Medical risks exist in cosmetic surgery decision

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December 28, 2018 - 2:08 PM

Dear Dr. Roach: My fiancee wants to have her breasts lifted, as they are starting to sag. Also, she wants to get them augmented a cup larger. What are your thoughts on this subject? Also, what are the medical risks involved for either procedure? — Anon.

Answer: I have had many patients ask my opinion about cosmetic surgery, and I have found it wise to confine my comments to the medical risks of the procedure and to refrain from offering an opinion on appearance. It’s up to the person to decide whether he or she wants it.

Most women who undergo mastopexy (lifting procedure) or implantation (augmentation) are happy with their results and do not have complications. However, the risks of a complication are not zero — any surgery can have complications. The immediate postoperative risk in an augmentation with implant is less than 1 percent for a local hematoma (blood collection), less than 0.5 percent for infection, and much less than 1 percent for a serious adverse event like a leg blood clot. In a recent study, the reported overall complication rate was 10 percent (pain and nipple numbness are among the most common), and the vast majority of women would repeat the surgery.

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