Correction of inverted nipples: the facts that you need to know!

As many as 3% of Australian women have at least 1 inverted nipple but the subject of nipple inversion is seldom discussed amongst family, friends or the media. Clearly, nipples are an integral part of the breast, playing a role in appearance, in sexuality, and in motherhood. Therefore, many women who have inverted nipples, feel that it affects their self-esteem and body image.

Most cases of inverted nipples are just born that way (congenital). However, some nipples become inverted after breastfeeding when scar tissue builds in the milk ducts. Nipples that become inverted after birth are usually caused by one of three things: not enough skin at the base of the nipple, constricted milk ducts, or scarring of the milk ducts due to breastfeeding. There are 2 types of inverted nipples: shy and densely inverted.

  1. Shy inverted nipples– can be drawn out with physical stimulation, either sexually or for breastfeeding. Shy inverted nipples may only cause cosmetic and psychological problems.
  2. Densely inverted nipples– this is where the nipples never come out, even when aroused or in very cold water. Densely inverted nipples also have functional repercussions, such as the inability to breastfeed, infection or irritation of the nipple when natural secretions become trapped.While a procedure to correct inverted nipples can have a great impact on the patient’s psyche and correct irritation problems, the ability to breastfeed cannot be guaranteed, as some or all of the ducts may need to be divided in order to free the nipple so that it is drawn out completely. The particular technique I use to correct inverted nipples was taught to me by my colleague and friend Dr. Grant Stevens, a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, who is a pioneer in new techniques for procedures in breast surgery. The technique is safe, effective, has a short downtime, and the results are long-lasting. Before the procedure begins, the nipple and areola are numbed with an ice cube or pack, and a local anaesthetic given using a tiny needle the size of a hair. This means the patient experiences little or no pain, despite the sensitivity of the area.

The surgery itself is broken into 3 stages:

Stage 1: an incision measuring 4 to 5 mm is made in the lower portion of the nipple. The fibres or ducts are then released that are pulling the nipple down. The nipple is drawn out with much care in order to preserve the ability to breastfeed.

Stage 2: involves a series of stitches around the nipple.  If the nipple is imagined like a clock, the stitches run from 12 to 6 o’clock, then again from 3 to 9 o’clock.  By bunching up the tissue around the nipple, these stitches create a new pedestal for the nipple to rest on. A dissolving “purse-string” stitch is made around the base of the nipple, weaving in and out of the skin, which tightens the base of the nipple.

Stage 3: a small plastic “stent” – like a tiny medicine cup – is placed over the newly extracted nipple. This stent actually holds the nipple in place and ensures that the nipple heals in an outward position. Not only does it help with the nipples’ projection, but it also protects the nipple in the healing stages. This stent is kept on for 1 to 3 days. The patient then returns for a follow-up visit to remove the stent and the process is complete.

Post-operatively, there is little care needed. While the stent is on, patients cannot get the area wet and sexual contact is discouraged for the first week after surgery. Occasionally, the patient may need an ointment to aid the healing, although this is rare. The wound heals very quickly – to the point where the scar is usually invisible by the time the patient returns to have the stent removed (the stitches dissolve within 10 to 14 days). Possible complications include the retraction of the nipple or a local infection.

Although the correction of inverted nipples is a procedure that can greatly assist both the self-esteem of the sufferer and the function of the breast, more and more women are coming to my practice seeking nipple surgery for repair, correction, and enhancement of other conditions too:

  1. Enlarged nipples can be corrected with simple outpatient surgery reducing the length or diameter of one or both nipples.
  2. Reducing enlarged areolas is a quick fix as the areola can impact the appearance of the breasts more than any other feature.
  3. “Puffy” areolas put a cone-like cap on the breasts that some people find unattractive. A simple surgery can flatten the areola and beautify the breasts.

So despite the fact that nipples are usually hidden, women still want them to look attractive. Many women suffer with nipple and areola abnormalities such as inverted nipples, enlarged nipples, and puffy, enlarged or discoloured areolas.  Many of these conditions can impact breast function, but they all impact the way women feel about their bodies. The nipple can be repaired during outpatient surgery or during breast enhancement surgery.

Question:  Do women feel inverted nipples is such a big issue to warrant surgery?  You can leave a comment below.

Breast Augmentation revisions: 3 facts you must know!

Designing a surgical plan that can deliver a satisfactory result for women seeking surgical revision after breast augmentation can be quite difficult.  It still requires the plastic surgeon to obtain a good history, perform a careful clinical examination and identify the woman’s concerns and goals.

