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Why a Plastic Surgeon Is Your Breast Augmentation’s Best Friend

There’s a lot of information out there about breast augmentation. Of course, not all of it is credible. It’s important to separate breast implant myths from reality. Having an excellent plastic surgeon in your corner is the key to customizing your breast augmentation. Let this serve as your guide to getting breast implants you’ll love – and maintaining them so you’ll love them for a long time to come.

There are many benefits of having breast augmentation from fitting into your clothes better to feeling more self-confident.

Women choose to have breast implants for a variety of reasons including:

  1. Asymmetry
  2. Dissatisfaction with size or other aspect of breast appearance
  3. Desire to be more proportionate
  4. Underdeveloped breasts
  5. Tuberous breasts or other developmental abnormality

Questions to Ask at Your Breast Augmentation Consultation

Your breast augmentation consultation is a chance for you to decide if a plastic surgeon is the right fit for you. You should be discerning when selecting your plastic surgeon. The biggest factor in determining whether you’ll end up with unflattering breast augmentation results or breast implants you love is your plastic surgeon. Here are some questions to ask at your consultation to help you make an informed decision.

  1. Are you board certified? It’s of utmost importance to select a plastic surgeon who is board certified. Board certified plastic surgeons must commit themselves to a high standard of excellence and undergo extensive training.
  1. Do you used an accredited operating facility? Board certified plastic surgeons adhere to the strictest health and safety standards. This means they only operate at accredited facilities.
  1. How long have you been doing breast augmentation procedures? Experience is important. Select a plastic surgeon who has been doing breast enhancement surgeries for a significant amount of time.
  1. How often do you do breast augmentations? Just as important as the number of years a plastic surgeon has been doing a procedure is the amount of times he or she has done it. Aim for a plastic surgeon who makes breast augmentation a significant part of his or her practice.

    If you don’t feel entirely comfortable with a plastic surgeon or their staff, you should shop around until you find one you love.

Determining Your Candidacy

At your breast augmentation consultation, a plastic surgeon will examine you and interview you in order to figure out whether you are a good candidate to have the surgery. To be a good candidate for breast augmentation, you should be in good general health and not have any uncontrolled medical conditions. It’s also important that you have realistic expectations about your surgery and that you are considering plastic surgery for realistic reasons.

Defining Your Goals

A big part of getting results you love is being clear about what kind of outcome you’re looking for. Choosing the right breast implants is different for each woman since each woman has a different idea of what a great breasts look like.

Some women prefer very natural looking breast implants, while others want a more dramatic look. By taking into consideration your body type and aesthetic goals, your plastic surgeon can work to customize your breast augmentation surgery to your specifications.

If you have “wish pictures” showing breasts that are similar to what you’d like yours to look like, take them with you to your consultation. Depending on certain factors such as the amount of breast tissue you have, the width of your chest and other anatomical dimensions, your plastic surgeon will advise you on whether your ideal look is achievable.

Before and after Photos: What to Look for

Open communication with your plastic surgeon is the key to getting excellent results.

At your breast augmentation consultation, you should be given the opportunity to look at before and after photos of breast augmentations a plastic surgeon has done. In order for you to make an honest assessment of the results, you need to know what to look for.

Pay attention to the following factors, which should be consistent in both the before and after image.

  1. The before and after photos should both be taken from the same angle.
  2. The photos should also show the subject in the same position.
  3. There should the same or very similar lighting in each photo. The light should be from a similar source and coming from the same direction.

Be wary of before and after images that look like they have been manipulated using editing software or misleading photography techniques.

How to Pick Breast Implants

Today’s breast implants are much more sophisticated than they once were. Techniques and products have become more refined. This means that you have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing your ideal implants.

Finding the Right Size

Obviously, selecting the ideal size is an important part of getting breast augmentation results you’ll love. It’s not as simple as ordering lunch, either. You can’t just say, “make me a C cup, doc.” First, plastic surgeons don’t measure breast implants using cup sizes anyway. Cup size is a fashion industry term, and it’s certainly not an exact science. Cup size specifications can vary significantly from one bra manufacturer to another.

Breast implants are measured using cubic centimeters, cc’s for short. Together with your plastic surgeon, you can determine the correct amount of cc’s to give you the look you want. Know, too, that you can’t just look at someone else’s breasts you like and say, “I want the same number of cc’s as she has.” The truth is that a 400 cc implant could look natural and subtle on one woman while looking overdone and too-large for another.

The challenge of selecting the right size is another reason that you need a good plastic surgeon on your side. Someone with the right skills, experience and expertise can help you determine which size will look best with your body dimensions while getting you as close to possible to the results you want to see.

Implant Type: Silicone vs Saline

One of the first things most people consider when figuring out how to pick breast implants is whether they want silicone or saline. There is no right or wrong choice. It depends on your body, your lifestyle and your preferences.

