Is there an advantage going to a woman plastic surgeon for breast augmentations or lifts?
I hear from patients every week that they feel more comfortable talking to women doctors than with male surgeons. They say they can more easily express themselves and be understood. We can also identify with them and with the changes in their bodies. For example, some male surgeons think every woman should get implants. In some cases they also tell patients how big they should be.
How does a woman decide whether she should have implants or just a breast lift?
Some women are small and know they need implants to be bigger. But if you’re wearing a C cup, you’re filling it out and you think it looks pretty good, you probably should just have a lift.
Are there many female plastic surgeons?
No, women account for only 10 percent of all plastic surgeons.
I am sure there are many factors. Traditionally, there’s been a prejudice against women in the world of general surgery. We weren’t considered tough enough to go through the grueling surgery training programs.
I studied general surgery for five years, followed by a two –year residency program in plastic surgery and then a six-month fellowship in breast surgery.
Why did you choose breast surgery as your specialty?
It’s creative and I find it rewarding to deal with so many different patients. We often have interaction afterwards since I see my breast patients for yearly follow-up visits. I also believe in specializing. I don’t do rhinoplasty. However, I do injectables, facelifts, neck lifts and eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty).
What advice do you give FOF women when choosing a plastic surgeon?
Don’t look for reviews on Google and don’t imbue doctors with abilities they don’t have. If your friend had a beautiful facelift by a doctor who is genius at facelifts that doesn’t mean he or she is a genius at performing breast implants. Talk to some of the doctor’s other patients and absolutely ask a surgeon about her background and training. Someone may have trained at an excellent institution for general surgery but has only a mediocre reputation in plastic surgery. Find out also about their breadth of experience. I’m 50, so I have a great deal of experience in breast surgery.
Once we choose a doctor, should we leave everything in her hands, so to speak?
Before your surgery, you should understand exactly what the surgeon intends to do. It’s a little scary when I read online sites, such as www.Realself.com, where doctors answer questions posted by patients. Patients sometimes indicate they’re going into surgery in a few days without any idea what’s going to happen.
Give an example of what can happen if you don’t do enough research on a surgeon or on the procedure you’re about to have.
Let’s say a woman over 60 wears a C cup and has lots of volume, but she’s lost volume in the upper half of her breasts due to gravity. It’s not enough to simply work on the drooping skin because it will start drooping again before too long. A top surgeon will work with the internal tissue so the lift lasts more than a couple of years. Sometimes I insert Strattice (a piece of sterilized pig skin) into the breasts, to reinforce the lift, which can help prolong the longevity of the result. Not all plastic surgeons have experience with advanced breast surgery techniques.
Are many FOF women having work on their breasts?
Breast reductions are quite commons among women who are 60+. They tell me they’ve always wanted smaller breasts, but their father or husbands didn’t want them to do it. The surgery totally changes their lives.
That’s exciting, but many women who’d love to have breast surgery can’t afford to do it. It’s so costly and medical insurance doesn’t pick up the cost.
It is a common misconception that insurance doesn’t cover breast reduction, when, in fact, it does in the majority of cases. We try to accommodate patients who don’t have insurance or whose insurance will not cover the procedure, as well as those who prefer to use a plastic surgeon who doesn’t accept insurance. We will let a patient pay over time. I also like a financing program that Care Credit offers for plastic surgery. The patient can pay off the loan over 12 months without interest.
Dr. Tracy Pfeifer
969 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10028
Tel: (212) 860-0670
Click here to view Dr. Pfeifer’s patient before and after.