Dr. Hricko's Blog

Patient Safety

Choosing to have plastic surgery is an important decision. So is selecting a board certified plastic surgeon to perform your procedure is an important step in achieving your optimal surgical outcome safely.

Whether you’re considering cosmetic or reconstructive plastic surgery, you want the skill of a board certified plastic surgeon who is a doctor with more than six years of surgical training and experience, with at least three years specifically in plastic surgery. Their training and experience make them uniquely qualified to perform your cosmetic or reconstructive procedure.

Recently in the news, we are hearing about deaths occurring in people who have undergone plastic surgery procedures at home and abroad. While any type of elective surgery carries risks with it, the sad reality is that many of these deaths could probably have been prevented. The pursuit of the perfection has caused many individuals to seek out providers who often do not have the requisite credentials or training to perform cosmetic procedures.

It is not illegal for any physician in the United States to say that they are a cosmetic doctor or to perform cosmetic procedures. Many physicians in fact claim that they are “board-certified cosmetic surgeons.” However, only a relatively small number of doctors can say that they are “board-certified plastic surgeons.” In order to substantiate this claim of being a board-certified plastic surgeon, a physician must have completed an accredited multi-year training program in plastic surgery, and then have passed rigorous written and oral examinations. Further, board-certified plastic surgeons are held to the utmost level of accountability in regards to patient safety and ethics. That is not to imply that board-certified plastic surgeons don’t have complications or that any procedure is risk-free. Certainly, there is a risk of complications with any surgery no matter how big or minor the procedure is. However, because of the training that plastic surgeons undergo, they know how to minimize the risks prior to surgery by carefully selecting their patients by making sure they are appropriate candidates for surgery. Additionally, they are also well-equipped to handle any complications that may arise after surgery.

Too often, patients are lured by the promise of inexpensive procedures being offered by unqualified practitioners. Which brings to light the dangerous yet lucrative business of bargain-priced cosmetic surgery done in offices and facilities that are ill-equipped to handle emergencies with doctors not qualified to perform the procedures. Despite being charged by state medical boards and departments of health, these assembly line facilities continue to lure patients from all over the country with emotionally charged infomercials featuring testimonies of success. Unfortunately, the uneducated and the unaware will choose whatever is the most affordable. Often, consumer choices are driven by financial or societal pressures, and not healthy outcomes. Until there is more oversight and regulation on who can perform these procedures, it is important that the consumer thoroughly researches the credentials of not only the physician performing the procedure, but also to make sure that the facility is fully accredited.

Plastic surgery encompasses both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Plastic surgeons that are board certified are trained, experienced, and qualified to perform both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures on the face and all areas of the body. Please do your homework and find out if your surgeon is a board-certified.

Dr. Hricko is a board certified plastic surgeon and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS). Call and schedule your consultation today.

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Why the Pink Ribbon?

While many of you know that the pink ribbon is a symbol of Breast Cancer Awareness, most may not realize how it came to be.

The first national breast cancer awareness movement was in 1985, and it was a week long. It was helped started by Betty Ford, a breast cancer survivor, with the idea to spread information. It eventually moved to the month of October, although now breast cancer awareness is all year long. But this time of year is when you start to see pink products everywhere.
Where does the pink ribbon as a symbol for breast cancer come from?

The idea started with Charlotte Haley, a 68-year-old activist whose mother and sister battled cancer. She was giving out peach ribbons in the early ’90s to raise awareness about the lack of federal funding for breast cancer prevention. She tied by hand the ribbons to cards saying “The National Cancer Institute’s annual budget is 1.8 billion US dollars, and only 5 percent goes to cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.”
Haley handed the cards out at the local supermarket, wrote editorials, prominent women, everyone from former First Ladies to Dear Abby. Her message spread by word of mouth in her community. Haley distributed thousands of these cards with peach ribbons.

