Considering Breast Augmentation? Here’s 10 Questions You Should Ask a Plastic Surgeon
Breast augmentation surgery is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries performed each year. Last year alone, nearly 315,000 were performed in the US according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. On top of this, figure another 101,000 women underwent breast augmentation as a reconstructive surgery.
For many women, choosing to have breast implants is life changing. They may have always hated their small breasts or hate the way they look after multiple pregnancies and breastfeeding. Whatever their reasons for choosing this type of surgery, they should all be asking the same questions when visiting with a plastic surgeon. Below are the most common and relevant questions to ask.
Am I a good candidate for breast augmentation?
The main considerations when deciding on whether you want a breast augmentation are:
Are you healthy? You should have no active infections, untreated cancer or other illnesses. If you are taking medication, it is important to consult with your primary physician before speaking with a plastic surgeon.
Are your breasts sagging, deflated, asymmetrical or lacking volume and size? Then you should be a good candidate. Breast implants can help with all of these!
You should be a non-smoker or committed to giving up at least 3 months prior to surgery. Smoking affects how you heal and could lead to an increased likelihood of infection.
Are you doing this for yourself? Do you have any underlying mental health or self-esteem issues? Breast augmentation will change your body shape, but it should not be considered a cure for body image issues. You should only consider this surgery after much personal consideration and not due to pressure from outside forces.
If you are interested in having saline implants you, need to be over 18 years of age. And for silicone implants, you should be over 22.
What type of implants should I use?
There are 2 main types of implants – silicone and saline. Saline implants have a silicone shell but are either pre-filled with sterile, salt water (saline) or the saline is added once the shell is implanted. Silicone implants are a silicone shell with silicone gel. Silicone implants are more likely to feel like a natural breast but they have slighter higher risks if the silicone leaks. The best option for you will be discussed during a consultation.
Implants also come in 2 shapes: tear drop and round. Round implants are more commonly used as they provide a more natural look – adding a fullness to the top section of your breast. Tear drop shapes are common in reconstructive surgeries.
Your surgeon should have samples of all the implants they use, and you will be able to touch and see them during your consultation.
How much experience do you have with breast augmentation surgery?
Choose a surgeon who has had lots of experience in breast augmentations and is board certified. Board certified means they have undergone extensive training in their field, graduated from an accredited university and have kept up with ongoing training and research. Ask your surgeon where they perform their surgeries and check that facility’s accreditation too.
Bear in mind that working with a well-qualified surgeon comes with a cost. But it’s worth paying. Choosing a surgeon with lower costs, but without the certification and experience, may expose yourself to increased risks and bad surgery outcomes.
Don’t let cost dictate who you have perform your surgery. You’ll be better off saving your money a little bit longer so you can have the right person perform your surgery. Many surgeons will have a credit care system in place to help you manage the costs. Remember to ask about this at your consultation.
How do you perform the surgery?
Breast augmentation surgery can be performed in a number of ways. This will have an impact on the type of scar you will have and the recovery time. Ask your surgeon which type of surgery they perform and ask why they perform that over other types. Make sure they help you understand the terminology and don’t be afraid to ask them multiple times.
How Much Scarring Will There Be?
This is an invasive surgery so there will be scars. When choosing a surgeon make sure to find one who not only is experienced but also has a good artistic eye and will ensure that your breasts look great and you are happy with the results. Depending on the type of incision you have will depend on where the scar is.
Dr. Chang performs the Keller funnel which he believes gives the best results, the smallest scar and the least amount of risk from infections. The incision is around 3cm in length and is placed under the breast fold which will help hide the scar.
You can watch Dr. Chang perform a live surgery with the technique in the video below. Warning, it is a live surgery, so don’t watch if you’re squeamish.
Can I see some before and after photos of breast augmentations you have performed?
This is a great question to ask and most surgeons will have before and after photos available on their websites. The point of asking is to see your surgeons work. You want to know that they have performed the surgery many times and are professional and skilled at breast augmentation surgery.
Check reviews on the surgeons website and other sources, such as Google. Reviews will give you information on how the surgeon performs the surgery and how they interact with their patients during and after. Reading positive reviews can help alleviate any fears you may have too.
What are the risks involved in breast augmentation?
All surgeries carry risk, and you will be informed of these before the surgery is booked. Questions such as “Will I lose nipple sensation?” “Will my breasts be lumpy and uncomfortable?” are some of the risks you may wish to discuss with your surgeon. Other risks include:
- Hematoma or bruising
- Loss of sensation of the nipple
- Widened or thickened scar
- Asymmetry (unevenness between two sides)
- Delayed wound healing with skin or tissue necrosis
- Under-correction or Over-correction
- Capsular contracture
Unsatisfactory results that may require additional procedures. Patients will generally be responsible for any associated facility fees. Revisions are not safe prior to 6 months to a year.
These risks are infrequent but should be discussed with your surgeon.
How long will recovery take?
This is an important question to ask because you will need to schedule time not only for the surgery but also for the recovery period.
Breast augmentation surgery can be painful. Dr. Chang can help with the pain by injecting Exparol (a long acting pain relief medicine) into your muscles during surgery. You should mention that this is something you are interested in during your initial consultation. After surgery you should wear a compression garment, and you may need narcotic pain relief which should be provided to you. Most women don’t need it by day 4 post surgery. You can go back to regular activities around the same time, although you may wish to remain off work for another couple of days.
When taking the narcotics it is advised that you do not drive. Exercise should be avoided for a couple of weeks. You need to give yourself time to heal and the bruising and swelling needs to reduce.
Can I decide on the size I want?
At Aesthetica, we use the Vectra Photo Imaging System which provides a 3D image of your body with implants of various sizes. This is an excellent way to see the end result before the surgery.
During your consultation you will talk about different sizes and how they will look on your body. Then you will have photos taken, and the Vectra machine will enhance your breast size to show you a fairly accurate image of yourself with your new implants. You may find that what you originally wanted is not right for you.
The most common size women request is a large C cup.
Can I breastfeed after?
It is very important to mention to your surgeon that you are planning a pregnancy after your breast augmentation and that you hope to breastfeed your baby.
It is possible to breastfeed with implants, but they may impact your ability due to nerve and milk duct damage during the procedure. Saline is not considered unsafe for your baby if it mixes with breast milk. If you are having silicone implants, you definitely want to talk to your surgeon.
If you do intend to become pregnant and breastfeed, it is recommended that you wait until you have had all your babies before having breast augmentation surgery.
So Many More Questions!
The questions above are a great starting point. The more research you do before your consultation, the more questions you will have. It is so important to only book yourself in for the surgery once you are comfortable and confident with your choices and all your questions have been answered.
For those wondering whether breast augmentation might be the best cosmetic solution for you, we invite you to simply come in for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chang or one of the cosmetic laser and injection nurses to explore whether you would make a good candidate. To find out more whether Aesthetica can help you, contact us online or at 703-729-5553 to arrange an appointment. Dr. Phillip Chang is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Northern Virginia near Leesburg, Virginia and an expert in a wide variety of cosmetic treatments.
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