Running the most basic of errands seems like a risk in today’s current climate, so needless to say, opting for elective surgery may seem out of the question to some. However, with more and more states reopening and lifting medical restrictions, plastic surgeons say they are busier than ever.
Whether you already have a breast augmentation scheduled, or this extra time at home has made you more resolute of what you want, you might be wondering: Is now the right time? While interviewing top plastic surgeons, the resounding answer was unanimous: “Yes!”
Here, seven reasons why opting for a breast augmentation now is as safe—and worthwhile—as ever.
Your Health Continues to be Top Priority
“If you are in good general health, you can feel very safe and comfortable with a decision to have elective surgery at this time,” says New York plastic surgeon Ashley Amalfi, MD. “As the curves have flattened in many communities, surgery centers have reopened to offer safe elective surgery to our patients.”
“We look to our state government and health departments as well as CDC guidelines and the guidelines put forth nearly every day by the White House Task Force,” adds Lehi, UT plastic surgeon Michael Marion, MD. “In addition, our surgical societies are excellent in providing guidance and a sounding board for issues that society members raise.”
Heightened Safety Protocols Are in Place
While the actual breast augmentation procedure itself hasn’t changed one bit—board certified surgeons say operating rooms have always been the most sterile environment you can find—what happens preoperatively and postoperatively has shifted significantly, and for your benefit.
Along with limiting the number of people in the office, including those accompanying patients, many doctors are now asking patients to wait in their cars until they receive a text or phone call informing them to come inside. Your temperature will be taken, and you will be asked simple health-screening questions before entering the building.
Personal protective equipment is worn by medical providers both in the operating room and in the office, along with patients and staff wearing their own masks, as well. “During the consultation, we provide masks for those that did not bring their own, we carefully clean each room between patients, and take care to use hand sanitizer between all patient encounters,” adds Dr. Marion.
“In the history of modern medicine there has never been more measures put in place to keep everyone safe and healthy,” Dr. Marion says. “If you were ever considering breast augmentation, now is most likely the safest time to proceed.”
Testing Is Mandatory
The location and timing might look a little different based on your provider, but you should be prepared to be tested for COVID-19 ahead of your scheduled procedure. San Francisco plastic surgeon Jonathan Kaplan, MD has been sending all of his surgical patients to a community testing site for a COVID-19 test at least one week prior to their procedure. As an additional layer of safety, doctors might offer antibody testing closer to the procedure date, as well. “The morning of surgery, we give patients an FDA-approved antibody test in the office, and we get results back in ten minutes,” adds Dr. Kaplan.
Should these tests result in positive findings, your surgeon will reschedule your procedure until your health is more certain. “As surgeons, we have always taken the precautions needed to keep you safe,” adds Dr. Amalfi. “With our new safety protocols, you should feel even more at ease throughout your surgical experience.”
Doctors Are Utilizing Virtual Consults
Keeping your health and comfort in mind, telemedicine is becoming more and more commonplace in the world of plastic surgery. As an added benefit, they actually make the experience a lot more personalized. “Patients are so comfortable to be able to talk about their surgery from the comfort and safety of their home, and there is no anxiety around the visit,” says Dr. Amalfi. “We can talk face to face, without all of the masks and shields, and I can really get to know my patient and her desires.”
Dr. Kaplan adds that when it comes to preparing for a breast augmentation, patients—and telemedicine—have both been extremely helpful. “If [a patient] is getting shaped implants, the width of the breasts must be measured beforehand,” Dr. Kaplan explains. The solution: having cooperative patients take the measurements virtually—and under his supervision—so that by the time they come into the office, the proper implants have already been ordered. “In a sense, the patient is more invested in the process because they are actually helping you with the measurements virtually,” he adds.
New Recovery Benefits
If your state is allowing elective surgeries, Dr. Kaplan says there really is no reason to postpone a breast augmentation, or any procedure, at this point in time. “With shelter-in-place orders in so many areas, and people continuing to be able to work from home, this is really the best time to get any kind of elective procedure.”
Dr. Amalfi agrees, adding that the most common line she’s been hearing from her patients is that social distancing has given them a chance to have the surgery they’ve been dreaming about. “Working remotely has given people the freedom and privacy to recover at home, without needing any time off from work. Most of my patients log onto their laptops and are back at work the very next day—the timing couldn’t be better!”
However, the ability to recover comfortably does not minimize the importance of adhering to doctor’s orders: “We encourage patients to have a good support team after surgery, but we would want those people to be healthy themselves without signs of illness or recent contact with those that may be sick,” says Dr. Marion.
“It’s important for patients to be aware of their activities and exposures both prior to surgery and during their recovery,” adds Dr. Amalfi. “For a week before and after surgery, I counsel my patients to quarantine as much as possible. Ask a family member or friend to run any unnecessary errands and limit your social circle to ensure you are in the best of health before and after your surgery.”
The Results are Life-Changing
As with any plastic surgery, the outcome can be nothing short of life-changing for patients. “The benefits of breast augmentation to patients are real,” says Dr. Marion. “So often we hear stories of how confidence has increased, clothes fit better with more options in their wardrobe, women feel their appearance better matches how they feel inside including more youthful. The risk of augmentation surgery even in the time of COVID-19 remains low and for most patients the benefits are well worth it.”
Board Certified Surgeons Are More Than Prepared
The bottom line: Choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon will ensure you are in the safest hands possible. “Safety has always been our primary concern, and that’s why it is so important to make sure the doctor you have chosen is a board-certified plastic surgeon who is held to the highest standards in our field,” urges Dr. Amalfi.
“Surgical societies have worked tirelessly to establish guidelines and protocols to help plastic surgeons reopen their practices to offer safe aesthetic surgery to their patients. With new protocols in place, outpatient surgery has never been safer.”
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