Saline: Saline implants are made from a silicone shell that is filled with a sterile saltwater solution. Saline implants tend to be firmer and less natural-looking than silicone.

Silicone: Silicone implants also have silicone shells, but they are filled with cohesive silicone gel. Silicone implants tend to look and feel more like natural breasts than silicone. Thin women who have little existing breast tissue often choose silicone implants.

Shape Matters

The shape of your implants is another piece of the puzzle when putting together the perfect breast augmentation for you.

Round Implants: Round implants are, as the name implies, perfectly round. They can be made from either saline or silicone. When someone says “traditional” in reference to implant shape, they are probably talking about round implants.

Anatomical Implants: Anatomical implants are also called “teardrop” implants because of their shape, which is designed to more closely mimic the shape of a natural breast. This type of implant is always silicone.

Smooth vs Textured

Textured implants have a rough shell that allows them to adhere to the surrounding tissues. Smooth implants don’t do this and consequently are able to move freely inside the chest. Smooth implants can be saline or silicone, but they are always round. Textured implants are always silicone and anatomically shaped. This is to prevent this type of implant from shifting in the chest.

Selecting the Right Implant Profile

You should be given the option to select your desired profile, too. The profile you choose affects the projection of your implants, which just means how far they stick out from your chest.  Based on your existing anatomy and your desired results, your plastic surgeon can help you determine the profile type that is ideal for you.

  1. Moderate
  1. Moderate Plus
  1. High Profile
  1. Ultra High Profile

Moderate profile implants offer the least projection, for the subtlest look possible. Ultra high profile implants are the opposite, giving maximum projection and the most dramatic results possible. The most commonly requested profile type is moderate plus. For most women, the moderate plus profile implant gives them enough projection without looking overdone. 

About Implant Placement

You’ll generally have two options for the placement of your implants, submuscular and subglandular. Each has its own advantages.

Submuscular: Submuscular placement refers to cases where the plastic surgeon places the implants under the pectoral muscles. This method is commonly used with women who are getting saline implants, in order to help mask the appearance of the implants. It’s often a good choice for women who have little existing breast tissue for the same reason. The chances of breast implant rippling is reduced with submuscular placement.

Subglandular: Subglandular placement is when the implants are placed above the pectoral muscle and below the breast gland. This method is often preferred by athletes since it does not disturb the chest muscles and has a shorter healing period.

Considering Incision Placement

Just when you thought you were done making decisions about your breast augmentation, you find out that there are different options for incision placement. Your plastic surgeon will probably advise you regarding the incision placement method that makes the most sense for you.

Inframammary: The most commonly used type of incision, and the method of choice for silicone implants, is inframammary. This type of incision made in the natural fold at the bottom of your breast and allows your plastic surgeon the most control over placement.

Inframammary incisions can be desirable to women who want to breastfeed in the future since they do not alter the anatomy of the nipple in any way.

Periareolar: A periareolar type of incision is made at the bottom of the areola. These incisions are smaller, and are typically used for cases where the plastic surgeon wishes to insert saline implants before they are filled.

Transaxillary: The transaxillary incision is made in the armpit. The least common approach, it is the one method that does not leave any type of visible scar on the breast.

Considering Whether to Combine a Lift with Your Breast Augmentation

Quite often, women find that their goal results can be achieved by combining a breast augmentation with a breast lift. While breast implants add fullness and help to correct asymmetry, they can’t help with sagging or address issues with nipple placement. Your plastic surgeon is your best ally in figuring out whether combination surgery is the best route to your dream breasts.

Preparing for Your Breast Augmentation

Investing in self-care is always time and money well spent. Taking care of your body will help you stay looking and feeling great for many years.

Even after you have picked the right surgeon and decided on your ideal implants, you’re still not done. Thoughtful preparation can pave the way for a smoother recovery and better results. Here are some tips for preparing to have breast augmentation.

Clear your calendar. Get time off work, have someone cover you for carpool duty, and eliminate any other obligations from your schedule during your initial recovery period.

Create your recovery space. it’s important to have a clean, comfortable place to recuperate. Whether you’ll be relaxing in your bedroom or on a couch in the living room, make sure it’s a relaxing place for you to rest and heal.

Stock up. go shopping and get the things you’ll need during your recovery. You won’t be able to drive for a while, so make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks and things to keep you entertained. Have loose, comfy clothes at the ready and don’t forget about any medical supplies and prescriptions you need.

Get help. Get someone to come with you the day of your breast augmentation surgery. You’ll need a ride home and somebody to watch over you the first 24 hours after your procedure. After that, you’ll still need plenty of help so get someone to take over your usual household duties, cooking and childcare if needed.

Stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk of surgical complications, which is why most plastic surgeons will advise that you quit for at least 6 to 8 weeks before having breast augmentation surgery. Smoking can also inhibit your body’s natural healing ability, potentially prolonging your recovery. Smoking and surgery don’t go together. Plus, your overall health will improve if you quit smoking.

Recovering from Breast Augmentation

The exact timeline of your recovery will vary depending on factors such as the placement of your implants and whether you combine your breast augmentation with a breast lift. Here’s a general guideline to give you an idea of what to expect in the days, weeks and months after your breast augmentation.

Day 1: You’ll get to go home the day of your surgery, but you will need someone to drive you and to stay with you for the first night.

1 Week Post-Op: The first week after your surgery, you’ll be swollen and probably experience some pain and discomfort. All of this can be managed by following your plastic surgeon’s instructions, which may include the use of prescription pain medication. During this period, your primary directive will be to rest. You’ll need the most help during the first week after surgery.

You may be able to get up and walk a bit every so often. In fact, you may even be advised to do so by your plastic surgeon to encourage healthy circulation. Just make sure you don’t do any more than what your doctor tells you to do. It’s critical to your recovery and to the quality of your results that you follow the activity restrictions your plastic surgeon gives you. 

Patience plays an important role in your recovery, as you will have to wait at least several weeks for your final results to develop.

2 Weeks Post-Op: You may be able to slowly resume some of your normal activities around this time, but you’ll still need to keep it low-key. Many people are able to return to work around 7-10 days after having breast augmentation surgery. You will probably still have some fairly significant swelling.

Weeks 3-4 Post-Op: As you come up on the 1-month mark post-augmentation, you’ll be able to get back to some of your usual activities. While you can probably start to work out again, you’ll still be barred from strenuous activities and heavy lifting.

Weeks 4-6 Post Op: You should experience a decrease in swelling at this point, and more of your activity restrictions will be lifted. Note that your breasts may still look and feel a little different than you might have expected. It’s very common for new implants to seem as if they sit too high on the chest. They may also look or feel overly hard and unnatural.

Months 3-6 Post Op: Somewhere around 3 to 6 months after having breast augmentation surgery, your breasts should begin to settle into position in your chest and soften to take on a more natural look and feel. You should also see the majority of your swelling go away and your incisions will likely start to fade.

Maintaining Your Results

By choosing the right plastic surgeon and communicating clearly about what you want, you should end up with gorgeous results. At this point, the ball is in your court. Here are some tips for maintaining your results over the years.

Breast implants are relatively low-maintenance, but there are some things you can do to help keep them – and the rest of you – looking great for years to come.

  1. Eat healthy foods. Look and feel your best by fueling your body with a healthy, balanced diet. Beware of so-called “healthy” foods that are actually full of salt, sugar and other sneaky ingredients. Keeping yourself healthy and fit by eating right is a good way to showcase your beautiful new breasts.
  1. Exercise regularly. Just like eating right, working out regularly will help you keep those great proportions over the years. If you have a tough time sticking with a fitness routine or seeing results from your efforts in the gym, consider consulting with a personal trainer.
  2. Put your best face forward. Keep your face looking as youthful and beautiful as your breasts by adopting a good skincare routine. Only use high quality products on your face and take the time to moisturize every day. Practice good sun protection habits and consider having regular medical spa visits. BOTOX® can help with lines and medical grade skincare treatments can improve your skin’s texture.

About Breast Implant Replacement

Of course, there is always a small chance that you will need to have an implant replacement or breast surgery revision at some point. This is very much the exception rather than the rule, though. There’s a common misconception that breast implants must be replaced every 10 years. This notion probably comes from the fact that many implant manufacturers warranty their products for 10 years. However, there is no need to replace implants unless there is a problem or concern. Many women never have to replace their implants at all. Here are some circumstances that might make replacement desirable or necessary.

It’s actually quite rare for breast implants to rupture, one of the only circumstances that makes replacement necessary.

  1. You are unhappy with the way your implants look. If you don’t like the size of the implants you have, or you are dissatisfied with the placement, projection or any other aesthetic aspect of your breast implants, you may want to consider having them replaced.
  1. Your implant has ruptured. While rupture is rare, it can happen. Most often, a rupture occurs as the result of some traumatic event like a traffic accident. When a saline implant ruptures, it is usually pretty obvious. Saline leaks out quickly, leaving the implant shell deflated. It’s not as easy to detect a rupture in a silicone implant, since the thick gel tends to leak out very slowly. Most often, silicone implant ruptures are not discernable to the naked eye. For this reason, women with silicone implants may want to schedule periodic MRI scans in order to ensure that their implants are intact.

If you ever have any kind of concerns about your breast implants, contact your plastic surgeon. If there is something that needs to be corrected, your plastic surgeon can help you find the easiest and most effective way to take care of it.