Glossary

accreditation: the process of ensuring that all equipment, supplies, and procedures of an inspected
facility meet or surpass the high expectations of one of two agencies—the American Association
of Accredited Ambulatory Surgical Facilities (AAAASF) and the Accreditation Association for
Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). These agencies inspect surgical centers and make sure they
meet the highest standards of safety for patients.

Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC): one of two agencies responsible
for inspecting surgical centers and making sure that they meet the highest standards of safety for
patients. To be accredited by the AAAHC, a facility’s equipment, supplies, and procedures must
meet or surpass extremely high expectations.

American Association of Accredited Ambulatory Surgical Facilities (AAAASF): one of two agencies
responsible for inspecting surgical centers and ensuring that they meet the highest standards
of safety for patients. To be accredited by the AAAASF, a facility’s equipment, supplies, and
procedures must meet or surpass extremely high expectations.

American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS): the overall encompassing body of the medical world
and the only entity that lists all of the various medical boards. The ABMS consists of 24 approved
medical specialty boards, one of which is the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). Certification
by the ABMS indicates that surgeons are performing to the highest standard of their profession.

American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS): a board within the American Board of Medical Specialties
that focuses specifically on plastic surgery.

American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS): the largest agency that focuses specifically on plastic
surgery in the world, the ASPS helps prospective patients find board-certified plastic surgeons in
their area.

Anchor technique: a breast reduction method that leaves an anchor-shaped scar. The anchor method
is considered an inferior pedicle technique.

Anesthesiologist: physician trained to administer anesthesia.

antibiotic: medication created from mold or bacterium that wards off infection.

antimicrobial soap: cleanser that prevents infection. Surgeons often recommend that patients wash
with antimicrobial soap before undergoing surgery.

areola of the breast: pigmented area surrounding the nipple.

augmentation: process of enlargement, often referring to breast surgery.

baseline mammogram: a mammogram that will show what a patient’s "normal" is to enable future
mammograms to display any changes that could be troublesome. Women over forty often are
advised to acquire a baseline mammogram before undergoing surgery.

betadine: an antiseptic solution painted on the chest with a scrub brush to sterilize the entire area in
which a surgical procedure will be performed.

blood chemistry test: a procedure which screens for problems with levels of potassium, sodium,
creatinine, fasting glucose, total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol.

blood pregnancy test: procedure during which blood is drawn in order to determine whether a
pregnancy exists. Often, surgeons request a blood pregnancy test at the consultation.

bra strap grooving: deep dips in shoulders caused by bra straps being pulled down by large,
pendulous breasts. This symptom is a common complaint of many women exploring breast
reduction surgery.

breast ducts: tube-shaped structures which carry breast milk.

breast examination: a painless procedure performed by a medical professional which consists of
a visual assessment followed by a breast, armpit and collarbone area massage to ensure that no
lumps that could be cancerous are present.

breast implant: a sac filled with fluid or gel which is inserted either under breast tissue or under the
chest wall to enhance the breast. Breast implants are usually filled with silicone or saline.

breast lift (mastopexy): a breast surgery procedure during which excess skin, fat, and tissue are
removed in order to raise sagging breasts to a desired level. Less than 500 grams of fat and breast
tissue is removed from each breast in order for a procedure to be considered a breast lift and not a
breast reduction.

breast lift with augmentation: a breast surgery procedure during which excess skin, fat, and tissue
are removed and an implant is inserted in order to raise sagging breasts to desired level and
enhance their size, fullness, and firmness.

breast lobules: small lobes in the breast containing breast milk.

breast reduction: a breast surgery procedure during which at least 500 grams of breast tissue and fat
are removed. Contrary to popular belief, breast reduction does not usually include liposuction;
instead, fat, breast tissue, and extra skin are removed surgically. Two common breast reduction
methods are the lollipop technique and the anchor technique.

breast bud: breasts forming small peaks as nipples swell and tenderness sets in during early breast
development.

capsular contracture: a complication which occurs when the scar or the capsule surrounding the
implant begins to tighten, thus causing the breast to feel hard. Capsular contracture is rectified
either by removing the implant or operating on the breast’s scar tissue.

certification: a process by which a select group of surgeons is approved by the American Board of
Medical Specialties. Certification by this agency means that surgeons are performing to the highest
standard of their profession.

chest x-ray: a procedure which screens for lung masses or abnormalities.

complete blood count (CBC): a screening and diagnostic test for a variety of diseases. It indicates
problems with fluid volume, loss of blood, abnormal blood cells, infection, allergies, and clotting.

compression stockings: plastic surgical device wrapped around patients’ legs to improve circulation to
lower extremities while under anesthesia. The compression stockings inflate and deflate throughout
surgery to keep blood flowing.

