Many plastic surgeons perform breast lifts and breast augmentations together in one operation—but in the past, some concerns have been raised about whether combining the two procedures is safe.
According to a report in this month’s Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal, as long as plastic surgeons adhere to “appropriate patient selection and a carefully planned operative approach,” there’s no reason to divide the procedures into two separate operations.
For the study, lead author Dr. Michael Bradley Calobrace and his colleagues reviewed 430 breast lift procedures performed between 2005 and 2009, 332 of which also involved placing implants, and assessed the rates of complications and reoperations.
What they found was that rate of reoperation (the number of women who did not have satisfactory results and had to undergo a second operation) was 13 percent in women who underwent combined surgery—only a 3 percent difference from the rate of reoperation in women who underwent breast lift surgery only (10 percent total).
As is the case with all breast augmentations, the most common complications women experienced after getting simultaneous breast lifts/breast augmentations were scarring, capsular contracture (where the breast tissue surrounding the implant hardens), and ptosis (subsequent sagging of the breasts). The complication rate for women who underwent these combined surgeries was higher than the reoperation rate—about 23 percent—but again, this is not very different from the complication rates for breast lifts or breast augmentations performed individually.
The reason so many plastic surgeons perform breast lifts and augmentations together is that there are significant benefits to having these procedures done together, of course. First and foremost, it means undergoing only one surgery instead of two (reducing the cost of the procedures, as well as the risk to your health that every surgery poses), and it means getting the final results you want more quickly. Most patients who know that getting the two procedures done together is an option request that they be combined. And since it looks like you’re not incurring greater risk by combining these procedures (as long as your surgeon is experienced in performing them together, that is)—it may be something you’ll want to discuss with your plastic surgeon when the time comes!