If you’re considering breast augmentation…
If you often wish that your breasts were larger, fuller or more shapely, breast augmentation surgery may be the right choice for you. Breast augmentation (also called augmentation mammaplasty) is a cosmetic procedure that uses implants to enlarge and shape the breasts. Your new look will bring you greater freedom with fashion and may give your self image a boost as well.
You’ll find basic information about breast augmentation on this website. However, the best way to get complete answers to specific questions that relate to your individual needs is to have a personal consultation with a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Is breast augmentation right for me?
Women who choose to have breast augmentation surgery do so to improve their self image. Some feel dissatisfied because their breasts never developed to a size that meets their expectations. Others want to bring balance to a breast that is somewhat smaller than the other. Often, women want the procedure to restore their natural breast volume, which may have decreased as a result of pregnancy, weight loss or aging.
Any one of the following feelings or conditions may indicate that you are a good candidate for breast augmentation:
You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too small Weight loss has changed the size and shape of your breasts After having children, your breasts have become smaller and have lost their firmness Dresses that fit well around your hips are often too large at the bustline One of your breasts is noticeably smaller than the other You feel self-conscious wearing a swimsuit or form-fitting top In addition, there are several “musts” for anyone considering breast augmentation:
If you are a young woman, your breast development must be complete You must be emotionally mature and fully understand your own motivations for wanting the procedure (the best reason is to feel better about yourself) You must have realistic expectations, knowing that the procedure can bring improvement, but not perfection What should I expect from the consultation?
A personal consultation is the first step for every patient considering breast augmentation. During this meeting, your plastic surgeon will assess your physical and emotional health and discuss your specific cosmetic goals for surgery.
You should arrive at the consultation ready to provide complete information about:
Previous surgical procedures Past and present medical conditions Medications you are taking, including herbal remedies or nutritional supplements The results of mammograms you have had any history of breast cancer in your family Your surgeon will help you understand the factors that may affect your results. For example, gaining or losing a significant amount of weight may change your breast size. Pregnancy can also alter breast size in an unpredictable way.
As part of the consultation, your breasts will be examined and perhaps photographed for your medical record. During this exam, your surgeon will consider the size and shape of your breasts, the quality of your skin and the placement of your nipples and areolas (the pigmented skin surrounding the nipples). Your surgeon may recommend that you have a baseline mammogram before surgery to assist in detecting any future changes in your breast tissue. After surgery, your mammograms will be done differently because special imaging techniques must be used to visualize the breast tissue.
Your plastic surgeon may suggest additional cosmetic procedures to improve your results. For example, if your breasts are sagging, your surgeon may suggest that a breast lift procedure be performed in conjunction with your breast augmentation surgery.
How is breast augmentation performed?
The technique used for your surgery depends not only on your surgeon’s preferences, but also on your desired results. The incision is small and is usually made in one of three locations: underneath the breast just above the crease; around the lower edge of the areola; or within the armpit.
Once the incision is made, the surgeon creates a pocket into which the implant is inserted. This pocket is made either directly behind the breast tissue or beneath the pectoral muscle located below the breast tissue and above the chest wall.
How will I learn about the safety of breast implants?
Most women having breast augmentation surgery today receive saline-filled implants- silicone rubber shells that are filled with sterile saltwater. In the unlikely event that a saline implant leaks, the saltwater is harmlessly absorbed by the body. Silicone gel or alternative filler implants may become available in the future. Your surgeon can provide you with information on the latest implant research.
Each year, thousands of women undergo breast augmentation surgery and experience no major complications. However, you must fully understand the risks as well as the benefits of the procedure. One of the most important parts of your consultation is the discussion that you and your surgeon will have about the possible complications of breast augmentation surgery. Be sure to raise any questions or concerns that you may have about the safety of the procedure.
Remember that by carefully following your surgeon’s advice and instructions – both before and after surgery – you can do your part to minimize some of the risks.
What can I do to prepare for my surgery?
When the date for your surgery has been set, your plastic surgeon will provide you with specific instructions for the days immediately before and after your surgery. A number of points may be covered, including:
Avoiding certain medications that may complicate surgery or recovery Stopping smoking for a period of time before and after surgery Arranging for help or special care following surgery How will I be cared for on the day of my surgery?
Breast augmentation may be performed in a hospital, an outpatient surgery center or an office based surgical suite. If you are admitted to the hospital or surgical facility, your stay will be a short one, perhaps just one night.
For some patients, local anesthesia with intravenous sedation is used. For others, general anesthesia may be the best choice. With either type, you’ll remain very comfortable throughout the procedure. You will emerge from surgery wearing a support bra, gauze wrappings or other dressings. Upon leaving the operating room, you’ll be taken to a recovery area where you’ll be closely monitored.
How will I look and feel right after surgery?
Within a day or two after surgery, you should be up and around. Most of the discomfort that you feel can be controlled with medication prescribed by your plastic surgeon.
Although everyone heals at a different rate, you can expect that your recovery will follow this general time line:
Within one week
You’ll be permitted to shower Your stitches will be removed (unless dissolving sutures were used) You may feel able to return to non strenuous work You can resume sexual relations (as long as the breasts are treated gently) After several weeks
Most of the swelling will subside and you’ll start to see your final result. You may discontinue wearing the support bra You may resume vigorous exercise and arm movements What should I know about my results?
If you’re like most women who have the procedure, you’ll be very pleased with the results of your breast augmentation. You will no longer need padded bras or other bust-enlarging undergarments. Your new, natural curves will let you wear a greater variety of fashions – even dresses with low-cut necklines and form-fitting tops. Many women find that their new figure gives them a greater sense of self-confidence—whether they’re on the beach or in the boardroom.
You are likely to be happy with your results for many years. However, keep in mind that your breasts are not immune to the effects of weight fluctuations or aging.
How long will I continue to see my plastic surgeon?
After the initial healing period, you will return to your plastic surgeon’s office for a postoperative follow-up visit so that your progress can be evaluated. In the following months, your surgeon may ask you to return for periodic checkups. It’s important to return for these checkups so that your surgeon can assess your long-term results and address any questions or concerns you may have.
CHOOSING A QUALIFIED SURGEON:
No mater what type of plastic surgery you’re considering, one of the most important factors in its success is the surgeon you choose. Although it may seem hard to believe, some of the physicians who are performing cosmetic surgery today have had no formal surgical training at all.
It’s advisable to consider the following points before scheduling a consultation:
Find out if he or she has been certified by the American Board of Plastic: Surgery (ALPS). Surgeons with this certification have completed a minimum of five years of surgical training following medical school, including a plastic surgery residency program. During this intensive program, surgeons learn to perform surgical procedures for the entire body and face. At the same time, they develop their technical skill and aesthetic judgment. After training, a surgeon must pass comprehensive oral and written exams before being granted certification. The two Organizations that have prepared this information, the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, require their members to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Ask about the surgeon’s hospital privileges
Even if you are planning to have your surgery in your doctor’s office or at a surgery center, it is important to find out if your surgeon has operating privileges in an accredited hospital for the same procedure you would like to have performed. Before granting privileges, hospital review committees evaluate a surgeon’s training and competency for specific procedur