by Drs. John Compoginis, Staci Compoginis, Deborah Ekstrom and Juris Bunkis
Positive Story for a Change
I feel like we get so much bad news in the media, that we start to believe that the world is falling apart. I, however, firmly believe that the world is evolving in a positive direction, regardless of the stories the media are describing.
In general, I believe most people are good and I would like to tell you a story that shows this. My medical assistant, Kerry Ann, in our Salisbury Plastic Surgery office in Worcester, always greets our patients warmly, is supportive and gentle and is always up-to-date on the trials and triumphs of our patients’ lives. Why she stays in medicine, I don’t know, since she is one of the most entertaining people I have ever met, especially when telling her life story (Like her stories about putting her dating profile on BlackPeopleMeet.com and getting many inquiries from older Jewish men). She’d be a great stand-up comedian!
Dr. Ekstrom with her medical assistants, Lisa and Kerry Ann
Kerry Ann also has a giant heart. Last week she made a trip to Target for something and was browsing the store. A woman with two small children politely stopped her and asked, “Could you spare the money to buy me a loaf of bread, some eggs, and some milk”? “Yes, I can”, Kerry Ann answered immediately.
Another woman standing nearby overheard the conversation and asked the woman, “Do you need any other food?” She grabbed a cart and indicated that the woman should get the groceries she needed. Startling all 3 of the women, a man who had overheard the conversation came around the corner, “Don’t you need some diapers?” he asked the woman. He sized up the children and grabbed two size-appropriate cases of diapers and a box of wipes. The woman chose a conservative grouping of fresh groceries, her milk, eggs and bread and they all proceeded to checkout.
I am so proud of both of my medical assistants, Lisa as well as Kerry Ann, but this week I was delighted and warmed by Kerry Ann’s caring and generosity. I guess it really does take a village and the world’s not such a bad place after all!
Spotlight on Plastic Surgery – Abdominoplasty Without A Scar Around Navel
by Juris Bunkis, M.D., F.A.C.S.
In a traditional tummy tuck, an incision is made around the navel and another is made along the lower abdomen (where a C-section scar goes but extending hip to hip). The incision around the navel frees the navel from the surrounding abdominal wall skin, but the navel is left attached to the abdominal wall. Through the lower abdominal incision, all of the skin and fat are lifted off the anterior abdominal wall muscles, around the navel and all the way to the lower ribs. When this flap is lifted, the abdominal wall muscles, which get pulled apart as a result of pregnancy or excessive weight gain, are sutured tightly in the midline. The abdominal wall skin and fat are then pulled downward and the excess excised. This piece usually includes the navel hole. An incision is made directly over the original navel and the navel is brought out through the new opening, leaving the patient with a scar around the navel. Some patients, particularly darker skinned patients who do not heal as well, have a visible scar around their navels and choose not to wear two-piece bathing suits for this reason. But this remains our go-to operation for patients with extensive skin excess.
Female in her 50’s with minor abdominal laxity, before and after an abdominal free float abdominoplasty – marked improvement but no visible scars when wearing underwear/two-piece bathing suit (Actual patient of Dr. Bunkis)
Patients with less abdominal laxity, particularly above the navel, frequently ask us to tighten their abdominal walls, but we cannot with a traditional abdominoplasty as the hole resulting from cutting around the navel will not reach the lower incision, leaving the patient with a visible vertical scar in addition to the transverse scar. In many of these situations, if there is significant laxity below the navel but little laxity above the navel, we can do a procedure called an abdominal free float abdominoplasty. In this procedure, only the transverse lower abdominal incision is made. As we dissect upward to the rib cage, we detach the navel from the abdominal wall on the inside (no external incision around navel). After repairing the muscles, we pull the flap downward, excise the lower abdominal excess and end up with a navel, which is a little lower than initially – but without a scar around the navel. Navel position varies from patient to patient, just as some patients have a large nose and others do not. When we do such an abdominoplasty, the navel does end up lower but not noticeably. This will lead to a significant improvement without any visible scars when wearing a two-piece bathing suit.