Frequently Asked Questions

Body

Labiaplasty

How long is needed to recover from labiaplasty?

The labia have an excellent blood supply and heal very quickly. However the flip side of this rich blood supply is the need for strict rest in the immediate post-op period. It is imperative that the area is elevated as much as possible and kept cool with frequent ice packs. These measures reduce the amount of swelling and bruising and hasten recovery from labiaplasty. If the post-op instructions are followed properly then you can expect by the end of the first week to be well on the way to complete recovery. By two weeks 90% of normal activity can be performed.

When can I have sex after labiaplasty?

Even though by the end of two weeks everything may feel normal all wounds take 6 weeks to reach 90% of maximum strength. This is why we advise that vaginal sex is avoided for 6 weeks following labiaplasty. Beyond that the advice would be to keep it as gentle as possible.

Are the scars visible?

Another benefit of the richness of the blood supply is that labiaplasty scars heal incredibly well. The scars are typically imperceptible even on close inspection.

Liposuction

Will the fat return?

The fat cells that are removed with liposuction are permanently removed. However the fat cells that remain can increase in size if weight gain occurs and this can result in a return of the fat deposit. That is why liposuction is best in those patients who have a stable weight.

Is it painful?

Usually not. In fact it is more usual to have areas of numbness because the nerve fibres that supply the skin are inevitably traumatised by the operation and take sometime to recover.

How do I know if I am suitable for liposuction?

Patients who have stable weight and well defined deposits of fat with excellent skin quality are the best candidates. Patients without these 3 characteristics may still be candidates for liposuction but this would need to individually be assessed by Dr Stradwick. An example would be patients with excess skin and fat. It would be unlikely that excellent results could be achieved with liposuction alone. In such cases Dr Stradwick would usually recommend removal of the excess skin as well in the form of a tummy tuck, arm lift or thigh lift.

What is superficial liposuction?

Superficial liposuction is a special liposuction technique where the fat immediately beneath the skin is removed. This produces marked skin tightening in addition to fat removal but is only suitable in patients with excellent skin quality and then only in certain locations. When used correctly this is a very powerful shaping tool but when used inappropriately skin irregularities can occur. Make sure your surgeon has appropriate experience with this technique before proceeding.

What’s the difference between liposculpture and liposuction?

Liposuction just involves removal of fat whereas liposculpture involves a more global approach to contouring where areas of fat deficiency and excess are treated simultaneously by fat suction and fat grafting.

Tummy Tuck

How long will it take to recover?

Because most abdominoplasty patients require a tightening of the muscles of the abdominal wall to achieve the best result, the recovery can be prolonged. It can take 3 months to return to all activities including sit-ups. Dr Stradwick usually recommends 3 weeks off of work particularly if any manual labour such as lifting is involved.

At the 3 week mark most patients can return to light duties and low impact exercise (walking). At 6 weeks patients can perform most activities but would still need to avoid activities that strain the abdominal wall. This would include heavy work and high impact exercises. Overall the recovery is slow and steady and this needs to be taken into consideration when contemplating this procedure.

Is it true the complication rate is high?

The minor complication rate is high relative to other cosmetic procedures mainly because the wound is so large. Not only is the visible incision long but there is a large raw area healing underneath this. For this reason the chance of minor wound problems is relatively high. These problems usually settle on their own and only rarely require re-operation.

How long does the scar take to settle down?

All scars take about 12 months to flatten and fade completely. Most of the improvement occurs in the first 3 months but it continues to improve well beyond this time. There are various techniques Dr Stradwick uses to minimize scarring and he is well known for his ability to deliver the best possible scar. There is always an element of the scarring process that is determined by genetics and this is beyond the control of the surgeon. However, even in such patients careful attention to detail will still give the best result possible for that patient.

Do I need drains?

One of the common complications of abdominoplasty is seroma – a collection of fluid beneath the wound that sometimes requires drainage. The use of drains reduces the risk of this problem. Dr Stradwick also uses a technique known as plication that further reduces the risk. In most cases the drains are removed within 72 hours.

Is the operation painful?

If the muscle layer of the abdomen is repaired as part of the abdominoplasty procedure this does cause more discomfort than if skin only is removed. To minimize the discomfort Dr Stradwick uses pain pumps which are inserted into the muscle layer at the time of surgery. These pumps continuously deliver anaesthetic solution into the wound and greatly reduce the need for oral pain medication.

