Plastic Surgery FAQ and Info

Plastic Surgery FAQ in Charlotte

What’s it like to be a mom, a doctor, and a business partner with your husband? Plastic surgeon Kara Criswell not only manages those roles, but enjoys them all. Get to know this amazing mom and find out what keeps her going both in the operating room and at home.

Just as the economy crashed, Kara McGuire Kane Criswell, M.D., F.A.C.S., from SouthPark, opened her plastic surgery practice with her husband, Bryan, in 2008. With just three other office staff at the opening and a lot of hard work, Kara and her husband have steadily grown over the years and they now have 15 people on their team! Keep reading to learn more about Criswell & Criswell.

Q. When did you and your husband decide to open Criswell & Criswell Plastic, Reconstructive, and Cosmetic Surgery?

A. I met my husband when we were in general surgery residency together, so we have been operating together for more than 14 years. We have always worked well together because of our similar work ethic, abilities, and attention to detail.

I don’t even remember discussing whether or not we would open a practice together, it just was the natural thing to do. A lot of people think it is nuts to work with your spouse, and sometimes it is. We both have strong personalities, and we will occasionally go toe-to-toe about the business. However, I trust him completely as a physician and surgeon, as he does me. Plus, we have a lot of fun!

Q. What led you to become a reconstructive surgeon?

A. I love the problem-solving that is involved with reconstruction. Often, you are following another surgeon and are unsure of what kind of defect you will find when you get to the operating room. So you have to figure out what you need to do right then and there to restore form and function. But if you know the anatomy well, there isn’t much that you can’t fix.

Q. How do you incorporate art into being a surgeon?

A. For me, art involves observation, attention to detail, and using your hands to create something. Plastic surgery allows that same process.

Q. What is your favorite thing to draw?

A. Portraits. It would be way more interesting if I said insects or racecars, I know, but there it is.

Q. How many offices do you currently have and where are they located?

A. We have two offices in Charlotte and one in Ballantyne.

Q. What types of procedures do you typically perform?

A. The fantastic thing about plastic surgery is that you operate on the whole body. You can be doing a facelift in the morning, and be reconstructing a knee in the afternoon. That being said, my practice is about 70% cosmetic and about 30% reconstruction.

Some patients are more comfortable with a female plastic surgeon, and as a result I do a lot of “mommy makeovers”, facial rejuvenation, and breast reconstruction following cancer surgery.

Q. What has been the most rewarding patient or moment in your career?

A. I am both amazed and grateful that I cannot narrow it down to one single patient nor one single moment. That being said, however, I can say that I have been most rewarded personally by my breast reconstruction patients.

My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a radical mastectomy when she was in her 50′s, when breast reconstruction was not an option. I hated that my beautiful and confident grandmother spent so much time and effort camouflaging her missing breast and the extensive scarring from her surgery. That I am able to not only offer breast reconstruction, but options for breast reconstruction, is empowering to both me and my patients. They get to choose their reconstruction, take back their femininity, and move on from their diagnosis and treatment. I take pride in that.

Q. How are you able to juggle running two offices, performing surgery, plus being a wife and mom of 2 boys?

A. I make a lot of lists, have three calendars at different locations in the house, and yet will have “mommy-fails” on a regular basis. I have a lot of help keeping the wheels on.

My husband has the same job, so there is an understanding there that goes beyond just support. My office team is fantastic at both making my work productive and protecting times I am needed by my family. I have a wonderful nanny, who basically cares for all four of us-five, if you include the dog. My sons Jack and Wyatt are amazing little guys, who always seem to understand that when I have to work, I have to work. But when I am not at work, I am all theirs.

Q. Any tips for our other mompreneurs?

A. Be in the moment, wherever you are and whatever you are doing. When you are working, focus on just work. Give it all of your attention and energy. When you are with your family, do the same.

Take advice and accept help. Nobody can do it all.

I got a card about 14 years ago that had this quote on it:

“One can live magnificently in this world, if one knows how to work and how to love, to work for the person one loves, and love one’s work.” Leo Tolstoy

I still have that card.

Tips to medical procedures and supplements

Dr. Bryan Criswell: “This article highlights some good information regarding nutritional supplements and their role in the peri-operative period. It is written by VitaMedica, a company that sell supplements, but the information is still pretty good. For the most part, as long as you eat a well balanced diet with plenty of protein, you will be in good shape for surgery. Adding a multivitamin doesn’t hurt, and we will sometimes recommend additional supplements to our patients around the time of surgery and injectable procedures (like arnica).”

Most people take some form of vitamins, minerals or supplements, rather over the counter, natural or homeopathic. Supplements are taken for many different reasons like energy boosters, for heart health, or promoting healthy skin.

However many people are uninformed on the proper supplements to take before, during and after surgery. Here at Criswell and Criswell Plastic Surgery we include healing and recovery supplements for all major elective cosmetic procedures and surgeries. This great infographic from VitaMedica is a great rundown of what to take leading up to, during, and after surgery, as well as what to discontinue.

Did you know up to 70% of all patients do not report supplement use during the pre-operative interview? It is important for patients to know that your surgeon must know all medication including vitamins and supplements in order to help your body best recover from surgery.

One great homeopathic supplement option is Arnica Montana, known as the Mountain Daisy or Leopard’s Bane. This helps reduce swelling and bruising. Reasons for taking surgical supplements such as Arnica Montana and others like it is to take an active role in the healing process, and so you the patient will look and feel great right after surgery.

For more information about these healing and recovery supplements ask your doctor and visit

Criswell and Criswell Plastic Surgery includes surgery supplements for all major elective procedures and also offers healing products for injectable patients. For information about Criswell and Criswell Plastic Surgery visit or call at 704-930-0428.

