smoking and cosmetic surgery risks

Smoking heightens risk of developing complications following cosmetic surgery

It is well known that smoking is not good for your health and can be responsible for creating or exacerbating a wide number of health problems. Cosmetic surgeons always recommend that patients who smoke try and refrain from smoking in the weeks leading up to their operation and then for as long as possible afterwards, as smoking can affect the body’s ability to heal. New research which has been published in January 2019 by the Aesthetic Surgery Journal has found yet more evidence which supports how bad smoking can be for patients undergoing cosmetic surgery.

Extensive data analysis into smoking and cosmetic surgery risks

The research was large-scale, comprising data collected from 129,007 cosmetic surgery patients. It was carried out by Vanderbilt University Medical Center, led by researchers in the Department of Plastic Surgery. The data was sourced from insurance company CosmetAssure, which operates in the US providing cover for 24 different cosmetic surgery procedures when patients suffer unexpected major complications.

Research findings into smoking and cosmetic surgery

The data showed that, for cosmetic surgery operations on the body (rather than the face or breasts), smokers are at greater risk of developing complications post-operatively, compared with non-smokers. Evidence shows that for some operations, the difference is startling. For example, patients choosing significant operations such as an abdominoplasty or buttock augmentation, the complication rate was 2.9% for smokers compared with 1.9% for non-smokers. Thigh lift operations showed the greatest variance, with a complication rate of 23.8% for smokers versus 3.6% for non-smokers. Male breast surgery also demonstrated a notably higher risk for smokers.

Perhaps most worrying, it was found that smoking heightened the risk of the wound/incision site becoming infected by a massive 61%. If caught early and treated effectively, infected wounds can be successfully treated, but if overlooked, ignored or extensive, these can cause significant setbacks in recovery, and can sometimes lead to much more serious complications.

Helping ensure everyone knows the risks

Plastic surgeons will continue to recommend patients temporarily abstain or (ideally) stop smoking altogether if they are considering cosmetic surgery, and the evidence from reports such as this gives surgeons the facts, figures and information to help land this message effectively with patients, adding clarity in support of their guidance.

Report authors believe “the findings of our study will further assist surgeons in anticipating the extent of morbidity that may be seen in smokers following cosmetic surgery, and how those risks vary depending on the operative procedure.”

To discuss further the link between smoking and cosmetic surgery and what you should do if you’re contemplating undergoing a procedure, call‬ ‬‭01926 436341 to arrange a consultation with Mr Alan Park at his Warwickshire cosmetic surgery clinic.

cosmetic surgery and BDD

Superdrug screening Botox customers for Body Dysmorphic Disorder

We recently reported on the news that high street store Superdrug has started offering Botox as one of its in-store beauty treatments. It stipulated that this was only available to people over the age of 25 and they had to meet certain booking criteria including an assessment by a qualified nurse. In a report by the BBC recently, Superdrug said this involves “an hour-long consultation before cosmetic procedures take place and these include a mental health assessment.” Nevertheless, the decision to offer Botox injections in a high street setting has raised concerns amongst the cosmetic surgery community.

Potential problems with greater ease of access to cosmetic treatments

Many were concerned about the trivialisation of this procedure, as Gerard Lambe, consultant surgeon and spokesperson from the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons explained: “While Superdrug may be hiring medically trained nurses, it is crucial members of the public do not treat having Botox and dermal fillers as casual beauty treatments, like brow threading or waxing.”

The NHS also expressed concerns that people suffering from body dysmorphia (an excessively negative perspective on their body and appearance) could have such easy access to cosmetic treatments.

Ensuring ethical practice

It has now been announced that Superdrug has recognised these concerns and is reassuring consumers and the medical profession that it will be ‘fully committed’ to ensuring that stringent mental health checks are undertaken before people are approved for these high street Botox treatments in-store. In particular, patients will be screened for Body Dysmorphic Disorder, to ensure that patients are given the most appropriate guidance and information.

The particular challenge with the ease of procedures like this being allowed on the high street is how the desire to obtain it correlates with the satisfaction that customers feel afterwards.

The biggest issue for people who suffer with Body Dysmorphic Disorder is that they can feel very determined to undergo a cosmetic procedure, but that the resulting satisfaction with what they have chosen is often low. The BBC’s report explains that “fewer than 10% of patients with Body Dysmorphic Disorder were satisfied with the results of their cosmetic procedures.”

