“Time is a cruel thief to rob us of our former selves. We lose as much to life as we do to death.” Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey
Living in the modern world becomes more complex and harder as life in the 21st-century becomes faster and faster. We are burdened with responsibilities and distracted by an interminable onslaught of media in all forms including the capricious internet. It seems as if everything is competing for our attention in one way, shape or form while stealing precious time we could otherwise devote to family, friends and simply to our own selves. Therefore, when it comes to saving time, the need to heal quickly after any cosmetic procedure is almost rapacious.
Unfortunately, there is no magic pill or formula to bypass the post operative inflammation of bruising, swelling and discomfort at this current time. However, there are things you can do both at home and in the clinical setting to accelerate your healing.
First of all, it is a good idea to focus on whole foods as much as possible while avoiding processed ones as the former will contain the highest levels of vitamins and amino acids your body will need for a speedy recovery. Amino acids help wounds heal faster and obviously, these are found in chicken, meats, egg whites, fish, brown rice, healthy nuts like walnuts and almonds or sunflower seeds. Taking supplemental vitamin C in your diet while increasing zinc in your diet can be helpful. Instead of taking vitamin C for a bottle, you can eat strawberries, papayas and citrus fruits which are great sources of vitamin C. 500-1000mg is the usual amount that is taken. Zinc is found in oysters which have one of the highest levels of zinc found in any food. If you are going to take a supplement, 15 mg of zinc daily is the recommended amount but you can increase your zinc intake to 30–50 mg for 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after surgery, using zinc picolinate.
Other useful supplements to take in preparation for your surgery include:
B12 and Iron – Iron and B12 both aid bone marrow in forming new blood cells, so incorporate foods like fish and eggs.
Vitamin B6 250mg, twice a day for a week, starting 3 days after surgery. This helps reduce post-surgical fluid retention, such as swelling of the face, hands, feet or legs. With B6, you can experience substantial reduction within 24 to 48 hours.
CoQ10- Surgical trauma (particularly from cardiac surgery) causes an increase in free radicals, which damage cellular function. For this reason alone, you should take at least 50 mg of CoQ10 as part of your daily routine before your cosmetic surgery and 100–200 mg/day for at least 4 weeks after.
Fiber and probiotics – This combination helps boost the immune system and also keeps your digestive tract moving along. Eating yogurt with granola is just one easy way to get a serving of both fiber and probiotics! When choosing a probiotic, consider one that contains acidophilus and bifida bacteria (follow label instructions for dosage). Surgical patients often receive oral or intravenous antibiotics in the hospital, which creates the potential for yeast infections, digestive disturbances and diarrhea. A probiotic may help counteract these problems.One amino acid that has been shown to speed with healing is glutamine and a study from Harvard and Dave showed that it shortened healing by about four days. Apart from supplements, glutamine can be found in beef, chicken and all types of fish. Dairy products such as cheese, milk, yogurt and eggs contain glutamine with ricotta and cottage cheese being the two richest sources. Vegetarians can find glutamine in beans and lentils. For most of my patients, I also recommend supplemental Arnica Montana, Bromelain/ Bromezyme (this pineapple enzyme helps prevent blood clots, aids digestion while decreasing inflammation and pain after surgery) and Pycnogenol/Pine bark. This triumvirate is aimed at reducing bruising, soreness and inflammatory edema. Apart from the above, many patients inquire about any other additional medications, exercises or procedures that can be done to maximally reduce their healing times after surgery. Of course, all patients should ask their individual physicians or surgeons about their own personalized recommendations to speed up recovery which is beyond the scope of this post.
Bioptron® Light employs a combination of polarized infrared and visible light (480nm-3400nm) considered beneficial in the treatment of wound problems and injuries by exerting its effect at the cellular level. Bioptron® therapy has a low energy density (fluency) of 2.4 J/cm2 at a distance of 10 cm and can penetrate the skin up to 2.5 cm.
It has been used effectively in the treatment of burns, pressure sores, leg ulcers, wounds, pain and recently, postoperative healing. I have found it very useful in my clinic to reduce both swelling and bruising. Supporting my experience, other plastic surgeons here and abroad have noted decreased resolution times of eccymosis and edema following surgery by over 33% with Bioptron®. Indeed, it has been used to also reverse the course of cutaneous necrosis as well as accelerate granulation of open wounds, either alone or in conjunction with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room or tube. It is a well-established treatment for decompression sickness, a hazard of scuba diving. Other conditions treated with HBOT include serious infections, bubbles of air in blood vessels and non-healing wounds as a result of diabetes or radiation injury.
In a HBOT chamber, the air pressure is increased to 3 times higher than normal air pressure and under these conditions, your lungs can gather more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure. However, there is some confusion about what actually is “true” HBOT. Those employing “soft” tent like enclosures are essentially useless since they are unable to obtain a true hyperbaric environment of 2 to 4 atmospheres absolute (ATA). In fact, these personal or home-use “hyperbaric” tent enclosures can usually only attain a pressure of 1.3 ATA. There is a debate as to how much and how many treatments are necessary to speed up recovery after plastic surgery. While most plastic surgeons perhaps recommend one preoperatively and at least 3 to 5 postoperatively, experts in the field say one needs at least 15 to 20 treatments in order to see significant results. In my experience, 3 to 5 treatments are all that is necessary to achieve the more modest goals of reducing edema, bruising and discomfort resulting from elective plastic surgery.
After certain surgeries, I may also recommend selective lymphatic massage/drainage to resolve edema (swelling) of the extremities, particularly after liposuction or liposculpture.
