Although rare, all surgery has risk. Dr. Hector Salazar walks us through the possible complications surrounding breast implants, including capsular contracture, implant rupture, and the need for revision surgery.
Dr. Salazar shares the steps you can take to have a healthy, safe, complication-free recovery. Hint: you’ll need to ditch the treadmill and heavy weights for at least three weeks.
- Read our blog about why medical tourism can be risky if complications arise during surgery recovery
- Get to know expert breast surgeon Dr. Hector Salazar-Reyes
- Follow Dr. Salazar on Instagram @hectorsalazarmd
Monique Ramsey (00:07):
You’re listening to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast. Welcome back to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast. I am your hostess Monique Ramsey. And today we have Dr. Hector Salazar, one of our plastic surgeons. Welcome.
Dr. Salazar (00:24):
Thank you so much, Monique. It’s a pleasure to be here and, uh, it’s always great to have these conversations with you.
Monique Ramsey (00:32):
So, as we’ve said on some previous episodes, women have become more concerned about breast implant safety than cost. In recent years, breast implants are the safest medical device in history, but as we know, nothing is perfect. So we’re gonna talk today about what is a complication? Is there a standard definition? And have Dr. Salazar really walk us through kinda what are maybe the top three common complications in surgery, of surgery in general, and then let’s go into breast implant complications. So let’s talk about surgery in general first. What do you most want to tell patients that could happen?
Dr. Salazar (01:08):
I would fully agree with you and, and your opening statement, first of all, with the fact that you say that patients are very concerned about like safety, and we’re seeing more and more educated patients. And, uh, yeah, cost is probably not their main concern at this point, but we want to share with them and explain to them all the risks and benefits and definitely foresee some of the complications. The first and last idea about this podcast that I would actually share with our audience is that breast augmentation is a safe procedure. If you talk about going on the highway, I mean it, that’s risky as well, right? We never think about it that way. But first augmentation is a safe procedure. It has its, uh, potential risks. To answer your question, when we are talking about any kind of surgery in general, so things that they’re always present are gonna be… Number one,
there can be some bleeding, right? To reassure patients. We never leave the operating room when there’s bleeding. We’re, we’re always there. We cauterize, we get everything under control, and sometimes bleeding can happen because of, uh, changes in blood pressure. That’s why we always ask patients not to exercise, not to not to win the lottery immediately after surgery. You’re going to get very, very excited and you can get some bleeding. So nothing that accelerates your heart rate.Something else could be infection, right? Okay. So anytime that you have a disruption in your skin, even like with a paper cut, you can get infected, right? Mm-hmm. . So if, especially if you’re doing like large incisions, everything all this environment in the operating room is sterile. Everything’s very clean. But despite of that fact, one bacteria can be present, actually most of the time on patient’s skin actually living on the patient’s skin.
And because of that disruption of the skin, then that bacteria can jump in and start creating a, a party over there and reproducing and getting an infection. How do we prevent all that? We prevent all that by giving patients antibiotics. Actually, when the patient goes to sleep, they don’t see this, but then we push some antibiotics through the iv. And the other thing is, we watch them very closely after surgery to make sure that if something is developing, oh, we can jump in on top and start treating that infection. So infection’s another very rare complication, but it, it exists. Something else that could happen would be a delay in wound healing, so that the incision that we make…For instance, an abdominalplasty as you were asking of surgeries in general, when you make a very, very long incision, the body that is not used to create more tissue anymore, because we’re not 13 or 12 years old, the body is already have reached a stable economy in which the only thing that your body is replacing is the usual, right? A little bit of hair, a little bit of a skin, a little bit of the mucosal lining inside of your mouth, et cetera, et cetera. So all of a sudden the body has a long incision that has to heal and sometimes this creates a disruption in the economy of the body, and then it can take a little bit more effort to heal a particular area of that incision. So I would say those, those three are one of the ones that I always bring the attention of my patients to in general, I would say.
Monique Ramsey (04:16):
And then what about anesthesia related complications? Is that something that patients need to be concerned about?
