• Are breast implants safe?

    There has been increased media attention towards breast implants and their safety in recent months. The main concerns relate to a rare form of lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

    Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) ...is a rare form of lymphatic cancer that can develop near a breast implant. To date there have been less than 800 reported cases worldwide out of an estimated 35 million women with implants. This condition appears to be associated only with textured implants and the risk of developing ALCL ranges from 1:3000 to 1:80000 depending on the type of textured implant. To date there are no reports of ALCL developing in a woman with only smooth implants. Because this is such a rare disease the worldwide consensus is that women who have a textured implants do not need to have their implants removed unless they have other specific problems. ALCL is not to be confused with breast cancer, which is a separate condition that affects approximately 1 in 9 New Zealand women in their lifetime.

    Research into ALCL is ongoing but the evidence points to a combination of patient bacteria, implant texture and patient genetics as contributing factors. The signs to look for with this condition are a sudden swelling or enlargement of your breast or the development of a lump in your breast. If you notice these changes please see your family doctor urgently or call my office if you are a patient of my practice.

    Most cases of BIA-ALCL are cured by removal of the implant and the capsule surrounding the implant. Agencies around the world continue to investigate the safety of breast implants following the increasing number of cases of BIA-ALCL being reported. I have closely monitored the information and worldwide research efforts on ALCL since it was first raised approximately 9 years ago. I stopped using Allergan Biocell textured implants in late 2010. Today I generally recommend smooth implants for the majority of my patients but there is still a role for some textured implants in specific circumstances. This is always discussed with patients thoroughly before surgery.

    For further information please see the NZ Association of Plastic Surgeons website for up-to date information for patients and doctors.

  • Is the surgery safe?

    Any operation carries some risk and it is the role of your surgeon and all of the team looking after you to do everything possible to minimize those risks for you. Of course we can only do this with your help and cooperation. It is vital that you are completely honest with your doctors and nurses about your medical health and about any medicines, drugs or supplements you are taking.

    Smoking increases the risk of problems with wound healing and infection. All patients are advised to quit smoking before surgery, as many weeks ahead as possible but preferably a minimum of four weeks.

  • Why not have the surgery overseas where it is cheaper?

    Having surgery is an important decision and you will live with the results for a long time. We do not believe that a travel agent is the best person to advise you on your plastic surgery and how it can be done most safely. Meeting a surgeon for the first time only a day before surgery is risky (and is a practice prohibited by the NZ Medical Council). You do not have the opportunity to think things through. How do you know whether this doctor is properly trained or qualified? Many countries do not follow the same rigid medical standards enforced in New Zealand. What about the quality and safety of the medical facility and the implants that are used? Will an anesthetist be present and have the other staff been properly trained in emergency preparedness? Surgery is not a holiday and after care is very important. What will happen to you if something goes wrong when you return home a week or two later? Please think through all of these issues before making your decision based on cost alone. Your health and your safety are on the line.

  • How much will my breast surgery cost?

    Most surgical procedures are costed on the basis of operating room minutes and equipment used. A breast augmentation will typically involve 90 minutes of operating time while a breast reduction or lift will usually require between 150 and 180 minutes. After your first visit with Dr Januszkiewicz we can provide you with an accurate costing. This includes the implant cost (where relevant), surgeon and anesthetist professional fees, operating room charges and all surgical supply costs and recovery room fees. Your surgical after care and follow up visits for one year are covered. The costs will vary depending on the implants used and may be higher for some patients who require more complex or longer surgery but this will always be discussed with you before booking surgery. Your health insurer may contribute in the case of breast reduction surgery and you may be eligible for financing through Nova Medical. Please call our staff to discuss your questions.

  • How much time will I need off work?

    Generally you can be back to light office work within a few days but getting back to more active or physical work will take longer. Of course this will vary depending on the type of work you do and what operation you need.

  • When can I get back to the gym?

    Certain activities including gym workouts and driving a vehicle will be restricted for at least three weeks in order to reduce the risk of postoperative complications. Upper body physical exercise may be restricted for up to six weeks. We will be discuss this with you in more detail at your consultation.

  • Do you use the latest techniques?

    Dr Januszkiewicz is dedicated to remain at the forefront of his specialty through research and ongoing personal education. He attends national and international plastic surgery conferences to stay current with the newest advances in surgery. He is sought after a surgical teacher and lectures both here and overseas, as well as training young NZ plastic surgeons at a post-graduate level.

  • What types of implants are used?

    We will only use the highest standard of medical implants approved by New Zealand's Medical Devices Safety Authority (Medsafe). For most patients a silicone implant will be recommended although saline implants are also available. The implants are made up of a durable outer shell filled with FDA approved medical grade silicone that is cohesive. For most patients we recommend using a smooth surface (non-textured) silicone implant.

  • What size implant should I choose?

    You may know what size and shape of breast you would like. We will listen to your goals and desires and, after examining your breasts, we will discuss the various implant styles, shapes and sizes available that would be recommended for you. We will help you choose the implant that will best compliment your body and advise you about the limitations according to your own anatomy and how much natural breast tissue you have. Implant size alone is not everything but too much volume will look disproportional and unnatural while too little may leave you disappointed. You should take time to make sure the choice you make is the most appropriate. Please feel free to bring in photographs of examples that you like and go to our website gallery of actual patient results.

  • What is breast implant illness?

    Breast Implant Illness is a general term used by women who have breast implants and who describe symptoms of illness that they relate to their implants. It is a 'catch-all' diagnosis and the list of symptoms reported includes fatigue, allergies, chest pain, difficulty sleeping, migraine, joint pain, hair loss and depression. Of course many of these symptoms will occur in the absence of breast implants but social media is helping to fuel anxiety levels so that it is becoming increasingly difficult to untangle truth from fiction. Currently there is no strong scientific evidence for a link between breast implants and a defined illness. However we must recognize that some women are feeling unwell and it is important that their concerns are taken seriously. Research is underway to try and better understand breast implant illness.

    An article published in the journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in July 2019 1 states there is presently 'overwhelming evidence to support the safety of silicone breast implants... To the best of our body of scientific knowledge to date, there have not been any concrete or evidence-based studies or peer-reviewed data concerning the formation of a new syndrome: "silicone implant illness".' Rohrich, Rod J. M.D.; Kaplan, Jordan M.D.; Dayan, Erez M.D. Silicone Implant Illness: Science versus Myth? Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: July 2019 - Volume 144 - Issue 1 - p 98-109, doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000005710

    I have worked with silicone implants since the mid 1990's and have confidence in the research that shows silicone is a biologically safe product. However I hear and understand the concerns of women about potential breast implant illness. If you are concerned about having this condition and have been a patient of my practice for breast augmentation or breast reconstruction, you are welcome to call and speak with my staff about your concerns. My staff can provide you with all the details of your implant surgery and arrange a medical consultation if you have further questions. Women who have had their surgery elsewhere are encouraged to see the original surgeon who performed their breast augmentation or reconstruction. If you are not a patient of my practice but wish to speak with me about your concerns I recommend you first see your family doctor and request a medical referral be sent that includes all of your medical notes and operative records relating to your implant surgery.

    For further information please see the NZ Association of Plastic Surgeons website for up-to date information for patients and doctors.

Top 10 Questions on Breast Surgery Answered by Janek Januszkiewicz