Breast

Breast Augmentation

What are the costs for breast augmentation?

Dr Stradwick believes every patient is different and treats everyone on an individual basis. Some breasts require a more complex procedure to achieve the best aesthetic result.

For these reasons the cost of breast augmentation varies and can be up to $11,400 for a tear drop implant. The average price for round implants, smooth, textured cohesive silicone gel is approximately $9,116 all inclusive of theatre, anaesthetist, surgeon’s fees and implants. The Brazilian implants total would be approximately $10,270.00.

Ultimately a personal examination by Dr Stradwick is essential to determine the implant and technique required.

For his private patients Dr Stradwick allows extra time and does not use an assistant. The entire procedure including all stitching is performed by him. Dr Stradwick guarantees the quality of his work and there is a warranty program offered to cover his patients for the lifetime of their implants.

View Payment Plans

How do I choose an implant size?

Provided a natural result is the desired outcome then the size of the implant is really dictated by the dimensions of the existing breast and chest wall. Dr Stradwick will take careful measurements of your breast and chest and recommend an implant based on those measurements.

You can also use our 3D Simulator to see what implant shape may be suitable.

See a 3D simulation

Do I need a teardrop (anatomical) shaped implant?

This will depend on the shape of the existing breast and also the desired result. A teardrop implant may be suitable in a patient with breast droop because when used correctly these implants can correct the appearance of a drooping breast without the need for a surgical breast lift. Conversely when the breast shape is normal and the nipples are in the correct position a round implant will usually be the implant of choice.

Should my implants be above or below the muscle?

In the majority of cases the answer will be a bit of both. In most cases at least the upper part of the implant is placed beneath the pectoralis muscle. This helps disguise the top of the implant. A visible implant in the upper pole of the breast looks very unnatural and obviously “fake”. This is particularly important in people with a low percentage of body fat. In very thin people even with the implant below the muscle round implants can still look too round and a bit unnatural. This is another instance in which teardrop implants would be recommended for achieving the most natural result possible.

The only people in which Dr Stradwick places implants entirely above the muscle are body builders and professional athletes. In such cases Dr Stradwick would again recommend using teardrop implants.

Do I need a textured (rough) or smooth implant?

Teardrop implants are always textured. This is because textured implants adhere to the chest and that is exactly what is needed with this type of implant. Because teardrop implants have a top and a bottom no movement is wanted at all. The real choice is with round implants. These come in both smooth and textured varieties. In general, Dr Stradwick will use a smooth round implant in those people suitable for a mega-pocket technique. These women normally have moderate breast tissue already, often have had children and are seeking a natural, soft breast that moves. There is a requirement with this technique to maintain that movement with daily exercises that although not time consuming , need to be done religiously. Conversely, a textured round implant is often appropriate in the perky, youthful breast where little movement is required or wanted. They require no ongoing exercises and are suitable for those people who don’t “do routine”.

How visible is the scar?

Dr Stradwick uses a 4cm scar unless a larger than normal implant is selected. Where possible the peri-areolar incision is used. Alternatively an incision beneath the breast can be required particularly for teardrop implants and large round implants where the nipple is small. This scar is concealed when standing but may be visible when lying down.

How long is the operation?

All cases are different and some breasts are more difficult than others. Dr Stradwick varies the fees for the procedure depending on the complexity of the case.

Are any of the fees covered by my health fund?

The answer is usually no. However there are cases in which item numbers can be used for breast augmentation and therefore claims from Medicare and/or health funds are appropriate. Tuberous breast is a common example. Often patients do not realise they have this deformity until it is pointed out to them.

How do I know if a breast lift is needed?

The answer is dependant on the degree of breast droop. If there is significant breast droop an implant alone will only create a bigger droopy breast. In such cases a simultaneous breast lift (mastopexy) will be required.

What type of anaesthetic is used?

A general anaesthetic is used when the breast implant is placed under the pectoral muscle. Dr Stradwick works with a skilful group of anaesthetists that perform both general and “twilight-sedation” anaesthesia. Dr Stradwick only operates at fully accredited operating facilities where administration of both types of anaesthesia are permitted.

