In my years performing plastic surgery in the Temecula and Murrieta area, I’ve seen firsthand many times the emotional boost patients get from cosmetic enhancement. Choosing to have a procedure to improve something a person doesn’t like about himself or herself tends to lead to an enhanced self-image, as well.
Many studies over the years have tracked the way cosmetic surgery can improve our emotional health. Now, though, new research shows it can boost our physical health, too.
A recent study has shown that after a person has bariatric surgery and loses a lot of weight, getting cosmetic procedures to remove excess skin and improve body contour actually helps them keep the weight off. The study, published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, is one of the first to track how cosmetic surgery — considered by some to be simply an expression of vanity — can tangibly affect patients’ health.
For 7 years, Swiss researchers tracked 200 patients who had bariatric surgery, about half of whom then underwent body contouring cosmetic procedures such as tummy tuck surgery. Those who had cosmetic procedures gained much less weight back than those who didn’t, leading the researchers to conclude that body contouring is such a critical component of weight loss that it should be considered reconstructive surgery and therefore covered by insurance.
I’ve heard stories from many of my patients who have said that getting cosmetic surgery was the first step in a mental and physical transformation for them. Improving that one aspect of themselves would jump-start a whole set of lifestyle changes that would often include eating better, getting more exercise, and remembering to treat themselves well.
Until now, evidence of the physical health benefits of cosmetic enhancement was purely anecdotal. This research gives us proof that elective procedures aren’t just about vanity — they’re about self-improvement in all its forms.
It’s one of the primary concerns I hear from patients — what is the right age for a woman to have breast augmentation? At my practice serving Riverside and Murrieta, when I consult with women interested in getting larger breasts, I look at more than just their age. The truth is that there are many factors that go into deciding whether the time is right for surgery. Here are some things that I consider in determining whether someone is a good candidate:
- Development: Although many women have fully developed breasts at age 18, many others reach physical maturity in their early 20s. Having augmentation before the breasts are fully developed may negatively affect a woman’s results.
- Body type: Many women want to achieve the classic hourglass figure, and breast augmentation can help them do that, especially if they have curvy hips and a slim waist. Women with slender hips can also get a more feminine silhouette from augmentation. Different sizes and shapes of implants are more appropriate for women of different proportions. An experienced plastic surgeon with a trained aesthetic eye can help patients determine whether they can benefit from augmentation.
- Weight fluctuation: When a woman gains or loses a lot of weight, it can affect the breasts. If a woman is considering having children in the near future, I recommend she wait until after pregnancy before getting implants. Pregnancy increases the size of the breasts, while breastfeeding results in a loss of volume. Or, if a woman is not planning to have more children but is planning to embark on major weight loss, her breasts could change in size. Those shifts may negatively affect the results of a previous augmentation. I always ask my patients whether they have any plans that could affect their breasts in order to decide whether delaying would be best.
- Cosmetic goals: It’s important that women who are considering this procedure have realistic expectations and that their cosmetic goals are in line with what’s appropriate for their bodies. Women should also want to have this procedure to improve their own self-image, rather than to live up to someone else’s expectations.
It’s tough to say when the “right time” is for breast augmentation. The question should be when the right time is for you. Talking all these factors over with a surgeon can help you find your answer.
Students at Washington State University are getting a lot more than pizza coupons in the latest “Student Survival Guide” to come their way. Amid the colorful advertisements meant to lure students — and their limited funds — to sandwich shops and par-3 golf courses, is a coupon for a sizable discount on breast augmentation. The thought that college-aged girls might be interested in increasing more than their GPAs has generated several conversations and a lot of media attention around the U.S. I thought it would be a good topic to share with my Riverside-area plastic surgery patients.
Some critics have decried the inclusion of the coupon in the so-called “Survival Guide,” arguing against the implication that a young woman needs breast augmentation to survive college. Indeed, most good plastic surgeons are quick to point out that prospective patients should consider cosmetic surgery of any kind only to improve their own self-image, rather to conform to societal ideals or pressures.
