I perform many different procedures that involve both plastic surgery and hand surgery. Plastic surgery is a broad field that includes both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. Cosmetic surgery and procedures include tummy tucks, facelifts, breast augmentations, laser hair removal, and treatments with Botox or laser resurfacing to reduce wrinkles. In terms of cosmetic surgery, patients who have a tummy tuck are among the most satisfied with the results.

Most women who give birth lose some of the contour of their abdomen in the process. An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, reverses some of the effects of pregnancy and restores the contour of their tummy back to how it was prior to pregnancy – the trimmer waist and tighter muscles they had when they were younger.

Tightening up the six-pack

During pregnancy, the mother’s uterus enlarges and separates the “six-pack” muscles on their abdomen. After the woman delivers, the uterus shrinks, but those muscles remain separated, resulting in a bulge on their tummy. Stretching of the skin during pregnancy also causes many women to feel their abdomen isn’t as tight as it was before, and many women develop stretch marks across their lower abdomen after childbirth.

When I perform a tummy tuck, the skin and fatty tissue are lifted off the front of the abdomen so I can sew the muscles that have separated back together. That tightens things up and restores the contour to the upper and lower abdomen. It also removes the bulge so the abdomen is nice and flat. The incision is low down on the abdomen where it can be hidden by pants or a bathing suit.

A tummy tuck is done as an outpatient procedure. It only takes about two hours to complete and patients go home the same day.

Brian Hill, M.D., Plastic and Hand Surgeon at Froedtert South

Brian Hill, M.D., Plastic and Hand Surgeon at Froedtert South

Surgery that reconstructs, restores

But plastic surgery is broader than just cosmetic surgery. It also includes reconstructive and restorative procedures for women who have had mastectomies. I perform breast reductions for people who have neck and back pain because of the large volume of breast tissue they have. And my work also includes both male and female patients who have chronic wounds and require skin grafts or other forms of skin closure.

In terms of hand surgery, I perform procedures to repair finger and wrist fractures, as well as injuries to the ligaments, tendons, or nerves of patients who have suffered injuries to a hand.

Faster recovery from wrist surgery

I also perform many carpal tunnel surgeries, but using a procedure that speeds recovery. The traditional carpal tunnel surgery involves an incision across the patient’s palm where the skin is very thick and typically heals slowly, delaying recovery. The carpal tunnel procedure I perform requires just a quarter-inch incision on the wrist, through which I insert a camera that enables me to see the ligament and perform the release. As a result, most of my carpal tunnel patients are back to work in just one to three weeks compared to four to six weeks for patients who undergo the traditional procedure.

For example, I worked with a Kenosha woman who had suffered with wrist pain for ten years. When she first came to see me, she told me the pain in her wrists was excruciating, and that she had lost all feeling in her hands to the point that she could no longer work.

Just five days after I performed her procedure, she was able to go back to work. She told me her friends and family were unable to find the tiny scar on her wrist until she pointed it out to them.

Carpal tunnel affects a lot of people. Anything I can do to get them back to work as quickly as possible is a big benefit for them.

Collaborative, committed patient care

Patients who come to me for a purely cosmetic procedure are often referred from their friends or family members who I’ve treated. Patients who need reconstructive or restorative surgeries are usually referred to me by their primary care doctor, or, in the case of a mastectomy, by their cancer surgeon. Recently, one of our general surgeons referred a patient to me who was injured in a fall from a ladder. He had an open chest wound that wasn’t healing, but through our coordinated care the wound was successfully treated.

There’s a lot of collaboration like that among all the physicians here at Froedtert South that really benefits patients. It helps us achieve our goal of treating as many patients as possible here in the community, without having to send them elsewhere.

Other community hospitals may offer general medical and surgical services, but Froedtert South is committed to going beyond that by offering specialized care, like hand and plastic surgery, right here, close to home, so patients don’t have to travel to Milwaukee or Chicago.

My commitment is to treat our patients with the same care and caring that I would want to receive. I work hard to give them nothing less than my absolute best every day.

Plastic surgery by the numbers

According to The Aesthetic Society:

  • Cosmetic surgery surged in 2021 in the wake of the pandemic.
  • Surgical procedures increased by 54%.
  • Non-surgical procedures increased by 44%.
  • More than 240,000 patients had a tummy tuck performed in 2021.
  • That’s a 49% increase from the previous year.
  • Women accounted for roughly 94% of all procedures.

The Aesthetic Society is an organization of thousands of plastic surgeons worldwide committed to the advancement of cosmetic surgery through medical education, public education, and patient advocacy.

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