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 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”

Breast Augmentation Part 3 of 4: The Plastic Surgeon

I am amazed at how many patients spend more time shopping for a TV or washing machine than they spend selecting a plastic surgeon. Selecting your surgeon should be the single most important thing that you can do to assure an optimal result.

You should have a checklist of essential things to look for in a plastic surgeon:

1)  Certified by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the only college recognised by the Australian Medical Council that can train surgeons in Australia

2)  Be a Member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)

3)  Has hospital privileges to do breast augmentation at an accredited hospital or day surgery facility

4)  Subspecialises in cosmetic surgery

5)  Super specialises in breast augmentation

6)  Recommended by a knowledgeable friend or doctor

7)  Has a curriculum vitae that documents scientific presentations and publications

There are also a few less reliable points that I would like to address when choosing a plastic surgeon. Advertisements and media coverage is paid for by the plastic surgeon and does not necessarily reflect how knowledgeable, competent or experienced they are. Your local doctor may not be in the know of who is best to do breast augmentation and may not have an interest in cosmetic surgery to find out either. Some just refer to surgeons who are their friends from medical school, are in the local area and thus convenient, or who may be paid for by the surgeon to refer you. Never listen to recommendations from anyone who is an “armchair expert” or who has no in-depth knowledge of breast augmentation.

At the end of the day, look at the plastic surgeon’s results to see how good they are. Be very careful with “glamour shots” that can deceive because of lighting, patient positioning and camera angle. They may even be “photo-shopped” or airbrushed. Some plastic surgeons may have models as patients that they have operated on their face but not their breasts (which was performed by another surgeon) and use them for advertising breast augmentation.

There are a further number of “red flags” that you should take notice of. These are:

1)  Completed training in a specialty other than plastic surgery

2)  Certified in an unrelated college

3)  Not a member of ASPS and ASAPS

4)  No hospital privileges

5)  If you are given false or misleading information – claims that are too good to be true.

6)  Unwilling to provide you answers to questions regarding credentials or their curriculum vitae

7)  When the office staff are not courteous, knowledgeable, or don’t spend enough time with you, and don’t tell you what you need to know. Beware of staff who give you all fluff, but no substance, and don’t offer to send you any information. Always insist that the price is broken down into the following categories: surgeon fees, anaesthetist fees, costs of implants, operating room fees, hospital stay fees, laboratory fees, mammogram or ultrasound fees, any other fees. Ask how long the prices on the quote last for. Remember, there is no such thing as bargain surgery. Have you ever seen top-quality surgery for a bargain price? How is the bargain surgeon able to offer such a good price?

When visiting the plastic surgeon’s rooms, look around and take notice of the little things. It should be a quiet, comfortable and modern, an atmosphere that reflects the good taste of the plastic surgeon. The organisation, function, and flow of the plastic surgeon’s office is a reflection of the surgeon’s personality and habits. Think about it. If the office looks messy and unclean, doesn’t that reflect badly on the surgeon who accepts this scenario?

Most of the time, you will recognise a good plastic surgeon without the surgeon having to tell you. If they have integrity, are caring and thorough, then this will definitely contribute to what you will get in the operating room and after.

Question:  What factors do you consider important when choosing a plastic surgeon to perform a breast augmentation? You can leave a comment below.

Cosmetic Surgery Tip #18: You can move fat from elsewhere on your body to your boobs or butt

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It’s a new process called autologous fat transfer. The purpose of fat grafting is to augment or fill in volume-deficient areas. Of course, you must have donor sites from which fat can be taken. It is important that you do not have any circulation problems, either from a medical condition or smoking. Few people are candidates for this procedure to the breasts. If you desire a modest increase in breast size, you are a good candidate for fat grafting to the breast, but your breasts should already have a nice shape and good skin tone. If you have poor skin, sagging breasts, or want a significant increase in breast size, breast augmentation with fat transfer is not for you. The problem with only using fat for breast enhancement lies in getting large volumes of fat to predictably “take.” Many people who desire a fuller, more rounded buttock will opt for a “Brazilian butt lift,” which uses fat transfer to provide a more curvaceous buttock without the use of an implant. Liposuction is commonly used to both sculpt the surrounding area and collect the autologous fat to be injected.

Photo Credit: Saul Steinberg “Masquerade”

Cosmetic Surgery Tip #19: You can get an areola or nipple reduction

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Oftentimes women who get a breast reduction or lift will also have an areola or nipple reduction so the nipple-areola complex is proportional to the new size of the breast. The area around the nipple is very forgiving when scarring.

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 #27: Do not take Aspirin or Aspirin-Containing Products

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Aspirin is not recommended prior to surgery because it is an anti-coagulant (blood thinner) and can promote bleeding during surgery.  Aspirin therapy should be discontinued two weeks prior to surgery.

Photo Credit: Saul Steinberg “Masquerade”

Cosmetic Surgery tip #30: Supplement with a natural stool softener

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After surgery, many patients find that they are very constipated for several days which can cause discomfort.  Dehydration, narcotics and anaesthetic agents used during surgery all contribute to the digestive issue.  You can prevent this problem by eating a few prunes each day just prior to and after your surgery.  You can also take medical stool softeners like oral Dulcolax® or Microlax® enema for post-op constipation.

Photo Credit: Saul Steinberg “Masquerade”

Dangers of Excessive Weight Loss

Many women that I see for body contouring usually have tried exercise and dieting to some extent or other prior to resorting to liposuction or surgery. A minority of women have taken drastic measures like excessive gymming or starvation diets to try and fit into single digit or low teen dress sizes. This can, however, cause irreparable health problems like the following:

  • no menstrual cycle or abnormal menstruation in women.
  • prevent women from becoming pregnant.
  • cause premature delivery, the birth of low-weight babies who are also undernourished.
  • loss of libido due to suppression of Follicle  Stimulating  Hormone (FSH) and other secondary sex hormones in the brain.
  • suppress the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis which is responsible for the release of sex hormones
  • anorexia or poor nutrition can lead to osteoporosis.

My advice is that no weight loss or fitness program should be undertaken without the direct supervision of your doctor.  Whether you should lose weight, how much you should lose and how you should lose it are decisions that should be made by a medical professional, who may need to refer you to a nutritionist or endocrinologist for further work-up and counseling.  If you want to lose weight and keep it off, your doctor must be part of the equation.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Tim  –  Sydney Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

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