In 2002, my good friend, colleague and mentor, Dr. John Tebbetts, described an entirely new approach to breast augmentation. His procedure, which he termed “24-hour-recovery breast augmentation”, is radically different than current breast augmentation techniques. What he created is a system for breast augmentation that is:
• Based upon the measurement of breast tissue parameters,
• A minimally traumatic surgical technique,
• Almost no blood loss whatsoever,
• Minimal discomfort after surgery and
• A minimal rate of re-operation (also called “revision).
This allows the typical patient to be able to recover in just 24 hours! This system is reproducible among other surgeons who have learned his technique. In other words, those who use his techniques achieve virtually the same results with their patients as the creator of the technique. It is based upon science, not guesswork.
Features of the 24-hour technique include the following:
• Narcotic pain medication is not necessary; only Advil (ibuprofen), an anti-inflammatory, is required.
• There is no dressing other than a small piece of surgical tape or steri-strip on the wound.
• No special bras, wraps or other garments.
• No pain pumps.
• No infusion of local anesthesia into the breast tissues.
• Immediately after surgery (and I mean while still on the recovery room stretcher!) they can raise their arms high above their heads.
• Discomfort is usually nothing more than a sense of “tightness” (that is what my patients call it), rather than pain.
• On the day of surgery, if so inclined, sexual activity is permitted and they may lift up to 25 pounds.
• Patients often go out to dinner, shopping, and visit friends the same day as their 24-hour-recovery breast augmentation surgery.
• The next day, they are driving and doing other normal activities of daily living (except strenuous exercise).
This is in stark contrast to the experience women have with “traditional” breast augmentation. In June 2004, Dr. Tebbetts personally taught me his 24-hour technique. Since then I saw an immediate shift in my patients’ recovery from one of pain, narcotics and slow recovery to the quick and easy recovery as described above.
There is another benefit of the 24-hour procedure that most people do not think about when considering breast augmentation: the lowered chance for a secondary or “revision” procedure.
Occasionally, a second surgical procedure called a “revision” is required to fix some issue arising from the first surgery. This might be an adjustment of the breast pocket that the implant lies within, treatment of a capsular contracture (scar tissue thickening around the implant), changing implant size or some other issue. Re-operation includes revision and other reasons for re-operation such as bleeding or infection after surgery.
The pre-market approval (PMA) studies submitted to the FDA for clearance of silicone breast implants demonstrated a 15% and higher re-operation rate at 3 years. This is simply unacceptable! Dr. Tebbetts published a study indicating his experience, achieving a 0% re-operation rate. As of this writing, my three-year re-operation rate is 1.5%, one tenth of the rate in the national PMA studies.
Pain Control is Better with the 24-hour-recovery breast augmentation
On rare occasions, a patient may still require a narcotic pain prescription, but over the past two years (2009 and 2010), 97.5% of my patients did not require any such medication. The few who did needed to do so because they selected an implant larger than I recommended based on my analysis of their tissues and, naturally, it is anticipated that more postoperative pain will result. Despite this, 100% of my patients during this two year time period achieved a 24-hour recovery as defined above.
If you are looking to have breast augmentation and wish to have the best possible outcome with the least chance of complications and need for additional (ie, revision) surgery, then the 24-hour technique is the way to go. Dr. Tebbetts and his wife and patient coordinator, Terrye Tebbetts, wrote a wonderful book that every woman considering breast augmentation should read called The Best Breast 2 (it’s the second edition) and can be obtained from Amazon.com.
How do you know if your surgeon performs the 24-hour procedure?
There are many surgeons around the country who perform breast augmentation procedures espousing quick recoveries. Just ask the surgeon if the following is true for his patients:
• No narcotic pain relievers, sedatives and muscle relaxers are prescribed
• No pain pumps, nerve blocks, drains, binders, special bras are used
• No limitation of normal activities from the evening of surgery (aerobic activities excluded)
• Patients can routinely place their hands high above their heads immediately after surgery
• Breast implant size will be determined by precise measurements of your breasts coupled with detailed assessment of your breast tissues
• The surgeon will provide you with patients that you can speak to who underwent the procedure
There are many surgeons using a multitude of names for their surgical procedures, but there is only one way to achieve a 24-hour recovery. Whether it be “24-hour-recovery breast augmentation”, “24 hour-rapid-recovery breast augmentation” (the term I use) or the latest one – “Flash-recovery breast augmentation”, if the surgeon cannot assure you of the above, then you will not be assured of a 24-hour recovery from breast augmentation surgery.
To your health & beauty,
Dr. Mark Epstein