Some surgeons perform breast augmentation surgery in their consulting rooms under so called “twilight-sedation” without having the appropriate license for full general anaesthetic. Beware of clever marketing ploys that promote the use of sedation for breast augmentation surgery. Simply ask your surgeon if the choice of different anaesthesia is available to you.

In addition to general anaesthesia, Dr Stradwick uses plenty of local anaesthetic around the surgical site in order to make the immediate recovery period very comfortable.

Breast Lift

How do I know if I need a breast lift or a breast enlargement?

It is often very difficult for women to know whether they need a breast enlargement or whether they in fact need a breast lift. As a general rule if the problem is breast size only, then the use of a breast implant alone may be appropriate. However if breast shape is the real problem, particularly if it is associated with a low nipple position, then it is more likely that some kind of breast lift procedure is required – either alone or combined with the use of a breast implant.

Occasionally, in cases of mild breast droop or ptosis a teardrop implant can correct all three elements – breast size, breast shape and nipple position.

There are also times when a breast lift alone, while correcting the breast shape and nipple position, will not give the desired increase in breast size. In such cases an implant will be added to increase size – known as an augmentation mastopexy.

This is the most difficult area in breast surgery and requires careful assessment and planning. It is helpful before you have seen Dr Stradwick to have considered which of the three key elements require improvement – breast shape, nipple position or breast size.

Can I still breastfeed after a breast lift?

The answer is maybe. About a third of women can’t breastfeed anyway and another third have difficulty. Only 30% of women find breastfeeding a straight forward process. There is no evidence that breast surgery affects these statistics. If you breastfed prior to a breast lift or breast reduction then it would be expected that this would be possible afterwards. However, Dr Stradwick would generally advise women who are considering having more children and particularly if they are planning to breastfeed to wait before having a breast lift. The breast engorgement that occurs during pregnancy and lactation would almost certainly change the results of surgery leading to the skin stretching and the breast sagging again.

Will my breasts become saggy again?

The answer unfortunately is yes. Although the clock can be wound back it still keeps ticking. As we age the skin of the breasts loses elasticity and stretches over time. This is a slow process however. Any kind of lift procedure whether it is facelift, browlift or breast lift should be viewed as a resetting of the clock – not a stopping of the clock.

What happens if my weight changes?

Because a significant proportion of the breast is fat any weight gain will usually translate into an enlargement of the breasts. Adding weight to the breast can be expected to accelerate the process of stretching.

Can I have a lift and an augmentation together?

For the same reasons weight gain is detrimental to the result of breast lift, adding a breast implant at the same time as a breast lift definitely reduces the longevity of the result. On the one hand the surgeon is trying to elevate the breast as much as possible but at the same time he is adding weight that will stretch the breast.

There are techniques used to try and overcome this problem – trying to use a small textured breast implant for instance. However, the best way of achieving a long- standing result in these cases is to use a 2 stage approach. Perform a breast lift first to get the shape and nipple position right. The breast augmentation is then performed 6 months later once the result of the breast lift is stable. For obvious reasons women usually prefer just one operation; having the breast lift and breast implant performed simultaneously – however this is always at the expense of a long lasting result.

Breast Lift with Implants

How do I know if a breast lift is needed?

The answer is dependant on the degree of breast droop. In cases of very minor breast droop, a teardrop implant alone can be used in one step to both lift the breast and increase the size. This is uncommon.

If there is significant breast droop an implant alone will only create a bigger droopy breast. In such cases a breast lift will be required. Usually Dr Stradwick can do this simultaneously – a mastopexy augment. However in cases of severe breast droop or revisional cases Dr Stradwick will recommend a staged approach where the breast drooping is corrected first followed by a breast augmentation later.

How do I choose an implant size?

Provided a natural result is the desired outcome then the size of the implant is really dictated by the dimensions of the existing breast and chest wall. Dr Stradwick will take careful measurements of your breast and chest and recommend an implant based on those measurements.

Do I need a teardrop (anatomical) shaped implant?

This will depend on the shape of the existing breast and also the desired result. A teardrop implant may be suitable in a patient with very minor breast droop because when used correctly these implants can correct the appearance of a drooping breast without the need for a surgical breast lift. In most cases of mastopexy augmentation a round implant will be used.

