The decision to undergo breast augmentation requires much thought and research and there are varying reasons why one would consider it. One of the best ways to ensure you’re happy with the outcome of your augmentation is to make sure you consider all the appropriate factors beforehand. It’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about your goals for augmentation and bring up any worries you might have. Here are some factors that could impact your plans for a breast augmentation.

Physical Factors that Impact Breast Augmentation

One of the biggest factors to consider before breast augmentation is why you want to get the procedure. Not every woman is looking for bigger breasts, for example. Older women may be looking to regain some of the look and feel of younger breasts. Even women who are still in their 30s or 40s may feel like their breasts make them look older, especially if they have had children and engaged in breastfeeding. The reason for your augmentation could change how the procedure is accomplished and you’ll want to be able to work with your doctor to determine how you look after the augmentation.

Goals aren’t the only things that change with age. Skin type and elasticity, and breast shape and composition (glandular and fatty tissue) are factors in augmentation; age and health are also important. As bodies age, recovery time and risks both increase related to any type of surgery. Women can mitigate any issues by being honest with their plastic surgeon about health issues and following through with any recommended recovery treatment. An experienced plastic surgeon can review your goals and help you understand whether you are a good candidate for breast augmentation.

Understanding Types of Implants

Once you and your surgeon agree that a breast augmentation can meet your needs, you’ll need to make some decisions about style and size. Choosing the right size is one of the top factors in being happy with the outcome, but bigger isn’t always better. Breast implants aren’t measured in bra sizes; you can’t just ask for a D cup and call it a day. Your doctor will consider your physical structure and the goal you have for the augmentation and will help you decide on a size measured in ccs that best fits your body. Common implants measure between 200cc and 600cc.

A big factor in the size decision is how natural you want the implants to look. Women who want larger breasts that look as natural as possible aren’t going to be able to choose the biggest size offered, especially if they are petite. A good plastic surgeon can help you understand how different sizes may look on your person and he or she can also help you make a choice that won’t negatively impact posture or lead to future back pain.

After selecting a size, you might be asked to consider whether you want saline or silicone implants. Your physician may make a recommendation based on your individual needs or goals. Saline implants are filled with salt water, but the surgeon places them before they are filled. That means a smaller incision, and it also offers some flexibility in placement so that the surgeon can get a more precise look for you.

Some people believe that silicone implants offer a more natural look and feel, though. This is because an implant filled with silicone is better able to mimic the response of natural body fat in the breasts. Silicone implants are already filled when they are placed, so they require a larger incision.

Both silicone and saline implants are available in a variety of sizes, multiple shapes and either smooth or textured styles. Surgeons are able to use both types of implants to achieve natural breast shapes or reconstruct breasts, so your choice often comes down to preference. Take time to talk with your surgeon about the pros and cons of each type to make the best decision for your goals.

Postoperative Factors to Consider Before Breast Augmentation

While breast augmentation is a very common procedure, it is still a surgery. Anyone undergoing surgery should take time to understand possible risks and what might be expected in the recovery.

One common concern for women is scarring. As augmentation does involve an incision, no plastic surgeon can guarantee 100 percent that no scar will be visible. By taking precautions, however, patients can minimize breast augmentation scarring so that any incision is almost invisible to the majority of people.

Post-surgery complications are possible and can include infection, bleeding, changes in nipple sensation, breast implant pain and dissatisfaction with the size or shape of the outcome. The more serious complications are fairly rare and by working closely with your surgeon and following any postoperative instructions, you can reduce the chance of negative outcomes.

Patients are often worried about implants leaking. This is a possibility and is one reason to follow up with MRIs occasionally in the years following an implant. Breast implants are not made to last forever, so following up with your doctor lets you know when maintenance might be required. The fact that you might have to have future procedures (years down the road, usually) is another factor to consider before making your decision.

Recovery time is a final consideration for most patients. Healthy women who don’t experience complications typically recover quickly. You may experience swelling and some pain for a few days to a few weeks, but it’s usually managed easily with rest, ice and over-the-counter pain meds.

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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.