This last month I performed plastic surgery on two sets of couples. One was a young couple in their early thirties who had recently gotten engaged and wanted to do a little body reshaping with liposuction before their wedding in the spring. The other couple was a military wife and husband. The husband had initiated the plastic surgery visit – he had lost a lot of weight and had some extra skin that needed trimming and also wanted gynecomastia surgery. When he told his wife he was going to come in for a consultation, she also wanted to get something done and had a “mommy makeover” – breast augmentation with tummy tuck.
I’ve operated on many couples who underwent their plastic surgery together. For most couples, they are able to provide support and understanding through each other’s procedures. Sometimes they have surgery the same day, but in most cases that they choose different days so they can take turns taking care of each other. Couples also come in together for office procedures like botox or filler. Regardless, couples plastic surgery is becoming increasingly more common as men are having more plastic surgery procedures. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery, last year, 9 percent of cosmetic procedures, around 1,194,000 were performed on men. In my practice, being in Los Angeles, where men are more open to plastic surgery, the percentage is even higher.
I personally enjoy taking care of couples as patients, especially being married myself. Their overall experience is usually greatly enhanced by sharing it with their partner and it’s a privilege for me to be a part of.
Dr. Catherine Begovic
50th anniversary of silicone breast implants – 1st ever breast implant recipient shares her experience.
Timmie Jean Lindsey is now an 80 year old great grandma. She was the first patient to receive silicone breast implants in 1962 from the surgeon who invented them. Amazingly enough, her original implants have never leaked or ruptured, but she does have some scar tissue. She said that her breast tissue only started to sag when she turned 70.
She feels fortunate to have participated in the evolution of breast implants especially when one of her granddaughters had to have breast reconstruction after a double mastectomy for breast cancer. She was happy that her granddaughter and other breast cancer survivors are able to feel whole again after breast cancer surgery.
As with any medical device, the current silicone breast implants have undergone extensive testing and FDA approval. They have undergone major improvements since their first appearance in 1962. We have to thank Great Grandma Timmie for being the first one to undergo this surgery which has allowed so many women to enjoy a fuller, more feminine shape.
Dr. Cat Begovic
Posted in: Plastic Surgery in the News | October 29, 2011 | Comments Off
This week a 30 year old woman was rushed into the hospital short of breath and coughing blood and almost died after being injected in her buttocks and other areas with liquid silicone at a house party. The silicone was not medical silicone found in implants, but instead liquid silicone similar to the type that one could purchase in hardware stores. A 22 year old woman who showed up at UCLA Medical Center from similar injections performed in Mexico died despite the physicians’ best efforts. There are many other cases of similar deaths and complications from these procedures which are illegal.
Liquid silicone can be absorbed into the blood stream and travel to the lungs and brain causing “silicone embolism syndrome” which can be fatal. Death when it travels to the lungs is 20% and when it travels to the brain is almost 100%.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons cautions against these illicit procedures which may be on the rise because of patients’ inability to afford licensed plastic surgeons. Patient’s are advised to do their homework and make sure their physicians have the proper training and credentials.
I recommend that patients who wish to to have volume added to their face, buttocks, or other areas see a trained plastic surgeon for a consultation. Your surgeon will be able to discuss with you different options that are the standard of care for achieving your desired shape. When patients ask me about uncommon alternatives or cheaper options in foreign countries, I always remind them that for elective cosmetic surgery, safety and health come first. The rules and regulations here in the United States are to protect patients and are based on established standards of care. Doing something outside these standards is never work risking your health or your life.
Dr. Catherine Begovic M.D.
On Wednesday 6/22/11, the Food and Drug Administration announced that early findings from an analysis of safety issues and adverse events associated with silicone-gel breast implants revealed no new concerns. Therefore, the agency said it will allow the devices to remain on the market.
The Los Angeles Times (6/23, Mai-duc) stated that the FDA said the analysis conducted on more than 80,000 women over 10 years by implantmanufacturers “indicates that they have a ‘reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness’ when used properly. … ‘What we can say is the current data doesn’t indicate that silicone gel-filled breast implants are linked to breast cancer, connective tissue disease or infertility,’”
However, women considering breast augmentation with silicone breasts implants should discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives with their plastic surgeon. It is important for women to understand that 20 percent to 40 percent of patients who have implants for cosmetic reasons will need another operation to modify or remove them within eight to 10 years. I always encourage women to do their research and have all their questions answered before proceeding with any cosmetic surgery procedure.
Dr. Cat Begovic M.D.
New data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that breast enhancement surgery continues to increase. Last year, surgeons performed 296,203 breast implants – a 2% increase from 2009 and a 39% increase since 2000.
Overall, doctors performed 13.1 million cosmetic procedures in 2010, a 5 % increase compared with 2009.
How does this relate to you? If you are considering a plastic procedure you likely know someone who had it done. I always recommend patients get as much information as possible before proceeding with a procedure. Sometimes it’s helpful to talk to friends who had the procedure done to get their perspective.
Regardless, you should always feel comfortable talking to your surgeon and asking as many questions as possible about results, recovery, and what to expect.
Posted in: Plastic Surgery in the News | March 22, 2011 | Comments Off
I’d like to share a remarkable story from the Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery department at UCLA where I received my training. When it comes to Plastic and Reconstructive surgery, many people instantly think of cosmetic surgery – breast augmentations, rhinoplasty, lip filler, botox. Although that makes up a large part of many plastic surgeons’ practice, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery is a broad field and includes breast reconstruction for breast cancer patients, cleft lip and palate surgery for children, facial reconstruction after trauma, chest wall reconstruction for patients with complications after cardiac surgery, as well as hand surgery to name a few. Every plastic surgeon who went through an accredited plastic surgery training program is versed in all areas of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.
This month, a young mother who lost her right hand in a traffic accident five years ago was the first person to receive a hand transplant in California and the 13th in the U.S. She couldn’t tie her shoelaces or braid her daughter’s hair. This was performed at the UCLA hand transplant unit of the Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Department. The goal of plastic surgery is to make patients whole again and to improve their quality of life. I’m incredibly proud to have trained at an institution that helped this young woman get her life back again.
Dr. Catherine Huang Begovic
Before performing any procedure, minor or major, my number one priority is the patient’s safety. An important part of the process is a pre-op medical clearance.
I make sure an internist checks each patient’s complete medical history and physical condition. I do this to make sure that he or she is healthy enough to undergo general anesthesia. I also personally communicate with his or her doctor to discuss the patient’s medications, what kind of surgery is to be done, and how long he or she will be under anesthesia. Based on this information, the patient’s internist can determine the safety of under going surgery, and wecome up with a plan together for any medical issues that may arise. I believe good communication is essential for the patient’s safety. I also personally review the pre-op history and physical exam results with my anesthesiologist to make sure that he/she is 100% comfortable and well prepared. I consider the three of us a team and this pre-surgery safety check helps ensure that the patient will have a safe and positive experience.
Sometimes patients feel that it is inconvenient to go through all the tests and lab work, but without proper pre-operative evaluations, there can be serious consequences. There was a bill signed in 2009, the Donda West Law that mandated all patients undergoing elective cosmetic surgery have a medical history, physical exam and signed clearance from all doctors concerned before the procedure. This bill was created after the passing of Dr. Donda West, the entertainer Kanye West’s mother, who underwent surgery without proper clearance and died. The bill has since then been vetoed, but that doesn’t take away the importance of medical clearance.
This is just the first step in the process to having a safe and positive plastic surgery experience!
Dr. Catherine Huang Begovic