Savannah Plastic Surgery Blog

Savannah, GA Plastic Surgeons. Six Surgeons. Endless Possibilities.

Plastic surgeon vs. Cosmetic surgeon - is there a difference?


Plastic surgeon ... cosmetic surgeon ... these two titles may seem interchangeable, but they're not. There can be a big difference between the two, and if you're considering a cosmetic procedure, it's important that you understand your surgeon's qualifications.

surgeryinprogress copy.jpgCosmetic surgery is an elective procedure done to improve your appearance, whereas plastic surgery also encompasses reconstructive work. To be a board certified plastic surgeon, physicians must have at least six years of residency training and be certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

In contrast, a doctor can call herself or himself a cosmetic surgeon with a year or less of training in cosmetic procedures. So there are many physicians marketing themselves as cosmetic surgeons, but with no residency training in plastic surgery.

We're proud of the fact that all of our surgeons at Savannah Plastic Surgery are board certified in plastic surgery. This means they've undergone years of rigorous training to prepare themselves for a career in both reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.

A recent article in Consumer Affairs addresses this issue of medical marketing, and says that more doctors are performing minimally invasive cosmetic surgery to meet an increase in demand. Many of those doctors are not plastic surgeons, but the public often doesn't realize there is a difference.

Wether your procedure is elective cosmetic surgery, reconstructive, or a combination, the results will be with you for years to come. That's why we believe it's very important to do your research and ask your doctor about his or her training and credentials before you commit. Look for a plastic surgeon, and one board certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgery.

If you have any questions about our physicians or their training, contact us. We'll be glad to help with your research!

Plastic Surgery Procedures to Avoid


surgeryprep.jpgOnce you've decided to have a cosmetic procedure, you need a surgeon who is looking out for your best interests - both your aesthetic results, and your overall health and safety.

That's why there are some procedures many plastic surgeons won't do. Fox News Health recently published this article about "The 6 procedures plastic surgeons don't want you to get."

First of all, if a procedure doesn't have approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), then it may be unsafe. We would advise against any procedures that aren't regulated by the FDA because of the possible risks involved.

But FDA approval doesn't mean we advise having the procedure. For example, we discourage injecting silicone oil for acne scars. Even though it's FDA-approved, there is a substantial risk of inflammation and complications, and there are other solutions we'd recommend.

Some other procedures we discourage are ribrosections, or removing a rib to get a tiny waistline; buccal fat excisions, which involve removed fat pads from the cheeks; and threadlifting, or using threads inserted under the skin to tighten the face. All of these procedures can have complications that render them unsafe or unwise. And while neck lifts are a popular procedure, we don't recommend that your neck lift include removing glands below the jawline. While these glands sometimes protrude, removing them can be dangerous.

We want to help you achieve your goals and get the results you desire, but we also want to keep you safe and healthy. Whatever body area you'd like to improve, there are likely many different available solutions. Schedule a consultation with one of our 6 Board-Certified plastic surgeons, and we can help you determine which procedure is right for you.

Demand on the Rise for Upper Arm Surgery


Jiggly arms, bat wings, flabby triceps - no matter how you describe it, more and more women are taking action against upper arm fat.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, demand for an upper arm lift has risen more than 900% in the last two decades. More than 25,000 upper arm lifts were performed in 2015, and we're seeing an increased demand for the procedure in our Savannah office as well.

An upper arm lift is also called brachioplasty. This surgical procedure removes excess fat and skin from the tricep area.


There is a scar associated with brachioplasty, which usually diminishes over time. But if you don't have a lot of excess skin and don't need a full brachioplasty, there are other options available that leave minimal scarring, such as liposuction to remove fat followed by a SkinTyte procedure to tighten up the loose skin on your arms.

Our surgeons can help you determine which solution is best for your unique situation. So if you're bothered by excess fat or loose skin on your upper arms, make an appointment today for a consultation with one of our six physicians. We'd be happy to answer your questions!

Plastic Surgery Myths


liptsick-mirror.jpgIs plastic surgery only for rich people? Do you need a broken nose to get a nose job?

When it comes to cosmetic surgery, myths and rumors abound. That's why we loved this article from, dispelling some of the most common plastic surgery myths.

For example, that nose job question - you certainly don't have to have a broken nose to be a good candidate for rhinoplasty. Some people do get a nose job after having a broken nose, but others just want to change the look of an otherwise healthy nose, or improve nasal breathing. You and your doctor can determine if a nose job is right for you.

