Supplements and Cosmetic Surgery

Herbal supplements and vitamins are known to have a significant and measurable effect on promoting wound healing, reducing bruising,  enhancing immunity, and reducing oxidation caused by both surgery and anaesthetic drugs. However, these supplements are still drugs that could cause dangerous side effects during cosmetic surgery. About 50% of cosmetic surgery patients take supplements (usually more than one), but often do not tell their surgeons because they assume they are safe.  Some  of  the  most  popular  herbal  supplements  taken  are  chondroitin,  echinacea, and  glucosamine:

  • Chondroitin is often used to treat osteoarthritis.  People using chondroitin may suffer from bleeding complications during surgery, particularly when used in combination with doctor-prescribed blood-thinning medications (like warfarin).
  • Echinacea is often used for the prevention and treatment of viral, bacterial and fungal infections, as well as chronic wounds, ulcers, and arthritis.  However, it can trigger immunosuppression, causing poor wound healing and infection.
  • Glucosamine, often offered in conjunction with chondroitin, contains chemical elements that mimic human insulin, and may artificially cause low blood sugars during surgery.

Other common supplements taken by patients that may cause thinning of the blood are the “4  Gs”  (gingko biloba, garlicginseng, and ginger), fish oils and Vitamin E.

Cosmetic surgery should be viewed with the same care and concern as heart or brain surgery. Everything we do is important for our patients, so every precaution and safety should be taken to minimise complications from surgery and anaesthesia. Remember, we need your help and cooperation at all times.  Advise us of every drug you take, prescribed and non-prescribed and cease taking any blood thinning agents 2 weeks prior to surgery unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Tim  –  Sydney  Cosmetic  Plastic  Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au

Cosmetic Surgery tip #28: Do not drink alcohol 72 hours prior/after cosmetic surgery

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Alcohol suppresses the immune system and should be avoided around the time of cosmetic surgery.

Photo Credit: Saul Steinberg “Masquerade”

Cosmetic Surgery Tourism: Is It Worth It?

Cosmetic surgery tourism is a price-driven phenomenon that has experienced increased growth over the past decade. Numerous companies offering all-inclusive vacation packages that include cosmetic surgery are popping up all over the world and can be easily located via the Internet. The offers generally include private hospital services and tout ”highly trained” and ”credentialed” medical staff. Since elective cosmetic surgery procedures are not covered by insurance, the price is the major selling point of cosmetic surgery tourism, with entire vacation/surgical packages costing less than individual procedures in Australia.

Although there are many skilled and qualified plastic surgeons practicing all over the world, cautions is warranted as it may be difficult to assess the training and credentials of surgeons outside of  Australia.  Patients may take unnecessary risks, when choosing cosmetic surgery vacations, by unknowingly selecting unqualified surgeons and having procedures performed in non-accredited surgical facilities.  Patients should consider the potential complications, unsatisfactory results, and risks to general health that may occur.

I very occasionally see patients who have had cosmetic surgery tourism done abroad that have gone horribly wrong.

This is commonly due to either bad surgical technique, sloppy post-operative care, or misinformation that leads to a  less than satisfactory outcome for both patient and surgeon involved.  I  can understand that the lure of cheap cosmetic surgery and a holiday in some exotic destination thrown in for less than the price of comparable surgery at home is often too much of a temptation to resist.  Sadly, most people spend more time anguishing over the purchase of the latest and greatest gizmo than their plastic surgeon.  Before you next consider cosmetic surgery abroad, always remember to check:

  1. The plastic surgeon is well trained and reputable and that you feel comfortable with them.
  2. Make sure that you can communicate fluently in their native language or vice versa.  Also, don’t forget that you need a good anaesthetist to keep you safely asleep during the procedure.
  3. Make sure that the operation you are having is the right one for you.  Often with cosmetic surgery tourism, planning and decision making is necessarily rushed.  You cannot have ‘second thoughts’ and when surgery is planned, too often without seeing the operating surgeon or seeing them just before the surgery for the first time, there is no time to contemplate on the decision made or any informed consent.
  4. Determine that the operation is being performed in a safe environment and any prostheses used (eg. breast implants) are of the highest quality. Cosmetic surgery trips are often marketed as vacations  – but vacation activities should be avoided after cosmetic surgery eg; sunbathing, drinking alcohol,  swimming, jet skiing, taking extensive tours by bus or foot.  These can all compromise wound healing and increase infection rates and other problems.
  1. Lastly, you need to establish that there is appropriate after-care in place.  Whilst most things that go wrong usually happen within 48  hours, there are many things that can occur weeks to months down the track.  Revisional surgery may be required when you’re back home and in these instances can be more difficult because of the uncertainties in surgical techniques used.  Remember,  “forewarned  is  to  be  forearmed.”

Question: What are some of the reasons you would entertain having cosmetic surgery tourism?  You can leave a comment below.