Some responded to the news with simple incredulity that breast augmentation is what strapped-for-cash college students would spend their money on, even with a coupon, while they simultaneously rack up student loans. It’s true that the procedure can put a dent in the wallet, and cost should be a consideration and a topic of discussion between any patient and her surgeon.
Others say that the advertisement represents a shift in cultural attitudes toward plastic surgery. More people than ever support a woman’s choice to get breast implants, or otherwise make aesthetic improvements to her body. Gone are the days when plastic surgery was considered a taboo topic. The coupon may just be a sign of the times.
Women in college are adults, old enough to decide whether breast augmentation is right for them. The real conversation should be about informing them that the best way to choose the right plastic surgeon isn’t about who is offering the best coupon. They should select a surgeon based on qualifications, experience, and board certification. A good surgeon can also help a young woman by exploring her goals and motivations, managing her expectations, and determining if — and when — surgery is the right path.
Read more about the coupon on The Spokesman-Review newspaper website, then leave a comment here to tell us what you think.
You’ve heard this old adage: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” This timeless advice can be applied to almost anything, from shopping for a new car to booking a vacation package. When your body and health are at stake, it’s extra important to do your research. So the next time you’re browsing through the dozens of procedures offered by Temecula plastic surgeons, I recommend a few foolproof ways to pick a surgical option that’s tried and true instead of too good to be true:
- Beware of empty promises. Natural-looking, lasting results take time, and, in many cases, some degree of expense. Doctors and products that advertise miraculous results for a small amount of time or money are probably fibbing. At their worst, these options can be downright dangerous. Procedures such as “lifestyle lifts” that are marketed as easy facelift alternatives or cosmetic products that claim to provide surgery-caliber results probably aren’t worth your time.
- Be on the lookout for novelties. Though it can take months or even years for a product or procedure to be approved by the FDA, it’s worth the wait. The FDA approval process ensures that new cosmetic procedures are safe and effective and provide predictable results. Products and procedures that are supposedly popular in other countries or are secret favorites of celebrities probably haven’t been approved by the FDA. Though non-FDA-approved products are legal, their results are unpredictable and potentially dangerous.
- Avoid guarantees. It seems counterintuitive, but the word “guarantee” is a big red flag in the world of cosmetic surgery. All patients are different. Although a skilled doctor using FDA-approved products and techniques can create some incredible results, they’re never guaranteed. A trustworthy doctor or aesthetician will thoroughly explain what you can expect from your procedure, as well as the potential risks associated with it.
A recent story out of Beijing reads like an urban legend: an unsuspecting woman’s breast implants burst, earning her a trip to the hospital and a place in the “plastic surgery gone wrong” hall of fame. Doctors say poor quality implants combined with excessive pressure caused them to rupture.
Luckily, cases like these are rare, especially in the United States. For patients seeking breast augmentation in Riverside and beyond, these are 3 simple precautions I recommend in order to avoid finding yourself in the headlines or the hospital.
- Find a board-certified surgeon. In most states, anyone with an M.D. is legally permitted to perform surgery—which is why choosing a board-certified cosmetic surgeon is so important. Board certification ensures that the surgeon has received intensive plastic surgery training in addition to standard medical and surgical training.
- Choose FDA-approved implants. There are only two kinds of implants approved for use in the United States: saline and silicone. Though the decision to use one or the other depends on many factors, it’s important to choose an implant made with these materials. The rigorous FDA approval process ensures that drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices like breast implants are effective and safe to use. The world of plastic surgery is full of exciting innovations, but when it comes to your health, it pays to be patient.
- Follow postoperative instructions. You’ve done your research, consulted with a surgeon, and your big day is finally here. Great! There’s just one more step: following your post-op instructions. After surgery, give yourself plenty of time for rest and recuperation. The recommendations vary from doctor to doctor, but plan to be off your feet for at least a few days. Don’t undo years of planning and your surgeon’s hard work by forcing yourself to jump back in to your regular lifestyle if you don’t feel ready. If you have any questions, consult your surgeon.