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Maybe you just want your clothes to fit better, make a slight improvement to your current shape or revamp your shape after weight loss or pregnancy. The reasons for getting breast augmentation are as varied as the women who choose this deeply personal procedure — one of the most common cosmetic procedures done each year. In fact, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons says 286,000 augmentations were done in the United States in 2012. Despite the high number of women choosing the procedure, there’s still a lot of misinformation about breast augmentation, says Dr. Samina Wahhab of Allentown, who took time to dispel some of the common myths about the surgery.

Myth: People can tell that you’ve had surgery

Wahhab says that simply isn’t true because most of the breast augmentation procedures look very natural. “The vast majority of my patients are looking for very natural results proportionate to their body size,” she says. “You can’t tell in clothing or a bathing suit.” There are some cases where people can tell that there has been an augmentation, but that’s usually when a patient asks for a specific look.

Myth: Implants must be replaced every five to 10 years

Nothing could be further from the truth, Wahhab says. The idea that implants need to be replaced probably came from the fact that two major manufacturers used to offer 10-year warranties on their implants – the implication being the implants could fail after the warranty was up. But not so. “We don’t replace a car part when it’s out of warranty,” she says. “We replace it when there’s a problem.” The same manufacturers now offer lifetime warranties; however, that does not imply that the implant is a lifetime device. “Implants only need to be replaced if there’s a problem or an issue,” she says.

Myth: Implants feel unnaturally firm

Many different factors contribute to the overall look of a finished augmentation ,including the overlying breast tissue, the type of implant and its position, so that it’s impossible to say that implants will feel one way or another. “Just like every breast is not the same, every implant isn’t the same,” Wahhab says.

Myth: Breast implants are dangerous

Breast implants have not been found to increase the risk of disease or breast cancer, she says. In addition, there’s no danger to a breastfeeding baby after an augmentation. While breast augmentation is surgery, and all surgical procedures have potential risks, it isn’t considered a highrisk procedure.

Myth: One Size Fits All

When deciding on a size for the augmentation, it’s important for the patient to try on various implants, Wahhab says. Implants come in different sizes and shapes and it is important to choose the one that is best for the individual patient. “I find it gives the patients more control over the way they look,” she says, adding that she works with patients and makes recommendations based on body shape. “Equally important is for the woman to be able to choose what’s good for her body. The only way to really determine that is to be able to try on different implants and see what feels right.”

(Source: The Morning Call)

Confidence Boost: Looking and Feeling Your Best

It’s natural that when you feel great, you want to look your best too. After eating a healthy diet and working out to stay fit, maybe there’s a problem spot that just won’t go away — or something that makes you look older than you feel. That’s where cosmetic surgery and aesthetic procedures can help you look your best — and more people are investing in their looks than ever before. “People want to look the way they feel,” says Dr. Samina Wahhab, MD, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon based in the Allentown area, “and give themselves a boost of confidence.” Maybe for you it’s looking good in a dress or turning back the hands of time a little bit. You’re not alone in wanting to look your best.

In 2012, there were more than 10 million surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures in the United States by board certified doctors, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Of that number, women had more than 9.1 million procedures, with the top five surgical procedures being breast augmentation, liposuction, tummy tuck, eyelid surgery and breast lift. Men, too, want to look at the top of their game and the top five surgical procedures for men in 2012 were liposuction, rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery, breast reduction and ear shaping. In another survey from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, reasons for getting cosmetic procedures included being competitive  in the work place and to look younger.

Professionals do come to Wahhab’s office looking for ways to freshen their appearance to stay competitive. “They say: ‘I’m working with all these younger people and I want to stay in competition with them,’“ says Physician Extender Shane Deppen. “That’s a big thing. It’s for the everyday person who wants to live a normal life and feel comfortable with themselves.” Wahhab says when someone wants to have a procedure, they first talk about expectations and what can be done. “It’s a warm and welcoming environment, and everything is handled in a very professional manner,” she says. “We take care of our patients to the best of our abilities.” Wahhab has been practicing for 12 years and offers a wide range of surgical and nonsurgical procedures, as well as reconstructive surgery. The office also has other services as well including facials, enzyme treatments and waxing services.

For those who may not be ready for surgery, the office has Ultherapy, which uses ultrasound to tone, tighten and lift loose skin on the neck, face and brow. Deppen is a recognized expert in Ultherapy and also trains others in the procedures. “It’s like a mini facelift without the surgery,” she says. “There’s no downtime from the procedure like in surgery.” It all comes down to building up the confidence of patients and helping them look their best. “Everyone ages,” Deppen says. “If you look the way you feel, it gives you more confidence to do the things you want to do.”

(Source: The Morning Call)

Body Work

It’s the start of a new year and maybe you’d like to change something about your body. From top to bottom, there are pain-free nonsurgical ways to sculpt and encourage collagen production for a trimmer, younger-looking you. “From head to toe, people are looking the best they can be,” says Dr. Samina Wahhab of Allentown. Nationwide, nonsurgical cosmetic procedures are gaining popularity. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 10 million cosmetic procedures in 2012, with 83 percent of those nonsurgical procedures. In 2011, a total of 9.2 million procedures were performed.


