Almost all of us have an imperfection or two we’d rather not live with. It could be a double chin or stomach bulge you didn’t see in photos a decade ago, unwelcome wrinkles, or thinning lips. It could also be carpal tunnel syndrome, painful scars, or a mastectomy that requires reconstruction.
Those are a just few of the concerns Dr. Sewit Amde, of Hancock Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, is used to handling. And whether she’s working with someone with a medically necessary procedure or a cosmetic one, Dr. Amde says she feels lucky to help bolster self-confidence and, in some cases, change lives.
“It’s a privilege to be part of a process that makes people happy, creates confidence, and really helps them look at themselves in a more positive way,” she said. “It’s a privilege to be part of that process for patients, whether I’m doing a liposuction procedure or reconstructing the breast after a mastectomy. There are a lot of happy tears in the office. And who wouldn’t want to spend their day making people feel that way all the time?”
Good point. So good that it made us want to know more about Dr. Amde’s practice and we asked a few questions:
Q: What types of cosmetic procedures do you offer?
We do all of the cosmetic surgeries including facial surgeries, breast augmentations, lifts, and reductions, tummy tucks, liposuction, and eyelid lifts. We also do ear surgeries for kids who have prominent ears. And we have non-invasive procedures like collagen and Botox injections.
Q: Botox and collagen are pretty popular. What do they do for people?
Botox is used in medical treatments for muscle spasms and migraines, so it’s got a great safety profile and is used my millions in this country per year. It paralyses the muscles in the face that cause wrinkles, and it’s often injected between the eyebrows and the upper face. Some people worry about having a frozen face, but when the procedure is done by someone with the proper training, the results are very natural.
Collagen is mostly used in the lower face and that’s to treat or fill folds—smile lines that become deeper as we get older or what are called “marionette lines,” the lines that are continuous with your jowls. Another area it’s commonly used are cheeks: We fill the cheeks to make them more youthful and fuller and less droopy. And we can also fill the lips.
Q: How long do the injectables last?
Botox is generally injected every three months and collagen injections can last up to a year.
Q: Tell us about your fat reduction procedures.
Liposuction is very popular. It’s done through very small incisions and that makes the recovery time minimal. It’s popular for abdominal procedures, hips, and inner thighs. It’s a great body contouring tool which can often be used in combination with surgery—a tummy tuck—or it can be used as a standalone. A tummy tuck is when you tighten the muscle and remove excess skin.
Q: How many pounds can a person lose doing that?
We call it body contouring and patients absolutely lose inches from the treated area, but it isn’t generally a weight-loss procedure. On average, though, five to six pounds.
Q: Do you treat other areas of the body, too?
Yes. Arms, what we call the bra roll, abdomen, waist—those are the common areas.
Q: What do you tell people who are worried about whether an elective procedure is safe?
Ensuring you have the right doctor usually eases concerns about safety. I am double board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. Also, most of the cosmetic operations have a very good safety profile and less than a week recovery time.
Q: When it’s complete how do patients usually react?
For some, it is absolutely life-changing because you’ve addressed an area that they might have a lot of self-awareness about. If you’re self-conscious about certain body parts or the way clothing fits or just an area that, in spite of maximum effort with exercise and diet, you just can’t get to improve, cosmetic surgery can be a game changer.
Q: People generally don’t think of medically necessary procedures when they think of plastic surgery. Do you handle those, too?
I would say about 70 percent of the procedures I do are medically necessary. It runs the gamut from hand surgery and burns to painful scars and, of course, breast surgeries.
Q: Do you have a favorite procedure?
I like the creative aspect of reconstructing breasts. And every patient is different but it’s also an area where women identify with their femininity and, most of the time, they are highly satisfied with their results.
Q: Do you spend extra time with your patients before surgery.
I do. I consider what I provide as a highly individualized, personalized, and compassionate practice and one where there is no judgment. A person’s concerns are her or his own and they’re valid. We spend plenty of time in the pre-operative visit explaining what the process is, what the surgery entails and, really, kind of holding the patients’ hand through the process. People have often thought about it a lot and they’re nervous. Our goal is to make them feel comfortable and leave the consultation informed, empowered, and really comfortable that they’re in good hands.
Q: People are often curious about plastic surgery. Do you get a lot of questions?
It’s a super broad field and I think that’s one of the challenges. I’m constantly educating even the medical community about what I do, so I’m constantly answering questions. People who have questions can also visit the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ website. There’s a lot of good information there.
With that in mind, even after reading Dr. Amde’s answers here, you might have a few more questions and especially if you’ve considered plastic surgery or Botox and collagen injections. If you do, contact Dr. Amde or any of us at Hancock Health.
Dr. Sewit Amde’s office is at Hancock Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, One Memorial Square, Suite 2000, Greenfield. She can be reached at 317-325-2699.