From Peach to Pink
The peach colored ribbon of Hayley aroused interest from Self magazine, when Evelyn Lauder (Vice President at Estée Lauder) and Alexander Penney were working on their breast cancer awareness promotion, the magazine‘s 1992 National Breast Cancer Awareness Month issue. She saw the initiative to adapt to Evelyn asked Haley to use her peach ribbon for the campaign, but Haley declined because she did not want her message to be watered down or commercialized.
Unable to use the Hayley’s peach ribbon for legal reasons, Self magazine and other people interested on promoting the breast cancer awareness with a ribbon a symbol decided to go pink. Evelyn Lauder and Self magazine introduced the pink ribbon as their official symbol for breast cancer awareness during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1992.
The color pink symbolized the virtuous and blameless aspects of breast cancer and the femininity the disease threatened. By 1993, breast cancer became the darling of corporations, and the pink ribbon was its logo.

Due to the magazine and the distribution of ribbons, the symbol became known all over the country. As breast cancer awareness started to grow, more and more organizations started to incorporate the pink ribbon as the symbol for breast cancer.

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Advanced Cosmetic Surgery: George M. Hricko MD

Advanced Cosmetic Surgery: George M. Hricko MD

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GentleWaves® LED Photomodulation System

GentleWaves LED is a treatment technically described as photomodulation. It uses many light-emitting diodes (LED) to expose the skin to a precise sequence of light pulses. Photomodulation is the interaction of light delivered through Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) to activate cells causing them to produce collagen and increase activity . These responsible for the qualities of youthful skin, such as a healthy appearance, firmness, and good healing. By building collagen, wrinkles are reduced and skin looks more youthful and radiant.
The GentleWaves LED treatment, the gentlest, least invasive light treatment available. GentleWaves LED is used to treat sun-damaged or sensitive skin, rosacea, and fine wrinkles. It can also complement other procedures and restore a youthful glow to your complexion.
Over time, GentleWaves LED can improve the overall texture of your skin. GentleWaves is non-invasive and recovery free and may be done in conjunction with other Advanced Skin Care treatments. Skin products and make-up may be applied immediately after a treatment!
Call our office today to schedule if you would like to learn more about this exciting, non-invasive treatment, for a GentleWaves LED consultation.

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What is Capsular Contracture?

breast augmentationCapsular contracture is the most common complication of breast augmentation surgery and can happen at any time, but is more common in the first months after surgery. It occurs in less than 5% of patients with breast implants.

During the natural healing process a capsule forms, which is comprised of fibrous tissue. Capsular contracture is a response of the body trying to protect itself from an object that’s been inserted that it recognizes as foreign. Scar tissue, which forms routinely internally around the breast implant, can tighten and make the breast round, firm, and possibly painful. Excessive firmness of the breasts can occur soon after surgery or years later. The occurrence of symptomatic capsular contracture is not predictable, it may occur on one side, both sides or not at all. It is more common with implant placement in front of the chest muscle layer.
Treatments for capsular contracture may require implant replacement, or implant removal surgery, one technique is called an open capsulectomy, which is the partial or complete removal of the affected capsule to release the capsule’s hold on the implant. Once the natural capsule is removed, your body will form a new capsule around the breast implant. Changing the location of the implant pocket has also shown to be effective in decreasing contracture. For example, if the implant was previously located beneath the chest muscle, placement of the new implant above the muscle may decrease the chance of recurrence.

There is no real way to know ahead of time if a particular patient will develop capsular contracture.
This is one of the reasons why you need to choose your plastic surgeon carefully. Dr. Hricko has had plenty of experience performing not only routine breast enlargements but also breast enlargement revision surgery.

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More Men are seeking Cosmetic Procedures

Cosmetic surgery isn’t just for women. While women make up the largest number of cosmetic surgery patients, they aren’t the only ones seeking treatment. Now, men are more interested in looking to get the results that cosmetic surgery promises. More than 1.3 million cosmetic procedures were performed on U.S. men in 2017, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Cosmetic procedures have long been associated with women. Women have indeed made up the overwhelming majority of patients electing to tone and tighten, the number of men seeking to enhance their appearance has risen over the last twenty years. In fact, it has increased over three hundred percent since 1993. Men want to look good and get back their confidence too!