Dr. Salazar (04:23):
Well, let me explain to our audience the fact that, number one, you’re having your surgery performed at the right place, right? So what do I mean by that? It’s not in an, in an office. It’s actually a surgical center. It’s a surgical center that’s certified. The certification is called quad a certification. What that means is that our outpatient surgery center has the exact same certification that the surgery centers of Sharps, Scripps, Kaiser outpatient surgery centers have. So that’s for their reassurance, right? We keep up that certification so that they’re having their surgery done at a real operating room. And that’s important. The other thing is that the anesthesia is being provided by a board certified anesthesiologist. So board certified anesthesiologist, we work with a very tight group of mainly three anesthesiologists that have been with us for a very, very long time. And they’re extremely experienced.
And in their previous life when they were providing anesthesia at the hospital, they were doing a lot of even heart cases. So it’s not that it’s gonna be a doctor that’s operating and at the same time giving anesthesia or trying to control other things. The only thing that the plastic surgeon is going to be doing is gonna be focusing in the cosmetic part of the procedure. And the anesthesiologist is gonna be watching them all the time that they’re there. And we have two operating rooms and, and those operating rooms are covered each by one anesthesiologist. It’s not that there is an anesthesiologist going back and forth between the two rooms. And that’s, that’s another important thing for our audience to make sure that when they’re considering a center, that they have that.
Monique Ramsey (06:01):
Yeah, you have your own anesthesiologist for that case.
Dr. Salazar (06:04):
Mm-hmm. . Exactly.
Monique Ramsey (06:05):
Yeah. And we actually have an episode on anesthesia and one of our anesthesiologists, actually, Dr. Steve Saltz mm-hmm. , and Dr. Laurie Saltz’s husband, and he’s been with our group for a really long time, the same as all the other anesthesiologists that we have. And it’s really, really interesting. So if, if that’s something that you’re thinking about, a little worried about anesthesia or just wanna know more about it, listen to that episode. I, and we’ll, we’ll put a link in the show notes so it’s easier to find. So now let’s get into breast surgery. Mm-hmm. . And what are the most common breast surgery complications?
Dr. Salazar (06:43):
So where I wanna bring the spotlight when I talk to patients about breast implant complications is number one, we can talk about capsular contracture. Number two, we can talk about implant failure or rupture. And number three, we can talk about some sort of a need for a revision or a second surgery.
Monique Ramsey (07:06):
Well, most implants, if I’m remembering correctly, go under the muscle, right?
Dr. Salazar (07:10):
Correct. Normally under the muscle, you there, there’s nothing, Right? And then the muscle is gonna be contracting, but now it’s gonna be contracting on top of something. So the way I like to create an analogy for patients is imagine that you have your keys in your back pocket, and then you sit down and you’re, you feel those keys, but then five minutes, 10 minutes later, you, you don’t remember about those keys. As a matter of fact, you might be looking where they are, where are they? Where are those keys? And then the keys are in your back pocket because you stop actually being attentive or paying attention to the fact that they’re there. Same thing with, you can talk about sunglasses, right? Or a, or a cap, right?
Monique Ramsey (07:52):
They’re on your head,
Dr. Salazar (07:52):
, they’re on your head. And where are, where? Where’s my cap? And I’m wearing it, right? So, so when the first moment that patients start feeling those implants behind the muscle, they’re gonna feel some good amount of pressure. That’s where the main discomfort of the surgery comes from. Then they’re gonna start getting more and more active. So then they’re, the muscle’s gonna start contracting on top of the implant and that generates some discomfort. And they realize that that exists. Little by little, their brain, the muscle is gonna get used to the presence of the implant. And also little by little, they’re gonna start ignoring the fact that they have implants and then they integrate very well into their lives. Another thing that also takes a little bit of time and and patients mention it quite frequently, is that the nipples are a little bit, or get a little bit more sensitive. Oh, even sometimes with clothing. And the reason for that is because you’re pushing on the back of the nipples and the nipple areolar complex has some muscle and a component into it. So that’s the reason how it can contract. But now you’re stimulating it from the, the inside.
And that takes some time as well for the nipple and areola to get used to it. And then you’re like, Oh, okay, we going back to normal.