Cosmetic Surgery Tip #15: Breast augmentations and reductions may affect your ability to breastfeed in the future

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Women who have implants oftentimes choose not to breastfeed so the data sets on these women are unclear. However, if you have an areola incision, there’s a small risk you could damage minor ducts and could disconnect the areola complex with the main portion of the gland, hindering your ability to breastfeed. Women who have underarm incisions or incisions in the crease of the breast should not have a problem.

Photo Credit: Saul Steinberg “Masquerade”

Cosmetic Surgery Tip #24: It is possible that your boobs can grow back after a reduction

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However, if the procedure is done after pregnancy and your weight stays consistent, your breast size is unlikely to change.

Photo Credit: Saul Steinberg “Masquerade”

Cosmetic Surgery Tip #10: Utilise and insist on a “cooling off” period

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After you have met for a consultation with your plastic surgeon, they should insist that you go away and think carefully about your decision. Use this “cooling off” period to take your time, think through your options, do some more research and talk to your family or friends before making any decisions. If you feel like you need more information, attend a second consultation with the same practitioner or go for another consultation with a second and third practitioner. This will give you further opinions and will help you make a considered, sensible decision.

Photo Credit: Saul Steinberg “Masquerade”

Breast Augmentation Part 4 of 4: The Surgical Facility

Your safety is of paramount importance when undergoing breast augmentation. Always have your surgery in an accredited hospital or day surgery facility. If you are young and healthy, then a day surgery facility is fine. If you are older and have health problems, then a hospital would be a better place to have the procedure performed because of the availability and back-up of an intensive care unit and other highly specialised healthcare professionals.

Accredited means that the surgical facility has passed a set of rigorous examinations to assure that the equipment and procedures meet standards for optimal safety. The hospital or day surgery facility should be fully accredited by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) or a set of ISO standards that provide the highest standards of service. Patient health, safety, and comfort should be the surgical facilities main concerns and they should continually monitor and evaluate their performance to achieve these outcomes. Another requirement of accreditation is to assure that personnel is trained, experienced, and skilled healthcare professionals and procedures and equipment are in place to deal with any emergency from a power outage to cardiac arrest.

Sometimes it’s reassuring to visit the accredited facility yourself. If you’re not comfortable with a surgical facility, don’t have the breast augmentation surgery there. What you want to see is modern and comfortable surroundings, as well as caring and warm personnel. The operating room should appear state-of-the-art, spotlessly clean, and equipped with the most up-to-date equipment. The recovery area should be immediately adjacent to the operating rooms. Some surgical facilities provide overnight accommodations with one-on-one nursing care especially for patients who need overnight care for more extensive procedures.

The following checklist should help you “tie things up” when organising your breast augmentation:

1)  Check the date of surgery and pay scheduling deposit if required

2)  Review surgeon’s financial policies and policies for refunds

3)  Sign informed consent and operative consent forms for breast augmentation

4)  Schedule laboratory tests and mammography/ultrasound if required

5)  Review medications to avoid and ones to take before surgery

6)  Review post-operative instructions the night before surgery

7)  On the day of surgery wear comfortable clothes, get someone to drive you home and be with you overnight, wear no make-up, and leave your jewellery and valuables at home

Question: What things do you consider important in the surgical facility when having a breast augmentation? You can leave a comment below

Cosmetic Surgery Tip #9: Understand the recovery process

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Being fully informed about the recovery process is vital so that you can prepare yourself in advance. Patients often neglect to think about many important post-op factors: Is it a day-surgery procedure? Will you need assistance leaving the hospital or facility? How should you travel home? Will you be in pain? Do you need to take time off work? What does the post-operative care entail?  When are the post-operative follow up visits?  There are a number of factors to take into consideration and your plastic surgeon should discuss all of these thoroughly with you in advance.

Photo Credit: Saul Steinberg “Masquerade”

Cosmetic Surgery Tip #36: Research the procedure

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The internet provides a plethora of information about specific cosmetic procedures so it’s easier than ever to do your research. Watch videos of procedures being carried out, read the stories of people who have already undergone the procedure and engage in conversation on reputable forums and with friends who’ve had the procedure done. All of this will help you to make an informed decision about whether this is the right procedure for you.  Remember with all that information out there, some of it may be conflicting; it is important to verify this information with your plastic surgeon.

Photo Credit: Saul Steinberg “Masquerade”

Cosmetic Surgery Tip #11: Your first breast surgery may not be your last

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Twenty-five percent of women will need another surgery after 10 years because implants don’t last forever. The implant could begin to leak over time or a “scar shell” called capsular contracture could develop around it, warping the shape and causing a need for new implants. Weight loss, pregnancy, and change in preference are other factors that could lead the patient having another surgery after a few years.

Photo Credit: Saul Steinberg “Masquerade”