Should my implants be above or below the muscle?

In the majority of cases the answer will be a bit of both. In most cases at least the upper part of the implant is placed beneath the pectoralis muscle. This helps disguise the top of the implant. A visible implant in the upper pole of the breast looks very unnatural and obviously “fake”.

Do I need a textured (rough) or smooth implant?

In augmentation mastopexy Dr Stradwick would usually use a textured implant. This is because a textured implant is designed to adhere to the chest wall helping to stabilise the breast. A smooth implant does not adhere to the chest and is designed to move up – and down – which is exactly what you don’t want after a breast lift.

How long is the operation?

All cases are different and some breasts are more difficult than others. Dr Stradwick varies the fees for the procedure depending on the complexity of the case.

Do I have to have a drain?

A drain is a piece of soft tubing that removes blood from around the implant. This is usually removed the day after surgery. Dr Stradwick believes that even in cases when the pocket for the implant appears “dry” ie there is no active bleeding at the end of the operation, there is inevitable leaking from the tissues in the early post-op period. If left around an implant there is evidence that this contributes to the development of capsular contracture.

Are any of the fees covered by my health fund?

The answer is usually yes. This depends on whether breast tissue as well as skin needs to be removed. It also depends on whether breast feeding has taken place within the last 7 years.

Is the operation painful?

The breast is a modified sweat gland and therefore just an expansion of skin in many ways. Breast lift alone only involves modifying the breast gland and not the underlying muscles of the chest wall. It is therefore not very painful. However if a simultaneous augmentation is performed the implant is placed under the pectoralis muscle. This involves cutting part of the muscle and is therefore more uncomfortable than a lift procedure alone.

How long do I need off work?

This would depend on the type of work but typically people are back to performing 90% of their usual activities by 3 weeks. It is advisable to organise at least 2 weeks but preferably 3 weeks of recovery time. This includes unpaid housework just as much as paid work.

What’s the difference between a breast reduction and a breast lift?

In a breast reduction the aim is to reduce the size of the breast gland, lift the nipple position and remove excess skin to produce a lighter but also aesthetically pleasing breast.

In a breast lift or mastopexy the aim is to preserve and reshape the existing breast tissue rather than remove it. At the same time the nipple is elevated and excess skin removed. Often the process of reshaping produces a fuller and larger appearing breast.

In both breast lift and breast reduction Dr Stradwick uses a very similar vertical technique with identical scars in both procedures.

Can I still have a mammogram?

Yes. However previous mammograms will no longer be useful comparison because the breasts have changed. A new baseline mammogram should be performed 6 months after surgery for those women eligible for screening.

Breast Reduction

Is the operation painful?

The breast is a modified sweat gland and therefore just an expansion of skin in many ways. Breast reduction only involves modifying the breast gland and not the underlying muscles of the chest wall. Typically it is much less painful than a breast augmentation that does involve cutting muscles of the chest wall.

How long do I need off work?

This would depend on the type of work but typically people are back to performing 90% of their usual activities by 3 weeks after breast reduction. It is advisable to organise at least 2 weeks but preferably 3 weeks of recovery time. This includes unpaid housework just as much as paid work.

What's the difference between a breast reduction and a breast lift?

In a breast reduction the aim is to reduce the size of the breast gland, lift the nipple position and remove excess skin to produce a smaller but also aesthetically pleasing breast.

In a breast lift or mastopexy the aim is to preserve and reshape the existing breast tissue rather than remove it. At the same time the nipple is elevated and excess skin removed. Often the process of reshaping produces a fuller and larger appearing breast.

In both breast lift and breast reduction Dr Stradwick uses a very similar vertical technique with identical scars in both procedures.

What's the maximum amount of breast tissue that can be removed?

That depends on the existing breast size and shape. In some cases breast reduction cases more than 1kg can be removed from each breast but in other cases the breast reduction can be as little as 200gms. Dr Stradwick will remove as much as he can without compromising his other goal of producing an aesthetically pleasing breast shape.

Will my breasts regrow?