Monique Ramsey (09:03):
You’re talking about extra pain or sensation. But is there also ever any numbness in that area?
Dr. Salazar (09:10):
Very rarely. Okay. I would say extreme. I can close my eyes try to remember the last patient that mentioned something like that with a pure breast augmentation and changes in sensation, either to lose some of that sensation to become numb, it’s gonna be really, really rare.
Monique Ramsey (09:27):
Okay. Well that’s good to know. Cause I, you know, there’s urban legends out there, . Oh, you know, this could happen and that could happen. And so it’s like, we don’t know. So this is, it’s good to help everybody understand, you know? Yes. If it happens, it’s like really, really, really rare. So you touched on capsular contracture. Mm-hmm. What is that and what causes it? And is there a way to prevent it?
Dr. Salazar (09:51):
So capsular contracture patients also talk about as encapsulation of the implants. That’s also how they mention it. Or they can tell you that, Oh, I saw my friend that got an implant that was like tight and higher than the other one. And kind of harder. So what capsular contracture is, the breast implant is a foreign body, right? Just like any other implant that we have in our body. What could that be? It could be a hip replacement, it could be a pacemaker. So it’s a foreign body that’s inside of your body. It’s not part of your own tissue. And what happens is that your defense cells actually are gonna detect that as a foreign body. It’s a foreign object. So they’ll kinda start orchestrating our response for you to start creating a capsule around the implant. And I’m not talking about the, the actual shell of the implant, I’m talking about a capsule that your body is gonna create.
It doesn’t come, and this is very important: that capsule does not come from the implant. That’s a capsule that your body starts depositing all the way around that implant to, in a way, according to your body, protect you from that foreign object. I would say the great majority of patients, more or less, the number is 90% of patients for the first 10 years, that capsule is gonna remain soft, nice, pliable without a problem. Numbers vary, but anywhere from eight to 10, 12% of patients have the risk during the first 10 years to develop capsular contracture. So what that is, think about it this way. So the implant is covered by that capsule. So the implant’s inside, but then your body, for some reason, in a silly way, decides to start shrinking that capsule and making the foreign object, squeezing it and making it as tiny as possible so it doesn’t bother you or it doesn’t hurt you.
It’s such a silly reaction. , I mean, Right. No, please don’t help me. Don’t help me that way. . Right? When you think about asthma, asthma, you get a little bit of dust or a little bit of pollen or something in your nostril and then all of a sudden your bronchial tree shuts down and tries to defend you from that agent. And you’re like, Oh, no, please, please don’t help me that way. So the same thing over here. I mean, we do not exactly know what triggers that response. It doesn’t make any sense, but, but it’s a reality. It can happen. Most of the time happens only on one side. Oh. So also that makes us think like, Oh, I mean, cuz it’s nothing systemic that’s happening in your body. Right? Something may be localized to that breast. So it’s not that the great majority of patients, of course, as I’m saying that have breast augmentation will suffer from this. But there’s a minority of patients that can experience that in the first 10 years. So we actually take 14 steps in the operating room to prevent this.
Monique Ramsey (12:59):
14, 14 separate steps.
Dr. Salazar (13:02):
14 separate steps. And, and we do them religiously. And this, that has become part of our routine. Starting from the prep of the patient, even switching gloves before you manipulate implants, not touching the implant actually at all, using a special funnel to put the implant in so that the implant never touches the patient’s skin.
Washing the, the cavity with antibiotics and, and re prepping again before the moment that we are gonna put in the implant. But the more and more we get studies out in regards to capsular contracture, the more things we learn and see about it. For instance, now we know that having the implant behind the gland places that patient at a higher risk of developing capsular contracture. So placing the implant behind the muscle actually protects or gives you that protection of staying away from the gland. The gland has communication to the outside world.
Right. For, for the purposes of the gland. Mm-hmm. through the ducts, the gland communicates to the outside world. So I mean we’re thinking about maybe some bacteria that was jumping around the implant. So it’s easier to happen in a place where you have contact with to the outside world through the ducts than if you have it behind the muscle. Also, we have seen that if we go through the infamammary fold to the crease, we place the implant through there, the rate of capsule contracture is lower than if we go through the areola. So that’s another change of, or another thing.
