Mon | Oct 14, 2019

Plastic surgery a growing trend in Jamaica

Published:Wednesday | March 6, 2019 | 12:13 AMDr Jan Hochtritt/Contributor

Not many professions arouse such curiosity and imagination as this small surgical subspecialty – plastic surgery.

So tightly is it linked to stories of the beautiful and famous that we all love, adore and at times envy, that it seems to many that the plastic surgeon’s primary occupation is in the creation of beautiful people.

Not many know that plastic surgery is in fact not a synonym for cosmetic surgery but a very complex field of surgical expertise. It is almost understandable that the less ‘sexy’ facets of this specialty are overshadowed because so many people openly admit to ‘having something done’.

A trend that is becoming more and more evident in Jamaica and worldwide.

The visit to the plastic surgeon’s office has become a routine for many.

Plastic surgery, however, is centred around the idea of restoring or reconstructing shape and function that has been lost because of circumstances that can vary. Often, what appears to be a cosmetic procedure is in fact reconstructive.

THE STORY OF MARY ANN H

For instance, take Mary Ann H. The mother of three who has been, by her own account, happily married for almost 16 years yet struggling with the fact that birthing her twins left her with severely stretched out skin and ptosis of the breast (what in Jamaica is often referred to as ‘long breast’).

Her belly muscles were so severely stretched out that even going to the gym was not only embarrassing to her but ineffective. She would not be able to regain the strength, not to mention the flat stomach she had before.

She had been thinking about seeing a plastic surgeon for many years, but it was only after her smaller children were old enough not to be fused to mommy’s legs anymore that she found the courage, time and peace of mind to take this step.

As most patients, she made it very clear that it was not in any way her husband asking for this. Though he had accompanied her to this visit, he was actually not too fond of the idea but seemed to understand that she was determined.

She felt after all these years of ‘they time’, it was time to do something for herself. Her upcoming 40th birthday seemed like the perfect occasion for this.

MOMMY MAKEOVER

Within the two consultations that we had before her procedure, we discussed what she wanted to achieve and I explained what she could reasonably expect.

Equally as important, I made sure that she understood that surgery is not like getting your nails done, as social media often makes it appear nowadays. There are possible side effects or complications that can occur during or after the surgery, therefore, it is essential to follow instructions meticulously to reduce the risks.

She decided on a combination of a breast lift (a tightening of the skin envelope of the breasts) and an abdominoplasty, which is also referred to as a tummy tuck. This combination therapy is commonly known as a ‘mommy makeover’. During this surgery, her weakened abdominal wall could also be repaired.

Like Mary Ann, many patients will have a combination of a cosmetic and a functional indication. The large breasts that cause headaches and back pain, the hanging eyelid that obscures the vision on the periphery, scars that hurt or limit mobility, or the excess skin that causes chronic soreness, to just name a few.

It is often worthwhile to have a consultation to see if something can be done to help.

Dr Jan Hochtritt is a board-certified plastic surgeon living in Kingston, Jamaica. Questions and comments can be sent to plasticsurgeryja@gmail.com and yourhealth@gleanerjm.com