The use of antibiotics has become a common post-op treatment after breast augmentation. However, some doctors believe that taking these medications prior to surgery could further minimize the risk of infection and capsular contracture or hardening of the surrounding scar tissue, which happens when the body overreacts from bacterial contamination.
Infection should be avoided or at least treated immediately because it could lead to a more serious complication that may require implant extraction.
Take note that each doctor has his own pre- and post-op requirements, making it important that you carefully follow your surgeon’s specific advice.
But for the sake of helping you understand the purpose of antibiotics, leading plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smaili has provided some general information about the drugs and why they have become a common part of post-op treatment:
* Some surgeons recommend the use of bactrim, which is a type of antibiotic, for patients who are prone to chest acne for at least two least weeks before surgery. The theory is that reducing the likelihood of acne can also minimize the risk of breast implant infection and capsular contracture.
Acne harbors a wide range of bacteria including Staph Aureus, which is believed to cause infection.
* At the time of surgery, some doctors use a combination of antibiotics (e.g., Kefzol and Ciprofloxacin) to prevent or at least minimize bacterial contamination.
* Make sure that you take your antibiotics on time and in accordance to your surgeon’s instruction to make sure you enjoy the drugs’ full benefits and minimize risk of infection.
Take your antibiotics for as many days as your doctor says and do not attempt to stop just because you feel you okay. Not following your surgeon’s advice could result in antibiotic-resistant infections.
* Some patients develop itching and rashes from using narcotics and antibiotics. Allergic reaction may appear on the tummy, breast, and other parts of the body.
In case you develop allergic reaction, you should immediately contact your surgeon who may recommend changing your antibiotics or discontinuing them completely.
* Some doctors recommend antibiotics prior to “extensive” dental work and surgeries to prevent infection that may lead to capsular contracture. However, no comprehensive scientific study has proven that these medications really help prevent scar tissue hardening.
Over the past few years, breast augmentation has been the most commonly performed cosmetic surgery in the US. In 2012 alone, about 286,000 procedures were conducted, according to a survey published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Rhinoplasty surgery, or more commonly referred to as nose job, aims to cosmetically improve the central feature of the face. But in some cases, the procedure is also used to correct breathing problems and abnormal airflow.
One of the most common concerns of rhinoplasty patients is their asymmetrical nostrils, which not only lead to facial imbalance but also to breathing difficulties especially if there is a significant size gap.
More often than not, the asymmetrical nostrils can be corrected by rhinoplasty. But you have to realize that the surgery is a highly complex one, so it is a sacrosanct rule to only consult a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery; never go to non-specialists because they accounted for the majority of botched results.
While the asymmetrical nostrils are sometimes caused by abnormal growth, more often than not these are due to overcorrection or over-aggressive previous rhinoplasty. If the problem is caused by the latter, it is important that you consult a highly skilled surgeon.
To address the asymmetric appearance, your doctor would fix the cartilage inside the nose. Remember that while it is possible to make the size and shape of the nostrils almost similar, do not expect perfection (fortunately, this is not a problem since it is cosmetically acceptable, and the faces really have a slight imbalance).
As with any cosmetic surgery, the aim of rhinoplasty is to create natural-looking results rather than “perfectly” symmetrical outcome simply because it is hard, if not impossible, to achieve them.
If there is a significant asymmetry in the nostrils, i.e., those with cleft lip, plastic surgeons will most likely use grafting to address the deficient bone and soft tissue. But in such cases, improvements are quite difficult, although doctors will utilize every effort to make the appearance near normal.
Meanwhile, asymmetry that is caused by deviated septum (the vertical tissue separating the left and right nostrils) is corrected by septoplasty, which is a rhinoplasty technique that particularly targets this area. It aims to address breathing difficulties and abnormal airflow and at the same time improve the nose’s appearance.
Last year alone, about 244,000 rhinoplasties were performed in the US, making it the second most popular cosmetic surgery, according to a survey conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Because the breast implant pocket is positioned far from the skin tissue, the tattoo needle does not pose any threat to the stability of the device. In fact, plastic surgeons even use tattoo in breast reconstruction after cancer surgery in order to create the pigmented areola.
Nevertheless, you still have to consider that unhygienic equipment could lead to bacterial contamination. For this reason, it is important that you only go to a reputable artist who uses sterile needles and individually distributed pigments.
Some plastic surgeons are particularly concerned with the spread of bacteria through the bloodstream, which can transpire with the use of unhygienic tattoo equipment. If this happens, the presence of low-grade bacteria could lead to hardening of the breast implant pocket (but not the implant itself), which is a condition called capsular contracture.
Many experts suggest that capsular contracture is triggered by the presence of non-virulent bacteria that adhere to the implant shell. And after several weeks or months, the body reacts by creating more collagen or scar tissue around the device until it becomes too thick and dense.
