For many years, plastic surgery meant undergoing a breast augmentation, liposuction, or a tummy tuck. The procedures were performed separately, and if the patient wanted to improve more areas of the body, he or she would have to undergo several interventions to achieve his or her aesthetic goals. Nowadays, with the help of modern surgery techniques and the developments of anesthesia, combined procedures have come to be commonly performed on patients who need a more considerable improvement of their silhouette. Some plastic surgeons still don’t perform combined procedures and claim that they are riskier. The reality is that only a gifted and very experienced board-certified plastic surgeon can perform combined procedures and deliver spectacular results.
Breast augmentation and liposuction are the two most frequently requested plastic surgery interventions in the United States and worldwide. It comes as no surprise that many patients would want to combine them in one operation. Is it possible to have a breast augmentation with liposuction at the same time? What are the risks and results to be expected? This is what we will discuss in this article.
Pros and cons of combined plastic surgery
Before going a more detailed discussion of the procedures you are interested in, we should discuss the benefits and disadvantages of having combined procedures.
Many people still don’t know or are just finding out now that we can perform two or more plastic surgery interventions in one operation. However, to be eligible to undergo combined procedures, the patient needs to be in good health and emotional condition and to understand and accept the potential complications that could arise after the intervention. When considering combined procedures, it is important to know that this is possible only if both procedures are not overly lengthy or complex. In other words, the total operative time should be kept under 4 or 5 hours. The risks of post-operative complications could increase significantly if the patient is under general anesthesia for a longer time.
In a vast majority of cases, general anesthesia is the optimal choice when it comes to combined procedures. This allows the patient to feel no pain or discomfort during the intervention. A responsible plastic surgeon will often recommend undergoing combined procedures when the patient wants to improve more features of the body because he or she will only need to undergo one general anesthesia instead of two or more. In this way, we reduce the risks of developing complications associated with general anesthesia. Moreover, the patient will only need to take time from work and daily responsibilities once. The costs are also reduced when it comes to combining plastic surgery procedures as the patient will only have to pay for anesthesia and hospitalization one time.
As you can see, there are plenty of benefits to undergoing combined plastic surgery procedures, especially if we are talking about the most commonly performed cosmetic interventions in the world: breast augmentation and liposuction. But what are the disadvantages?
The recommendation is to have combined procedures performed only by a board-certified, highly skilled, and experienced plastic surgeon. The plastic surgeon should have a keen eye for details and a good understanding of the aesthetics of the body. When combined procedures are performed, the purpose is to harmonize the silhouette, and this can only be done by a plastic surgeon who is versed and understands the harmony of the proportions.
The plastic surgeon should teach the patient to have an overall image of the body and understand the proportions in correlation with each other. Features assessed separately from each other hold no meaning. Big breasts are beautiful only when compared with the rest of the features of the body. On their own, breasts can be either voluptuous or vulgar.
Combining breast augmentation with liposuction
During the pre-operative consultation for breast augmentation surgery, the plastic surgeon should assess the condition of the patient and analyze not only the tissues of the breasts, but also the whole anatomy of the patient. For some patients, getting a simple breast implant surgery is enough to improve their overall appearance considerably. But for a vast majority of women, having small breasts is most often not the only body imperfection that bothers them. Having unwanted, stubborn fat deposits localized in different areas of the body is often a concern of many women, especially after a certain age or after one or multiple pregnancies.
Where can we have liposuction when done during a breast augmentation surgery?
- Lipo on the surrounding areas
We perform breast augmentation with the purpose to make the breasts bigger. But what if we could increase the projection of the breasts even more by performing liposuction on the area under the breasts and on the surrounding areas? The size of the breasts is evaluated together with the areas nearby. Unwanted fat deposits in the axilla area, on the back, and under the breasts can make the results of the procedure less spectacular. But just think of what might happen to the size of the breasts if we reduce the thickness of the adipose tissue in the surrounding areas? The breasts will look bigger just by association. This way, the plastic surgeon can even recommend smaller implants to achieve the same results.
- Lipo on the abdominal area
We evaluate the features of the body in relation to each other. A lack of waist definition can make the hips look smaller, and the same goes for the breasts. The beautiful and most desired body shape for women is the hourglass silhouette. To create this body figure, the dimensions of the shoulders and the hips should be similar and the waist about 20-30% smaller than these other two dimensions. This means that to get more spectacular results after the breast augmentation procedure, we should perform liposuction on the abdominal are, targeting the flanks as well.
For the hourglass procedures that I have developed and commonly perform, I prefer to use the fat that is removed with the help of liposuction to improve the hourglass shape even more by transferring it to the breasts or the hips, depending on the morphological characteristics of the patient.
If liposuction is performed in association with an augmentation procedure, it is common for the fat transfer to be part of the intervention as well. For many years, probably ever since the early days of performing liposuction, plastic surgeons have tried to develop a method that would make possible the reuse of the fat extracted during liposuction. Nowadays we use fat transfer, and the results are impressive. We can transfer the fat either on the breasts and make the breast implants less visible or on the hips if the hips are not prominent enough to contribute to the beautiful hourglass shape.
Keep in mind that a liposuction is only a viable option for patients with good skin elasticity. If the patient has poor skin tonus, the results of liposuction might be unsatisfactory. If the skin has lost its ability to retract properly on the new contours of the body, the patient might be left with saggy skin after liposuction is performed. This is not a desirable result, and the saggy skin can only be corrected with the help of additional plastic surgery procedures.
When considering combining the two most commonly performed plastic surgery interventions, make sure to choose a board-certified and experienced plastic surgeon who routinely plays out this type of intervention to ensure you get impressive results and avoid potential complications that could occur after the operation.
Breast augmentation is probably the most performed plastic surgery procedure, and liposuction comes in a close second. The procedures can boast impressive results and considerably improve the appearance of the patient, so it is no wonder why some patients ask if the procedures can be performed at the same time.
When done in association with a breast augmentation with implants, liposuction can be performed either on the middle area, on the abdomen and flanks to improve the shoulders to waist-to-hip ratio, or on the areas around the breasts such as the thorax, the axilla, and the back. Liposuction on the back and axilla can eliminate unwanted fat deposits that make the bra not fit perfectly well and even create fat bulges around the edges of the bra.
With combined procedures, we can achieve superior results compared to the results of just one intervention. Moreover, the patient has to pay just once for hospitalization and general anesthesia, and it is only one recovery period where time off from work is needed. It is important not to combine two complex procedures in one operative sitting as the patient should only be under general anesthesia for a limited time.