Revisional surgery after breast augmentation is typically more complex, because of the diversity of presentations and the interval elapsed since their primary surgery.  Additional surgery may be required because of anatomical changes caused by the previous procedure or that have occurred over me.  This information must be explained to and understood by women who may be expecting an easy fix. Furthermore, plastic surgeons may face the challenge of communicating with a dissatisfied and angry patient and therefore, in-depth and honest discussions outlining the risks, benefits, and costs of the various options remain paramount for achieving success.

There are 3 key facts women seeking revisional surgery after breast augmentation need to consider:

1)  Your plastic surgeon needs to listen carefully to what you’re saying.  They must find out what’s motivating you in order to satisfy your goals.  If your problem, however, is imperceptible to them, or you’re seeking an outcome they consider unattainable, they may not be able to help you reach your goals.

2)  Use visuals to enhance your consultation.  Visuals are extremely useful in helping you to understand all your options.  Your plastic surgeon should draw schematic diagrams to explain the various techniques and present you with lots of pictures of previous patients, which should be catalogued by physical attributes, rather than by implant volume or bra size.

3)  Make sure all your options are given to you in detail.  Your plastic surgeon should take a systematic approach to counseling you about your surgical options, beginning by describing the simplest, least-expensive procedure and moving up in terms of complexity and cost. Outlining all of the information so that you understand the basis for your recommendations and the likely outcomes should help you reach an informed decision and choose an operation that will deliver a satisfactory result.

If you have cost in mind and are dissatisfied after your recent primary surgery, then try and rectify the situation by returning to your previous surgeon. If this is not an option because of poor surgeon-patient communication, then you should seek another surgeon.

Thanks for reading!

 

Dr Tim – Sydney Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

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

 

Breast Implants: Things to Know Before Getting Them

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There are two main reasons why women get breast implants. The first one is for reconstructive purposes. This is to bring the breast back to its original form after it has been damaged by an injury or by a disease such as cancer.

The second reason has to do with cosmetic or aesthetic reasons. They may want to have fuller breast or breasts that are more symmetrical with one another. It is also a way to boost confidence in their bodies.

The cost of doing such a procedure will vary. Depending on the location, the doctor who will be doing the operation and the type of implant used the cost can run to a couple of thousand dollars.

Breast Augmentation Part 1 of 4: The Patient

There are generally three groups of women who frequently consider Breast Augmentation:

  1. Nature “missed a beat” during breast development: This usually occurs during puberty where the breasts may not develop at all or only develop slightly, resulting in a “bowling pin” type of a look. Apart from making one feel inadequate because there is a disconnect between the narrower chest to the wider hips, it also makes it difficult buying clothes that fit. Some people revert to using fillers and enhancers, but these techniques never seem to compensate, are temporary measures, and they never feel like a natural part of you in the same way as breast augmentation. Breasts can also develop unevenly during puberty, causing both difficulty in buying and wearing clothes, as well as, making one feel abnormal or like a “freak”.
  2. Nature “took a toll” during pregnancy and breastfeeding: During these times, the breast enlarges and deflates repeatedly. This cycle stretches the breast skin especially in the lower pole, resulting in stretch marks. After breastfeeding, the breast tissue itself may “melt away” (especially in the upper pole), sometimes to a size less than before pregnancy. However, the skin never shrinks back to its original size, therefore, the breasts will appear saggy (think of the skin like an overstretched elastic band which frays at the edges). This is where a breast augmentation and/or a breast lift (mastopexy) can be of great benefit to restore the shape, size, and contour of the breasts to the pre-pregnancy state.
  3. Nature “didn’t match desires” of women who want to enhance the shape and appearance of their breasts: Some women want to be the best version of themselves. Others have underdeveloped breasts or have uneven breasts that makes buying clothes difficult. While other women want to “marry” or improve the balance between their chest with their hips. Breast augmentation to enhance the chest further or balance the hips can make an enormous difference to ones’ body shape and self-esteem.

Women who fall into any one of the above groups have every right to want to optimise any aspect of their breast appearance. If this involves breast augmentation, then she needs to also think about:

These factors will be individually discussed in subsequent blog posts. Remember that no choice is perfect and that every choice has trade-offs (you need to know them) as well as benefits. Therefore, choose carefully.

 

Question: What are your reasons for wanting to have Breast Augmentation? You can leave a comment below.

Breast Reduction for Symptomatic Macromastia

Breast reduction surgery patients are among the happiest  because they both look and feel better following surgery. When women have large, burdensome breasts, they frequently suffer from a condition called symptomatic macromastia which may include the following symptoms:

  1. Pain in the neck, shoulders, breasts, and upper or lower back
  2. Bra strap indentations
  3. Rashes underneath the breasts (intertrigo)
  4. Little finger numbness
  5. Difficultly exercising, fitting into clothing or examining the breasts

Breast reduction surgery is designed to make the breasts smaller and lighter to alleviate the problems of symptomatic macromastia. However, the plastic surgeon performing the breast reduction is the most important determinant of the quality of the result. There are many different techniques for breast reduction, and each surgeon has their own preferences based on experience and patient needs. Often, breast reduction is combined with a breast lift on the other side.

