Surgery FAQ

These are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about surgery. If the information you seek isn’t here, please contact us.


Am I a candidate for rhinoplasty?

The nose is an extension of the face—the first thing one sees, but not the first thing one should notice. If your nose is out of proportion to your mid-face, this can be corrected. If you see your nose as too large or too wide, or if you’re just not happy with its appearance, you may be a candidate for rhinoplasty (plastic surgery of the nose). In addition, your nose may be crooked, or you may find it difficult to breathe through one or both nostrils. Nasal reconstructive surgery is frequently beneficial for these conditions.
During your consultation, your nasal structures and passages and the size and shape of your nose will be examined. Because it is important to develop a clear understanding of your needs and expectations, computer imaging will be used to facilitate an educated and comfortable decision about surgery.

At what age is rhinoplasty best performed?

The optimum time to reshape your nose is when you’re ready to take control of your appearance. Correction during the teenage years may be appropriate in certain cases. Many adults have disliked and felt embarrassed by the shape or size of their nose for years, but they may not have the nerve or the finances to undertake surgery until they’re over 70 years old! Set up a consultation to discuss the best option for you.

Does rhinoplasty leave scars?

The incisions used for rhinoplasty are usually concealed inside your nose; scars are therefore not visible. When an external incision is necessary, it can be hidden in the crease where the nostril meets the cheek.

How long will it take to recover?

Restricting physical activity for a day or two after surgery helps reduce bleeding and minimize swelling. Most bruising and discoloration disappears within a week; the rest can be concealed after a few days with makeup. Residual swelling can be expected to remain for several weeks, but this is usually not noticeable by others. Strenuous physical activity and contact sports should be avoided for four to six weeks to allow complete healing to take place.


Am I a candidate for this type of procedure?

Most patients who choose to have breast augmentation surgery do so because they feel their breasts are too small. The breasts may have become smaller following childbirth, or one breast may be smaller than the other. It may be difficult to find clothing that fits correctly at the bust-line.
The best setting in which to discuss your concerns and obtain informed answers to your questions is a consultation.. After a clinical examination and a discussion of your particular needs, there may be several options available. Computer imaging can help you anticipate the outcome of this type of surgery, ensuring that you’re pleased with the result.

What types of implants are used?

Today you can choose between saline implants (filled with sterile saltwater) or silicone-filled implants. These implants are available in a variety of anatomic shapes and sizes. Implants can be inserted through different incisions. This type of implant requires only a small incision, often less than an inch long, which can be well concealed beneath the breast. The most natural breast appearance requires selecting just the right implants based on your personal characteristics.

What are the risks involved?

Every surgical procedure carries some risks. Those most often associated with breast augmentation surgery include infection, changes in the sensitivity of the breast, and scar contracture, but these and other complications occur rarely and can usually be avoided. In fact, thousands of women undergo successful breast augmentation surgery every year, though you might find it difficult to tell just who they are!

What's the recovery period?

Most women return to work after two days. Speed of recovery is related to many factors, including the technique involved. Deeper implants, below the chest wall muscle, require a longer period of recovery than superficial (above the muscle) implants. You’ll need to avoid strenuous activity for about three weeks.


How can I tell if I'm a candidate for breast-reduction surgery?

Patients who suffer from the weight of large, pendulous breasts often complain about impaired ability to perform physical activities, or about irritation or a rash on the skin beneath the breasts. Bra straps may produce deep, painful indentations on the shoulders or back. Neck pain is another common symptom caused by enlarged breasts.

Do scars form after breast reduction?

A “minimal scar” technique is used for breast reduction that lifts the breasts as they are reduced in size. Sutures are placed under the skin to minimize visible scarring. After surgery, specially formulated skin creams are prescribed, based partly on your own skin characteristics, to help speed healing and restore the skin to health.

Does breast reduction have to wait until after childbirth? Is the ability to nurse a baby affected?

Breast reduction can be safely performed at any age after the breast tissue has developed during adolescence, and many women have children after having had breast reduction surgery. Once healing is complete, breast-feeding is usually normal; although not unheard of, changes in one’s ability to breast-feed are rare.

