You’ve done your research and have decided that you want to undergo breast augmentation surgery. This is a big decision and you’re excited to finally sit down and talk to a surgeon about the procedure. These five factors are important to discuss during your consultation in order to be prepared.

Are You a Candidate?

You must first be sure that you are a good candidate for breast implants. If you’re in good health overall, you’re probably a good fit. Women who have sagging breasts after childbearing or a significant weight loss, women who feel self-conscious about their breast size or those who have a noticeable size difference between breasts are all good candidates for implants.

During the consultation with your surgeon, discuss your health and any medical conditions you have. Few conditions would prevent you from getting the surgery, but some health factors may affect your recovery time or the surgical approach. You will also need to stop smoking at least six weeks before the surgery. Smoking can slow or inhibit the healing process.

Benefits and Risks

Benefits of breast augmentation include increase in size, evenness in size and shape and reconstructed breasts after a mastectomy. Doing your research and choosing a skilled surgeon who shares your vision should produce beautiful results that you love.

Before undergoing surgery, be aware of the risks of breast augmentation. Any surgical procedure carries some risk, such as infection or bleeding. Breast augmentation surgery is a relatively safe procedure, and complications are very rare. The most common problems that may happen right after surgery or years later are capsular contracture (hardening of the tissue around the breast) and rupture of the implant. Revision surgery may also need to be done if you don’t get the results you hoped for. This is unlikely if you choose an experienced surgeon and have a detailed consultation beforehand.

You will need to have a follow-up every few years to check the implants, allowing you to address any problems quickly. If a saline implant ruptures, the saline is safely absorbed by the body. Silicone also does not cause immediate harm if the implant is ruptured.

Choosing Your Size

First, it’s important to understand that cup size alone is not a good measure of size. Cup sizes vary across brands; a 32C has a different cup size than a 36C. Your doctor will show you implants of different sizes and compare them to your body frame to find a size that looks right on you.

Your breast tissue and skin elasticity and composition also affect sizing. Thin skin or dense breast tissue lead to different results. Placement of the nipples and areolas also play a role in choosing the right size and shape.

Every woman is unique and the consultation with your doctor will take into account your body frame, skin and other factors to ensure that your final results fit your expectations and achieve a natural look.

Types of Implants and Longevity

The two main types of implants are saline and silicone. Saline implants may be traditional saline-filled or structured. The structured implants are filled with a salt-water solution but have a firmer outer structure. This helps them maintain their shape similar to silicone implants. Saline implants tend to have a firmer feel.

Silicone implants are filled with a gel and come in different sizes. Round is the most common size, but a teardrop shape is also an option. Firm-stable, also called gummy bear, implants are filled with silicone gel and are firmer than other silicone implants, allowing them to maintain their shape.

Implants also come either textured or smooth. The type and shape of implant you get will depend on a detailed conversation with your doctor. It takes into account your goals, body type, comfort level with different implant types and the condition of your skin.

Breast implants are not a lifetime device. The average lifespan is about 10 to 15 years and then, you will need to have them replaced.

Recovery Timeline

Every woman is different and your recovery timeline may be longer or shorter than someone else’s. On average it takes about two to six weeks to recover and return to normal activities.

Breast augmentation surgery is an outpatient procedure, but plan to have someone with you for at least the first 24 hours after surgery. If you have young children at home, make sure you have someone available for the first few days to a week to help out.

You will have pain for about the first two days and your doctor will prescribe medication to help you manage. Your doctor will also give you instructions to care for the incision and minimize scarring. For the first week, you will likely feel stiff and sore. Avoid straining or lifting. You may be able to return to work after the first week, depending on the physical demands of your job.

You will have follow-up appointments with your doctor, who will provide guidance on when you can return to work, exercise and household chores. Expect to take it easy and keep your physical activity light for the first month after surgery. Then, you can work your way back up with your doctor’s approval.

Having a detailed discussion and reviewing all of these factors with your doctor before surgery is key to ensuring that you get the best results possible. You’ll also be prepared to deal with limitations and follow up after surgery when you know what to expect.

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Dr. Cohen

About Dr. Cohen

Dr. Cohen specializes in breast lifts, augmentations, revisions and reductions as well as breast cancer reconstructions. A long time dream of Dr. Cohen’s was to travel to developing countries and provide expert surgical care to those who have no other possible access to medical care. This became a reality in 2007 when she became a founding member and Vice President of ISMS Operation Kids.