Identifying Body Dysmorphic Disorder or a patient’s unrealistic expectations is an important part of the cosmetic surgery consultation offered by an experienced, skilled and trained plastic surgeon.

cosmetic breast surgery

The difference between a breast lift and breast reduction?

While the breast augmentation procedure remains the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure for women both here in the UK and around the world, there are many women who are unhappy with the size, shape or position of the breasts rather than make them bigger and are unsure of what procedure is best suited

What is a breast reduction?

A breast reduction, technically known as a reduction mammoplasty, is best suited to women who have overly large breasts for their frame, which are causing them discomfort or distress. Mr Alan Park will remove excess breast skin, fat and glandular tissue to instantly reduce the size of the breasts.

What is a breast lift?

Breast lift surgery, known as a mastopexy, is a cosmetic surgery procedure which lifts breasts which have sagged due to weight fluctuations, the effects of breastfeeding or as a result of the ageing process. Sagging, excess skin is removed and the breast tissue can be reshaped to produce a more youthful and pleasing appearance.

What are the similarities and differences between the two cosmetic breast surgery procedures?

Both cosmetic breast surgery procedures reshape and elevate the breasts, but a breast uplift will not significantly reduce the size or weight of the breasts as little to no glandular breast tissue is removed. During both procedures, your surgeon will reshape, resize and reposition the nipples if necessary.

Deciding on the best procedure for you is a case of determining how you feel about your breasts. Do they feel too large for your body or too heavy? Are they affecting your posture or causing your shoulder, neck or back pain? Does their size limit your choice of clothing or what physical activities you can do?

Alternatively, is it the case that you feel your nipples are sitting too low on the breast or pointing downwards? Are you unhappy with the where your breasts are positioned on your chest wall? Do you often find you have a rash or irritation underneath or between your breasts?

These are the concerns you will discuss in full during your cosmetic breast surgery consultation with Mr Park and he can then advise you on whether a breast lift or breast reduction is the most suitable procedure for you. If you’d like to arrange a cosmetic surgery consultation, please call 01926 436341 to speak to one of Mr Park’s team.

Breast Implant Safety

Mr Alan Park’s statement on recent breast implant news

Recently, breast implant safety has been the focus of much media attention, particularly the link between textured implants and a rare form of cancer known as Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

BIA-ALCL is a very rare and eminently treatable form of lymphatic cancer and over recent years there has been a link made between breast implants that have a textured surface and the development of ALCL. Textured implants have been a popular choice for breast augmentation surgery as they seem to have a lower risk of capsular contracture whereby a capsule forms around the implant and hardens and shrinks.

Not all textured implants are manufactured in the same way and different implant brands have different levels of risk. Recently, Allergan’s Natrelle implants were withdrawn from the market when their CE mark was not re-awarded due to concerns over their particular type of surface material. This is a temporary measure while more testing takes place into the safety of the Biocell textured surface.

It is important to bear in mind that breast implants are one of the most used medical devices in the world and subject to much clinical testing for safety. In light of the PIP implant scandal, there has been a tightening of regulations which is why the Allergan implants have been withdrawn until further testing takes place.

Mr Park uses only Nagor implants which are microtextured so have a much lower risk of ALCL. GC Aesthetics, the manufacturer of Nagor implants, recently sent Mr Park their figures and there have been 17 cases of ALCL in 3 million implants which is extremely rare.

His current advice to breast augmentation patients is not to be worried unduly, but be aware of any changes to your breasts and to contact his Warwickshire cosmetic surgery clinic instantly if you have any concerns.

fit for cosmetic surgery

Are you fit for cosmetic surgery?

If you are contemplating undergoing cosmetic surgery, then you’ve probably done lots of research into which procedure is best for you and which plastic surgeon you’d like to see for a consultation to discuss your concerns and expectations in more depth.

If you’ve had a consultation with one or more surgeon, then you’ll have a great deal more information to consider while you make your decision, including any potential risks or complications as well as the benefits. But, did you know that there are health considerations – both mental and physical – to take into account.

#1 Shape up for surgery

There are a number of reasons why you should be close to or at your ideal body weight before considering cosmetic surgery – and this is true for face or breast procedures as well as body reshaping surgery.

Excess weight can put you more at risk of certain complications from surgery and the anaesthesia, including infection, bleeding and circulation problems, as well as impacting on the healing process afterwards.

