also to shape the body and the waist line.

We are seeing many new machines and technologies in the cosmetic surgery field promising the best results without having to undergo surgery. What should one consider before making a decision about these procedures? While many new machines constantly enter the market, very few will in fact stand the test of time. In my estimation, no more than one or two out of ten machines will still be in use after 2-3 years. Part of the problem are the indications and patient expectations.

Technologies such as radio frequency, ultra sound energy and lasers can improve skin quality and elasticity. However, they cannot tighten skin in someone who clearly needs surgery.

I recommend younger patients to take advantage of these new technologies to prevent or significantly delay the appearance of aging. You can choose these procedures using your own research plus the recommendation of a trusted plastic surgeon.

Where does the media come in the midst of all the myths? Social media and the internet can be very helpful for patient education. But it also creates confusion and misconception. Sometimes people share information online that might seem common, but it does not address the specifics of the case.

Some Doctors take advantage of social media to falsely advertise their results and exploit patients trust. Surgeons can post before and after pictures using different magnification, lighting or angle to make impressive before and after photos. I tell my patients to study the pictures and the claims carefully.