The breast tissue is removed permanently however a varying proportion of the breast is comprised of fat. Like fat deposits anywhere on the body they can increase in size with weight gain. Weight loss can affect breast shape for the same reason. Gain or loss of weight after breast reduction surgery will definitely affect the result. Dr Stradwick therefore believes that anyone considering a breast reduction should be at a stable weight. There is no point embarking on a weight loss program before a breast reduction if the achieved weight cannot be maintained in the longer term. Having said that, studies have conclusively shown that patients with a high BMI (body mass index) are at a significantly increased risk of complications following surgery. For this reason women with a BMI above 30 would usually be advised against this type of surgery unless there are special circumstances. This would always need to be assessed on an individual basis because exceptions are made.

Face

Brow Lift

How can I tell if I need a browlift or an eyelid reduction?

This is a great question. Often patients will come to see me requesting an eyelid reduction when what they really need is a browlift. Usually these patients have furrows across the forehead indicating strong contraction of the forehead muscles to “keep the brow out of the eyes”. When you hold the brow in it’s correct position the excess skin in the upper eyelid disappears. Often these patients comment that they look more tired towards the end of the day as the muscle of the forehead becomes fatigued. Patients with true excess skin in the upper eyelid still look tired like irrespective of the brow position. So the position of the eyebrows when the forehead is relaxed is the key to making a decision as to whether a browlift is necessary. To relax the forehead I ask people to close their eyes and relax. This gives a really good idea of the actual eyebrow position. For men the eyebrow should be sitting on the ridge of bone above the eyes but for women it should be a bit higher especially the tail of the eyebrow.

Will I have visible scars after a browlift?

There are a number of ways of doing a browlift depending on which part of the eyebrow needs elevation. In general it is best to avoid raising the central part of the eyebrow because it gives a “surprised” and un-natural appearance. Most of the lift should be focused on centre and/or tail of the eyebrow. Depending on the shape of the head, existing hairline, extent and location of the required lift the scars can be in the hairline at the temple or further back concealed in the hair or sometimes in the eyebrow itself.

Can I have an eyelid reduction done at the same time?

Usually the position of the brow is stabilized in one operation and then any further removal of skin required from the eyelid itself is done at a secondary procedure. However occasionally in patients who have a combination of descended brow and true excess skin a combination procedure is done.

Is the result of a browlift permanent?

No lifting procedure whether it is a breast lift, facelift or browlift can stop the clock. The ageing process will continue. However the result is permanent in the sense that the clock is reset so if it is wound back 10 years that “saving” will be maintained. However with browlift the deterioration over time can be slowed with the use of botox. The powerful muscles around the eyes pull the brows down over time. Weakening these muscles with botox can help preserve the browlift result. In fact at the time of surgery I will use botox to stop the muscles working while the browlift heals in those patients with really powerful muscles.

Ear Correction

What age do you recommend having the procedure?

The ears are 90% of adult size by age 6 years and this is the earliest Dr Stradwick would consider surgery. Normally children having this operation are experiencing significant problems at school. Unfortunately this is the age when physical differences can become a tool for schoolyard bullying. Not uncommonly parents may have had similar problems as a child and do not want their own children to experience the same thing. The decision to correct a child’s prominent ears can be difficult and Dr Stradwick will spend time discussing the options in detail at the consultation.

Although there is a peak at 6 years many patients don’t have this procedure until they are adult. Typically a patient will say that they had always wanted to do it but didn’t have an opportunity. Equally good results are obtained in both children and adults.

Do I have to wear a bandage?

Yes although this is removed on day 3. Thereafter a headband does need to be worn to protect the ears while the new shape settles. For the first 6 weeks Dr Stradwick recommends wearing this at night in particular.

When can I go back to normal activity?

Dr Stradwick normally recommends a 2 week period of rest but this is dependant on the type of activity. Sedentary work eg on a computer where the head remains elevated can be resumed almost immediately. The recovery period recommended varies between individuals and would need to be discussed at your consultation with Dr Stradwick.

Is it painful?

Typically this is not a painful procedure and post-operative discomfort is usually controlled with simple analgesia. It is uncomfortable if pressure is applied directly to the ear, which is why the recommended sleeping posture is on the back rather than on the side.

Facelift

Do you use thread lifts?

