The safety of mommy makeover surgery is the utmost priority of any prudent surgeon. While it is true that combo procedures may pose some challenges due to the possibility of increased bleeding and higher surgical trauma, leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley says there are well-established parameters that promote patient welfare.
Mommy makeover surgery is any combination of body contouring surgeries designed to improve the patient’s post-pregnancy body. While it involves a highly customized approach, it usually combines some type of breast enhancement and tummy tuck.
Dr. Smiley says that most combo surgeries involving the breasts and tummy are completed 3-4 hours, which is within the “safe operative time.” Medical literature has shown that the operative time is an independent predictor of complication, with one study concluding that after 4.5 hours of surgery the risks could triple.
The study, which was conducted at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, has also shown that after about seven hours, the risk of complication could increase by up 4.7 times.
Hence, a more extensive mommy makeover might be performed in stages to minimize risk of complications, as suggested by experts.
To further promote patient safety, Dr. Smiley highlights the importance of performing surgeries attended by a board-certified anesthesiologist, who not just administers the anesthesia, but also monitors critical life functions such as oxygen level, breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate.
Of course, the safety of mommy makeover surgery also largely depends on the attending plastic surgeons. With the proliferation of professional organizations and board-certifying bodies, Dr. Smiley says that the American Board of Plastic Surgery remains the “gold standard” as all its members have passed rigorous background check, training, and oral and written exams which they are required to take every 10 years.
He says that members of this prestigious medical board must adhere to strict rules specifically created to protect patient wellbeing and to promote safety. For instance, they can only perform their surgeries in an accredited operating room.
Unfortunately, most state laws allow any doctor to offer cosmetic surgery even if he has no specific training in such a highly niche practice. In fact, some podiatrists, oral surgeons, and obstetricians have been operating “beauty clinics” that offer breast augmentation and facelift, which is a detriment to public safety and health.
Some states such as New York even allow non-specialist doctors to perform cosmetic surgeries without being accompanied by a nurse or an anesthesiologist.
Hence, Dr. Smiley says that as a prudent consumer, one must verify his or her plastic surgeon’s certifications by the ABPS. Other reputable specialty professional organizations include the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
And lastly, the use of innovative technologies and techniques has bolstered patient safety during combo plastic surgeries, says Dr. Smiley. One good example is the Cell Saver, a piece of equipment that collects red blood cells that are re-infused into the patient while still on the operating table and thus keeps blood loss to a minimum.