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The ladue news: ‘the mommy makeover’ cover story

West County Plastic Surgeons (Ladue News cover story)

When West County Plastic Surgeons of Washington University opened its facility in Creve Coeur one year ago, it sought to create a different kind of practice, one that put patients at ease on their very first visit. Principal physicians Terry Myckatyn and Marissa Tenenbaum are trained in all areas of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, and also serve as assistant professors at Washington University.

West County Plastic Surgeons began as a university initiative for Washington University to increase its profile in the West County area, Myckatyn explains. “Our goal is to maintain the same high standards of Washington University School of Medicine and its physicians, and administer cutting edge technology in a more convenient, accessible, customer-friendly way.” He says the facility’s boutique spa setting and other thoughtful details ensure patients’ comfort and privacy. “For instance, parking is directly outside our doors and there’s a back exit for patients post-surgery.”

It’s not unusual for patients to feel confident from the very first meeting with West County Plastic Surgeons’ highly trained staff, Myckatyn says. “Because we’re broadly trained in cosmetic surgery, we won’t push one particular thing. We feel very comfortable in all areas with all techniques, and that’s important. That means we’re trained in a wide range of options, based on what will work rather than what we can offer.”

This philosophy holds true for every procedure at the facility, including so-called “Mommy Makeovers.” “We’re mainly talking about restoring or enhancing a woman’s body to a form prior to when she had kids, but it can also apply to any woman who wants to improve the way she looks,” says Dr. Marissa Tenenbaum. The most common procedures include tummy tuck, breast augmentation and/or breast lift, and liposuction. “The abdomen expands, skin stretches and breasts enlarge, those are the primary changes in a woman’s body,” she explains. “Skin can stretch only a modest amount before its ability to shrink back down again diminishes. Some women also gain weight, increasing deposits of fat in their saddlebag area.” With the appropriate procedure, muscles can be tightened, extra skin and fat removed and skin lifted in those problem areas.

A “Mommy Makeover” is not exclusively for new moms. “It’s ideal for any woman at any age,” Tenenbaum says. “It all depends on how much downtime she can manage and how dramatic she wants the results to be.” Tenenbaum says a makeover can involve something as simple as better skin care and BOTOX fillers, or more traditional ‘makeover’ procedures like blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), tummy tuck, liposuction, breast augmentation, body lift and labiaplasty. And the use of cutting-edge laser treatments, such as the Lumenis fractional laser, tightens skin and improves skin texture and tone, something even young patients seek. “There are some women in their 20s who have acne scarring, large pores or pigmentation problems,” Tenenbaum notes.

It comes down to making patients feel good about themselves again, Tenenbaum says. “We’re able to address something that’s been bothering them, those certain trouble areas they can’t seem to fix. There’s definitely a change in their self confidence and demeanor.”

Myckatyn agrees, “The procedures we perform aren’t just about looks, they actually make people feel better,” he says. “For instance, a breast lift with reduction takes weight off the neck. Eyelid surgery, while mostly cosmetic, helps some see properly without having to strain, and that means fewer headaches. A rhinoplasty could address a deviated septum to help someone breathe better.” Bottom line, Myckatyn says, “It’s all about making a positive impact on people’s lives.”