Traditionally most men have been disinterested or reluctant to pursue any kind of cosmetic treatment. But this is changing as more men are realizing that they can have non-surgical procedures that look natural and help them look younger, and are more open to having them.

Men want the work they’ve had done to be virtually inconspicuous, which is why fillers and toxins have been popular with them. They also appreciate that there is little to no downtime involved. In 2017, nearly 100,000 men had filler injections, a 99 percent increase since 2000, with a fourfold increase in Botox injections.

Over the past five years, there was a 23 percent increase in liposuction and a 12 percent increase in tummy tucks among men, and a 30 percent increase in male breast reductions, according to the society.

People who look better and younger are more successful socially, at work, and in their love life. This is just as true for men as it is for women. Call and schedule your consultation today!

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When to Consider Eyelid Surgery – Blepharoplasty

Plastic surgery of the eyelids, or blepharoplasty, is a surgical procedure to improve the appearance of the eyelids. Surgery can be performed on the upper lids, lower lids or both.

Excess skin and droopiness of upper eyelids or puffiness in the lower eyelids can give you an older, sleepy appearance. For some, it is a result of aging skin. For others, it can be an inherited condition that causes them to seek surgery at an earlier age. Sometimes doctors recommend eyelid surgery for medical reasons to improve vision.

A blepharoplasty removes excess skin and fat in the upper or lower eyelid. This procedure may be done alone or in combination with other facial cosmetic procedures and can produce a smoother, more rested appearance.

Eyelid surgery/ Blepharoplasty is one of the most common procedures to rejuvenate the face. Tiny incisions are made along the natural lines of your eyelids, through which excess fat, skin and muscle are removed. These incisions are then closed with fine sutures. Blepharoplasty usually requires only local anesthesia. Recovery includes some bruising and swelling that can last up to two weeks.

You may want to consider eyelid surgery if you have excess loose skin on your upper and/or lower eyelids and it bothers you.

You are a good candidate for eyelid surgery if:
• You have excess fatty deposits that cause puffiness in the upper eyelids.
• You have loose or sagging skin that causes folds or affects the natural contour of the upper eyelid, sometimes impairing vision.
• You have excess skin and fine wrinkles of the lower eyelid, bags under the eyes, or droopiness of the lower eyelids.
• Your general health is good.
• You don’t smoke.
• You have realistic expectations for improvement and not perfection.

As with any cosmetic procedure we customize every blepharoplasty to the patient’s needs and we encourage you to come in for a personalized consultation with board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Hricko to help you to achieve your goals.

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Considering Breast Augmentation?

Breast Augmentation surgery is the procedure-of-choice for women seeking to enhance or restore their breasts with greater fullness and volume. It is the single most popular cosmetic surgery in the country and can give your figure better balance, as well as, enhance your natural curves. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), in 2017 alone, 300,378 American women chose to surgically enhance the size, shape, and aesthetic appearance of their breasts.

Breast Augmentation

Women often choose this procedure because the size or shape of their breasts has altered over time or due to motherhood. Other women decide to have breast augmentation surgery because they are ready for a change in their appearance after completion of breast development lacked symmetry and/or volume.

Before surgery, Dr. Hricko can help you choose the size of the implant needed for the desired result. This may be done by putting different sized implants into a bra, to see how they look and feel. A general anesthetic is normally used, so that the patient is asleep during surgery. Sometimes local anesthetic is used, and the patient is awake.

There are a number of different ways this procedure can be performed. Dr. Hricko will advise you on the technique best suited to your desired outcome. Breast implants may be placed either subpectorally (under the pectoralis muscle) or subglandularly (under the breast gland only and on top of the pectoralis muscle). The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis at our surgical center under general anesthesia. As a general rule, the best candidates are healthy, non-smoking and have a good understanding of the risks associated with breast augmentation.