Monique Ramsey (14:29):
Yeah. Because you know, when I started 31 years ago, , it was that the implants were put on top of the muscle most of the time thinking that’s gonna look the most natural. Not everyone. And I remember, you know, they’re smooth and textured and all over the years that, you know, then the Keller funnel came in and all these different things. It’s kind of cool to know that the technology and the, the way that everybody’s doing the surgery has sort of…everybody’s work together to reduce that number of people to be as low as it can be.
Dr. Salazar (15:02):
Mm-hmm. . And the treatment for it, if a patient gets capsule contracture or develops capsule contracture is to go in, remove the capsule so that we call capsulectomy and we take the, or the implant, original implant, we’d take it out. We get rid of it. Because if we were thinking that maybe there was a little bit of contact with blood or maybe there’s a contact with bacteria.You know what, let’s get a fresh implant in and then we go ahead and close. And immediately patients after immediately they notice a difference because the implant’s not gonna be riding high, it’s not gonna be hard or encapsulated. And even that generates some tension internally that sometimes patients, some patients can develop some pain, but some patients actually just say like, Oh, I don’t know, it feels feel so much better. I feel so it’s not hard. Oh my god, this is much, much better, much more natural. Of course. So that’s a treatment to do a capsulectomy in an implant exchange.
Monique Ramsey (15:54):
And is that a pretty straightforward surgery for patients?
Dr. Salazar (15:58):
Pretty straightforward. Surgery is something that has been well established as treatment. The only thing that you have to talk to patients about is if you’re gonna go in, you’re gonna be playing the game again. You have the risk of doing, getting capsular contracture because you’re gonna be, and any time that you go in and you exchange implants if it’s for a different reason or you’re gonna do a lift and you’re gonna change the implants, you’re playing the game again of having,
Monique Ramsey (16:22):
You’re hopping on the freeway
Dr. Salazar (16:23):
Exactly you’re hopping on the freeway. Right. And actually they’re aware and they know that maybe because they’re bodies have already demonstrated that they have more predilection to do this or develop this capsules that are tight, that they can have that again. But we see a good number of patients that actually never have it back again. Mm-hmm. , If there’s a recurrence, a second encapsulation, then we have another treatment for them. And that’s like to use an ADM or to use a mesh to hide that implant from your defense cells to hide that implant. And we can talk later about it, but we could have like a complete podcast on this.
Monique Ramsey (17:02):
. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. So we’re following one of the patients that you just recently did surgery on a week ago. And her name is Tati, she’s on the radio and so she’s been talking on the radio about that. I’m not giving away any secrets, but she had had breast implants I think when she was maybe in her mid twenties and she had a deflation recently. And so she then came and saw you and I think she just had her surgery a week ago. She was back on the radio I heard yesterday. So that was Wednesday. So five or six days later. So when somebody has an implant rupture or deflate, like how would they know? I think if it’s saline it would be really obvious, right? It’s popped and it’s like a deflated balloon. But what causes that in a saline and then what in a silicone implant might be the giveaway that something’s not right.
Dr. Salazar (17:53):
Well, so we can all relate to a balloon that’s filled up with water and it doesn’t matter, if you poke a very, very tiny hole in in it, it’s gonna deflate completely sooner or later. Mm-hmm. . So when you have a saline implant, the sign of deflation is, Oh look at this breast. This is the way this other one here used to look like. And right now I noticed this, that discrepancy. Is that an emergency, something you’d gotta run to go and see your plastic surgeon or go to the ER? I would definitely wouldn’t go to the ER. For that I would go ahead probably to go and be assessed by a board certified plastic surgeon. Give us a call, give the office a call, set up an appointment for it within the next couple of weeks and then we can make sure that everything looks okay and we can plan for this surgery.