Also, even if you’re planning a body reshaping procedure such as a tummy tuck or lipo, it’s not an excuse not to let your surgeon do all the work. These ops are not weight loss surgery and aim to improve and enhance your body weight and the best results will be achieved when you closest to and have maintained your ideal body weight. Also results will last longer – losing additional weight after surgery can affect your new appearance whether it’s the result of a tummy tuck, facelift or breast lift.

#2 Keep up those New Year’s Resolutions

If you’ve resolved to quit smoking and cut back on the booze, then the prospect of undergoing cosmetic surgery should give you extra incentive. Smoking is the big issue as it increases the risk of complications during surgery and has a huge impact on healing post-surgery. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor and reduces the size of the blood vessels, slowing down oxygenated blood supply to the healing tissues.

You should refrain from drinking alcohol before surgery. Cutting down in the months beforehand is advisable, as alcohol consumption can dry out the skin, making it more challenging for the cosmetic surgeon. Alcohol also works as a blood thinner which can increase the risk of bleeding during surgery.

Post-surgery, it’s best you don’t reach for a drink either as alcohol can increase swelling that affects how quickly you heal.

#3 Prepare mentally and emotionally as well as physically

As well as the physical implications of cosmetic surgery, there are also emotional aspects you must consider. The best way to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally is to be informed. The more information you have, of both the positive and negative aspects, the less nerve-wracking it will seem. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or share your concerns with your plastic surgeon, as their aim is to ensure you have the best possible experience.

If you’d like to arrange a cosmetic surgery consultation, please call 01926 436341 to speak to one of Mr Park’s team.

facelift options

Which facelift procedure is right for you?

As we discovered in our last blog post, the facelift is still one of the most popular and most researched cosmetic surgery procedures, with plastic surgeons predicting increased interest over the coming decade as techniques continue to refine and develop.

However, for those doing their research on facelifts, things can quickly become confusing as it can seem there are many different ‘types’ of facelifts and individual plastic surgeons may use very different terms to describe the same operation. Here’s the lowdown on your facelift options.

Upper, middle and lower facelifts

Three of the most common terms are upper facelift, mid-facelift and lower facelift, yet these can be slightly misleading in terms of the surgery required. Generally, the upper face describes your brow and forehead area, whereas the mid-face is from your eye area down to the mouth, so the nose, cheeks and around your upper lip. The lower face is from the corners of the mouth down so the jawline, chin and neck area. A facelift will typically address the mid and lower face and a brow lift is the procedure required for the upper face. Often a facelift and brow lift are combined in one procedure.

Mini vs full facelifts

Often, you’ll see a mini facelift mentioned and that can often seem a more attractive prospect as it promises less scarring and downtime than a full facelift. The mini facelift typically entails shorter incisions in the skin – which is why it is often termed a short scar facelift. These are made just in front of the ears and the cosmetic surgeon will then lift the mid-face area to restore a more youthful appearance to the cheek area and reduce nasolabial folds and marionette lines.

A mini facelift can be a highly effective procedure for younger patients that are starting to see mild to moderate sagging and want a subtle rejuvenation, but for patients with more pronounced ageing changes to the face, a mini facelift will probably not deliver the results they are hoping for and a full facelift with adjuvant procedures such as a neck lift or brow lift is the most appropriate facelift option.

Is it possible to have a non-surgical facelift?

If you’re googling facelifts, then you will definitely find lots of aesthetic clinics offering a ‘non-surgical facelift’ that promises all the benefits of surgery without any of the drawbacks. Lasers and injectables such as botulinum toxin and dermal fillers can be highly effective as anti-ageing measures for younger patients that only have minimal skin and tissue changes, but, like the mini facelift, there are many men and women who would benefit more from a surgical facelift.

If you like to learn more about your facelift options, please call 01926 436341 to arrange a consultation at Mr Alan Park’s Warwickshire cosmetic surgery clinic.

cosmetic surgery predictions

Most researched cosmetic surgery procedures and next aesthetic trends identified

A new year is a time for reflection and some of the leading commentators on the aesthetic industry have released their annual reviews, looking back on the previous 12 months as well as making cosmetic surgery predictions for the future.

Cosmetic surgery in the future

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery recently released their cosmetic surgery predictions for the upcoming year and beyond. Interestingly, while we have seen a steady growth in ‘non-surgical’ aesthetic treatments in recent years, ASAPS believe that this trend will start to reverse over the next ten years.

