Breast implant augmentation, as well as, revisional breast surgery (removal/replacement) and breast lift (mastopexy) are among the most popular cosmetic surgical procedures and in fact, are steadily increasing in demand. The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), which consists solely of Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons with special expertise in aesthetic surgery, just released annual statistics for 2020. The verified data reveals that cosmetic plastic surgery has increased in popularity even amid the COVID-19 pandemic with statistics revealing over $9 billion spent on aesthetic plastic surgery in 2020.
Once again, the surgical procedures topping the list were cosmetic breast surgery including implant augmentation, implant removal or exchange, and breast lift (mastopexy) procedures along with liposuction body contouring. Also on the rise however were complications or unfavorable results resulting in most cases from breast procedures being performed by non-plastic surgeons or physicians trained in other specialties not credentialed in cosmetic breast surgery or performed in non-accredited facilities such as physician medical offices.
Clinical data consistently confirms that breast implant augmentation and related cosmetic breast surgery are remarkably safe and effective when performed by properly credentialed and experienced board-certified plastic surgeons in accredited surgery centers. Despite the high and growing interest in breast implant augmentation, implant removal or exchange, and breast lift, there is also a confusing and misleading amount of wrong information from aggressive and irresponsible marketing that can lead unknowing patients to unnecessary poor decisions and potential complications that may have lifelong implications.
When considering implant augmentation or other cosmetic breast surgery, here are the 5 most essential things every patient should know:
1) Is the doctor a real plastic surgeon?
Most patients are very surprised to know that any physician with an MD degree can perform any cosmetic surgical procedures including breast augmentation, legally in their own facility even if they have no accredited or validated plastic surgery training!
A board-certified plastic surgeon must complete rigorous and extensive surgical training, pass comprehensive written and oral exams, adhere to a strict Code of Ethics, complete ongoing medical education, and patient safety criteria yearly, and perform surgery only in accredited state-licensed or Medicare-certified facilities. Be careful of confusing marketing and related advertising by physicians who are trained in unrelated specialties and are self-promoted as ‘board-certified cosmetic surgeons’ or other titles that are not recognized specialties by the American Board.
Search below to verify if your surgeon is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). Please note that certification is a voluntary credential. By choosing a plastic surgeon certified by the ABPS, you can be assured that the surgeon has completed the appropriate training and passed comprehensive written and oral examinations covering all plastic surgery procedures.
2) Be careful when price shopping…. fixing complications and unfavorable results can be very expensive!
Elective surgery can be expensive, so it is understandable that many prospective patients are looking for the most cost-effective options. But price shopping can also be very dangerous when it comes to surgical and cosmetic procedures. There is almost always a reason why prices are promoted and advertised as significantly lower than the norm….and it’s usually related to the doctor’s training and experience, lack of specific board certification in plastic surgery, non-certified and unregulated surgical facilities, and lesser quality breast implant products. In these situations, many patients find out after the fact that the adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is more often true than not.
3) Trust and transparency still matter most!
In addition to finding a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon, look for someone who provides all needed and requested information on training and experience, appropriate candidates, medical history and examination, surgical facility, and anesthesia, before and after photos of actual patients, and post-operative as well as long term follow-up care. Trust and transparency are essential in the patient-doctor relationship and essential to safe and effective outcomes.
4) Natural-appearing and balanced results with uncompromising safety should be the goal of every cosmetic surgical procedure!
The fundamental goals of breast augmentation, revision, or a breast lift are improving body contour, correcting asymmetries, and consequently increasing self-confidence. The choice of candidates, selection of implant characteristics, size and dimension, incision placement and implant position, and attention to pre-existing asymmetry or other anatomical variations are critical in achieving the best outcomes.
5) Take your time and do your homework!
Just about everyone can have good patient reviews these days, so do some research on your doctor and his training. Be sure to make a checklist of all concerns, goals, and questions about the procedure and plans. Be sure to look for credible and trusted sources; anyone can post information on the internet and on social media, even if it’s unproven or self-serving. Since the first breast implant was placed in 1963, there have been over 50 years of clinical and basic science research on safety and implant performance as breast augmentation has been one of the most studied and researched areas of aesthetic surgery. Take your time and learn from the best sources…. the most informed patients typically make the best choices and enjoy the most favorable outcomes.
Breast implant augmentation, breast lift, and revisional breast surgery can result in very high patient satisfaction and consequently improve self-confidence and overall quality of life for many patients. Like every cosmetic procedure, the most important criteria in achieving optimal and safe results are the training, experience, and qualifications of the plastic surgeon performing the procedure. Also keep in mind that although breast implants are FDA approved and meticulously regulated, they are not permanent, and lifelong follow-up and yearly examinations are a fundamental and important part of the process.
Additional clinically-proven information and education about breast augmentation and cosmetic surgery can be obtained from the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS). We also encourage any interested patients to stop by EVOLV Plastic Surgery and Medical Aesthetics to discuss any concerns or questions with Dr. Barone or any of the professional staff.