Again, nothing bad is gonna happen with that deflated device because you’ll, you had it inside of your body, you had contained water but now or saline. But now it has been deflated and it’s never a good thing to have a ruptured device inside of your body. In terms of the silicone gel implants, their deflation is, it’s the, it’s harder to actually detect. There’s, could be like some, uh, constant pain or some skin irritation or changes in the shape of the breast. Or actually, uh, some contracture sometimes can also be caused by, uh, a rupture in the implant, but it’s not as obvious. So if you’re really concerned, the first step would be to go and visit with your plastic surgeon, then determine if it’s a good idea to just observe it or if it’s a good idea to go ahead and pursue an MRI or a high definition ultrasound to make sure that the implant is intact or not.
Monique Ramsey (19:42):
So they can come to you. Have you do that high definition ultrasound and can you nine times out of ten see if there’s a problem? I mean, is it pretty obvious?
Dr. Salazar (19:53):
For the expert eye, it’s pretty obvious. So, and we, we like to share that with patients because, it’s funny when you put out the ultrasound, everybody relates to oh, like a baby, like you’re looking for a baby. And uh, so then we start explaining then, okay, so this is your skin. This over here is a little bit of fad, the breast gland, this is the muscle, this is where the implant is, this is the shell of the implant. That’s what we are, we’re looking for that integrity of that shell. And then we look for it together and uh, yeah, they, they actually are are seeing the screen and everything. So one way to look at the implants is to realize or to acknowledge that, that implants are manmade objects. Right. As in any manmade object they can fail. It’s extremely rare for implants to rupture, especially like to rupture spontaneously.
Monique Ramsey (20:41):
Now do you have any stories or like can you remember any scenarios of some sort of event causing the rupture of any patients that you’ve had? Or is it more just sort of they break down over time and it could happen?
Dr. Salazar (20:57):
I could tell you that I have all those stories, meaning patients that never had any trauma that come in that they cannot identify any moment and uh, the implants have been there for 15, 20 years and they’re ruptured. Or sometimes what happens is patients get a mammogram and then after the mammogram they are looking for a better characterized better take a closer look at a small lesion and then they order an MRI. And then the MRI, the MRI is really good to catch on not only those small cancerous lesions, but it’s very good at catching implant ruptures. It’s so good that sometimes over calls those ruptures. It’s so, so sensitive that actually goes in and tells, sometimes they say like, Oh it looks like a rupture. And then the radiologist actually reads the MRI and say like, Yep, it looks like a rupture. You go in and maybe the implant had a little, little tiny fold on its own. It was folded and sometimes that can be called as rupture.
Monique Ramsey (22:03):
Oh, I see.
Dr. Salazar (22:03):
But most of the time that tends to happen down the road. Meaning if there is a rupture, it’s not gonna happen, I can assure you in, in day one or year one or two or three tends to happen a little bit later in time. The implants that we’re using right now, the most modern implants, the shell of the implant, now we’re not talking about the capsule that your body forms, but the shell of the implant tends to be much more resistant. So that’s like also reassuring. The FDA recommendation of having them exchange every 10 years has not changed. But patients should be happier that they’re getting a shell of a breast implant that’s much more resistant.
Monique Ramsey (22:43):
Mm-hmm. , It’s sort of like your phone, you know? If you have one that’s a few generations back, it doesn’t mean it’s not working but mm-hmm. the new one, you’re gonna, you know, if, if you end up after 10 years or 15 years switching out, you’re getting like the newest technology. Right?
I’m sure there’s been improvements every time there’s a new generation of implants that comes out.
Dr. Salazar (23:02):
Monique Ramsey (23:04):
So now you just made me think as a woman, having had many mammograms in my life, I don’t happen to have implants, but those things hurt those mammograms. Now could a mammogram ever cause a rupture? Cause they really smush you.
Dr. Salazar (23:17):
They really smoosh you. But we can go back to the, a YouTube video of the truck. Okay. . But, but yeah, there, there’s no evidence based paper studies that we can quote that has said like getting mammograms, so it’s safe to go.
Monique Ramsey (23:31):
Because, you want to get your mammogram no matter what. So this is, that’s more important than the, And just to, so we all are feel assured that um, that’s not gonna be something .