Another myth? If you get plastic surgery, that means you're vain. First of all, if there is something bothering you physically and you change it through surgery, that doesn't make you shallow or vain. Also, for some people plastic surgery actually improves their overall health and well-being. For example, breast reduction patients have often suffered from back pain prior to surgery because of overly large breasts. Patients who undergo eyelid surgery sometimes have difficulty seeing because of excess skin around their eyes.

As for the rumor that cosmetic procedures are only for the wealthy - thankfully that one isn't true either. For one thing, there are many procedures that are minimally invasive and therefore generally cost less. Injectables and laser treatments can provide long-lasting results without breaking the bank. And even if you do choose to undergo plastic surgery, there are financing options to make the procedure more affordable. Our staff will be happy to discuss financing with you.

You can read more about plastic surgery myths at Or better yet, contact us to schedule a consultation for cosmetic surgery, and have your questions answered by one of our six physicians. We look forward to hearing from you!

Post-Mastectomy Reconstruction Options for Older Patients


breastcancer-450.jpgNew research indicates that older women who have a mastectomy after breast cancer treatment may be good candidates for a breast reconstruction procedure using the woman's own tissue to rebuild the breast. For years, many patients and doctors assumed that after a certain age, breast reconstruction became a riskier procedure. But researchers in a new US study found that women over 60 are reporting high satisfaction in categories of sexual, psychosocial and physical wellbeing after this type of reconstruction procedure.

According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly a quarter of a million women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and the median age of diagnosis is now 62. Survival rates are improving and women are living longer after breast cancer treatment, which makes it important to have several breast reconstruction options available to patients of all ages.

You can read more about the study in this article on

If you have had a mastectomy or are currently undergoing breast cancer treatment, we'd love to meet with you and talk about your post-operative restoration. We can help you understand all of your options, the risks and benefits, no matter your age or situation. Contact us today to set up a consultation.

The Daddy Do-Over


We parents lead busy lives, constantly trying to balance the demands of work, home, friends and family. For some of us, self care is the first thing to be ignored. We don't take the time to exercise or cook healthy meals like we used to, and as middle age creeps up on us, our bodies lose fitness.

The Mommy Makeover has been a popular set of procedures for years, but middle-age challenges aren't just for moms. We're also getting a lot of requests for the "Daddy Do-Over."

DadatDesk.jpgSimilar to the Mommy Makeover, the Daddy Do-Over is a unique set of procedures combined to bring back a more fit, youthful appearance. Multiple procedures are combined into a single surgery. Some of the most common Daddy Do-Over procedures include eyelid surgery and liposuction of the waist, "love handles," and chest area.

Liposuction is great for permanently removing fat from the waist, love handles and chest, which are common problem areas in middle-aged men. Liposuction is a good choice for a slimmer, leaner phsyique.

Eyelid surgery eliminates a chronic, tired look by removing excess skin and fat from the lids. Rather than drooping, your eyes look bright and alert after eyelid surgery.

Not everyone is willing to commit to the recovery time required for cosmetic surgery, which is why non-surgical options are also popular among both men and women. CoolSculpting is an innovative way to remove fat through targeted cooling, and requires no downtime or surgery, making it a great option for on-the-go dads.

Click here to see a program on The Plastic Surgery Channel to learn more about the Daddy Do-Over. Then contact us to schedule your free consultation for plastic surgery.

How A Tummy Tuck Can Improve Your Health As Well

Many women and men choose to have a tummy tuck because they are interested in the aesthetic results - a firmer, tighter abdomen and a more flattering belly contour. 

But a tummy tuck can offer some important medical benefits, too. In a recent opinion piece in the Medical Daily, plastic surgeon M. Azhar Ali offers a list of 5 other benefits of abdominoplasty, and we've witnessed these positive outcomes in our patients as well. 


Researchers have recently found that when bariatric patients also get a tummy tuck, they're often able to maintain their weight loss longer. Bariatric surgery is a procedure to reduce the size of the stomach and promote weight loss. These researchers found that when bariatric surgery was combined with a tummy tuck, the average post-surgery weight gain was significantly less than those who did not opt for a tummy tuck.


Excess skin around your abdomen can be hard on your back. If your abdominal muscles are weak and you're carrying around extra skin or fat, you could end up with a condition commonly known as "sway back." This condition usually leads to back pain. With a tummy tuck, you'll not only lose the extra skin and fat, but you'll have tighter abdominal muscles leading to better spine support. 


After a vaginal birth, some women develop stress urinary incontinence or SUI. With SUI, the bladder will sometimes empty when you cough, laugh or sneeze. 

During a Tummy Tuck, your surgeon can also perform a procedure to obstruct the bladder with soft tissue. This has helped many women stop experiencing SUI. 


