Cosmetic surgery may even help patients quit smoking

cosmetic surgery benefitsThere are many benefits – as well as cons – to consider when deciding whether to embark on cosmetic surgery and now it seems that quitting the habit could also be one.

Prior to undergoing a major cosmetic surgery procedure, such as a tummy tuck, facelift, breast reduction or breast uplift, I insist on patients stopping smoking for at least eight weeks before the procedure and during the healing period afterwards. Now, a new study published in the September issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, has followed up on cosmetic surgery patients and found that many actually quit smoking in the years after their op.

The lead author of the study, Dr Aaron C. Van Slyke of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver commented, “Our results show an association between cosmetic surgery and smoking cessation at long-term follow-up.” The study interviewed patients who had been smokers prior to their plastic surgery procedure performed five years’ previously. About 40% of patients no longer smoked cigarettes on a daily basis and nearly one-fourth had not smoked at all since their operation.

Dr Van Slyke also pointed to the important role that the cosmetic surgery can play: “Surgeons who request pre-operative smoking cessation may influence patients’ long-term smoking status.” Seventy percent of patients interviewed in the study agreed that discussing the increased surgical risks associated with smoking influenced their desire to quit or reduce smoking.

Other benefits of cosmetic surgery

Increase in confidence: when a physical feature that may have bothered you for many years is altered or enhanced, it can greatly boost self-esteem. For most patients at my Leamington Spa cosmetic surgery clinic, it has been an issue for many years and surgery is a carefully considered option. However, if it is a sudden or recent dislike, then my advice might be to delay surgery at this time.

Improved physical health: although cosmetic surgery is purely elective and not required for medical reasons, there can also be a great improvement in health. Women with overly large breasts, for example, can experience excruciating back and neck pain and this can be greatly reduced or abolished by breast reduction surgery.

Positive lifestyle changes: this research into smoking cessation and cosmetic surgery is one of many recent studies into the potential benefits of cosmetic surgery. In 2013, one study looked at patients undergoing a tummy tuck and found that there was significant and lasting weight loss particularly for those patients that were overweight prior to surgery.

There are many potential pros to cosmetic surgery, but there are also risks to consider as well. During consultations at my Warwickshire cosmetic surgery practice, I always ensure that patients are fully aware of all the possible implications before they make this important decision.

MRHA releases a statement on Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)

breast augmentation risksLast month, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) released a statement on breast implant associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL).

 What is ALCL?

Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma is a very rare sub-type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and last year the World Health Organisation defined a specific type which is breast implant associated.

The most common symptom in women with breast implants seems to be a collection of fluid, known as a seroma, which accumulates six months or more after surgery has taken place. Typically, though, cases develop many years after surgery.

Currently, there is an ongoing investigation by the MHRA into this new form of cancer and their advice is being continually updated as more information is gathered.

Patient safety is always of paramount importance

The MHRA has formed an independent expert advisory group – the Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery Expert Advisory Group (PRASEAG) – who are reviewing the risks associated with breast implants in relation to BIA-ALCL. Their advice will help to guide the actions of the MHRA.

Another important step is the Breast and Cosmetic Implant Registry (BCIR) which was launched in October 2016 in the wake of the PIP breast implant problem. By capturing data on breast implants, this will aid in the early detection of potential issues and provide a mechanism for contacting and managing patients in event of a problem.

Should I be worried about ALCL?

ALCL is very rare but the advice from the MRHA is to seek advice from your plastic surgeon if you develop a seroma or lump in the breast or a swelling around the implant. Currently, the MRHA continues to collect and analyse information on this issue to provide more extensive advice for UK breast implant patients.

The problem seems to be almost exclusively associated with textured surfaced implants and more with one particular type of textured implant than the others. Nagor, the implant brand I use, seems to have an extremely low incidence rate.

As a plastic surgeon, we have received alerts from the MHRA regarding the potential risks of ALCL. Their advice is in line with what I already tell my Warwickshire breast implant patients: regularly check for symptoms relating to your implants, whether that’s lumps, swelling or any changes to the breast, and seek advice immediately if you have any concerns.

During your breast augmentation consultation, we will discuss all potential risks and complications associated with the procedure, so you are fully-informed before making your decision to proceed.