Dr. Salazar (23:40):
Monique Ramsey (23:42):
Now we talked at the very beginning about complications that can happen with any surgery and uh, the one that comes to my mind is a hematoma, which is when you have that bleeding happen and sometimes it wouldn’t necessarily, it could happen right out of the OR, but based on your 14 steps, it sounds like that’s a pretty unusual circumstance. But if people, you know, we tell don’t lift luggage, don’t, if you’re going on a trip, have somebody do it for you. Don’t do crazy things with the weight machine because you just had implants. Because I think from what I understand is that’s how you can end up having that complication is then, then you can get bleeding. Right? And then the one breast might get bigger.
Dr. Salazar (24:23):
What I tell my patients is that for three weeks, in reality I wouldn’t like them to be exercising at all and wouldn’t like them to be carrying heavy things. Uh, and when I talk about heavy things, I bring it down to think about a gallon of milk. So you can carry a gallon of milk, you can pour milk on your coffee, but, but that’s it. No heavier than a gallon of milk. I would tell you that in my practice it’s extremely, extremely uncommon that I have postoperative bleedings. But because I tell the patients once, twice, three times, four times, do not become creative. There’s some patients that walk in day one that it looks like we never operated on them and they feel fine. We are happy for them, but we start getting a little nervous because we say, Oh, they’re gonna try to do too much.
So again, tell them the story again, have the conversation. Classic thing is you’re correctly saying one week after they were feeling fine, they decided to go to um, Whole Foods, get some groceries. There was a bag that was heavier than the other ones. And when they were putting it in the trunk, Oh I felt like a pop doc. And then it started getting bigger. So we don’t want that. I mean it’s not the end of the world. It’s a matter of assessing the patient, making the decision, taking the patient back to the operating room. They have to undergo anesthesia again. Again, we’re in a very safe environment and they go to sleep. Make that small incision that we had originally. Take the implant out, take a look, take a blood out, take a look in there, find the bleeder, again, cauterize it, and then clean everything and get that implant back in again. And we close up that incision. There’s no need. So . So just take it easy binge on Netflix for those three weeks. Catch up on some good series that there were pending, um, and read some good books. Uh, chat with friends but don’t do a lot.
Monique Ramsey (26:29):
Listen to our podcast, you know?
Dr. Salazar (26:31):
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Finish them all.
Monique Ramsey (26:33):
What else is better? Um, so now who pays the bill when something like that happens? Is there like complication insurance or what if the patient’s putting groceries in her car or exercising and you told her not to? Like there’s gonna be some costs involved I would’ve think.
Dr. Salazar (26:49):
Right? It depends on the situation. It depends on the timing and um, we always work with our patients. But it depends on timing of things. It depends on the circumstances. So we would be assessing pretty much everything on a case by case basis. And I, I know patients are very, they get very, very close with their coordinators. But for certain complications, and let me share this with you. For certain complications, for instance, like um, an implant rupture or sometimes capsule contracture, the implants that we use, they come with a insurance that protects them from that rupture. In what sense? The sense of if the implant ruptures, then the implant company would actually exchange that implant for them. So it said like, okay, so they’re gonna remove the implant that’s rupture here is your free implant back so they don’t have to pay for the implant.
That’s really good. And it depends on the plans, but they have some economical aid for patients because here’s the deal, we have to go back to the operating room. Mm-hmm. patients have to go under anesthesia. There are gonna be resources that need to be used. Anything starting from sutures, or instruments, or devices or like anesthesia gas, I mean every single thing. So if situation is forcing us to go back to the operating room, there’s gonna be some cost. But I would say that we always work with our patients to make their experience their their best.
Monique Ramsey (28:15):
Now in general, I guess, and I don’t even know if this is a question you can answer, like how common are complications? Can you say one in 3000 people or one in 250 people or I mean is there kind of any way to for patients to think about it? Or do you have a good analogy for how small of a risk the surgery is?
Dr. Salazar (28:33):
Yeah, no, I mean you can talk about different rate or different things, right? We, we we’re, we’ve been talking about like very different types of complications. If you wanna individualize, like if you can say how common is that a patient bleeds, well then at that point you’re probably gonna be talking around anywhere from 0.5 to one to 1.5%. If you’re talking about infection, maybe it’s around 1% of the time. Some like very, very light infection that can get treated with antibiotics. So all these complications are very, very uncommon. Most of our patients come in and out and leave the operating room and we also follow them really closely. We see them that next day, after soon we tell them, Do not worry about taking a shower, don’t worry about changing your dressings. We will do that for you the following day. And really the next day, the only reason why we’re seeing them is to make sure that there’s no problem and we’re not seeing them for symmetry.