In severe cases of capsular contracture, the breast tissue becomes too hard and there is a visible deformity.
Simply put, the breast implants are under multiple layers of tissue and fat that there is no way the needle could puncture the shell, although the real concern is the risk of bacterial contamination, something which can be minimized by finding a reputable artist who uses sterile equipment.
In 2011, about 307,000 women underwent breast augmentation via implants, making it the most popular cosmetic surgery, according to data released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
About 1.1 million cosmetic procedures, both non-surgical treatments and plastic surgery, were performed on African-Americans last year, according to a survey released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
Blacks accounted for about 8 percent of all cosmetic procedures conducted in 2011, a 6 percent increase from the previous year. This is quite notable since they belong to a minority once known for shunning plastic surgeries.
While there are still some pressure from the community and cultural stigmas, a growing number of African-American women are deciding to have cosmetic procedures and plastic surgeries.
Liposuction was the most popular plastic surgery among blacks last year, according to ASPS data. The procedure involves removing the “stubborn” fats that sit close to the skin and do not respond well to diet and regular exercise.
But unlike Caucasian women who want a slender appearance, most African-American patients express their desire to maintain their “curves.”
The second most popular procedure among black patients was breast reduction surgery in which the excess skin, fats, and tissue are removed through incisions made directly on the breasts.
In some cases, breast reduction is performed beyond cosmetic reasons; this is particularly true for women who are suffering from physical symptoms such as back and shoulder pain, discomfort, poor body posture, skin irritation, pain within the bra strap, and breathing problems.
If performed to treat discomfort, the procedure is more often than not covered by health insurance.
The third most popular cosmetic surgery was breast augmentation, which is the opposite of breast reduction. In this procedure, doctors use saline or silicone implants to augment the bust size of their patients.
While body contouring surgeries are increasingly becoming common among African-Americans, it seems not to be the case in facial rejuvenation procedures like Botox, dermal fillers, and facelift probably due to the characteristics of their skin.
The old saying, “blacks don’t crack,” may have some truth as their skin is not prone to “cracks” that cause wrinkles and fine lines. And because they have more melanin, which is a skin pigment that protects them from the harmful UV rays, and they produce more oil, they are less prone to skin aging.
But even a “strong” skin is not exempted from signs of facial aging, making dermal fillers, Botox injection, and microdermabrasion as the three most popular non-surgical enhancements among African-Americans last year.
Dermal fillers like collagen correct the gaunt appearance caused by loss of facial fats; Botox paralyzes the muscles to minimize the wrinkles and deep lines; and microdermabrasion removes the top layer of the skin to rejuvenate it.
With the aging baby boomers in the US, in 2011 alone about 119,000 facelift surgeries were conducted by board-certified plastic surgeons, making it the fifth most popular cosmetic surgery.
While facelift aims to rejuvenate the face by minimizing the wrinkles and sagging appearance, it does not offer a lasting result or stop the aging process. But knowing that the surgery’s lifespan is affected by a patient’s lifestyle, at least she could do certain things that may prolong her youthful appearance.
The exact lifespan of facelift largely depends on the technique used by surgeons. For instance, a surgery involving only the loose skin does not give long lasting results, making the procedure less popular nowadays. With skin-only facelift, the rejuvenated appearance could only last between three and six years.
On the other hand, SMAS facelift in which plastic surgeons go deeper into the tissue layers and muscles can provide results that may last for up to eight to ten years. In addition, the approach can significantly rejuvenate the face by tightening the jaw line and neck area.
But some younger patients deem SMAS facelift too invasive for them, so they ask for a minimally invasive approach such as the mini lift, which targets the mid facial region. But one downside is that they will eventually need the traditional technique if they want to maintain their appearance.
With mini facelift, patients should expect that the result would last an average of 2-4 years.
In case the wrinkles and sagging return, there is no problem repeating the procedure. However, patients should realize that revision facelifts only last an average of 2-7 years, depending on the surgical technique applied.
Because some of the tissue manipulation has already occurred, a revision facelift does not provide the same rejuvenating effect of the initial surgery.
One way to prolong the result of facelift is by complementing it with volume restoration, i.e., fat transfer or dermal fillers, and ancillary procedures like neck lift, eyebrow lift, and eyelid lift. While this means additional cost, at least patients enjoy a rejuvenated appearance that could last for up to 12 years.
But plastic surgery can only do so much. Patients should also do their part to prolong the result of facelift; this includes living a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a normal weight, avoiding too much alcohol and smoking, and protecting the skin from the harmful UV rays.
Perhaps keeping a normal weight is the most crucial part of facelift “maintenance” as massive weight fluctuations more often than not result to jowling and excess skin and fats in the neck.