How Often Should You Get Your Breast Implants Checked?

September 18th, 2015  

Patients with breast implants should have their implants checked every year to make sure there are no new problems with the implants.  Problems could include leakage, capsule contracture and new breast masses among other things.  Physical examination by your plastic surgeon is probably the most important monitoring method.  If there are any questionable breast masses or implant issues, further work-up can include an ultrasound or MRI.   It is important to get your breast implants checked annually.

Build Lean Muscle to Reveal a Lean Body

September 17th, 2015  

Working Out to Build Lean MuscleMost major weight-loss goals focus on losing fat, which is an important part of shedding those unwanted pounds. But whether you are at the beginning of your weight-loss journey, in the middle, or even at the end, there is an important factor you need to remember. When all of your fat is gone, the tone of your body will be based on the muscles underneath. Neglecting to build lean muscle can result in a less than ideal body contour at the end of your weight-loss journey.

Protein Is the Muscle’s Best Friend

High protein foods are an integral part of any muscle-building diet. Protein is the building block of bone and muscles. Without available protein, your body cannot create new muscle fibers that are needed to strengthen existing muscles and make them larger. During a weight-loss diet, your proteins should come in the form of lean meats, nuts, seeds, and low-fat milk products, which provide you with healthy protein and fats. The best sources for muscle-building protein include:

  • Chicken

  • Egg whites

  • Salmon

  • Turkey

  • Red meat

  • Low fat/skim milk

  • Low fat cottage cheese

  • Nut butters (peanut, sunflower, almond)

  • Flax seed

Protein Intake After Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is beneficial for many people who are trying to lose weight. There are different bariatric surgery techniques, but they all center around the same idea: making the stomach small prevents patients from consuming large amounts of food. Bariatric surgery has revolutionized the lives of hundreds of thousands of men and women by limiting their portion sizes. The only drawback is that post-bariatric patients often don’t have the stomach space to eat a healthy amount of protein.

Building muscle for post-bariatric patients is especially necessary. Luckily, there are protein sources other than just food. Protein supplements in the forms of shakes, powders, and pills can help give a post-bariatric patient the protein boost they need to build muscle. With your doctor, you can discuss which protein supplement would work best with your diet and weight-loss program.

Don’t Forget Weight Day

Diversifying your workout program isn’t just to prevent monotony in your routine. Focusing on muscle-building exercises at least two to three times a week will help ensure a strong, toned body at the end of your weight-loss journey. Focus on strengthening your arms, back, abdomen, and thighs. Other than helping you achieve a lean physique, building muscle also burns more calories and can improve back pain and posture.

Watch Your Carbs

Building muscle isn’t the only focus when losing weight. Eliminating body fat is going to make the most dramatic effect on your waistline, and the key to a fat-eliminating diet is decreasing your intake of carbohydrates. Carbs are broken down into glucose during digestion. High levels of blood glucose result in high insulin levels, which prevent your body from using fat stores as energy. Instead, your body will break down muscle for energy, which is counterproductive to your goal of a lean body.

How quickly a food causes an increase in blood sugar is measured by its glycemic index. So be wise in your carb choices; omit high-sugar foods. Choose foods with a lower glycemic index such as whole grain breads and pastas, apples, oranges, carrots, and brown rice that are less likely to cause a sudden spike in your blood sugar levels. Spread out your intake of carbs throughout the day so that you are only eating about 20 to 30 grams of carbs (about 1 medium apple or ½ to ⅔ cup of cooked brown rice) 5 to 6 times a day. This will also help to prevent spikes in your blood sugar levels and provide you with bits of energy to function throughout the day.

Skin Removal to Reveal Your Lean Body

The reality of massive weight loss is that even when the scale tells you you’re finished, your appearance says otherwise. Many people sink into depression when they realize that losing weight doesn’t always result in an amazing body. Often, people are left with layers of excess skin and stubborn fat deposits that conceal their new bodies. Dr. Katzen performs the 360 Body Lift on patients who have undergone massive weight loss. The 360 Body Lift targets all areas of the body that are affected by excess skin after weight loss, including the:

  • Abdomen

  • Hips

  • Thigh

  • Buttock

The 360 Body Lift utilizes liposuction and various lifting techniques to remove the burden of excess skin and fat. This is where the importance of having built lean muscle comes in. The remaining skin is contoured to the underlying muscular structure. Having a lean, toned frame will allow you to appear slim, fit, and healthy once your contour is completed.

Schedule your consultation with Dr. Katzen today to see how a 360 Body Lift can restore your body and improve your life. Contact our office at (310) 859-7770, or fill out our online contact form here form more information.

Patient Testimonial: The Dreaded Wait and The Importance of Vitamins

September 15th, 2015  

Waiting for Reconstructive SurgeryIf you have had massive weight loss surgery everyone knows that vitamins are key and you have to take supplements for the rest of your life. Before having reconstructive surgery, Dr. Katzen requires you to be cleared by your internist, for this to be done, there are certain test that have to be done. (See Dr.Katzen’s blog here on what to expect before surgery)Originally, I thought the stage of my reconstructive surgery was going to end much sooner than what it did. My surgeries were scheduled back-to-back, having a month between each surgery. But, that ended up not being the case.

