A BETTER WAY

BY BRIGITTE SURETTE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

Dr. Heidi Williams offers patients the latest techniques and technology in liposuction, other elective surgeries and noninvasive procedures. Williams, a board-certified plastic surgeon with decades of expertise in head-to-toe plastic surgery and a range of noninvasive procedures, opened her practice in 2002 and the Mount Pleasant Medispa in 2009.

Williams’ interest in medicine began nearly three decades ago when she graduated from Dartmouth College and worked at the National Cancer Institute.

Afterward, she attended medical school at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

“There was a defining moment for me during my third-year rotation of medical school,” Williams says. “The combination of intensity and the thrill of surgery, the artistic side of creating and molding, and in particular, my experience dealing with children—transforming their lives—led me to the love of reconstructive, then cosmetic and plastic surgery.”

Her specialty has transformed the lives of hundreds of patients. Williams believes that plastic surgery isn’t meant to drastically change a patient; it’s meant to enhance. She believes that elective surgeries, done for the right reasons, give her patients a renewed confidence that spills over into other areas of their lives.

One of the most common procedures is removing unwanted fat or fat that can’t be removed through diet and exercise.

The Most Advanced Method of Removing Unwanted Fat Cells
Williams has the distinction of being the first and only physician in the area to offer Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance or VASER liposuction, a specialized technique that targets fat cells and is used in conjunction with traditional liposuction. VASER uses an ultrasound wand to heat and liquefy fat cells.

“VASER is transforming the way in which liposuction is delivered,” Williams asserts. “It does a phenomenal job of breaking up the fibrous bands in the body that create cellulite in fat, and it makes traditional liposuction easier. I can remove fat more efficiently with less pushing and pulling and, therefore, there’s less bruising and better recovery time for my patients.”

Cost vs Comfort
Once a patient has gone through comprehensive counseling with Dr. Williams and her team, cost and care options are clearly defined. Choosing traditional liposuction may be more cost effective, but it may not be the best option for the patient.

“If there is a large area of fat to be removed, most patients go with the VASER liposuction,Williams states. “The heat of the wand helps the skin to retract back much more efficiently; the problems of skin laxity can oftentimes be an issue with the traditional method. VASER is a superior technology and patients are far more satisfied with their results.”

Though the majority of Williams’ patients are female, she’s seen an uptick of male patients since employing this new technique. VASER liposuction can also target male problem areas, such as the chest area (gynecomastia).

“Liposuction has come a long way since its introduction in the ’70s,” Williams says. “We [physicians] have learned a lot along the way, in terms of the fluids we inject before we remove the fat, and in terms of safety and the composition of what that fluid should be. This dramatically improves patient discomfort and reduces the risk of bleeding and infection.”

Williams warns that liposuction shouldn’t be used as a means to lose weight or for a quick fix solution.

“As with any elective surgery, the ideal patient is one who has a good diet and exercise regime,” she says. “Maybe they inherited their grandmother’s fatty arms or have a pocket of fat somewhere that they can’t get rid of through diet and exercise. Liposuction contours those areas, and it’s more of a rejuvenation or restoration of the body.”

The Future
Williams’ Medispa offers patients a less invasive approach to problem areas, as well. Fillers, injectables, skin treatments and microneedling are just a handful of options to achieve better, brighter skin. She has also seen a rise in facial procedures and nonsurgical procedures.

“We counsel and help patients determine whether they want to stick with minimally invasive procedures or take the plunge to plastic surgery. Creating a familiarity that doesn’t always exist in a doctor and patient relationship is very important to me,” Williams says.

Brigitte Surette is a full-time freelance writer living near Charleston. Find out more at brigittesurette.com.