Weak abdominal muscles can lead to ventral hernias, a condition where the intestine or abdominal tissue can push through the abdominal wall. Ventral hernias are more likely in someone who has undergone a C-section or appendectomy. During a tummy tuck, the abdominal muscles are tightened, which can reduce your risk of ventral hernias. 


Having weak abdominal muscles and excess skin or fat can make it more difficult to exercise. But after a tummy tuck, some patients find a renewed enjoyment of aerobic activities like running or walking, which can lead to an overall improvement in health. 

Only a certified plastic surgeon can determine if a tummy tuck is right for you. But if you're interested in learning more about the benefits of a tummy tuck, contact us today to set up a consultation!


Preventive Botox

Botox has long been touted as a way to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but did you know it can also keep wrinkles from ever forming in the first place? 

That's why we've begun to see younger people coming in for Botox and Dysport treatments, before their wrinkles are pronounced. It's called preventive Botox, and is used to keep the wrinkles from happening, rather than trying to reverse them after the fact.

Botox is only one tool in your toolbox for maintaining youthful skin. Wearing high-quality sunscreen and a daily skin cleaning regimen are also key. But if you notice the beginning of frown lines and creases, Botox may help them disappear before they can form deep, lasting wrinkles.

Get in touch if you'd like to learn more about Botox and Dysport, and whether or not they're right for you.

Breast Reduction Surgery: How Do Patients Feel Over Time?

breast-balloons-640.jpg recently published results from a study of women who underwent breast reduction surgery. The goal of the study was to see how breast reduction surgery affected their quality of life over time. 

For many women, breast reduction surgery is about much more than aesthetics. Overly large breasts (or breast hypertrophy) can create pain in the shoulders and back and cause lifelong physical problems. This is why many breast reduction surgeries are covered by health insurance, because surgery can reverse the damaging affects of breast hypertrophy.

The study found that patients who undergo breast reduction surgery typically see a significant improvement in their quality of life in the weeks right after surgery, but also a year later. The patients in the study were evaluated pre-surgery, about 6 weeks after surgery, and at various intervals through one year post-operative. A majority of patients showed a striking improvement in quality of life after surgery, even though they were still in the recovery period. The study showed that this significant increase in perceived quality of life is maintained for at least a year.

These findings may assist plastic surgeons in managing patient expectations, and for obtaining insurance authorization.

If you're interested in breast reduction surgery, call us to set up a consultation. We can help you determine if the surgery is right for you, and whether or not it will be covered by your health insurance plan. 


CoolSculpting Receives New FDA Clearance for Back and Under Buttocks

We've seen great results for our CoolSculpting patients, and we're excited to add new treatment areas! With this additional FDA clearance, we are able to treat the abdomen, flanks (love handles), thighs, bra bulge, back and under buttocks (banana roll).

Coolsculpting uses controlled cooling to eliminate stubborn fat. Once the fat cells are gone, they are gone for good. This is a great alternative to liposuction if you're looking to remove fat from areas resistant to diet and exercise, without surgery or downtime.

Coolsculpting was first FDA cleared for the love handles in 2010, and there have been over 3 million treatments performed worldwide in more than 70 countries. Coolsculpting is proven, safe and effective.

Contact us for a complimentary consultation to see if CoolSculpting is right for you!

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About Savannah Plastic Surgery

We want to be your first choice when it comes to cosmetic surgery, skin care, and life enhancing services delivered by a team committed to compassion, education, and excellence.

Using a delicate balance of science and art, our physicians can customized every surgery to meet your personal needs and goals. Our six surgeons: Dr. Lawrence Ruf, Dr. Scott Vann, Dr. Barbara Davies, Dr. Chris Pettigrew, Dr. Dan Deloach, and Dr. Carl Pearl recognize that no two people are alike. You are unique and we are, too.

We now offer complimentary consultations for cosmetic surgery. Contact us today to begin your body transformation.

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Main Office

7208 Hodgson Memorial Drive
Savannah, GA 31406 | Map

Toll Free: 1-800-424-8478
Phone: 912-351-5050
Fax: 912-351-5051

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For appointments at any location:

Satellite Offices

South Coast Family Practice Building
1000 Towne Center - Suite 501 | Map
Dr. F. Chris Pettigrew, Wed. 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

East Georgia Urgent Care Center
4451 Country Club Road | Map
Dr. Carl Pearl, Every other Wed. 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Richmond Hill
The Urgent Care Center of Richmond Hill
60 Exchange Street, Suite B7 | Map
Dr. Carl Pearl, Every other Wed. 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

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