Why Working From Home Created an Uptick in the ‘Combo’ Procedure, According to a Plastic Surgeon

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Miami plastic surgeon Sean Simon, MD performs many combination surgeries, with the most popular ones including breast and body procedures in a multitude of variations. “Breast procedures include breast augmentation, breast lift, breast lift with implants or fat grafting/ breast reduction,” he explains. “Variations on body procedures include a tummy tuck, with or without liposuction, on a variety of areas like the trunk, thighs, arms, with also the possibility of a buttock fat-grafting procedures—aka the Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL). There’s also the popular term of the ‘Mommy Makeover,’ which can really refer to many different combinations of procedures, but typically involves a breast procedure and a body procedure.”

Why combo procedures are so popular: “In my practice, combinations surgeries are popular and common for multiple reasons. I’ve successfully performed thousands of them over the course of more than 15 years and have many patients referring others for something similar. Another, more recent, development that has contributed to an increase in combination procedures is the state of our current working environment. With the onset of the pandemic, many people started to work remotely, which allowed patients to have a big combination procedure and miss either minimal or no work at all. With the ability to work on a computer from the comfort of their homes, many patients could have an operation that may normally require two to three weeks of recovery (i.e., missed work) and now they can return to ‘work’ from home within a couple of days—and essentially not miss any time.”

Concerned with the shape of her buttocks and body, this 28-year-old sought Dr. Simon for a Brazilian butt lift and liposuction with fat grafting to the buttocks

The general amount of combination surgeries someone can safely get: “Of course, this may vary quite a bit from plastic surgeon to plastic surgeon, as there is a comfort zone based on level of experience for the surgeons as far as what they will determine to be safe for a given patient and patient population. A combination of extensive experience doing multiple procedures during a single operation over years and a high level of efficiency in the operating room allows me to offer patients the opportunity to accomplish a lot during one surgical procedure. With meticulous surgical technique, careful tissue handling, minimal (to no) blood loss, and speed (without rushing!), a tremendous amount can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time.”

“Every surgeon must know his or her limitations and how that affects the safety parameters of a given procedure—and that will translate into what can be offered to a particular patient. Of course, each patient is different and a careful and thorough evaluation through the consultation process is needed to determine what procedure or combination of procedures is appropriate for any given person. Other factors which are important to the success and safety of these combos is the ability to improve the post-operative experience of patients through minimization of pain and improved ability to ambulate early in the recovery period, which will also diminish the need for pain medications. This minimizes the incidence of post-operative complications and speed the overall recovery process. This is accomplished via the previously mentioned meticulous surgical technique and tissue handling as well as use of long-lasting local anesthetics, some of which can last for days and significantly limit post-operative pain and discomfort.” 

To lift this 42-year-old patient’s heavy breasts and reduce her back discomfort, Dr. Simon performed a breast lift and a breast reduction.

Who makes the best prospective patient: “The better shape a patient is in from a physical standpoint—including fitness level—through a good, well-balanced, healthy diet and regular exercise and being as close as possible to their ideal body weight will go a long way toward an optimal aesthetic result, as well as fast and healthy recovery. Of course, I see and operate on patients that don’t necessarily meet this standard, all the time. As the surgeon, along with my patients, I also must be realistic regarding what condition a patient will be in prior to surgery.”

Future predictions: “I do think there will be a slowdown in the fall (typically the time of year when this occurs in plastic surgery, as patients return from summer breaks to more normal work schedules/kids back to school, etc.)—although the past 16 months have been anything but normal, and there will be more return to some ‘normalcy’ this summer. If my current and future schedule is any indication, however, the combination procedures will continue to play a prominent role in my plastic surgery practice.”

This 43-year-old patient received a tummy tuck and liposuction from Dr. Simon in order to tighten her abdomen and contour her body.

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