Techniques

There are basically 2 types of techniques used commonly throughout the world:

  1. Wise Pattern (also known as the “Inverted T” or Anchor Scar) describe a technique with a scar around the areola with a vertical scar extending downwards to a horizontal scar in the breast fold.
  2. Vertical (also known as the Circumvertical or “Lollipop” Scar) describe a technique with a scar around the areola with a vertical scar extending downwards to meet the breast fold.

The choice depends on the extent of ptosis (sagging) and the surgeon’s experience. Liposuction is commonly used with the Vertical techniques and less frequently with the Wise pattern except to remove unwanted fatty tissue from the armpit regions.

Medicare & Health funds

Breast reduction surgery is considered to be medically necessary if a patient suffers from symptomatic macromastia. The typical criteria for Medicare Item no. coverage of a breast reduction include: bothersome symptoms detrimental to quality of life, failure of medical therapy prescribed by another doctor, physiotherapist or chiropractor, and removal of a minimum estimated weight of breast tissue.

Most health funds  will cover this procedure for patients with these symptoms if they have attempted conservative medical treatment without success. Most commonly, this conservative medical treatment is provided by a GP, physiotherapist or chiropractor. Typically, there is a minimum weight of breast tissue that must be removed from each breast to qualify as a medically necessary breast reduction for health fund coverage. The best way to determine if your procedure is medically indicated is in a consultation with me at the clinic.

Recovery

One of the best things about recovering from breast reduction surgery is how quickly patients experience relief from their symptoms. The morning after surgery many patients already feel symptomatic relief, even though their recovery has just begun. Many comment that they even breathe easier when they no longer have so much weight on their chests.

Recovery from a breast reduction tends to be quick because it does not involve the underlying muscles, bones or internal organs. Most women will need a few days to recover before returning to work, up to 2 weeks for the incisions to heal before resuming exercise and 12-18 months for the scars to fade to a subtle colour.

To learn more about your breast reduction options and whether or not you are a candidate, email us at info@drtim.com.au or call our clinic at 13000DRTIM .

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During each breast augmentation operation, a long-acting local anaesthetic is placed around the implant so that patients will feel only minimal discomfort following surgery. Most of my breast augmentation patients take only a few days off from work to recover whilst others take up to a week. Patients may ease back into their normal exercise routine beginning several weeks after surgery.

 

To learn more about breast augmentations, request a consultation by contacting us at 13000DRTIM or emailing us at info@drtim.com.au 

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There are many reasons why women seek breast augmentation. Some women feel that increasing their breast size will give them greater self-confidence. Others would like to feel more proportional between their top and bottom so they fit better into their clothing. Mothers frequently seek breast augmentation to restore what was lost with breastfeeding and ageing. Supporting loose skin and giving upper breast fullness are also common reasons for choosing breast enlargement.

Good communication with patients in breast augmentation is key. There’s a need to review their medical histories and ask patients what their goals are for breast augmentation. In some cases, it is a modest increase in size to fit better in their clothing. Other times it’s a significant increase in volume to change their look. A patient may desire an improved breast shape or, possibly, better symmetry is their goal. Still others may want to restore their pre-pregnancy figure and may choose to combine their augmentation with a breast lift or other procedures.

On examining the patient, one needs to consider many features including breast volume, width, height, nipple position, areola size, ribcage curvature, skin tone, droopiness, asymmetry, and crease position. Breasts are highly variable, and I help the patient understand what their best options are based on their physical characteristics. We then come to a common agreement about what our goal will be. Remember, that “breast are sisters, not twins” so more often than not there is quite some variation between the two breasts so you can’t expect a perfect match following breast augmentation.

When the patient returns for their pre-operative visit, typically 1-3 weeks before surgery, I have them look through many digital photographs of breasts to show me their desired result. If there is a discrepancy between what we have discussed and what the patient is showing me with pictures, I’ll identify the difference and sort out what they really want, often using the 3D VECTRA which can simulate what the breasts may look like after augmentation. At the end of our meeting, I’m fairly confident that I understand what the patient desires. Likewise, the patient feels comfortable with our communication and our plan.

The photographs are then brought with me to the operating room. When the patient is asleep, I create the pockets for the implants on each of the breasts, and I occasionally use implant sizers to confirm the volume and shape of the optimal breast implants for the patient. Most patients are back to work and most of their usual routine in several days or up to a week. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for several weeks.