Two weeks before my next scheduled surgery (arms, and horizontal torsoplasty), I went to go and get my work ups. Everything seemed to be going well, then, I get the call. Even with taking all my vitamins, eating steak, my iron came back too low. Dr. Katzen said that this is normal because of the amount of blood that is lost during surgery, but sadly, he had my surgery cancelled. My body was telling me that it wasn’t safe to continue and Dr. Katzen wanted my safety first above everything. So desperate to finish my journey, I tried to push back my surgery a few more weeks and got my iron rechecked. My levels were still too low.

At this time, my mom had used up all her vacation time and she had to return home. Also, funds for me were coming pretty low and it was time for me to go back to work. As happy I was with the results from my 360 Body Lift, I died a little inside when I found out that I had to postpone my journey. But, with low funds and my mother not being able to help me, I had to stop and think what was more important. So, I returned back to work. Once again I was helping others finish up their weight loss journey. It was 9 long months before I started up my journey again. But, that’s for another blog.

Why Vitamins are Important

I just want to stress the importance of vitamins. If you’re a gastric bypass patient, it is essential that you take the following: daily vitamin, calcium WITH citrate, iron, and b12. I hate to admit this, but I will be the first to tell you. I am horrible about taking my vitamins. I did really well when I had surgery. But, I was determined to have a healthy recovery, and it also helps when your mom is a nurse and caring for you 24/7. There are times where I sit and wonder if I had been better about taking my pills beforehand if I would have had to postpone my surgery. After my surgery I found myself to be sluggish and easily tired. This was all due to my iron being low. So, take it from someone who has experienced it first hand, take your vitamins, and get checked on a regular basis to be sure that you are healthy.

Tips on How to Pay for Reconstructive Surgery

September 9th, 2015  

Many people think that reconstructive surgery is out of their reach, so they don’t look into their options. Here is what I suggest to my patients:


Payment Options for Reconstructive SurgeryMost people don’t know that insurance is an option for reconstructive surgery. Most PPO insurance will cover most or parts of the surgery. Please see my blog on how to to raise your chances on getting approved for reconstructive surgery.



LoanPayment Options for Reconstructive Surgery

Many patients get loans through their personal banks.  By going through your personal bank, many times you can get a loan at a lower interest rate.


Credit Cards

Payment Options for Reconstructive Surgery



Many of my patients open a credit card through their banks that have one to two years interest free. This allows you to pay for the surgery over a longer period of time.




Care Credit

Payment Options for Reconstructive SurgeryCare Credit is a credit card that is dedicated for medical and cosmetic care. You can go to to apply and get more information. Please contact my office to see what plans are available. There are interest-free options.


Cutting Back

Paying for Reconstructive SurgeryMany of my patients start a little savings jar. They dump all of their change in the jar daily. They also do something as simple as cutting back on buying coffee at Starbucks, and they put the money for the coffee in the jar to go towards surgery instead. This will add up quicker than you think.




GrantsHow to Pay for Reconstructive Surgery

I work closely with the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America. This foundation raises money to give grants so patients may have weight loss surgery or reconstructive surgery after massive weight loss. I was the first plastic surgeon to perform a 360 bodylift for this foundation. Please go to to get more information on how to obtain a grant.

What To Purchase Before a 360 Body Lift

August 28th, 2015  

There is plenty to do to prepare for a 360 Body Lift, but in this blog I want to hit the key list of what supplies you must purchase to be prepared for your 360 body lift.

Preparing for a 360 Body Lift



You always want to have your medications filled before surgery. The last thing you want is to be waiting in line or to find out your pharmacy doesn’t carry a medication when you’re in pain.  Always check with your surgeon to be sure you have all of the medications that you’ll need.



Preparing for a 360 Body LiftPads are sanitary and a lot cheaper than buying gauze from the pharmacy.  The pads will help keep the incision dry and clean.




Preparing for a 360 Body Lift

Painters Tape

This will hold the pads together in the correct place.




Recliner Chair

Preparing for a 360 Body LiftIt is essential that you lay in a 45-degree angle directly after surgery. We recommend buying or renting a recliner or lift chair. A lift chair will be able to help assist you to stand after surgery.



Leg Squeezers

I always recommend my patients to buy leg squeezers. They help keep the blood circulation and prevents blood clots.


Wedge Pillow and Extra PillowsPreparing for a 360 Body Lift

Comfort is key to a healthy healing after surgery. Keep plenty of pillows around. Once I clear you to stay in the bed, use the wedge pillow to keep legs elevated.


Body Garments

Body garments help with swelling and flattening of scars. In my office, the body garment will be put on while the patient is on the surgery table.


Wheelchair or Walker with Seat

Preparing for a 360 Body LiftDirectly after surgery I don’t recommend any walking. But, once walking is cleared, I recommend a walker to help get around until you are back on your feet. Many walkers come with a chair built in so it can be a wheelchair and walker in one.




Protein and Pre-made Foods

Protein is very important for healing and recovery. In my office, I recommend my patients to get at least 100 grams in per day. After surgery, patients typically don’t have much of an appetite, so look into protein powders and drinks that you enjoy. Also, if you don’t have anyone who will be able to help you, I suggest to make high protein meals before surgery that can you can freeze.

Make sure to also arrange for pet or baby sitters for at least 7 days, but it would be preferred if it were for 14 days.