Breast augmentation surgery continues to be the most popular cosmetic day-surgery procedure conducted in Australia. One element of minimising a patient’s post-operative time in hospital is providing adequate analgesia. Opiate-based pain relief has traditionally been used post-surgery, however the side-effects, such as nausea, vomiting, sedation and addiction, can increase the time spent in hospital and incidences of re-admission, which impact patient wellbeing and costs.

Drs. Mark Lee and Connor McCartney have developed a regional anaesthesia solution for breast surgery using two targeted nerve blocks (INB) which can be administered quickly and easily under direct vision. The doctor’s theorised that targeted INB would reduce post-operative opiate consumption and decrease pain scores, leading to increased patient satisfaction, accelerated discharge times and a faster return to normal activities.

To test their hypothesis, Drs. Lee and McCartney conducted a controlled test of 20 breast surgery patients at St John of God, Subiaco between September 2020 and October 2020.

Results from the test demonstrated that patients who had received INB had lower post-operative pain leading to reduced opiate requirements, with no INB related side effects recorded.

To read the full article, visit Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Global Open.

To enquire about breast augmentation surgery with Dr. Lee, contact us.

Dr Mark Lee is delighted to be contributing to a study focused on adverse events related to breast implants. Adverse events can be anything from capsular contracture, BIA-ALCL, implant rupture or breast implant illness.

The purpose of the study is to better understand the relationship between implants, infection and BIA-ALCL, as well as the association of breast implants and systemic symptoms termed Breast Implant Illness.

Individuals who are considering explanting their breast implants, may like to participate in this important research. If you would like to participate, please register via this link or email for more information.

Requests for breast implant removal procedures (explants) have risen dramatically in the past few years. This is often due to complications following a breast implant procedure – such as breast implant rupture, concern around Breast Implant Illness (BII) among other factors.

Following 50 patients that have been self-referred for explantation due to BII, Dr Lee and his team analysed each patient’s symptoms prior to their explantation surgery. BII symptoms can include joint pain, skin and hair changes and fatigue. As a result, these symptoms are often dismissed as psychosomatic. These patients then received a postoperative questionnaire about their surgical outcomes and the subsequent impact of explantation on their preoperative symptoms. The implants also underwent multiple rounds of testing once removed.

To read the full article and outcomes, click here.

To enquire about explant surgery with Dr. Lee, contact us.

Dr Mark Lee was privileged to speak on the topic of breast implant illness and breast explant surgery at the world’s largest plastic surgery meeting in San Diego, California in September.

Plastic Surgery the Meeting conference is presented by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Plastic Surgery Foundation (US) and sees more than 3,500 attendees from across the globe.

Dr Lee was also invited to present at the 42nd Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) Annual Conference in Brisbane earlier this month on his findings from his paper on Breast Implant Illness.

Mark Lee at Plastic Surgery The Meeting in San Diego, California


Presenting at the Annual ASAPS Conference in Brisbane

For anyone considering a surgical procedure, it’s important to understand that not all surgeons or practitioners who offer cosmetic surgery are necessarily qualified to do so. The appearance of the ‘cosmetic surgeon’ title has become seemingly more widespread over the last few years as demand for cosmetic procedures has continued to grow.

Today, it is legal for any doctor in Australia with a medical degree to operate – which is problematic for patients who aren’t aware of the crucial difference between the qualifications behind each title. Therefore, any doctor is able to self-identify as a ‘cosmetic surgeon’, regardless of their training or experience in the complexities of plastic surgery.

Any person considering a cosmetic procedure should always consult with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon to ensure they are receiving care and advice from someone who is fully qualified to do so. A Specialist Plastic Surgeon will have a medical degree, as well as –

  • Accreditation from the Commonwealth Government to perform invasive cosmetic and reconstructive surgery in hospitals and accredited day surgeries
  • Extensive surgical education and training including a minimum of 12 years medical and surgical education
  • At least 5 years of specialist postgraduate training

While many non-surgical procedures can be performed by a Registered Nurse (such as dermal fillers), oversight and training provided within a clinic overseen by a Specialist Plastic Surgeon is always preferable.