No. The disadvantages far outweigh the advantages in Dr Stradwick’s opinion. The appeal of threads is understandable. They are relatively cheap, can be inserted in an office setting and have minimal downtime. However there are significant downsides. Dr Stradwick has had to operate on patients with threads in the face and has seen the problems they cause. Inserted too deep and they can damage the facial nerve. Inserted too close to the skin and they can create bizarre bands during facial expression. More of an issue is that thread lifts do not give a long lasting result. It is just not possible to suspend the facial tissues with a thread permanently. Eventually the threads pull through the tissues and the effect is lost completely. They do not represent value for money in the longer term.

Is a facelift permanent?

It is wrong to claim any type of lift is permanent without qualifying that statement. This includes facelift, browlift or breast lift. Dr Stradwick tells his patients that although the clock can be reset with lifting procedures it still ticks. The ageing process does not stop for anyone. A correctly performed facelift in which the underlying structures are surgical repositioned and the volume restored will still age normally. A natural appearing facelift will typically make a person look 10 years younger than their chronological age and this “ten year effect” is permanent. So in that sense the effects of a well performed facelift are permanent.

This contrasts totally with a threadlift in which the effect is totally lost when the threads give way. Like anything in life to get a long lasting result requires an investment. In facelifts the price is an operation requiring a period of recovery, a scar, and a financial impost that over the long term represents good value for money.

How long do I need off work after a facelift?

That depends on the extent of the facelift and the type of work performed. In general most of Dr Stradwick’s patients are back to work within 2 weeks. Although the swelling can take several months to fully subside, the majority of swelling has settled by 2 weeks. The scars although long are well hidden with most hairstyles. All sutures are removed at the end of the first week and by the end of the second week; the scars can be largely concealed with make-up. The scars do take at least a year to look their best but by 3 months they should be difficult to see at a glance. Occasionally scars can require additional treatment – click here for more information on scars.

Is a facelift painful?

A facelift is not typically a painful operation. In fact often the face is numb afterwards because of the local anaesthetic that is used during the procedure and also because the small nerve fibres that supply the skin over the face take some time to recover.

Why is the scar so long?

To reposition the muscle it is critically important to see the position of the facial nerve. This nerve supplies all the muscles of the face that are involved in facial expression. It is located just underneath the muscle layer and it is important to know where the nerve is at all times during a facelift. For this reason good access to the muscle layer is required which necessitates a long scar. Dr Stradwick carefully conceals the scars along the hairline and in the natural undulations of the ear. Management of the earlobe incision and reattachment of the earlobe at the end of the procedure is critical. Poor execution of this leads to an obvious deformity and detracts from the final result. Dr Stradwick has a special interest in ear and ear lobe reconstruction after skin cancer excision and finds this part of the procedure satisfying. He also performs many scar revisions and has an interest in minimal scars. For this reason where appropriate he uses a very fine knife usually used by eye surgeons to give the best possible scar.

Upper Eyelids

How long is the recovery?

The skin of the upper eyelid is thin and it has a very rich blood supply. Provided the post-operative instructions are adhered to, the wound heals very quickly. Sutures are removed within a week and by 2 weeks the swelling has largely resolved. Dr Stradwick has had patients return to sedentary work the day after surgery.

Will it pull my eyebrows lower?

It is important to understand the role of eyebrow position in deciding which patients are suitable for this procedure. If eyebrow position is low then Dr Stradwick will usually recommend a browlift rather than an upper eyelid reduction. A good test is to close your eyes in front of a mirror and then open them gently. In a female the eyebrow should be located just above the rim of the eye socket, in a male it should be along the rim. If you need to contract the forehead muscles to lift the eyebrows up to these positions then it’s probable a browlift is necessary. As always this would be tested and your options discussed with Dr Stradwick at your consultation.

Is it true that people have been blinded by this procedure?

Yes there are a small number of reports in the literature of this occurring. Even though the risk is very small, because this is such a devastating complication all patients must be warned of the risk. In the past aggressive removal of fat from around the eyeball was a routine part of upper eyelid reduction. Associated with this was the potential to cause bleeding behind the eye. We now recognise that in addition to this risk, removing excess fat results in a sinking of the eyeball and hollowing of the eye. For these reasons fat removal is increasingly uncommon. Dr Stradwick only removes a conservative amount of fat and only when absolutely necessary.