Breast Surgery: Salient Issues to Consider

Dr Charles Randquist, a board-certified plastic surgeon who is a member of Sweden’s Association of Plastic Surgeons and Association for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, said Gummy Bear implants are firmer and more symmetric than other products and their anatomical designs create more natural-looking breasts.


Gummy Bear can be used for both aesthetic reasons and for the surgical reconstruction which is needed by women with mammary deformities and those who have had mastectomies because of cancer.


“For Thai women, breast augmentation is one of the most commonly performed aesthetic procedures, after eye-lifts and nose jobs, respectively,” noted Prof Apirag Chuangsuwanich, president of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of Thailand and a certified plastic surgeon who is a member of both the Board of Surgery (Thailand) and Board of Plastic Surgery (Thailand). “The procedure is now increasingly popular among young women, many in their early 20s,” he said.


According to Prof Apirag, demand for reconstruction surgery from breast-cancer patients in Thailand is quite small, a mere 20% compared to between 60 and 70% of Western women with a similar health problem.


“Those who don’t seek this type of surgery may not know it’s available or they may be afraid of complications or worried about safety. Others feel they have already suffered enough from the disease,” said Prof Apirag.


Dr Randquist noted that breast augmentation is also commonly carried out after surgery for breast cancer. “Very often, we do it in a single stage. I mean, we remove the tumour and put the implant in directly.”


The approach will depend, however, on the type of surgery that the cancer patient has had to undergo. In some cases the plastic surgeon may consider moving fat or flesh from other parts of the body to fill the cavity left by the removal of the malignant tumour.


Reconstructive surgery can also be a recourse for those with mammary abnormalities; for women, for instance, born with a congenital condition where one side of the chest fails to develop normally.


The recovery period for people with breast cancer who undergo a reconstructive procedure is similar to those have elective plastic surgery. “But complications for cancer patients may be higher,” Prof Apirag said, “particularly in some cases that need radiation therapy after surgery.”


Dr Randquist is of the opinion that implants are unlikely to cause breast cancer in women and, more importantly, that they pose no impediment to the detection of this kind of cancer. “Today, with the mammogram, the way we do it, sometimes you need to take different kinds of angles,” he said. “But it’s not a problem because the doctor is well trained in looking at implants and the mammogram.”


Women considering breast augmentation need to take certain precautions and be aware of the potential complications; the latter should be clearly understood and the risk evaluated.


Dr Randquist suggests a shortlist of important questions that women should ask their plastic surgeon before proceeding any further:


– Are you a board-certified plastic surgeon?


– How many years’ experience do you have in doing this kind of surgery?


– How many patients have you operated on?


– Could you show me examples of the work you have done?


– Would it be possible for me to speak to one of your former patients?


“I understand that in some societies it might be difficult because you don’t want to be disrespectful,” Dr Randquist continued. “But you have the responsibility to yourself, your husband, your children and your life. You need to ask those questions even it might be embarrassing.”


The cost of breast augmentation varies a lot from country to country.


In Thailand, the bill for an operation carried out in a private hospital will be in the region of 120,000 baht; in Sweden, Dr Randquist said, it can be double that figure.


“Price is a factor,” he reasoned, “but it shouldn’t be the most important factor in this kind of surgery.”

The market launch of a more cohesive, silicone-gel breast implant called “Gummy Bear” is providing wider options for women who need corrective surgery.


 

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