If breast augmentation is on your list of goals for 2018, you’ll be joining the more than 200,000 women in the U.S. who undergo the procedure each year. According to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast augmentation has remained the most popular cosmetic surgery in the U.S. for almost 20 years.
If you’re considering getting breast implants, you have probably already concluded that it is not a decision you should make without doing your homework and weighing the odds. Even though the procedure has a very long track record of safety and success, undergoing any type of surgery has associated risks, and not everyone will qualify for getting the procedure – especially if you are not in ideal health from the beginning.
Read on for our complete guide to the top 10 secrets of breast enhancement surgery.
1. Experience matters. There is no law to prevent any surgeon from performing a cosmetic surgery, but that doesn’t mean all surgeons are the same. Only board-certified cosmetic surgeons such as Dr. Constantine have completed the necessary education, training and certification process that makes them qualified to carry out complicated cosmetic surgery procedures.
Even after you locate a board-certified surgeon, you should still make sure he or she has plenty of experience performing breast enhancement surgery. Always ask to see patient testimonials and before-and-after photos. Book a private, individual consultation to get a feel for the surgeon’s personality and bedside manner. Will you feel comfortable working with this doctor throughout your entire surgery and recovery process?
2. Not everyone is a good candidate for a breast augmentation. Dr. Constantine may recommend against getting this procedure if you have certain conditions that increase your risks and complications both during and after surgery – including obesity, whether you smoke or if you have a family history of breast cancer. It’s vital to be totally upfront about your health with your chosen surgeon and report any significant health issues so your doctor can evaluate your fitness to undergo and recover from surgery.
3. Any breast surgery may affect your overall breast health. Though the chances of developing health risks are very minimal for most women, every patient is different. Before the surgery, you should see your OB-GYN for a full, proper breast exam and cancer screening. If you fall within the target age range to get a mammogram, do so. Tell your gynecologist and mammographer about your decision to get a breast augmentation, and make sure you fully comprehend and appreciate any hazards the surgery may pose to your long-term breast health.
After your breast implants are in place, continue to perform regular self-breast exams, and immediately report anything unusual to your gynecologist. The FDA also recommends women with silicone implants get regular MRI breast exams to detect ruptures.
4. You might need to have another breast surgery in the future. The FDA estimates up to 20 percent of women who opt for breast augmentation surgery need to have their implant removed within 10 years, due to complications such as a rupture or leak. However, as long as your breast implants remain intact and you continue to be happy with their appearance, you will not need to worry about getting a follow-up surgery done.
5. You can choose between two different implant materials: silicone and saline. More women tend to opt for silicone implants because they look and feel more realistic, but the drawback is that the consistency of the material can make it more difficult to notice ruptures. Saline implants make it much easier to tell if there is a leak, because the breast with the faulty implant will visibly shrink over time.
6. Implant size is not as important as you may think. Getting breast implants is a highly personalized procedure. Factors such as your height, weight, body type, muscle tone, skin type and desired result all come into play when determining how a specific amount of volume will reshape your breasts. Rather than focusing solely on cup size or getting hung up on a specific number, you and your chosen surgeon should prioritize your final appearance and how it will make you feel.
7. Be prepared to take it easy after surgery to achieve maximum results. You won’t be fully recovered, but if you have a desk job that does not require any lifting, you’ll generally be OK to go back to work about seven days after your breast surgery. However, you should also expect to limit your exercise for up to 12 weeks. Although you can start doing no- to low-impact cardio, such as walking, about a week after your surgery, high-impact exercise is off-limits no matter how good you feel. Cardio that significantly increases your heart rate after your breast augmentation may cause more bruising and swelling, and will be a setback to your healing process.
8. Breast augmentation requires months of post-surgical care. If you assumed your breast augmentation process would be complete as soon as you get home from your surgery, think again. Your surgeon will send you home with detailed post-operative instructions to follow in the days, weeks and months following the procedure, which will include how to care for your incision sites, ways to manage pain and swelling, and tips for minimizing scarring. You will need to follow these instructions to the letter for the best-looking results from your surgery.
9. Breast augmentation might affect your ability to breastfeed. A very small number of women with implants have reported lactation problems. If this aspect of your breast health is important to you, wait until after you are finished with your childbearing and breastfeeding years to undergo surgery.
10. You need to mentally prepare to get your surgery. Remember, undergoing surgery is a significant life decision, and it’s one you should make for yourself alone. It is never wise to get a cosmetic procedure done to live up to anyone else’s expectations or unrealistic goals. Before choosing to get breast augmentation, ask yourself questions like, “Why is this surgery important to me?” and “How will it change my life for the better?”