To learn more about breast augmentations, request a consultation by contacting us at 13000DRTIM or emailing us at info@drtim.com.au 

Breast Augmentation vs. Breast Lift – Know it all!

Like many women, you may find yourself choosing between these two procedures or choosing both. Each has its own unique goals, and the procedures are often combined to achieve an even more attractive curvature.

Breast Augmentation Goals
The goal of breast augmentation surgery is to make your breasts bigger and/or fuller (more projected). Women differ so vastly in shape, size, and frame that a number of options have been developed that offer something for everyone. You can choose from:

  1. Silicone gel or saline implants
  2. Textured or smooth surfaced implants
  3. Implant placement behind the breast tissue or behind the pectoralis muscle
  4. Round or tear-drop (anatomical) implants
  5. Various sizes of implants
  6. Different sites for the incision (breast fold, armpit or nipple areola complex)

Breast Lift Goals
Breast lift surgery is designed to elevate sagging breasts and restore their youthful, perky stature. Gravity, pregnancy and weight gain have a way of stretching even smaller breasts over time. Weight loss may leave breasts less firm and a bit saggy. Breast lift surgery involves elevating the nipples and lightening the breast skin to restore breasts to an attractive shape.

Breast Lift with Breast Augmentation Goals
The lift removes the excess skin and reduces sagging (pushes things “up and in”). The implant fills the remaining breast skin, adding contour and fullness where minimal breast tissue is insufficient (pushes things “out and down”). As you can see, the forces are opposing, and for that reason, there is a 20 % revision rate for this procedure.

What Makes the Difference?
What makes the biggest difference in outcomes is that the most successful plastic surgeons use the following techniques and protocols:

  1. Minimal blood loss, bruising and swelling by using electrocautery for dissection of the pocket, as well as, gentle manipulation of the tissues
  2. Smaller incisions
  3. No sutures for removal
  4. Specialised instruments for accurate placement of an implant
  5. Adequate pain relief postoperatively
  6. No drains or wraps to manage
  7. Avoidance of blood thinning agents perioperatively (cease multi-vitamins, aspirin, NSAIDs etc.)

 

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Tim – Sydney Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

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

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Breast reduction surgery is designed to make the breasts smaller and lighter to alleviate the problems of symptomatic macromastia. However, the surgeon performing the breast reduction is the most important determinant of the quality of the result. There are many different techniques for breast reduction, and each surgeon has his or her own preferences based on experience and patient needs. Often, breast reduction is combined with a breast lift.

To learn more about breast reduction, request a consultation by contacting us at 13000DRTIM or emailing us at info@drtim.com.au 

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Most plastic surgeons favour the infra-mammary incision location for most breast implants. The peri-areolar incision is made as a semicircle at the lower border of the pigmented areola. It does heal beautifully in most cases and uses the interface of the darker and lighter pigmented skin to camouflage the incision. For patients with small areolae, it may be preferable to use the infra-mammary incision, located underneath the breast. This incision also heals very well, and is especially useful for women with well defined creases under their breasts.

The axillary incision (in the armpit) is another option, but it’s better suited for saline implants than silicone gel. Because this access incision is a greater distance from the implant pocket, it’s less precise than the peri-areolar and infra-mammary approaches. Studies have confirmed that there is a higher implant revision rate using the axillary approach. Usually the axillary scars heal well, but they may still be visible when the patient wears sleeveless outfits. There is also a higher rate of breast implant infections with the peri-areolar and axillary approaches.

Patients frequently ask what effect the incision location has on maintaining nipple sensation after surgery. The answer is that the access incision usually has little effect on nipple sensation. Rather, it’s the size of the implant pocket that has the largest impact on nipple sensation. Large implants may require a pocket that stretches the nerves to the point that they do not function well, increasing the odds of impaired nipple sensation. Even so, the vast majority of my patients maintain normal nipple sensation.

Breast implants may be placed over or under the pectoralis major muscle. In the early days of breast augmentation, all implants were placed on top of the muscle. However, in recent decades, it has become more common to place implants underneath the pectoralis major muscle. The muscle covers the top half of the implant, providing additional thickness of coverage over the implant in the critical cleavage area. This makes it less likely that the implant edges or ripples will be visible when wearing a bra or swimsuit. Studies have also shown that the rate of capsular contracture is lower when the implants are placed under the muscle. Breast imaging to screen for breast cancer is more accurate when the implants are placed behind the muscle. For these reasons, I prefer to place implants underneath the muscle for most of my breast implant patients.

 

To learn more about breast augmentations, request a consultation by contacting us at 13000DRTIM or emailing us at info@drtim.com.au