ANNA J. JAMES
26-year-old Australian rapper Iggy Azalea is promoting ‘Fast Recovery’ boob jobs after posting a shout out to her plastic surgeon.
“Caught up with @DrGhavami today!!!” wrote Azalea to her 9.1million Instagram followers on July 19, adding “…He is the reason I have Fabulously perky boobs…” referencing her breast augmentation that Dr Ashkan Ghavami performed in 2014.
For upwards of US$15,000, plastic and cosmetic surgeons are promising ‘flash’ or ‘rapid recovery’ breast augmentations; spruiking 24 hours from surgery table to dance floor.
“Instaboobs”, as they’ve been dubbed by the media, are marketed at instant gratification-hungry millennial market, influenced by curvy Instagram models and celebrities, including Azalea.
Los Angeles-based plastic surgeon Dr Ghavami pioneered Flash Recovery Breast Augmentation, which he has patented. “Most are able to carry out many everyday activities within 24 hours of the operation,” promises Dr Ghavami’s on his website.
In response to Azalea’s endorsement, Dr Ghavami posted on his Instagram that Azalea was able to dance four days after surgery. The next day, he posted a clip of another patient, her nipples pasted over with Post-its reading, “Less than 24-hours” and “Post-op!”.
Industry-standard recovery time is between three and six weeks.
“The 24 hour return-to-work is basically false advertising and misleading,” said Dr Kourosh Tavakoli, a prominent Sydney Plastic Surgeon, from his clinic in Double Bay.
“I have performed over five thousand breast augmentations and have never seen a patient recover in 24 hours,” said Dr Tavakoli, who promotes ‘rapid recovery’ breast augmentation.
“I use the term to illustrate a faster healing associated with much less swelling and bruising. In my clinic this translates to a seven day recovery,” said Dr Tavakoli, noting that a week’s recovery is the industry “norm”.
Breast augmentation is a multi-layered process. Common side effects are swelling, bruising and discomfort. Some patients report a sensation of tightness around the chest. There’s the process of “dropping”, when the implants settle into a lower, natural position, in some cases, one at a time. Dr Tavakoli advises that on day 5-7 after surgery, patients can return to work; on day 21, hit the gym. There’s also sutures to be inspected and cleaned.
It’s not a 24-hour process, and recovery should not be rushed.
“Rushing patients back to work does create excess swelling and inability for the pectorals muscle to recover. This can in turn lead to spasm of the pectoralis muscle and prolonged pain and recovery,” Dr Tavakoli said.
Cosmetic Surgeon, Dr Anoop Rastogi, who also practises in Double Bay, Sydney, argues that ’24-hour recovery’ is often misunderstood.
“Yes, it is possible, and yes, it is safe but one must recognise what is being discussed as ‘recovery’,” said Dr Rastogi, who has performed over 4,500 breast augmentations.
The recovery of implant patients is two-fold: physiological (the physical healing of scars and repairing of tissue) and mental (feeling well). Dr Rastogi contends that while healing physically from surgery instantly is impossible, some patients “feel well” post-surgery.
For three weeks, Dr Rastogi discourages patents from activities that raise their heart rate and blood pressure above normal. For some, including Iggy Azalea, this includes dancing.
“If aggressive activity resumes too early then the patient will damage their healing tissues and cause significant problems for themselves,” said Dr Rastogi. Post-operative physical exertion can cause bleeding, tears in the suture lines and displacement of their implants.
“It took me three weeks to feel normal. I was horrified when I first saw my breasts. They were triangle and high,” said Jade Morris, who describes the experience, “all-in-all positive,”
In 2015, 20-year-old Morris underwent breast augmentation surgery at The Cosmetic Institute Sydney, where DD polyurethane coated implants increased her B-cup chest.
“I spent about three to four hours at the hospital. The surgery itself was quick, an hour. I left feeling quite out of it on Morphine and Endone… I needed a friend to drive me home and prop me up in bed,” said Morris. “I wasn’t very mobile. My chest was so tight it was like I was struggling to breathe.”
The day following surgery Morris felt “good enough” to visit a café with friends, however it took a month before she was satisfied with her results.
“It’s is not a one-day thing. You need to do your research and take your time. I guess it’s different for everyone,”
Like the patient, the recovery time is dependent on the surgeon; Dr Ghavami frequently mentions his advanced technique when promoting his ‘Flash Recovery’ augmentation.
“The skill level amongst surgeons has also improved significantly over the past ten years and this has led to an improvement in patient experience,” said Dr Rastogi, adding that demand for breast augmentations has increased every year in his 18-year practice.
“We’ve had several instances of patients leaving the hospital after surgery and going shopping. This is not recommended but highlights the minimal discomfort and ease of recovery that is possible when the surgeon operates with gentle hands and are respectful of the pain-sensitive structures within the breast, such as the lining of the ribs and the breast glands,” said Dr Rastogi.
“The problem that we face in our practice is that my patients feel so good after surgery there is a tendency to over-exert themselves. Our patient education is aimed primarily at limiting their activity despite how well they fell,”
Given how surgeon skill’s vary and the highly subjective experience of pain and aesthetics, it is difficult to standardise recovery time. For some, it’s one day; for others, one month.
However, as with all medical matters, it’s best to proceed with caution. Iggy Azalea, take note, “Should patients rush their recovery? The answer is absolutely not,” said Dr Rastogi.