Further Information

Criswell & Criswell are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This means that we only operate in fully accredited surgery facilities, like our own Surgery Center. If you are thinking about plastic surgery, this is an absolute must question about the surgeon you are going to see.

ASPS Member Qualifications

Study:Twins Who Smoke Look Older

Dr. Kara Criswell: “We all know that smoking is harmful to our health, but what many people don’t realize is how harmful it is to our looks! I can tell the moment a patient comes to see me if he or she smokes. The first thing I will do is tell my patients that the most effective way they can make an improvement in their overall appearance is to stop smoking now. It will take years off their looks. This article is a good look twins, where one of the twins smoked, and the other did not. The differences are quite striking and confirm what we as plastic surgeons have always known.”

Twins who smoke show more premature facial aging, compared to their non-smoking identical twins, reports a study in the November issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Read More

Want to know what other people are doing when it comes to plastic surgery procedures?

Dr. Bryan Criswell: “This is a quick look at the number of people having plastic surgery procedures and procedures like Botox and fillers. It’s just a little “FYI” snapshot.”

Plastic Surgery Quick Facts

Most overweight patients show lasting weight loss one year after abdominoplasty

Arlington Heights, Ill. – Undergoing abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck”) may lead to significant and lasting weight loss for many patients-especially those who were overweight or obese before surgery, reports a pilot study in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Long-term weight loss after abdominoplasty may be related to increased satiety-feeling full after eating-according to the study by ASPS Member Surgeon Dr. Rex Edward Moulton-Barrett of Alameda Hospital and colleagues. The researchers discuss possible “neuroendocrine mechanisms” that may promote weight loss after abdominoplasty.

High Rate of Sustained Weight Loss after ‘Tummy Tuck’

The researchers evaluated short- and long-term weight loss after abdominoplasty in 20 women. Popularly known as “tummy tuck,” abdominoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure to eliminate excess abdominal fat and skin. For the 20 women, the average amount of abdominal tissue resected was approximately five pounds.

One year later, 14 of the women had sustained weight loss-greater than the weight of the tissue resected. Patients with a preoperative BMI greater than or equal to 24.5 maintained long-term weight loss at one year. They decreased in weight by an average of 4.5 percent of their original BMI one year later. A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 25, overweight is between 25 and 30, and obese is 30 or higher.

The other six women also had some degree of weight loss after abdominoplasty. However, one year later, they had regained weight and increased BMI.

Long-term weight loss was more likely for women whose initial BMI was 24.5 or greater, just under the borderline for overweight. Of the 14 women with sustained weight loss, just one had an initial BMI of less than 24.5.

Sustained weight loss was also more likely for women with a greater amount of excess abdominal tissue removed at abdominoplasty. Twelve of the 14 women with long-term weight loss had more than 4.5 pounds of tissue resected.

Can a ‘Cosmetic’ Procedure Help Patients Lose Weight?

Increased satiety seemed to be an important contributor to long-term weight loss. Three-fourths of women reported an increased feeling of satiety, either after eating or throughout the day, after undergoing abdominoplasty.

As obesity rates continue to increase in the United States, new procedures are needed to achieve and maintain weight loss. Gastric bypass and other bariatric surgical procedures are among the few to produce extensive weight loss, but are generally limited to patients with morbid obesity-BMI 40 or greater.

In contrast, abdominoplasty is available to a wider range of patients seeking to reduce the size and improve the appearance of their abdomen. “Whether or not long-term weight reduction is associated with abdominoplasty has been little investigated and remained controversial,” according to Dr. Moulton-Barrett and colleagues.

The new study provides preliminary evidence that many patients have lasting weight loss after abdominoplasty-especially those who are overweight or obese before abdominoplasty. “Satiety appears to be a prominent contributing factor, as does the amount of fat resected,” the researchers conclude.

“We hypothesize that the increased satiety seen in our patients is related to changes in the neuroendocrine system,” Dr. Moulton-Barrett and coauthors add. Removing fat cells from the abdomen may lead to reduced levels of hormones affecting appetite, which are secreted by fatty tissues. However, further studies would be needed to confirm this hypothesis.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, part of Wolters Kluwer Health.


14835 Ballantyne Village Way, Suite 210 Charlotte NC, 28277

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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Your health, safety, and wellbeing is our top priority.

Our office is open, and we are excited to be providing you with select services! Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery is leading the way in Charlotte and the South East region with our cutting edge technology, and continued safety measures We appreciate the trust you place in us and wish to assure you we are addressing the COVID-19 outbreak at the highest level to continue to ensure you enjoy an exceptional experience.

Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery is committed to taking proactive precautions, grounded in science, to provide the highest level of quality care to our patients. In addition to our already stringent policies, our office has implemented strict protocols and procedures based on the recommendations of The American Society of Plastic Surgery, the American College of Surgeons, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Service Task Force, and the CDC. All staff members and surgical patients have tested negative for COVID-19 meaning our Quad A certified surgical suite is among the safest centers in the region.

We strive to consistently provide you with cutting edge technology for an exceptional patient experience. Our practice offers virtual consultations which you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Our virtual consultation process ensures you have ample time to have your questions answered and spend time getting to know your physician. You can also enjoy full access to your skincare specialist, nurses, and Patient Coordinators through virtual visits.

We know everyone is very busy and your time is valuable. Our in-person visits are designed with you in mind to keep your wait times short, and your in-room time effective and focused on your goals so we can get you back to your life.

We are privileged to serve you at Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery and are here to support you during these uncertain times.

Sincerely and with warm regards,

Bryan K. Criswell M.D., F.A.C.S.
Kara K. Criswell M.D., F.A.C.S.

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