I recently had the chance to observe a breast augmentation procedure performed by a surgeon friend of mine. The patient was a tall, attractive woman in her late thirties. Her husband was in the room, quietly listening to my friend’s explanation of the procedure and what should be expected. The patient was friendly and enthusiastic – the breast augmentation procedure was her birthday gift to herself. This was her second procedure, as she had already increased her cup size from an A to a C a few years prior. This time she wanted D or larger.
I felt mixed emotions as I observed the surgery. On the one hand the patient’s breasts looked fine the way they were (in my humble opinion) and it seemed wrong to further distort her natural body type. Yet on the other hand, I think that patients have the right to look the way they want to, and my personal beauty ideal shouldn’t be projected on to them. I asked my friend how she dealt with this sort of conflict.
“Well,” she said, looking at me with her surgical mask and blue hair net, “if a woman wants a green dress, it’s not the store clerk’s business to try to pressure her into buying a red one. I just try to give the patients what they want, and not impose my opinions on them.”
And so I watched as my friend carefully sutured the wounds around the new implants. She checked the movement of the saline-filled sacs inside the chest. She pushed the breasts together to check the cleavage.
“But the breasts don’t touch each other when you push them to the center,” I said, head tilted sideways.
“Her sternum is too wide for that. This is one of the limitations of implants of this size on her body. She just doesn’t have enough tissue to make that kind of cleavage.”
“Is that ok with her?” I asked, glancing down my own scrub top.
“It’s a give and take – she knows that going larger will not give her a natural look, but she’s ok with that. This is what she wants.”
And so the anesthesiologist woke the patient up, extubated her, and the nursing staff slid her over to the stretcher that would carry her to the recovery area. My friend escaped her sterile gown and gloves and prepared her post-op note at the nursing station desk. I smiled at the nurses who assisted in the surgery, and we shrugged at each other and went on our separate ways. I hope the patient is pleased with the outcome, though most of all I hope she feels content with how she looks, no matter what the bra cup size.
What do you think about breast augmentation?This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.