Deciding to have cosmetic surgery is a big step. There are many serious considerations as well as implications, so before making any decision you need to arm yourself with the correct knowledge. Here’s what to consider.
Cosmetic surgery is not a one-size-fits-all, ‘cookie cutter’ proposition. The enhancements that might look sensational on one person may not suit another. More than just surgical skill is required to achieve the optimum outcome – a personalised approach to each individual is also required. Key to this is finding the right cosmetic surgeon. So where does a would-be patient begin?
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the risks associated with cosmetic surgery and might prioritise surgical bargains over safety. Amidst several recent cases in Australia of botched cosmetic procedures and a number of other recent plastic-surgery-horror stories around the world, patients considering undergoing a surgery might be feeling that the cosmetic industry is chaotic and out-of-control.
Australian media has reported throughout the year different stories of low-budget and low standards cosmetic clinics, where in one location, patients were being duped with low-cost procedures for as little as $5990 being carried out by non-qualified doctors. A clinic insider even admitted that its system “was set up to make money – it was a boob factory” (as reported by the ABC 4 Corners program).
According to the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, with the number of patients opting to undergo plastic surgery rising dramatically over the last 10 years, the chances of hearing a horror story or two is even more likely. With a production-line business model aimed at getting as much volume through the door as possible, together with the cost-saving measure of using doctors who are not qualified surgeons, such clinics are getting rich at the expense of patients.
The prevalence of such low-quality clinics has led to a spike in the number of women suffering from complications, necessitating the establishment of an integrated breast implant check clinics, such as one ran by Dr Michael Yunaev (Specialist Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon) at Breast and Body Clinic.
Dr Yunaev says that “breast revisions may be necessary for a variety of reasons such as breast asymmetry, ‘bottoming out’, capsular contracture, double bubbles, implant rippling or wrinkling and rupturing to name a few – many of them avoidable by choosing a suitably qualified and experienced surgeon the first time. Patients often find their way to me after they’ve had problems already and come to get them sorted.”
The last decade has seen a huge increase in the demand for cosmetic surgery. This demand has been met with an increase in clinics offering a variety of services.
To the public, all service providers may seem equal. But the quality and care varies significantly between long-established and appropriately trained accredited plastic or oncoplastic breast surgeons and these newer, low-cost operators.
Unfortunately, many in the public see the entire cosmetic surgery industry as one entity; hence the negative perception caused by such low standard clinics. The low-cost ‘boob-factory’ approach also impacts on the overall value perception from the public, who seems to be more focused in finding a surgical bargain over prioritising their own health and safety.
But unlike many low-cost clinics, an approved surgeon will never try to persuade you. Rather, they will encourage you to do your research. They will provide information to inform your decision but never try to influence it. They will ensure you understand your expectations and the potential risks involved.
Only qualified cosmetic surgeons are equipped to deal with the plethora of possible complications that can arise from breast augmentation surgery. These can range from implants rupturing and leaking to deformity, pain and infections. Left unchecked, these can become major issues.
To assist potential new patients who are considering having a cosmetic surgery, here is a handy guide to helping you get the safest and best possible result:
1 – Know what you want to achieve
If you were planning to renovate your house, you would want to know exactly what kind of modifications you need, and importantly, what you don’t, before spending your money and starting to alter the existing structure. Similarly, with aesthetic breast surgery, from the outset, you need to be very clear about what result you’re setting out to achieve.
Most importantly, you need to be sure you are having surgery for the right reasons. Never undergo a procedure to make someone else happy – you should be doing it for yourself alone. Also remember that while the goal of your surgery is to enhance your existing breasts, you should be looking to do so in a way that is proportional, looks natural and complements your body. Reversal is complex and costly so you want to make sure you get it right the first time!
2 – Make sure you do your research
As part of deciding which procedure is right for you, you will need to research what it involves, what any complications or possible side-effects may be and what the recovery process is like. You also need to choose the right surgeon. With so much information – of varying quality! – available online and elsewhere, it is important to get the right facts – from qualified, accredited professionals. As above, the best decision is an informed one!
3 – Do it in a safe place
Every surgery carries with it some degree of risk, but you can reduce your risk significantly by ensuring you use a government accredited Specialist Surgeon, an accredited and reputable anaesthetist and having your procedure done at an accredited and reputable facility. We’re lucky in Australia to have an excellent, world-class hospital system and many of our day clinics adhere to the highest standards. But there have been sporadic incidents of concern at various day clinics, so make sure you research your choice of facility carefully – you’re putting your health in their hands, after all.
4 – Have realistic expectations
Remember that all your surgeon can do is transform your breasts, he/she cannot transform your life. You are doing this to change a physical trait only, albeit one you wish to enhance or improve. But if you have high hopes that other things in your life will magically change or improve, as a result, think carefully whether you are making the right decision. There may be other things in your life you can change that don’t involve surgery that will make you happier. If necessary, you can speak to a mental health professional.
5 – Communicate with your surgeon
It’s so important it is to ensure that you and your surgeon are on exactly the same page when it comes to your procedure. Communication at all stages of the process is essential to achieving the best result. In the initial stages, be detailed about the result you are after and make sure the surgeon clearly understands.
Then make sure you ask plenty of questions – about the procedure itself, any potential discomfort and/or side-effects, what the surgeon’s fees cover, what other costs (if any) you need to pay, how best to care for your breasts after the procedure and anything else you might want to know. Remember, the only ‘silly’ question is the one you don’t ask!
When it comes to your health, choosing a low-cost option to save money in the short term just isn’t worth it.
About Dr Michael Yunaev
Dr Michael is a Specialist OncoPlastic and Cosmetic Breast and General Surgeon and is the Principal Doctor at Breast & Body Clinic. He is a highly trained Surgeon with extensive experience and passion for treatment of all aspects of Breast Cancer Surgery, Benign and Congenital Breast Disease and Aesthetic Breast and Body Surgery, as well as General Surgery.
Dr Yunaev completed Fellowship in General Surgery with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, whilst based in Westemead Hospital as a registrar. As a consultant in General Surgery he went on to do a further 2 year fellowship through BreastSurgANZ focusing on Breast Cancer Surgery, Breast reconstruction and Oncoplastic Techniques for Breast Conservation and working with some of Australia’s earliest pioneers in this field. At this time, he deepened his understanding of the underlying Breast Disease process and treatment by undertaking a Master Of Surgery degree through Sydney University and promoting improved training in Oncoplastic Breast surgery in Australia through his research and dissertation.
Since completing his Oncoplastic Fellowship, he went on to train as an Aesthetic Surgeon focusing on breast and body, training with Sydney’s leading and most renowned Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeons for further 2 years. Concurrently he founded Breast & Body Clinic to provide the benefits of his extensive training to his patients, whilst focusing on providing excellent patient-centred care.
Dr Michael Yunaev consults from the Breast & Body Clinic. For more information or to discuss a consultation, please contact the clinic on (02) 9819 7449 or visit www.bbclinic.com.au