Patients who seek plastic surgery to enhance their overall appearance are now more frequently requesting to have multiple procedures performed at the same time. From the famous (and common) “Mommy Makeover” to the more extreme full “Heidi Montag,” it’s clear that the trend for combining plastic surgeries isn’t going anywhere. The allure of having several procedures at once can be quite compelling, but what types of plastic surgery procedures can safely be performed at the same time?
The concept of combining surgical procedures can be enticing for those who want maximum results quickly. Additionally, having Dr. Stephanie Teotia address multiple concerns on the same surgery day can potentially reduce your total cost as well as your overall recovery time. However, the risk of complications does increase with each additional surgery that is added to the original procedure. While certain minor procedures are perfectly safe to combine, there are also procedures that cannot safely be done together. Dr. Teotia is extremely careful about the procedures she will and will not perform on the same day.
Before we get into specific procedures, it’s important to understand how surgeries are categorized. All surgical procedures, whether cosmetic or medically necessary, must be considered in terms of time limits on anesthesia, the overall health of the patient, the location of the areas of the body that are slated for improvement, and the projected arc of recovery. While there are certain life-or-death situations that demand surgeons accept the increased risk to exceed accepted safety parameters in any or all of these areas, any responsible plastic surgeon would not take increased risks for cosmetic procedures.
It is generally not recommended to exceed 6 hours total anesthesia time for cosmetic procedures; while the aforementioned Heidi Montag did endure an astounding 10 different procedures at once, she has since told People Magazine that she was unprepared for the experience, and that the ordeal was, in retrospect, “very challenging, […] physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally” and that the resulting pain was nearly unbearable, even with the presumably adequate care provided to her by the aftercare clinic charged with managing her pain. No conscientious surgeon would wish their patient to have had this sort of experience as a result of cosmetic surgeries.
However, Dr. Stephanie Teotia does agree that it is certainly possible to combine procedures in a way that is safe for the patient, yet also yields beautiful, natural results. Procedures which are often combined because of their well-established safety are:
- Brow and forehead lifts
- Face lifts and fat grafting or fat injections
- Face and neck lifts
- Breast augmentation, breast lift, and tummy tuck (the Mommy Makeover)
- Tummy tuck and liposuction
- Facial fillers or Botox with a body procedure (like a tummy tuck or breast augmentation)
From this list, you may have noticed that surgeries that take place on closely-situated areas of the body are generally safe to combine. By contrast, a buttocks lift should not be combined with a tummy tuck or breast implants because doing so would require moving the patient during surgery, which would be quite risky.
Additionally, it would be unwise to combine a rhinoplasty, or nose job, with something like a breast lift. While this combination would not require moving the patient, the nose, not being a sterile location, could release bacteria into the bloodstream that might cause infection at the other surgical site. Therefore, these surgeries would need to be spaced out by at least several weeks.
Of course, the story doesn’t end when the patient is released from our care. While most people who choose plastic surgery are quite happy with their choice to have had surgery and report fully enjoying their results, it is true that recovery from surgery can be quite painful. Recovery varies with each type of surgical procedure, so it’s important not to overload a patient with multiple wound recovery sites that will make it difficult, if not impossible, for the patient to move about during the recovery process. While a certain amount of downtime is normal and expected, it should not be a burdensome or overwhelming experience for the patient.
One final note: surgeries result in scars. Even the most careful surgical technique cannot protect against the reality that a transformative surgery requires deep cuts which must subsequently heal. Caring for these scars requires a significant ongoing time investment as well as specialty products that can be somewhat expensive. Scars do heal over time and ideally, they will end up faint and supple; however, having the time to care for them properly and the financial capacity to invest in high-quality scar creams and sun block are both key components contributing to this positive outcome.
There’s no doubt that quick plastic surgery results can be a very compelling goal, but you must know the risks and benefits of the surgeries you seek. Your health and safety must always come first so that your surgical results will enhance a vibrant and healthy body.