Health Features

From Head to Toe

There are a million little things we’d all like to tweak to help put our best selves forward. Local experts share how you can look your best from head to toe—and everywhere in between!


Procedure: Fat grafting can be used in combination with other procedures to recapture fullness and can also be used to fill in deep scars left behind by acne. Fat is usually taken from the abdomen, thighs or flanks, using liposuction done under local anesthesia or light sedation. It’s then treated in a centrifuge before being injected in the face, usually the cheek and nasolabial fold.

Recovery: “Most people are back after a week,” says Dr. Sumesh Kaswan, a SLUCare plastic surgeon. There may be swelling and bruising for the first week or two.

Take note! Fat grafting can be used on other areas of the body. “It also can help smooth out contour irregularities from liposuction,” Kaswan says.

Procedure: “Men usually have more dense and fibrous fat, so minimally invasive types of fat removal are often less effective,” says Dr. Michele Koo, a plastic surgeon in private practice. She suggests pulse assisted liposuction or ultrasonic liposuction. “Both require a liposuction cannula to be placed into the deeper subcutaneous fat layer to directly remove the fat cells,” she says.

Recovery: The amount of fat removed determines how much time off is required; it ranges between one and six weeks. A compression garment must be worn after the procedure. The results are fairly immediate, but residual swelling can occur for up to three months.

Take note! Abdominal fat is less dense than fat on other areas of the body (like the thigh), so if you have less than 1 to 2 inches of fat, minimally invasive techniques may be an option, according to Koo.

Procedure: Hair transplants are done using follicular unit extraction (FUE), and the most popular device is NeoGraft, explains Dr. Richard Moore of The Lifestyle Center and The Edge for Men. It extracts individual hair follicles from the back of the scalp to implant in the areas of hair loss.

>> Seven to 10 days.
>> Some may experience swelling and crust formations; take acetaminophen for discomfort.
>> The majority of the transplanted follicles are shed in the weeks following the transplant, so it can take up to a year or more to see the end result as they grow back in.

Take note! Moore says to focus on hair preservation and recovery through platelet rich plasma, low-level laser therapy, topical treatments and oral products.

Procedure: Eyelid rejuvenation can reduce the appearance of tired eyes and address issues like wrinkles and bags, notes Dr. Gabriela Espinoza, a SLUCare ocular plastic surgeon. Excess skin is removed through an incision in the upper eyelid fold or the lower lash line. For bags, the same incision can be used to adjust the fat and smooth out the bulges. “Sometimes we reposition cheek fat to smooth the transition between the eyelid and cheek,” Espinoza says. “That can improve aging changes at the top of the cheeks as well.”

>> For the first three days, avoid reading, working on a computer and driving.
>> For the first week, limit heavy lifting and don’t do any exercises that raise your heart rate.
>> To minimize swelling and bruising, use ice packs on your eyes and an over-the-counter supplement or gel called Arnica montana.

Take note! The eyelid crease naturally hides the incision site on the upper lid, and the lash line does the same on the lower.


While there are surgical options for improving the appearance of the buttocks, Koo says the best course of action is exercise. “Liposuction on the actual buttocks can leave them low and saggy,” she notes, adding that fat transfer or implants to add volume can be dangerous.

exercises that focus on glutes:
>> Hip-lift progression: Lie on your back and lift your hips toward the ceiling and back down.
>> Toe taps: Lie on your back, lift your feet, and slowly tap your toes to the floor on each side. Single-leg front raises: Holding a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand, raise each leg 3 inches off the floor. Extend both arms in front, palms down.
>> Plie: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing out. Bring your arms out in front of you and squat.
>> Dumbbell squat: Hold 8- to 10-pound dumbbells by your thighs. Squat down as if you are going to sit in a chair, keeping your weight over your heels.
>> Additional source:

Not all nail treatments are created equally.

tips for healthy toes:
>> Say no to bubbles. Jets in whirlpool baths can harbor bacteria and fungus.
>> Expect clean equipment. Make sure the technician’s instruments have been properly sterilized.
>> Use 5-free nail polishes. These colors don’t include camphor, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde resin, all of which are carcinogens.
>> Look for LEDs, not UV rays with gel treatments. LED lights set the polish faster and are better than
UV rays, which can increase skin cancer risk.

Procedures: The most common solution are neuromodulators, like Botox and Dysport, which require no downtime. “The rule of thumb is, the younger the person, the more likely Botox is the answer,” says Carol Anderson, RN, CANS, owner of Nouveau, a Boutique Medspa. Wrinkles and lines also may be reduced using Infini, which delivers heat from radiofrequency using microneedles and stimulates elastin and collagen production. Microneedling helps fill in lines and reduce their depth.

recovery for Infini:
>> Downtime is minimal
>> Possible swelling and redness
>> No products on your face for the first 12 hours
>> No direct sunlight for three to five days

Take note! Get a proper assessment. Anderson suggests bringing an older picture
to a consultation. “It’s really important to see how the person has aged,” she explains. “It
also helps ensure that any correction won’t dramatically alter appearance.”

Procedure: As we age, we lose volume in both soft tisue and bone. “We develop wrinkles because of the loss of structure and support,” says Dr. Gregory Branham, a Washington University plastic surgeon. A filler is injected in small quantities and most are made of hyaluronic acid, a natural material found in the human body. Patients can return six to nine months after the initial injection for a boost.

For the first couple of days:
>> Ice the area.
>> Avoid strenuous activity.
What to expect:
>> Minimal pain
>> Some bruising and swelling
To limit bruising, avoid taking aspirin or ibuprofen.

The less animated the area of injection, the longer facial fillers last. Expect most cheek fillers to last around 18 months to two years, according to Branham.

Procedures: Koo notes that women with 1 to 2 inches of excess fat and no skin to remove could opt for lower level laser therapy, high-intensity focused ultrasound, radiofrequency or cryolipolysis (fat freezing like CoolSculpting). Minimally invasive fat removal is often done in-office under local anesthesia. “These procedures affect subcutaneous fat only a centimeter or two under the skin,” she says. A few sessions might be necessary to achieve the desired results.

>> Downtime is very minimal
>> Some initial discomfort and swelling
>> May take weeks or months for noticeable results

Take note! For significant fat removal, Koo recommends liposuction.