Plastic surgery offers a continually expanding array of cosmetic procedures that repair or reshape the various areas of the body, resulting in an improved appearance that is generally leaner, firmer and more youthful. One of the most commonly performed cosmetic surgeries in the United States, breast augmentation involves the placement of breast implants to produce a firmer, fuller bust. When completed by an experienced surgeon, this procedure creates breasts that are natural feeling and attractively shaped.
Studies have shown that women who undergo breast augmentation enjoy increased confidence and a higher quality of life after their surgery. However, women who are contemplating breast implant surgery should perform research and ask questions before their surgery is scheduled to better ensure a positive experience and outcome. What questions need to be asked? Patients should inquire about:
The surgeon’s personal experience
- Are you a board certified plastic surgeon? Do you have hospital privileges?
- How much experience do you have with breast implant surgeries? How many did you perform in the last year?
- Are before and after photos of previous patients who’ve undergone this procedure available?
- How often do you use saline implants? How often do you use silicone implants? Why?
- How frequently do your patients develop complications? What type of complications are most common? How are they treated?
- How often is a reoperation necessary? What is most likely to result in a reoperation?
Breast implants and the body
- Would you recommend silicone or saline implants for me? Why?
- Why do the size, shape and texture of breast implants matter? Which option is right for me? Why?
- Which incision site and placement style are you suggesting? Why?
- What will having implants feel like? Will the procedure change sensation in my nipples or skin?
- Are there other products or procedures I should consider instead of breast implants? What about a breast lift or a fat transfer breast augmentation?
Life with breast implants
- How long can I expect my implants to last?
- How will time and aging affect my breasts?
- Do I need to do anything to maintain the implants?
- Will I need to have more operations on my breast implants in the future? How many?
- Can implants be removed? Can they be changed for a different size? What will my breasts look like if I have them removed without replacing them?
- What are my options if I don’t like the breast implants after they’ve been placed?
Breast implants and a woman’s health
- What are the warning signs of a problem with a breast implant?
- What are the signs an implant has ruptured? How likely is this?
- What effects will pregnancy have on my breasts?
- Will I be able to breastfeed? How will pregnancy and breastfeeding affect the appearance of my breasts?
Breast implant surgery
- Where will my surgery take place? Is the facility licensed or accredited? If my operation is in a surgical center, are there provisions for a hospital admission if it becomes necessary?
- What kind of anesthesia will be used? Who will administer it? What risks does it present?
- How long should my surgery take?
- Will there be any other procedures performed during the surgery?
- How soon after the surgery will I be released to go home?
- Where will my scar be located? How big will it be? Will it fade?
Recovery from breast implant surgery
- How long will I be in pain after breast implant surgery? Will you prescribe pain medications?
- Will I need to wear a special bra? Why or why not?
- What are the signs of a potential problem? How concerned do I need to be about infections?
- What can I do to lower my risk of complications?
- How long will it be before I can resume my normal activities?
- Will I need to return to you for follow-up visits? When?
Considering the particulars of any surgery may seem daunting but it can be comforting to know that your doctor is fully prepared. That’s why choosing a qualified plastic surgeon who has amassed considerable experience in breast implant procedures is one of the best ways to ensure a successful surgery with lasting results. Working with a board-certified surgeon is key to ensuring high quality of patient care and safety. In addition, reviewing before and after photos is important to help you see the surgeon’s work and visualize your outcome.