My breasts are cold!!

“My breasts are cold!!” said a patient of mine in her last postop visit. We did a breast augmentation with saline implants just a few weeks ago, and her postop recovery has been smooth and uneventful. It’s been an unusually cold winter this year, with Arctic blasts and heavy snowstorms, so this kind of complaint shouldn’t be surprising. I guess my southern colleagues and readers have already tuned out, I don’t remember my plastic surgeon buddies in Miami complaining about any snow, but they don’t only do breast implants in Miami you know…

Cosmetic plastic surgery, being elective in nature, is always risky business. We surgeons take the utmost effort to warn our patients about all reasonable risks and alternatives to our various procedures. But, “your breasts might feel cold when it’s cold outside” is usually not part of my consultation. In the grand scheme of things, unless you find yourself in the perfect storm of running a saline implant breast augmentation private practice in Alaska, cold breasts are probably down at the bottom of your risk list. But it is an interesting phenomenon that happens due to the specific heat of water – greatest of all substances known to man. Water, which is for all intents and purposes the major component of saline, can absorb lots of energy, and thus, is hard to heat and hard to cool. Consequently, when it’s cold outside, your saline breast implants are going to get cold. And the bigger the implants, the colder you’ll be. Now once they get cold, it’ll take just as much time in warm weather, indoors or outdoors, for them to warm up.

I find it hard enough to go thru the list of relevant risks as it is, but I suppose as long as we have cold weather and saline breast implants, cold implants are a relevant risk. Now, when I mention it in my consultations, I get more chuckles from my patients than anything else. So, I suppose that little bit of comic relief is a good effect in what is, in the least, an arduous process of informed consent. Now back to all this cold winter weather, I suppose it’s just global warming….

Daniel Kaufman, MD
Discreet Plastic Surgery