The above aforementioned vitamins, nutritional supplements and clinical interventions may not be the panacea to surgical healing which comes in a pill form, but they certainly are a step in the right direction in making recovery from any procedure as smooth as possible in 2017.Dr Randal Haworth
2017 Beverly Hills
There is basically no statistically significant evidence implicating silicone implants as causal to autoimmune disease (such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus pr scleroderma) or any other medical conditions for that matter. Indeed, an article published in our peer-reviewed journal, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (vol. 114, no. 1) states that “implant rupture is a relatively harmless condition”, that does not lead to the formation of autoimmune disease.
Then why is there a continuing controversy fueled by a minor, but vocal minority? To state that this polemic is fueled by a political and not a scientific issue is an understatement.
As a testament to the times we live in, the FDA in its infinite wisdom bows down to such nonsense. The “organization” has recently vindicated silicone gel implants but only with certain caveats. The FDA recommends that patients with silicone breast implants get an expensive MRI study to detect any silicone implant leaks as early as three years after initial implantation and every other year thereafter. For what purpose, I don’t know. Modern silicone gel implants have rupture rates of less than 1% per year (based on old data) and MRI studies are quite fallible in detecting true leaks. Hence, many unnecessary and costly studies would be performed to little or no avail. Patients will foot the bills since insurance companies will rarely cover such softly-indicated exams. To add insult to injury, the FDA recommends that only women over the age of 22 are qualified to undergo breast implantation utilizing silicone gel implants.
What is the mystique surrounding the age of 22? Teens over 16 can drive cars, those over 18 can fight and kill in the armed forces (which is decidedly unhealthy in my opinion) and indeed 18 year olds can legally participate in unprotected sex in pornographic films! But are they mature enough to decide whether they can have silicone breast implants? God forbid no, according to the pious FDA! What is their reasoning behind their conclusions?
The FDA claims that women are not mature enough to decide whether they should undergo silicone breast augmentation and that their breasts are still actively changing during the late teen-to-early twenty period. We, as plastic surgeons, know that this argument holds no water since women’s breasts change throughout their lifetime! Breast enlarge and deflate with weight change, pregnancy and nursing yet the FDA thinks that placing silicone gel implants within these women (who are over 22) is fine.
I just loathe the stupid hypocrisy of all of our institutions under which we are governed. A certain Dr Thomas Wiener of Houston has written a succinct letter which he distributes to all of his patients seeking silicone breast augmentation. I have included it here for your reference.
MRI Recommmdation After Silicone Gel Breast Augmentation
1) The FDA has recommended an MRl of the breasts at three years post-op and every two years after. You are currently at one of these postoperative time frames.
2) Most sIlicone gel implant ruptures are silent. In other words, there are no symptoms. 3) MRI is not 100 percent accurate. Some intact implants wll appear ruptured, and some ruptured implants will appear intact.
This is not a fault of the radiologist or the MRl – this is the limitation of the technology.
4) Over many years of research, there is no indication that a ruptured implant will cause any disease.
5) If an MRI indicates a ruptured implant but at surgery it is found to be intact, for Allergan implants, the manufacturer’s full warranty still applies. For Mentor implants, the manufacturer will provide the implant replacement but no financial assistance.
6) You must understand that because of the limits of MRl technology, you may have surgery for an implant that is found to be intact, but you will still have undergone the possible risks and complimtions of surgery.
7) In most countries outside of the United States, the equivalent of the FDA does not recommend routine follow-up MRl.
8) The cost of the MRl is your responsibility.
Your insurance company and the implant manufacturer will not pay for this.
The decision to proceed with a postoperative MRI must be made by you, the patient, based on the above information and the information provided to you prior to surgery in the manufacturer’s FDA brochure.
1. Women who are seeking balance-these patients never had the ideal aesthetic balance between your shoulders and hips and breasts. Indeed, they always considered their breast to be underdeveloped to the point where they could never find a proper fitting bra.
2. Women who are seeking rejuvenation-this group aims to replace breast tissue which was lost to the ravages of gravity, pregnancy and nursing. Even though many members of this group often state that their breasts were perfect when they were in their early 20s, others claim that they never were well endowed at an early age. this latter subset actually are a combination of those seeking balance (1.) and those seeking rejuvenation (2.).
3. Women seeking breast enhancement to garner more attention in the sexual point of view. Although most women within this group want larger than average breasts, most still demand to have a natural, teardrop shaped and soft result that will fool even the most discriminating of observers. I do not perform breast augmentation on patients deliberately demanding a “fake” look or those wanting to achieve results bordering on the comically hideous in terms of size and shape.
All of these three aforementioned groups have legitimate reasons to undergo breast augmentation utilizing either saline or silicone gel implants. I will perform the surgery on those who have realistic expectations of what breast implant surgery can do for them as well as understand the risks of placing an implant within your body. While getting bigger breasts can enhance one’s physical appearance and perhaps even boost one’s self-confidence, it will not necessarily bring about the perfect body or change people’s perceptions or the way one will be treated.
According to Dr. Randal Haworth of The Haworth Institute, the best candidates for the aesthetic surgical procedure are healthy women with realistic expectations. People who are looking for improvement rather than perfection in the way they look, as well as those who wish to get breast implants to rectify some form of breast disfigurement.
At The Haworth Institute located at Beverly Hills, Dr. Haworth along with professional practitioners from The Beverly Hills Surgical Center and The Beverly Hills Skin Lab provides safe aesthetic and reconstructive surgical services including breast augmentation. Visit Dr.Haworth.com or call 310-273-3000 for more information.