We’re not seeing to how beautiful the side of the breast is gonna start looking. The only reason why we see them is to make sure that there is no complication, that there is no bleeding. Make sure that the incision is ready to start healing in the right way. We see them back at about a week. Same thing. We’re not seeing them to assess if the volume matches perfect. The only reason why we’re seeing them is to make sure that there’s no infection. That there’s no bleeding, that there’s no collection of fluid accumulating. So I think the most important part for all of our, uh, patients to have in mind is that they will be watched very, very closely by our team. And that we are there to intervene.
Monique Ramsey (30:18):
And let’s say even though this isn’t a complication per se, but say, you know, you’re talking about symmetry. Mm-hmm. , how long should a patient, you know, things like you say people swell more on one side or you know, your body is just weird a lot of the times, however your body decides to deal with something. So when do you kind of want them to wait for things to settle down? Like at what point is it three months, six months, a year.
Dr. Salazar (30:44):
So the first set of pictures, we start taking them about six weeks.
Monique Ramsey (30:48):
And we never say, “congratulations here are your set of pictures, fantastic before and after.” The reason why we take pictures at about six weeks, it’s because the swelling pretty much is starting to resolve.Still, we are working with tissue that is, is alive, it’s tissue that it’s gonna move. It’s gonna adjust, it’s the way, I mean I’ve told some patients that when I got this orange jacket,
Which is fabulous by the way, I love it,
Dr. Salazar (31:15):
, when I, when I got it, they never told me, Oh Dr. Salazar wait for a couple of weeks and you’ll see how it’s gonna start sinking better around the waist than your arms are gonna Right. Because it’s completely inanimate tissue. It’s, it is what it is. So that’s what you’re purchasing, that’s what you’re getting. With surgery, we work with living tissue. So tissue’s gonna swell up, tissue’s gonna retract. The implants, we live on planet earth, there’s gonna be some gravity they need to settle, they need to go to their final position. We estimate all these different things. So at about literally for the first three, four weeks to, to start paying attention to things, you, you are assessing a moving target. About six weeks we start like we get a nice setup for pictures, establish a baseline, then at about three months we’re gonna have a very, very good idea about where the implants are sitting for, for good.
What’s gonna be their final position. The swelling is gonna be pretty much done around that time. Then you move into those six months as you, as you’re saying. And that gives you a great, great idea of the, of the symmetry of the final result. One of the things I would say, the only thing we do throughout the week is actually we measure breast all the time. Every day we start measuring and looking and one thing that we see is that to find that woman that has the perfect measurements of breast, it never happens and it doesn’t exist. I mean you look at the face, right? One side of the face is a little smaller, the other side of the face is a little bit larger. Same thing happens with breast. And, and one breast tends to sit a little higher and the one that sits a little higher is, tends to be a little bit smaller.
But all within normal anatomical differences, there are cases in which you have a severe asymmetry. And we can entertain the idea of ways that we can start compensating for that. But sometimes when you have a minimal difference, it’s really, really not noticeable if you are not measuring it the way we do very strictly measure the breast. And then at about a year we always want to see our patients especially well we review the FDA recommendations, we remind them about certain things that they have to do to their implants and and to establish a good nice follow up with them. Every year we like to see them. But also because at a year the scar, most likely of that small incision, four centimeter incision, well well hit and very inconspicuous. But we wanna make sure that we like it, that it actually has healed the right way. And that after that it’s gonna continue healing and fading little by little up to a point that sometimes it’s hard to find them. They’re always gonna be there, but we wanna make sure that we all like them, that we are satisfied with that incision. And if not, then we can go ahead and do a quick revision or a little injection of something or take action. But I would say that that’s our, our routine follow up.
