Combination Surgery: What’s Reasonable?
Elliot Jacobs, M.D., F.A.C.S
Women and men often turn to top plastic surgeons in the NYC metro area and other major urban regions for combination cosmetic surgery. Patients have realized that opting for two or more procedures at a time can reduce both cost and overall downtime when they’re looking to tune up more than one area of the body.
But how many procedures should be performed at once? How much combination surgery is advisable?
When planning combination plastic surgery, how much to aim for comes down to three main factors: time under anesthesia, comfortable recovery and the nature of the procedures themselves.
Anesthesia time: Most plastic surgeons will limit time under anesthesia to no more than five or six hours. These limits place a natural boundary around how many procedures can be safely performed during one surgery session.
The main reason for this may not be obvious, however. The anesthesia itself is not the risk; what plastic surgeons are concerned about are possible complications stemming from hours on the operating table. The most common worry is that patients may develop blood clots that can lead to serious injury or even death. Along with limiting surgery time, that’s why many surgeons take other precautions such as using compression devices to stimulate blood flow.
Comfortable recovery: Plastic surgeons also plan combination surgeries with a reasonable recovery in mind for the patient. Breast enhancement and abdominoplasty are often performed together in the classic “mommy makeover,” for example. The targeted regions of the body are near each other and a woman can relax comfortably on her back after surgery.
The same cannot be said for breast enhancement and buttocks augmentation, for instance. While time under anesthesia may not be excessive for these two procedures, recovery could be challenging because the patient may not be able to find a comfortable position for healing.
The procedures themselves: Plastic surgeons have their own individual views about what’s right for them and for the patient. Some examples? Some cosmetic surgeons don’t like to combine rhinoplasty with other procedures because the nose is a classic source of bacteria. Others prefer not to do too many other surgeries along with liposuction, a physically demanding procedure for the surgeon.
There are other factors to take into account when planning combination surgery, most notably the health of the patient. What’s right for one person may not be a good choice for someone else.
The bottom line? When it comes to making choices related to plastic surgery, the most important thing a patient can do is choose their plastic surgeon wisely. Experienced plastic surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are adept at planning combination surgeries with the patient’s best interests in mind.