Partly, this will be due to advances in more minimally invasive surgical techniques with less downtime, but also the realisation on the part of patients that surgical procedures will produce the longest or even permanent results, unlike many of their non-surgical alternatives.

Another interesting cosmetic surgery prediction is that there will be a move towards a more ‘refined and subtle’ aesthetic enhancement rather than a more obvious ‘done’ look, such as smaller breast implants or even fat transfer to the breasts.

Most researched cosmetic surgery procedures in 2018

Another report released this month is The RealSelf 2018 Aesthetics Trend Report from leading online aesthetic review site RealSelf. The report found that millions of consumers in the US and around the world were researching minimally invasive procedures, particularly injectables, was fast growing, but interest in cosmetic surgery procedures remains high. 

  1. Breast Augmentation: still the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure around the world, a breast augmentation procedure enhances the shape and/or size of the breasts with implants.
  2. Tummy Tuck: whether due to pregnancy, weight fluctuations or ageing changes to the body, it can be challenging to shape up the abdomen area without surgical intervention. A tummy tuck will tighten the abdominal muscles, remove excess skin and fat and reshape the abdomen area.
  3. Brazilian Butt Lift: this procedure has been the focus of much media attention in recent months which might explain why it’s on the most researched cosmetic surgery procedure. Sadly, there have been a number of cases where patients have underwent a Brazilian Butt Lift and died of complications afterwards and we would warn anyone considering this highly risky procedure to think again.
  4. Rhinoplasty: a procedure to reshape and/or resize the nose. It can be combined with a septoplasty to improve breathing function.
  5. Liposuction: despite the increase in fat reduction aesthetic treatments which promise great results with minimal downtime, liposuction is still a very popular procedure to remove stubborn pockets of fat and reshape the body.
  6. Eyelid Surgery: known medically as a blepharoplasty, eyelid surgery is a very popular anti-ageing procedure which can produce fantastic rejuvenation results.
  7. Breast Reduction: for women who have struggled for many years with overly large breasts, a breast reduction can produce a significant improvement in quality of life.
  8. Mommy Makeover: this is a term popular in the media, but merely refers to cosmetic surgery to improve the appearance of the body and breasts after pregnancy. Typically, it means a combination of the tummy tuck and breast uplift procedures, but your suitability for both procedures will be discussed during your consultation.
  9. Facelift: although non-surgical aesthetic treatments, particularly injectables, are becoming increasingly popular, there is a limit to what they can achieve and for some patients, a facelift is better able to realise their expectations.
  10. Breast Lift: this cosmetic breast procedure restores a more youthful appearance to the breast by lifting and reshaping the breast tissue.

If you are interested in any of the cosmetic surgery procedures discussed here, please call 01926 436341 to arrange a consultation.

good cosmetic surgery standards

The fine line between ethics and advertising – cosmetic surgery is not an appropriate prize

There is often a fine line to tread in terms of what is ethical and what is not when it comes to advertising and offering services outside of the ‘traditional’ consumer/seller relationship. The issue of what is appropriate for cosmetic surgery raised its head again recently, following the discovery that a cosmetic procedure was offered as an auction prize at a prestigious London society event. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) reported that “plastic surgeons are hugely disappointed that, during an annual dinner at a plush London hotel, a private clinic has blatantly disregarded General Medical Council guidelines in order to offer cosmetic surgery as an auction prize”.

As a reputable industry body, BAAPS has a responsibility to ensure that surgeons are adhering to strict guidelines which ensure that business is conducted in a suitable, ethical manner. Given that no cosmetic procedure is completely risk free, BAAPS is clear in its stance that giving away cosmetic procedures as treats or prizes is not appropriate at all. The decision to undergo surgical or non-surgical cosmetic surgery is not one that should be made lightly. The decision-making process should be thorough and supported by a full medical and emotional assessment. Giving away procedures as a prize undermines the process that member surgeons work hard to enforce.

Adhering to the correct cosmetic surgery standards

This practice isn’t just frowned upon, it is forbidden by industry guidelines, “GMC guidance for doctors who offer cosmetic interventions clearly states that services must not be offered as a prize, and that when communicating information about cosmetic procedures, promotional tactics must not encourage ill-considered decisions, or knowingly allow others to misrepresent or offer treatment in ways that would conflict with this guidance.”