If you have any concerns about your surgeon’s accreditation, consult the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons website.

Although we often think of breast implant insertion as a ‘typical’ plastic surgery procedure, an increasing number of women are choosing to have their breast implants removed for a number of different reasons. Over the past year, Dr Lee has seen a significant rise in cases of women requesting to have their implants removed – from around five women a year to over 100.

The reasons for removal will vary from patient to patient, but are commonly –

  1. Personal preference – Initial implants yielded a poor result, change of preference for breast shape or size, natural change of shape due to hormones, pregnancy and weight fluctuations
  2. Medical complications – Implants may become infected, rupture, shift position or ‘deflate’ over time, potentially a result of the how the insertion was originally performed, or just a natural deterioration of the implant over time

Complications resulting from breast implants tend to be more prominent for women who undergo this procedure overseas, so patients should always consider these risks before choosing their surgeon.

Some women are also opting for explant surgery due to increased concern over breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a rare cancer that develops near breast implants. Although uncommon, BIA-ALCL is most likely caused by the use of textured implants, bacterial contamination during surgery, genetic predispositions and the age of the breast implants.

In all of these cases it is important that the implant and all of the surrounding capsule is removed. If your plastic surgeon has concerns about silicon leakage, or biofilm formation which could lead to cancerous cells, then all the surrounding scar tissue will also be removed. This surgery is significantly longer and more complicated.

If your breast skin has been stretched or has sagged, a mastoplexy, also known as a breast lift may be performed by your plastic surgeon. This involves removing any excess breast tissue to provide better support and produce a better aesthetic outcome.

Whilst recovery is always dependent on the individual and their surgeon, recovery after explant surgery is often smoother than initial breast implant surgery. Scarring typically heals very well and is usually quite discrete.

If you would like to learn more about the possibility of breast implant removal surgery, or have any concerns about your current breast implants, Dr Lee and his team are always more than happy to talk about your options. Choosing to have plastic surgery is a serious personal decision and undertaking. Please be mindful that any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks.

Call us on 9382 3340 or click here to contact us for further information.

Useful Links

Safe Breast Implants Research Foundation

Breast Implants & Rare Cancer Risks

Often referred to as “Australia’s national cancer”, melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australian men and women with 13, 941 new cases reported in 2017 alone. Five people are expected to die from the aggressive and often fatal form of skin cancer every day. For the fortunate ones who catch it early, the survival rate for melanoma can be up to 95 percent.

In a world first, researchers at the Edith Cowan University Melanoma Research Group have developed a blood test that is capable of detecting melanoma in its early stages with up to 80 percent accuracy.

Relying on biopsies alone to detect melanomas can often be problematic for clinicians due to their invasive nature. The newly developed blood test, called MeIDX, works by detecting the antibodies the body produces as soon as a melanoma begins to develop. The test provides a starting point for clinicians before they begin other invasive testing to confirm the presence of the skin cancer.

Dr Lee has collaborated with Professor Mel Ziman, Lead Researcher of ECU’s Melanoma Research Group and a raft of other medical experts in Oncotarget’s latest journal article on MeIDX.

It is anticipated that in conjunction with other current diagnostic techniques, MeIDX will help to improve early detection which is key for survival. Researchers will now undertake a clinical trial to help refine the test and further improve its precision. The team expects the testing will take three years, with MeIDX being available for use in pathology clinics shortly afterwards.

As former Deputy Director of WAKMAS (Western Australian Kirkbride Melanoma Advisory Service), Dr Lee is an expert in the latest research management of melanoma, underpinning his approach to associated surgical procedures.

To learn more about the ground breaking MeIDX and the research behind it, head to;