Monique Ramsey (34:07):
Well and that’s really helpful and I think when you have your consultation with Dr. Salazar, he’ll show pictures and we have them on our website as well, sort of that graduation, here’s at a couple weeks, here’s at three weeks, here’s six months, here’s a year. Because, then you can kind of see, okay, if, because I feel like as a patient, if we know what to expect, it’s a lot easier to go through it. Right? If, if we go, Okay, this is what happened with this lady and I can relax and not be worrying about every little detail cause it’s just gonna take time. And in our very immediate society, we want it all happening perfect. Immediately. Right?
Dr. Salazar (34:42):
Exactly. Exactly. I, I purchased my iPhone and I wanted to be charged all ready to go, even if I just opened it and unpacked it. I wanted to be able to use it the entire day. And that’s actually the culture that we’re living in. But again, we have to set the tone and tell, explain to our patients. It takes time. It’s part of a process.
Monique Ramsey (34:58):
Yeah. So one thing I wanted to bring up is, we have been talking about complications all day, but what advice would you give to a patient?
Dr. Salazar (35:08):
So I would say like we go through this consent, educated consent form decision and all patients will go in and, and have this document that we are reviewing and we, it’s based pretty much on what we discuss with them during the consultation. But you’ll see all the different complications that could happen. Right? I mean the reason why they’re there is because they have been described. And most likely nothing bad is gonna happen, right? But what I tell patients is once they’re doing their research in terms of who to have the surgery with, is I want to bring to their attention that if a complication happens, go and have the surgery done with that plastic surgeon, that you really and truly feel close to. Someone that will be there with you to deal with the complication. Someone that you can trust. Someone that you say, Okay, so he knows about these complications, he can take care of them.
I feel fine. I can bring this issue up to him, to her and they’re gonna be responsible, they’re gonna be responding, they’re gonna work with me to resolve all this. And I feel that that’s what they’re gonna find in all of our surgeons at La Jolla Cosmetic. People that actually work hand by hand with the patient and actually people that are knowledgeable have the experience and the heart to actually sit next to the patient, not across the table where the patient’s sitting. So we have this complication, let’s get going, let’s start treating it, let’s see you tomorrow. Let’s see you the following day. I would normally see you in a week, but you know what, let me watch you even closer. I wanna make sure that we are heading the right in the right direction. So that’s something that it’s important.
Monique Ramsey (36:56):
Yeah. So it’s not just about really picking the plastic surgeon for your surgery, but thinking …In the rare event something goes wrong, do I trust them to help me through it? Do I trust them to be my partner in good times and in bad? Right? And I’ll put it in the show notes because we do have a blog post about medical tourism. And that’s the thing. And I think you and I have talked about that before where save a little money. I’m going over here and getting my surgery. What if something goes wrong? , where is that person? Are you gonna fly back to Turkey? You have to think about those things. Well, thank you so much for all this great education today.
Oh, I’m so happy.
I think, like I said, if we kind of know what to expect and we know and we can kind of hit some of these complication topics head on, I think that’s really helpful for patients to know that, you know, here are some of the things that can happen. Here’s how often we might see it. Almost never. But if it happens, here’s how we fix it. And so I really appreciate your time today and for everybody in the audience, if you’re listening and we wanna ask you a special favor, if you love our podcast, if you learn something from it, you know, write us a review. We would love it. And you know, if you have any ideas on other topics you would like to hear from us and what you know, our providers and our med spa, any of our plastic surgeons, please let us know. And we’ll have everything in the show notes, in terms of links about scheduling our financing reviews, photos before and after photos. All of that great stuff will be in the show notes. So thanks everybody for today. I’ll see you again next time.
Dr. Salazar (38:30):
Thank you so much, Monique.
Speaker 3 (38:38):
Take a screenshot of this podcast episode with your phone and show it at your consultation or appointment or mention the promo code PODCAST to receive $25 off any service or product of $50 or more at La Jolla Cosmetic. La Jolla Cosmetic is located just off the I5 San Diego Freeway in the XiMed building on the Scripps Memorial Hospital campus. To learn more, go to ljcsc.com or follow the team on Instagram @ljcsc. The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast is a production of The Axis.