Combining Surgeries: Questions During Consultation
Recently I was completing a consultation with a young lady who wished to have her nose reshaped. As we were concluding our discussion, I asked her if she had any additional questions. She paused and then asked if I thought that this might be a good opportunity to have liposuction on her thighs. After I examined her, I could tell she was an excellent candidate for combining surgeries. She had definite discrete bulges on the lateral thigh. She was in excellent general health. And by combining the procedures, she was not only able to accomplish two goals. She also saved a fair amount of money in the process.
Benefits of Combining Procedures
Frequently patients will choose to have several procedures at the same time. Many combinations are common: facelift and eyelid surgery; rhinoplasty and chin augmentation; breast reduction and abdominal liposuction. This is to name only a few. While there are often good reasons for this strategy, one must realize the potential down sides. The case of the mother of the famous entertainer James Brown is an example of how good intentions can go wrong. Recently discharged from a healthcare facility, she underwent a number of procedures at the same time. These lasted an inordinate amount of time and ultimately resulted in her death. While certainly an extreme example, the case points out the importance of considering this issue carefully.
Avoiding Complications in Combining Surgeries
Surgery, in any form, represents an injury to the body. While the healthy human body has great capacity to heal, limits always exist. It stands to reason that the greater the injury, the more challenge to the ability to heal. Some procedures, such as abdominoplasty, are more prone to complications. Where more complicated surgeries are concerned, it may be wiser to avoid additional major surgery at the same time.
Additionally, consideration must be given to anesthesia time. The longer the patient remains under anesthesia, the greater the risk of post-anesthetic complications. Some surgeons may work faster than others. This permits additional surgery without unduly extending the risk of anesthesia.
Combining Surgeries: Age and Health Considerations
The patient’s age and general health also play a part. While age itself is certainly not a determining factor, older patients should be carefully screened. Underlying cardiac, vascular, or metabolic diseases are risk factors. These could interfere with the ability to undergo surgery or anesthesia, or could interfere with overall recovery.
Improvements in cosmetic surgery now allow us to greatly reduce the trauma of surgery. Bleeding has all but been eliminated in many procedures. Operating time has been greatly decreased. All of this has fueled the trend toward combining procedures. When properly considered and undertaken, these combinations can greatly enhance the overall result of surgery.
Unfortunately, there has also been a trend on the part of some surgeons to promote added procedures. They sometimes suggest additional procedures during consultation. With the heavy marketing that has become commonplace in cosmetic surgery, this can be a problem. Often there is more emphasis on closing the deal than on meeting the patient’s goals and desires. Combining surgeries can offer a great opportunity to enhance the results of cosmetic procedures. Just make sure that it is done to satisfy your goals with a full understanding of both the risks and benefits.