A more ethical approach

Although this discovery is very much a one-off and is not something that we see very often, it reminds us of the importance of ensuring that consumers know what to expect from their cosmetic surgeon. If you are exploring surgical or non-surgical procedures with a surgeon and you feel under pressure from tight deadlines, pushy sales techniques or money-saving offers such as ‘buy one, get one at a reduced price’, then this should set alarm bells ringing. You wouldn’t expect your dentist to offer a second filling at a reduced rate, so don’t accept this kind of practice from a cosmetic surgeon either. It is important to check out surgeons’ credentials and professional affiliations before committing to any procedure, to ensure that you have chosen an appropriately regulated professional.

cosmetic surgery risk

How to reduce risk to patients from cosmetic surgery procedures

There are three fundamental reasons patients have surgery – it is medically required, it is medically advised, and it is chosen by the patient. While most routine and emergency operations fall into the first two categories, most cosmetic surgery falls into the latter. Patients tend to choose to undergo these procedures to improve how they look.

Before any operation is conducted, medical professionals will ensure that the risks are fully explained to the patient so that they are in possession of all the facts. No matter whether the operation is advised or elected, it is important that patients have a clear understanding of any risks to them, either before, during or after the procedure.

There are a number of things that patients (of non-emergency surgery) can do the help bring themselves up to speed on their required/chosen procedure and the place that they are hoping to have their operation done. The steps patients take before and after surgery can have a big difference in how well they manage to avoid risks associated with the procedure they are having done.

Be informed but not influenced

The internet can be an invaluable source of information but we should always approach anything we learn with a degree of caution. It’s good practice to read up on procedures you might be interested in, but look for reputable sources of information – such as the NHS website or advice on independent medical organisations that your cosmetic surgeon should be a member of. Mr Alan Park is a member of both BAPRAS and BAAPS, the leading plastic surgery organisations in the UK.

Get to know more about your plastic surgeon

Spend some time researching your surgeon and reading around their training, fields of expertise and medical credentials. Many will share this information on their website, and often there will be testimonials available from other patients that you can read through.

Meet the team

Familiarise yourself with who will be doing your operation and the staff they will be supported with. This helps you build a picture of what to expect and who you can expect to interact with. These relationships can be built in the weeks leading up to your surgery.

Be good and do as the doctor tells you

The final thing to remember is that once the operation is over, the majority of responsibility sits with you to ensure that you follow the aftercare plan properly. Make a conscious effort to follow your surgeon’s advice conscientiously until you are fully recovered. Rushing your recovery or not following important steps can have serious implications on how well and how fast you recover, so be patient, follow the instructions and give your body time to heal.

male cosmetic surgery

Body image a concern for boys as well as girls

According to the results of a new survey, there is a growing trend of boys being ever more concerned about their appearance. It has long since been recognised that young girls suffer from these anxieties, but now the rise in boys sharing these concerns is worrying experts.

The survey was undertaken amongst 1,000 young boys aged between 8 and 18. The results suggest that boys are increasingly seeing steps such as dieting and extreme exercising as issues that both boys and girls could fall foul of.

Many also feel that they are unable to share these concerns with adults, with over half feeling that they couldn’t talk to teachers and almost one-third believing they could not talk to their parents about how they are feeling.

Impact of influencers

Fuelling these concerns, in part, is the belief that there is a ‘perfect male body’, with 23% of those surveyed feeling that this is the case. No doubt exacerbated by the ease of access to social media and other platforms where ‘perfection’ is readily flaunted by those whom many young people follow or engage with. The research suggests that peer groups, social media, advertising and famous people are the biggest influencers of how boys feel they should look.

There is no doubt that worrying about appearance and looks during childhood is a concern and one that parents, teachers and health professionals are working hard to address. However, once men have reached adulthood, if they still have concerns about how they look and feel then there are options available to help. There is a growing trend indicating that men are opting for more surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures, to help smooth, tone, reshape and tweak areas that they are dissatisfied with.

Changing trends

According to a male cosmetic surgery report published in the Independent, “the number of men choosing to go under the knife has risen by over 110 per cent since 2000, with a report from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). Male breast reduction surgery has become increasingly sought after, as those who are struggling to address ‘moobs’ take more effective steps to deal with them. Additionally, non-surgical facial procedures such as fillers are growing in popularity.”

This is a trend that is well recognised in the industry, with requests from men increasing year on year and a much more open attitude to the benefits that cosmetic surgery can have for men who are suffering from self-confidence and self-esteem issues as a result of how they feel they look.