One of those nonsurgical procedures — called Ultherapy – uses ultrasound technology to rejuvenate the face, tighten skin and stimulate the production of collagen. As we age, the natural protein loses its elasticity and its ability to keep skin looking firm and toned. “Ultherapy boosts collagen formation in the face, which then creates skin tightening,” Wahhab says. “It essentially gives a minifacelift without any surgery or downtime.” Ultherapy Specialist, Shane Deppen, says the procedure works with what is in your body and targets the deep muscles and tissues. Afterward, the skin continues to tighten for up to a month or more, giving a gradual, natural-looking appearance. “It’s a very simple procedure and it really works,” says Deppen, who is at Wahhab’s Allentown offi ce. “People don’t know that you’ve had something done. Patients say people ask: ‘did you lose weight?’ People just know you’re looking better and they don’t know why.”


The Reaction procedure, also called ReFit, uses radio frequency combined with vacuum therapy to treat cellulite. It is also used to tighten skin and tone and contour the body – all without surgery. This unique procedure stimulates collagen formation which in turn helps to tighten skin. Collagen gives the skin elasticity and its formation helps to tighten and contour the skin.


To take care of those stubborn areas of fat – particularly on the abdomen and back – the kind that doesn’t go away with diet and exercise, there’s another nonsurgical procedure called CoolSculpting. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the procedure freezes fat cells, stimulating a natural cell death cycle. The cells and fat are then eliminated naturally from the body. “It’s noninvasive,” Wahhab says. “It’s an in-offi ce procedure with no down time and it helps contour those stubborn areas without surgery.” The procedures are so comfortable, patients read, surf the Web or Facebook or relax during them. Deppen even gave the interview for this article while undergoing a CoolSculpting session.

(Source: The Morning Call)

Feeling Complete After A Mastectomy

Breast cancer is something as a woman you hope never affects you. But if you’ve ever had to fight cancer, you know the physical and emotional toll it can take. Through reconstructive surgery, you can get back to looking and feeling more like yourself after a mastectomy. “Reconstruction is important for a sense of self confidence for women,” says Dr. Samina Wahhab, M.D., a plastic and reconstructive surgeon based in the Allentown area. While not everyone chooses reconstruction, a woman’s age shouldn’t be a concern. “The overall health of the patient is a factor, but age is not,” she says. You can put your mind at ease over the fear that the cancer will return due to reconstruction – studies have shown that’s not true. “It’s safe to reconstruct,” Wahhab says. “There’s no increased risk of recurrence due to reconstruction.”

There are two basic types of breast reconstruction. In the first type, the doctor uses tissue expanders followed by implants to rebuild the breast. In the second type, the breast is reconstructed using fat, skin and muscle from your own body. There may also be a need to have surgery on the other breast as well, to make the breasts look even – called symmetry. Wahhab says the procedure can be done at any time – right at the time of the mastectomy or at any point in the future. Regardless of when a woman chooses to have it done, breast reconstruction is covered by insurance. The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 mandates that a health-care insurer which covers mastectomies must also cover breast reconstruction. All of this would be discussed with you during the initial consultation, Wahhab says. She has seen a wide range of ages among her patients choosing to have breast reconstruction. Breast reconstruction is performed to re-create normal appearing anatomy and helps women by restoring the appearance of their own anatomy.

(Source: The Morning Call)

What is Coolsculpting?

960x776Dr. Samina Wahhab, plastic surgeon, who now is offering a fat-reduction procedure called Coolsculpting. It is a non-surgical alternative to liposuction and tummy tucks. The patient uses a transducer that suctions the fatty area and freezes it for about an hour. Over a period of weeks, the fat cells die creating a smoother site. It’s not weight loss, but fat reduction.

(Source: The Morning Call)

Lehigh Valley Residents Are Freezing the Fat Away

Coolsculpting Can Smooth Out Bumps Without Surgery.

Melissa Haydt has a weighty tale that rings true for many American adults.

The Walnutport woman for some time has been fighting her own battle of the bulge. She’s tried diets and exercising over the years but could not lose those pounds that added a few extra numbers to her six pack. The 59-year-old mother of two also is fighting the hormonal weight-gain battle that many middle-aged women have to confront.

“When you hit menopause,” she said, “forget it.”

So Haydt found herself receptive to an advertising pitch she heard on the radio for Coolsculpting, the newest procedure in the Lehigh Valley to help reshape the body. Approved in 2010 by the U.S. Food And Drug Administration, Coolsculpting is the brand name for a device and procedure created by a California company that claims to reduce bulges in the abdomen and flanks — the “love handles” — by 20 to 25 percent.

For a culture that’s looking for a quick fix, Coolsculpting may be as close as it gets.

An ideal candidate for Coolsculpting is someone looking to firm up a bulging area, not someone looking to cut tens of pounds or more, said Dr. Samina Wahhab, whose Salisbury Township office is one of three in the Lehigh Valley to offer the service.

Each application of the device takes an hour, so a person wanting to slim love handles would require two hours.2048x1442

However, there’s no anesthesia. No surgery. No recovery period.

