Northern Virginia plastic surgeonsRESTON, VA – Robert K. Sigal, M.D., board-certified plastic surgeon in the Washington, D.C.-area plastic surgery practice The Austin-Weston Center for Cosmetic Surgery, is seeing firsthand technology’s direct effect on the demand for plastic surgery.

“Patients come in with their iPhones or iPads and show me how they look on [Apple’s video calling application] FaceTime,” says Dr. Sigal.  “The angle at which the phone is held, with the caller usually looking downward into the camera, really captures any heaviness, fullness and sagging of the face and neck. People say ‘I never knew I looked like that! I need to do something!’ I’ve started calling it the ‘FaceTime Facelift’ effect. And we’ve developed procedures to specifically address it.

“Video chatting, FaceTime, Skype, etc., all have one thing in common: they act as a powerful mirror,” Dr. Sigal continues. “And this special mirror provides a perspective on your face that may be new to you. Of course I’m not suggesting that someone get a facelift just to look good on FaceTime. What I am seeing is that people who may have been unaware of facial aging sometimes see it for the first time when they video chat, and they come to me and my partners so they can look and feel better about themselves no matter what they’re doing, in-person or online.”

Dr. Sigal’s YouTube videos address in-depth the FaceTime Facelift at The Austin-Weston Center for Cosmetic Surgery.

Less than 10% of board-certified plastic surgeons specialize exclusively in cosmetic surgery. The other 90% perform reconstructive surgery and some cosmetic surgery. Dr. Sigal and his partners, George W. Weston, M.D., and Byron D. Poindexter, M.D., perform cosmetic surgery exclusively and are the largest such group in the metropolitan D.C. area. When compared to the plastic surgeons who specialize in cosmetic surgery, Drs. Sigal, Weston and Poindexter perform four times as many cosmetic surgery procedures as they do (statistics from The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, based on number of facelifts, eyelid lifts, abdominoplasties, liposuctions, breast augmentations and rhinoplasties performed per year.)

Dr. Sigal joined the Austin-Weston Center in 1994 and has served as its Medical Director since 1999. Dr. Sigal is board-certified in both general surgery and plastic surgery, and his articles and comments have been published extensively in medical journals and in the media. To arrange an interview with Dr. Sigal, please call our Media Relations Department at 703-893-6168, Ext. 222.

About The Austin-Weston Center for Cosmetic Surgery
Founded in 1978, The Austin-Weston Center for Cosmetic Surgery is the first free-standing center established exclusively for cosmetic surgery in the Washington, D.C. area. Its surgeons, George W. Weston, M.D., Robert K. Sigal, M.D., and Byron D. Poindexter, M.D., have over 55 years of combined surgical experience among them. The doctors are board-certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery and are members of  The American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Dr. Sigal is also a member of The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The AAAHC-accredited office-based surgery center has 5 on-site operating rooms and is staffed by over 30 professionals dedicated to the highest standards of patient safety, privacy and service. View our website at  For more information, please contact the Austin-Weston Center’s Media Relations Department at 703-893-6168 x222.

Dear Dr. Sigal,

Generous support of the 12th Annual Life with Cancer®  Lobster ExtravaganzaThank you so much for your generous support of the 12th Annual Life with Cancer®

Lobster Extravaganza held on Saturday, May 1, 2010.  Your gift is critical to the success of our programs, as our ability to provide services is a direct result of the contributions we receive from our community.

Life with Cancer provides many forms of assistance to our cancer patients and their family members through our educational classes and seminars, support groups, individual and family counseling and visits to patients in the hospital. Your contribution enables us to carry out our mission every day which is “to improve the quality of life of those affected by cancer by providing education, information and support.” Thanks to the support we receive from you and our community. Life with Cancer continues to provide all of our services at no cost to patients and their loved ones.

Our event this year may have been the best Lobster fundraiser to date thanks to you and to the many generous people in our community who understand the challenges that a cancer diagnosis imposes on a family. The weather was also beautiful as it did not rain.

Please contact us at 703-698-2526 if you have any comments or suggestions about the event. Whatever the reason, we always enjoy hearing from you.

Warm Regards

When I think of tummy tucks, I think of three different operations: a full tummy tuck, a modified tummy tuck, and a mini tummy tuck.