What's the recovery period?

After breast reduction, most patients return to work within a week or two, but the exact amount of time depends on the type of work you do. Patients should avoid strenuous physical activity for four to six weeks.

Does medical insurance cover this type of surgery?

When medically indicated, breast reduction surgery is a covered benefit under most health insurance plans. Our staff will submit the appropriate documentation to your insurance company on your behalf to assist in this determination, detailing your symptoms and outlining the surgical plan.

Can liposuction be performed on the breasts?

Yes—with just a tiny incision and virtually no scarring! This technique delivers excellent results for those with good skin quality and minimal sagging. This is also a quick and effective way of correcting breast asymmetry.


How common is Breast Asymmetry?

Approximately 90 percent of all women have breasts that are different sizes, which may range from slight to large enough to cause discomfort and become a source of insecurity. Fortunately, through breast reduction, breast augmentation, breast lift and breast fat transfer, breast asymmetry can be addressed to improve the symmetry of a woman’s breasts resulting in a natural look and improved comfort. See Before and After Images of Breast Asymmetry.

Which procedure is right for me?

The type of surgery that will provide the best results with the minimum intervention will be discussed at your consultation. For many patients, a combination of surgical techniques may be necessary, including a breast lift, breast reduction and breast augmentation. A lift, augmentation, or reduction may be used on the same patient to create breasts that look and feel natural in addition to being symmetrical. Implants or fat transfer (or both) may be used. The type of surgery you require will be discussed by you and your doctor at your patient consultation.

Choosing the right surgeon to address breast asymmetry is critical. It takes an aesthetic approach as well as  surgical skill and experience in all aspects of breast surgery. Dr. Michelle Copeland is Harvard-trained with decades of experience in breast surgery, and has innovated liposuction techniques and fat transfer to address breast augmentation and reduction. Dr. Libby Copeland-Halperin completed advanced training in microsurgery at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston with a focus on implant-based and autologous breast reconstruction.


Am I ready for a face-lift?

Sagging of the skin and the facial tissues that accompany aging can make you look tired and angry even when you feel energetic. Jowls and drooping skin around the neck give you the appearance of heaviness. Facial rejuvenation helps restore youthful contours to the face, making you appear more rested and healthy. The idea is to look better—but not so different that you don’t look like yourself.
Often a “mini-lift” can be performed, instead of a full face-lift. The mini-lift is limited to the lower part of the face, correcting the jowls and neck; the traditional face-lift includes the upper part of the face as well. To achieve full rejuvenation, many patients also elect to combine a face-lift with other procedures, such as an endoscopic forehead lift, eyelid surgery, autologous fat injections, or skin resurfacing.

How can I know what results to expect?

Realistic expectations are important to successful cosmetic surgery. You can expect smoothing and tightening of the loose skin on the face and neck. Since excess skin and fat are removed and the underlying facial tissues are recontoured, the result is a more youthful looking face. Computer imaging will help you feel comfortable with your decision about surgery and we are available to answer any questions you may have before and after the procedure.

Does face-lift surgery leave scars?

The incisions made for this type of surgery are usually concealed behind the ear and at the hairline. Sometimes, a small incision is also positioned underneath the chin. Most sutures are placed beneath the skin, where they aren’t visible; these dissolve on their own. After surgery, the doctor will prescribe topical creams and techniques to reduce scarring and enhance the result.

How long is the recovery period?

The bulky dressing that is applied right after the operation is usually removed on the second day after surgery, and hair may be shampooed at that point. Bruising and swelling usually subside within two weeks; makeup can be worn after the first week. Patients usually resume business and social activities after one or two weeks.

What is a "scarless face-lift?"

This is a new technique that tightens the face using radio frequency waves. Recently approved by the FDA, radio frequency doesn’t affect the skin, but targets the deeper tissues to stimulate collagen production. It takes three to six months to see results. It’s a terrific maintenance technology that can be used on the whole face and is recommended for patients who aren’t comfortable with surgery, especially for younger patients who are just starting to experience some facial softening. The procedure has no visible side effects or downtime.