A patient’s support team often has concerns about surgery. One of the most important of those concerns is safety. Plastic surgery—like any surgery– carries some degree of risk. An adverse reaction to anesthesia, infection, scarring, blood clots, or loss of sensation due to nerve damage are all possibilities. With appropriate preparation beforehand, these risks can be minimized. Being in good health, temporarily discontinuing certain medications, and screening for allergies can all lower the risks of surgery.
Breast augmentation and chest reconstruction are considered low risk procedures when performed by board certified plastic surgeon (BCPS) in properly certified surgical facilities. Board Certification indicates that the surgeon has had specialized training, and hospital or clinic certification indicates that standards of hygiene and care must be met and are periodically monitored and confirmed. A BCPS is also required to perform surgery in an accredited surgical facility.
Breast augmentation carries similar risks and possible complications regardless of the sex or gender identity of the person undergoing surgery.According to current research, there is no significant difference in safety between silicone and saline implants used in breast augmentation.
Complications may include formation of scar tissue around the implant (capsular contracture), rupture of an implant, bleeding, infection, decrease or loss of sensitivity of nipples or breast skin, and excessive scarring. Although most breast implants will last a lifetime, implant manufacturers grant limited warranties and stipulate that replacement surgery may be required after ten years. Most follow up surgery, however, is a result of patients’ wanting to change the size or type of implant or to correct for bodily changes due to weight gain or loss.
Some of the risks associated with chest reconstruction top surgery include loss of sensitivity of nipples or chest skin which may be temporary or permanent, excessive scarring, bleeding, or infection. There is a potential loss of nipple graft from tissue death. Follow up surgery may be required to minimize scars or revise nipple placement if a patient desires. Excessive weight gain or loss can also prompt revision surgery.
In the hands of a skilled surgeon, top surgery is low risk and produces high rates of patient satisfaction.
A supportive partner, relative, or friend can be helpful as you prepare for your surgery. aintaining a stable weight before surgery is important, as drastic weight loss or gain will impact skin elasticity. Abstaining from smoking or drinking alcohol for as long as possible before and after surgery will also minimize the risk of complications. Drug use, prescription or otherwise, should be discontinued, under a physician’s supervision; this mainly refers to blood thinning medications which can cause excessive bleeding during surgery. A healthy diet and exercise program will also lower the risk of complications.
Choosing the Right Surgeon
A major consideration in ensuring top surgery safety is choosing the right plastic surgeon and the right surgical facility. Support group members can help by checking the credentials of potential surgeons, researching facilities, and investigating patient reviews and online forums for patient comments.