Most of the news and excitement about breast surgery was, as expected, the availability of silicone breast implants. As you probably know, the FDA approved the newly designed silicone breast implants for general use for cosmetic breast augmentation last November. The general consensus was that after a short period of hesitation on the part of the patients, more and more women are requesting silicone implants despite the increase in cost when considering breast augmentation.
Many plastic surgeons were also a little hesitant because saline implants had such a high patient satisfaction rate with a very low risk of complications. Thus far the silicone implants have exceeded our expectations and my own experience has been very positive with an extremely happy group of patients. They are clearly softer and their ability to create a more natural shape in women who are thin with little to no breast tissue is unquestionably superior. At this point in time, the complication rate, which includes several years of research on silicone gel implants, is close to that of saline.
The other hot topic was body contouring surgery after massive weight loss, usually defined as greater than 100 pounds. The most common procedures used to treat these patients are tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) and breast lift (mastopexy). This is a challenging group of patients because they have such large amounts of loose and baggy skin and also because many of them have bariatric surgery, such as gastric bypass or banding, which does have some effect on nutrition and wound healing. As the overall experience has grown, techniques have become safer and more effective. As plastic surgeons, we look forward to the opportunity to help this growing patient population restore self esteem through a more positive body image.