While Breast Augmentation can improve your confidence, but it won’t necessarily change who you are or how others treat you. It is important to maintain realistic expectations when considering breast augmentation. Dr. George Hricko is a board certified plastic surgeon with years of experience performing breast implant augmentation procedure. Through proven surgical techniques, Dr. Hricko has been helping women in the Boston area transform their looks for over 40 years. Please contact our office today for a personal consultation.

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Is Liposuction For You?

Have you tried everything when it comes to tackling stubborn fat? You could be the ideal candidate for liposuction!

As we age, our metabolism naturally slows down and we begin to store more fat in our body. This unwanted fat can be embarrassing as it accumulates in noticeable areas. In many cases these stubborn fatty deposits don’t respond to diet and exercise. Liposuction safely targets stubborn fat deposits and helps you achieve the body you’ve been working for but have not been able to attain through health habits.

There are several different techniques currently available for patients seeking liposuction treatment. New technologies have transformed this procedure allowing patients to achieve their desired results through a much less invasive approach. It is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure used to remove localized areas of fat from the body through a small thin tube called a cannula. Liposuction is usually performed via a tumescent technique, and may also include the assistance of ultrasound imaging or laser energy. The fat from the targeted area is suctioned from the body through this tube to help patients achieve a proportional and balanced appearance.

The ideal candidate for liposuction is someone who is in good overall health and maintains a healthy lifestyle, having one or more problem areas with unresponsive fat deposits. The determining factor for candidacy is usually the state of the patient’s skin and their medical readiness for surgery. Those under 40 years old tend to have the best results because they have more elastic skin. Liposuction can be used to treat within the areas of the body, including the face, neck, abdomen, arms, ankles and legs. The procedure only requires a small incision, which is typically obscured in a skin fold.

It is also important to have realistic expectations, liposuction is meant for sculpting specific areas of the body and is not a method for significant weight loss but rather, used to remove localized areas of stubborn fat after the patient has attempted other natural weight loss methods. The results are be better if patients maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. If substantial weight is gained after this procedure, the results may be altered.

This procedure may be performed alone, or can be combined with other cosmetic procedures, such as a facelift, breast reduction or tummy tuck, to achieve maximum results.

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Gynecomastia, It’s More Common Than You Think

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), about half of all men are affected by gynecomastia, characterized by excess fat and/or glandular tissue that leads to enlarged breasts.

Although you don’t hear much about this condition, experts say it is quite common and may affect as many as 50 to 70 percent of men to varying degrees throughout their lives. This abnormality typically is caused by a hormonal imbalance beginning in puberty, but it also can be triggered by certain prescription drugs or excessive smoking of marijuana, according to experts.

Men, for the most part, have shied away from cosmetic surgery especially for something as potentially embarrassing as oversize breasts. Women are roughly 3X as likely as men to say they have had cosmetic surgery.

Fearing the stigma of gynecomastia, some men have gone to extremes to flatten their chests with duct tape or wearing shirts that compress their chests. Now, however, cosmetic surgery for men is winning wider acceptance. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported in 2016 that 27,760 men underwent breast-reduction surgery, marking a 36% increase since 2000. Some plastic surgeons say they have seen as much as a doubling or tripling of business over the past three years, despite costs that are generally not covered by health insurance.

There are still a lot of unknowns about the causes of gynecomastia, but scientists mostly cite hormonal imbalances. Unlike the enlarged breasts on overweight or obese men that contain large deposits of fat, gynecomastia can affect boys going through puberty, middle-aged men and the elderly, regardless of the general condition of their bodies or how much they weigh.
For gynecomastia sufferers who can’t be helped by a change in a drug prescription, diet or exercise, breast surgery has become a more attractive alternative. Because improved technology allows patients to forgo general anesthesia, the surgery in most cases can be performed on an outpatient basis and the recovery time has been slashed considerably, so that men can get back to work within a few days.

If you or someone you know is considering a breast reduction, contact our office today and schedule a consultation with Dr. Hricko to see if gynecomastia surgery is the right option.

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