Getting your body back in shape after an event like pregnancy, surgery or weight loss takes time. In addition to good nutrition and exercise, you may need professional help getting rid of excess skin or fat deposits. SLUCare plastic surgeon Dr. Sumesh Kaswan says individually tailored treatment plans tend to produce the best results, so he and his colleagues offer personalized body contouring services. He sees patients at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and SLUCare Plastic Surgery in Richmond Heights.
Kimberly Moore, a recent patient, saw Kaswan for reconstructive surgery and abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) following a mastectomy. She says the SLUCare staff went out of its way to make her experience as comfortable as possible and help her regain a more natural shape. “I’ve been a registered nurse for 20 years and have worked with my share of physicians,” she says. “My experience with SLUCare doctors has been exceptional. The pre-surgical process was easy, and all of my questions were answered. Realistic expectations were explained in detail to help me make informed decisions about my care. Dr. Kaswan was very patient, listening to all of my concerns and addressing them, and he always focused on my comfort in the office and at home. The staff was remarkable, too. They provided me with encouragement to get through each step.”
Kaswan and his colleagues also see adults who have lost significant weight through diet and exercise or bariatric surgery, and women whose bodies have gone through pregnancy-related changes. In addition to abdominoplasty, services like liposuction, Coolsculpting, brachioplasty, thigh and buttock lifts, and fat grafting can help reshape the body. “Both men and women may have functional and cosmetic issues related to excess skin and fat in areas like the abdomen, lower back, arms and thighs,” he says. “The extra tissue can make it hard for them to exercise, feel comfortable or fit into their clothes. We provide a variety of surgical and nonsurgical methods to help them look and feel better and be more active.”
He points out that tailored treatment plans produce the best results because no two patients are exactly alike. “Some people have lost a large amount of weight but don’t have as much excess skin because they are young,” he explains. “Others have lost less weight but have more loose skin. It all depends on the individual.”
Kaswan says body contouring procedures can help weight loss patients balance how they look with how much better they feel. “When you have lost a significant amount and are feeling healthier and more energetic, you want your appearance to reflect that,” he says. Patients interested in body contouring services can visit with SLUCare plastic surgeons to thoroughly discuss treatment options, family health history, medical conditions and individual goals. Clinical nurse specialist Karen Gregory and other staff members also work closely with them to make sure they understand treatment plans and results.
“Each person receives a detailed examination, and we talk about which areas of the body are a concern,” Kaswan says. “We have an open discussion about what can be achieved and which techniques are the best fit. Some people have more than one area that needs attention, so we design a timeline that includes procedures, recovery and results, and patients are encouraged to ask questions and talk about their expectations. I see it as a two-way process: I learn from my patients, and they learn from me. My goal is for everyone to be well-informed.”
Kaswan says abdominoplasty is one of the most commonly requested procedures, and there are different levels of it depending on how much tissue needs to be removed. Some people may need a simple abdominoplasty, and others may require a lower body lift, a more extensive method that also addresses other areas besides the abdomen. “After pregnancy, some women experience weakening of their abdominal muscles in addition to the excess tissue,” he adds. “We can help correct that, and we often are able to remove stretch marks as well.”
Coolsculpting also is requested by an increasing number of patients, according to Kaswan. The cryolipolysis technique uses cold temperatures to reduce areas of localized fat, and it can be combined with other treatments. “You may feel a little numbness in the area afterward, but it goes away quickly,” Kaswan explains. “There is no recovery time, and you can go back to your normal routine right away.” SLUCare physicians also perform brachioplasty, which removes excess skin from the arms and armpits, and mastopexy, which corrects sagging breasts and repositions the nipples for a more youthful appearance. There are methods to address excess tissue on the flanks, thighs, knees, buttocks, chin and other areas as well.
“These days, patients are becoming more aware of their health and how it relates to a more natural appearance,” Kaswan says. “They feel more energetic and fit, so they want to look in the mirror and see that as well.”
SLUCare Physician Group offers a full range of body contouring and plastic surgery services. SLUCare Plastic Surgery is located in University Tower at 1034 S. Brentwood Blvd. in Richmond Heights. Pictured on the section cover, front row: SLUCare plastic surgeons Dr. Christina Plikaitis, Dr. Bruce Kraemer and Dr. Sumesh Kaswan. Back row: Dr. Michael Bernstein and Karen Gregory, CNS. For more information, visit slucare.edu/cosmetic-services.
Cover design by Julie Streiler | Cover photo courtesy of SLUCare Physician Group
Pictured at top: Dr. Sumesh Kaswan consults with Dr. Christina Plikaitis
Photos courtesy of SLUCare Physician Group