I love performing breast augmentation in my New York plastic surgery practice, because it is an operation that challenges me in many ways. It forces me to examine the many elements that determine breast shape. It allows me to use my surgical skills to provide an aesthetic result for a given patient. (I also get to use some great instruments. I’ll admit it – we surgeons love our surgical instruments in the same way that children love their toys. We are very possessive about them and we don’t like to share them. One of my colleagues and close friends gave me the best gift ever for Christmas two years ago: a gold-handled lighted retractor for breast augmentation surgery.) Most importantly, breast augmentation surgery challenges me to potentially change a patient’s life, for the better, in both obvious and subtle ways.
A recent study examined postural changes in patients after undergoing breast augmentation. Dr. Mazzocchi and his colleagues found that patients had significant changes in their body position following surgery, specifically, the head was held higher and the shoulders were thrown back. This result was seen as early as one week following surgery, and then tended to gradually return its baseline level by one year after surgery. While the authors found that there was a small alteration in body mass that might account for these changes, they were more impressed by the role of psychological factors in the change in body position.¹
It is extremely gratifying for me, as both a surgeon and a woman, to see my postoperative patients walk into my office with new confidence in their bodies and spirits. Clearly, breast augmentation is not for everyone – this is an elective surgical procedure in which a medical device is being inserted into a woman’s breasts. And surgery is not an appropriate treatment for body image issues which are primarily psychological in nature. But for a woman with a specific complaint which can be treated, being able to also give a small spiritual boost is the icing on the cake. There are very few things that can match that.
¹Mazzocchi M, Dessy LA, Iodice P, Saggini R, Scuderi N: A study of postural changes after breast augmentation. Aesth Plast Surg 2012; 36: 570-577.