Each of these addresses different types of abdomens.  Some fortunate souls go through pregnancy with minimal stretching of the abdominal skin and have only some rounding of the abdominal muscles.  Those women are the candidates for a mini tummy tuck.

I make a small incision above the pubic area (about the size of a c-section scar) and work the skin and fat up off of the abdominal muscles all the way up to the breast bone “floating” the belly button in the process.  I then repair the abdominal muscles and sew the skin and belly button back down.

Mini tummy tucks are fairly uncommon, as pregnancy stretches both skin and muscle in most women.  If the skin above the belly button is fairly tight, you become a candidate for a modified tummy tuck.

A modified tummy tuck involves a scar the goes from hip bone to hip bone.  The skin and fat is again elevated off of the muscle and the muscle tightened.  This time, however, some of the skin below the belly is removed.

Modified tummy tucks are also fairly uncommon.  For every hundred tummy tucks I do, I do about 10 modified tummy tucks and one mini tummy tuck.

Why?  Most pregnancies stretch the abdominal skin globally and women come in with looseness both above and below the belly button.  To tighten the upper abdominal skin, I need to make an incision about the same size as for the modified tummy tuck and the procedure is, for the most part, the same.  The main difference is the belly button.

In a full tummy tuck, I leave the belly button attached at its base and cut around it at the skin level.  When the skin is pulled tight, the belly button “stalk” is popped through the new skin – making what looks like a new belly button.

If you are a candidate for a breast implant over the muscle, you can usually be back at work the next day.  Who’s a candidate?  Woman who have at least a “B” cup before surgery and aren’t looking to go too large fall into this group.

Often, these are women who’ve nursed and now have a bit of droop to their breasts.  Rather than make leaving scars on the outside of the breast, sometimes an implant placed through a scar under the breast can fix the droop.

Recovery can be quick even if the implant goes under the muscle.

The keys are to release the muscle completely, don’t go too big with the implant, and minimize the amount of bleeding.  We find “pain pumps” useful for the first few days after surgery, but then it’s usually back into your life with a feeling of fullness and a new shape.

Because diet and exercise are healthy ways to live your life – liposuction isn’t. Diet and exercise normalize hormone levels, maximize cardiovascular fitness, and maintain an ideal weight.

Liposuction, of any variety, is an effective tool for removing localized deposits of fat, but not a way to live your life.  I like to think of it as a diving board from which to jump into your life with second chance to maintain your new body with a healthy combination for diet and exercise.

Why would anyone even think of substituting liposuction for diet and exercise?

In the beginning of liposuction (the early 1980’s), only small areas of fat could be removed safely.  Now, however, large amounts of fat can be safely removed and that has blurred the line between liposuction as a tool for sculpting localized areas and removing enough fat to impact weight and, perhaps, metabolism.

Some studies have shown that fat is not just a passive repository of extra calories, but an active participant in the body’s metabolism.  Removing large amounts of it can influence the body’s “set point,” or weight that’s most easily maintained.

Today’s large volume liposuction can influence the body’s set point for weight and lower it going forward.  But without a commitment to changing your diet and exercising more, you can “out-eat the cannula,” and all the benefits of liposuction will go by the wayside.

Dr. Sigal & Austin-Weston Center for Cosmetic Surgery staff join the University of Miami’s Medishare Haiti Earthquake Relief Project

Dr. Sigal & Deb volunteering in HaitiThe devastation in Haiti continues to draw much needed support from across the globe. Several members of The Austin-Weston Center for Cosmetic Surgery in Northern Virginia volunteered with the University of Miami’s Medishare Haiti Project.

Dr. Robert Sigal lead the surgical team and they spent a week in Port-au-Prince contributing much needed medical relief to earthquake victims. The Austin-Weston Center surgical team left on March 22, 2010.

Project Medishare Haiti is part of The Global Institute under the University of Miami Schools of Medicine and Nursing.   The Global Institute works for the advancement of global health and development throughout the Western Hemisphere and beyond.

Since the catastrophic earthquake, the University of Miami physicians and healthcare professionals have been in Haiti treating the injured. The Austin-Weston Cosmetic Surgery Team will join them in their hospital, which consists of four large tents in the Port-au-Prince air field.  The medical staff there and over 140 volunteers and military personnel work in the busy field hospital, providing medical care and performing surgeries in very demanding conditions.