There’s also essentially no weight loss.

That’s because Coolsculpting basically “tricks” fat cells in the treated area into naturally dying, and once an adult loses fat cells, they’re gone for good. The fat cells are not dense, so there’s not much weight change, if any, Wahhab said.

Researchers call it the “Popsicle” effect. They found that kids who kept a Popsicle in their cheek had fat cells die off from the cooling. Since fat cells generate in children, they were able to grow them back. That doesn’t happen with adults.

The Coolsculpting device, created and sold by Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif., sucks the flabby area to be treated in a vacuum process and cools it, numbing the site and producing a tingling feeling, said Haydt and Wahhab, who also had the procedure. Patients can read, relax or sleep during the treatment; Wahhab said she did office work during hers.

After an hour, the cooling panels are removed and patients go back to their daily routines.

Patients’ reactions often are along the lines of, “It’s too easy” said Leeann Burton, a lab technician at Young Medical Spa in Upper Saucon Township. She said more than 100 people have gotten Coolsculpting treatments there so far.

Results are not instantaneous. The treatment centers say Coolsculpting requires up to three months to see the fat cells die off in a natural process called apoptosis. The fat cells are carried away through the bloodstream and, according to studies, produce a negligible effect on a person’s cholesterol levels during that time.

The treatment centers also say the results are hard to quantify.

“We take before and after pictures and you can see the results through those,” Burton said.

None of the centers said they could promise a reduction of a fixed number of inches off the waist or hips.

The amount of change “depends on the individual’s specific body type and shape,” she said.

Burton also said Young’s spa will do Coolsculpting “off-label,” on sites not approved yet by the FDA, such as the thigh or the upper torso. The company is working with the FDA to get approval to treat the thigh in the near future.

It’s not for everybody, however. Wahhab said plastic surgery should not be a first consideration for obese people looking to lose weight. In addition, people with abdominal hernias or cold hypersensitivity should not try it.

Further, results won’t be that positive for people with loose skin, said Dr. Jaime Bastidas, an Easton area plastic surgeon who is operating a solo practice after recently leaving a practice with his brother, Alberto, and Dr. Atul Amin.

That still leaves plenty of potential customers inclined toward minimally invasive techniques, which include procedures such as Botox injections, laser hair removal and chemical peels. They made up the vast majority of the 15.1 million domestic cosmetic plastic surgeries in 2013, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The number of cosmetic procedures requiring invasive surgery, such as implants, liposuction or face-lifts, actually has declined from 1.9 million in 2000 to less than 1.7 million in 2013, it said.

Those customers today have a wider range of options to reshape their bodies. Traditional liposuction requires anesthesia and surgery, but now patients also may choose minimally invasive techniques including liposuction using lasers or ultrasound, or procedures using chemical injections.

Bastidas said he can “tweak” the body shape better with liposuction or laser-guided liposuction.

“There are certain things you can’t get out with Coolsculpting that you can with a procedure,” he said.

The limited studies of Coolsculpting so far have been positive, finding the procedure effective and without long-lasting discomfort. In some cases, patients have reported tingling and numbness on the treatment site, but the symptoms usually dissipated.

FDA reports indicate a trickle of complaints about Coolsculpting, with one customers complaining of lingering pain and another of only temporary results.

Kerrie Jiang, Zeltiq’s director of clinical development, tracks complaints as required by the FDA and said Coolsculpting has performed safely.

“Our company has a very rigorous post-market surveillance program,” she said.

According to the company’s 2013 annual report, Zeltiq received 1,392 clinical complaints about Coolsculpting out of 972,612 individual uses or “cycles.” The most common clinical complaints related to ongoing pain, redness and swelling, it said.

The jury is out on Coolsculpting in the long term, according to Dr. Robert Murphy of Bethlehem, who is president of the Society of Plastic Surgeons.

The procedure seems to be safe and effective, he said, but questions remain. Will multiple treatments be required? Are there late-developing consequences?

“What we don’t have,” he said, “are long-term studies of how effective it is.”

Jiang said it’s one thing to do studies, but it’s another to see how the device is functioning in real-world application, which she does through the surveillance program.

“That’s probably the best study that you will ever have,” she said.

There’s also the issue of lifestyle after the procedure. If patients do not watch what they eat and avoid exercise, their treatment will be for naught.

“Putting on any extra weight would decrease the results,” Burton said. “If you do gain weight, you’re going to gain in the remaining fat cells in that area or the other parts of the body.”

Cost is another issue. The procedure is cosmetic, so it’s not covered by health insurance. Patients pay $650-$750 per treatment site, with prices often discounted after more than two sites are treated.

Haydt found it worth the cost about a month after her treatments.

“I would recommend it to anybody who wants to see a difference in how they look,” said Haydt, who had four sites treated. “I would do it again.”

Doctors want to hear that because Coolsculpting doesn’t come cheaply to them either. The device costs around $120,000, said Wahhab, who has treated about 15 patients so far.

She has it to give people more options.

“I see it more as an adjunct or a choice than a direction,” she said. “It’s nice to give … people more control over what people want to do.”

(Source: The Morning Call)