CT (computed tomography) scan: a screening procedure using x-rays to view organs and other body
structures. Also called a CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan.

consultation: the initial meeting with a potential surgeon during which a patient learns about the
surgical process, whether he or she is a candidate for surgery, and risks, probable outcomes and
cost of surgery. This is the time when patients also make sure they feel a rapport with the surgeon.

drainage tubes: small, plastic tubes about three millimeters in diameter that are inserted into surgical
incisions during breast reduction surgery to greatly diminish risk of hematoma and seratoma.

drains: spherical containers at the end of drainage tubes which catch excess fluid.

ECG (electrocardiogram): a painless screening procedure which records the electrical activity of the
heart and screens for heart disease. Electrodes are affixed to the chest, arms and legs. It may also
include a stress test where patients may be expected to perform some sort of physical activity.

estrogen: a hormone produced by the ovaries, placenta, testes, adrenal cortex and plants that controls
growth, maturation, and the menstrual cycle.

general anesthesia: method used to stop pain from being felt during a procedure or surgery.

general practitioner: physician trained to care for all basic medical conditions.

genes: space on chromosomes dedicated to heredity and containing DNA.

gynecologist: physician specializing in female genitalia, endocrinology, and reproduction.

hematoma: a pooling of blood under the skin.

hypertrophic scar: overdeveloped scars that may be thick, red, and ropey.

incision: a cut made through the skin with a knife or laser during a surgical procedure.

inferior based pedicle technique: procedure during which skin from the lower portion of the
breast remains connected to the nipple and areola.

intravenous: inside a vein.

IV: see intravenous

keloid: a raised, thick, irregular scar caused by excessive tissue growth at the site of an incision
or wound.

liposuction: process of removing undesirable fat with suction tubes.

local anesthesia: method used to block pain sensations in a region of the body.

lollipop technique: the breast reduction method which uses vertical incisions, resulting in a scar that
resembles a lollipop.

mammogram: a low-powered x-ray method that displays the entire inner structure of the breast.
It’s used to screen for a variety of breast maladies, the most common of which is cancer.

mammoplasty: a generic term for cosmetic surgery for the breasts

mastopexy: breast lift

medical team: a group of several professionals, including an anesthesiologist, a surgeon, a physician
technician, and two or three nurses, who participate in the surgical process.

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): diagnostic procedure using magnetic fields and radio waves
to view organs and other body structures.

pectoral muscles: chest wall under which breast implants are often placed.

physical examination: a physician’s assessment of a patient’s vital signs: height, weight, blood
pressure, pulse, temperature, and so forth. Blood is drawn to screen for disease and organ
malfunction. The physician will also listen for lung functioning and heart beat. During a
breast consultation, a plastic surgeon will conduct a more specific physical examination that
includes evaluation of shoulder bra strap grooving, current nipple sensitivity, nipple position,
distance between different parts of the breast, breast size, breast symmetry, chest wall size, and
breast shape.

plastic surgeon: a medical doctor who specializes in reducing scarring and disfigurement from
accidents, birth defects, and diseases. A cosmetic plastic surgeon specializes in aesthetic
improvement of the face and body via surgery.

ptosis: sagging.

radiologist: physician trained to therapeutically interpret x-rays.

reduction mammoplasty: surgery to reduce size and weight of breasts

saline: mixture of salt and water often used in breast implants.

seroma: a pooling of fluid under the skin.

silicone: a synthetic polymer often used in breast implants in the past. Silicone implants are
awaiting the FDA’s final approval, but only can be used in special cases until its proven that
they are not dangerous.

steri-strips: pieces of surgical tape designed to hold together and protect sutured incisions. Steri-strips
provide an external alternative to traditional stitches, fall off on their own, and do not cause any
pain. They are commonly known as "butterfly stitches."

superior based pedicle technique: procedure during which skin from the upper portion of the breast
stays connected to the nipple and areola during surgery.

support garment: bra designed to restrict movement after surgery until breasts have begun to heal.

surgical dressing: bandages wrapped around operation area of body by surgeon to absorb excess fluid
and keep incisions protected. After breast surgery, the surgical dressing is covered by a surgical
support garment.

surgical center: a facility used by a surgeon to perform surgical procedures. Surgical centers may or
may not be accredited by the American Association of Accredited Ambulatory Surgical Facilities
(AAAASF) or the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).

sutures: surgical stitches.

urine pregnancy test: a procedure during which urine is evaluated in order to determine whether
a pregnancy exists. Often, a surgeon will request a urine pregnancy test the day of surgery.

vertical technique: the breast reduction method which uses vertical incisions, resulting in a scar
that resembles a lollipop. Also called the lollipop technique.

virginal breast hypertrophy: the condition of having developed large breasts at a very early age,
usually during grade school.

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