What You Need to Know Before Getting Breast Augmentation: A Guide
If you’re considering breast augmentation surgery, you probably have loads of questions. This guide is intended to help you learn more about breast augmentation, one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries today.
Every Surgery Carries the Risk of Complications
Even though breast augmentation is performed frequently across the US, every operation brings some risk of problems. With breast augmentation, these include:
- Reaction to general anesthesia
- Implant leaks
- Scar tissue
- Dissatisfaction with the results
- Breast implant illness
- Necessity of implant removal due to complications like capsular contraction/anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL)
These concerns are why it’s important to pick an experienced, highly recommended surgeon who is qualified to perform the procedure.
Your Recovery May Be Uncomfortable
Expect to be in pain for a bit after your surgery. Most people go back to work about a week or two after breast augmentation, provided they do not perform manual labor. Some women take a bit longer to recover, though. Factors like age, overall health, size of implants/change, type of incision, and post-op care can affect your recuperation time and discomfort.
Once the initial post-op period is over, you will still have restrictions on activities for a while. Expect to wait about six weeks to two months before you can resume strenuous physical activity and sports.
Your Final Results May Take a While
Don’t be disappointed if your initial results aren’t quite what you expected. It can take anywhere from six months to a year for your tissue to settle and for the final shape to appear. Meanwhile, your scars will fade, and you’ll start to feel like your new breasts are your own.
A New Body May Take Some Getting Used To
Aside from the more physical aspects of healing from breast augmentation surgery, there are psychological changes that take place too. Expect that some people may look at you differently, and you may feel shy about your new figure at first if you’ve been used to feeling embarrassed about your profile.
Don’t forget that you’ll need to be fitted for new bras, including for exercise, even if you never wore one before. You may even need a wardrobe overhaul if some garments no longer fit.
If You’re Not Happy With the Results, You Can Change Them
It’s important to take your time deciding on breast augmentation surgery, so you have the best possible outcome. However, if you aren’t pleased with the final size and shape of your breasts, you can change them. Some women ultimately go for smaller or larger implants after their initial surgery. Be aware, though, that removing your implants completely or going down significantly in size can leave dimpling or puckering of the skin.
Breast Implants Don’t Last for a Lifetime
As good as breast augmentation and implant technology has become, most people will need to replace them years down the road. At your initial surgical consultation, it’s important to ask for an estimate of how long you can expect your implants to last, based on the type you choose, your age, and the particulars of your case. You will likely need MRI screenings starting three years after your surgery to ensure your implants are still holding up properly.
Breast Augmentation Does Not Help Sagging
Unfortunately, breast augmentation is not a cure for sagging breasts. A breast lift or mastopexy is what’s needed in that situation. The good news is that a breast lift can also be performed simultaneously with breast augmentation, although the recovery may be a little more intense. This surgery is particularly popular with women after childbirth and/or breastfeeding.
You Must Be the Right Candidate for Breast Augmentation
Not everyone is the ideal candidate for this type of surgery, and that should be screened at your first consultation. Things that may contraindicate breast augmentation, permanently or temporarily, include:
- Family history of breast cancer
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding
It’s Okay to Ask Lots of Questions at Your Initial Consultation
Your first appointment with your cosmetic surgeon is your opportunity to learn more about breast augmentation surgery. Some typical questions include:
- What type of incision does the doctor recommend?
- What type of implants are available to you (silicone gel vs. saline)?
- What size implants are possible given your frame, skin, etc.?
- What should you expect during the recovery process?
- How might breast augmentation affect your ability to breastfeed in the future?
- Will you lose any sensation in your breasts, either permanently or immediately after surgery?
- How should you prepare for the surgery?
- What is the cost of the surgery?
- Where will the procedure be performed, and what can you expect on the day of your breast augmentation?
- What experience does the physician have performing the surgery?
Not All Surgeons Are Board Certified
Remember that just because someone is a plastic surgeon doesn’t mean they are board certified. Your surgeon should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Ideally, your doctor should also be a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Board certification and membership in speciality societies hold your doctor to higher standards of education, experience, and care, and they demonstrate an interest in continuing education and keeping up with the latest surgical techniques.
Are you considering breast augmentation surgery? We specialize in facial and neck procedures at Sunder Plastic Surgery, but we are happy to recommend a colleague who can perform your surgery. Many of our patients who are interested in improving their overall appearance see us for surgical and nonsurgical facial treatments and our colleagues for breast augmentation. Call us today at 310-777-6679 to learn more.