Two for One: Combining Breast Implants and Lifts

Study verifies safety of single-procedure breast lift surgery and breast augmentation with implants

While not without risk, the “two-for-one” approach of combining breast lift surgery (mastopexy) and breast augmentation with implants can be as safe as single-procedure surgery, according to a study in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

“With appropriate patient selection and a carefully planned operative approach, our data demonstrates a one-stage procedure can be safely performed with acceptable complication and reoperation rates,” states Michael Bradley Calobrace, MD, who, with colleagues, authored the study.

The “twofer” strategy can resolve a multitude or breast issues, from those caused by diseases such as cancer to age-related sagging exacerbated by childbirth, genetics, stretch marks and weight gain or loss. And whether the reasons are cosmetic or reconstructive, combining the two procedures can make sense.

Not only is there less scarring and removal of skin but the implant helps fills out the breast and improves its overall appearance. Along with avoiding the risk of two surgeries and dealing with potentially disappointing results between procedures, the combined approach is also less expensive. Best of all perhaps, recuperation time is about the same as if either procedure was performed by itself.

However, the risk of complications and/or reoperation can be significant, especially for women undergoing the combination procedure as a secondary surgery to improve appearance or correct additional problems. Risks were far less for women with tissue-related problems, with the rate of reoperations being about the same as a single-surgery breast lift. And performing the two procedures in a single operation poses additional technical challenges to the plastic surgeon.

The study concluded that risks are about the same as if the two procedures were performed separately. And patients are asking for the single-surgery combo: “In our experience, [they] overwhelmingly prefer not to undergo a staged procedure and rather have the augmentation and mastopexy concurrently,” Dr. Calobrace and coauthors write.

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