Breast implants have been in the headlines this week — and not for positive reasons.
A recent report found six patients of The Cosmetic Institute, one of Australia’s most popular cosmetic surgery clinics, suffered potentially life-threatening complications while having breast augmentations over the past 12 months. It’s believed the cause was anaesthetics administered in doses the clinic isn’t licensed to provide.
This is, of course, enormously concerning. To help clear up any mixed messages about what breast implants involve and what you should expect to happen, we took some burning questions to Louisa McKay, Managing Director of Costhetics.com.au and a consultant for plastic surgeons.
How do I know I’m making the right decision?
McKay says it’s essential to think long and hard about your reasons for wanting surgery, and what your expectations are. Ultimately, you need to ensure that you’re not being influenced by external factors and pressures, like what your partner thinks.
“You need to do it because you want to do it … it’s permanent surgery; while you can have implants removed, it’s still surgery so it’s better not to do that,” she says.
You might find it helpful to discuss your motivations with a psychologist, to ensure you’re in the right frame of mind and confident in your decision. Consumer advocacy group Choice also recommends speaking to a GP at this point, as they can provide “unbiased information about the pros and cons” and potentially recommend a reputable surgeon.
How do I find the right surgeon?
“It’s so hard to establish in the landscape who’s who; surgeons can market themselves so it’s very difficult to know,” McKay explains. A surgeon’s qualifications are a major consideration.
Cosmetic surgeons and plastic surgeons might sound like they have the same capabilities. As we reported earlier this year, anyone with a medical degree can perform, and call themselves, a cosmetic surgeon in Australia.
Plastic surgeons have a surgical specialty (requiring at least seven years of additional training after completing their medical degree). A plastic surgeon will have the acronym FRACS after their name, denoting that they are a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.
Watch: Apparently there are seven different breast shapes. Which one are you? (Post continues after video.)
That said, not all plastic surgeons will have extensive experience in breast implants, so McKay recommends seeking out a surgeon who is known in the industry for being focused on and experienced in this type of surgery.
If you’re unsure about a practitioner’s qualifications, you can ask him or her about them directly; however, McKay says their accreditation will usually be listed on their website and visible in their office.