Deciding whether to have a breast augmentation or not is a big decision. And while breast augmentation is the most widely performed plastic surgery in the United States, it is also a very personal choice that should be made with careful consideration, patience and research. Several factors should be taken into consideration when choosing to receive a breast augmentation.
Fat Transfer or Implant?
While most people know about silicone and saline implants, many are not aware that they are not the only choice for a breast augmentation. Procedures using autologous (meaning the fat comes directly from the patient) fat grafts increased by 72 percent in 2016, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons statistics. The procedure involves the use of liposuction to extract fat from other body parts. Once extracted, the fat is processed and made fit for injection into the breasts. Be aware that this particular procedure will only increase the breast size by two cups at the most.
Breast Augmentation is not a Mastopexy
Many women think that having a breast augmentation will lift sagging breasts. But a breast augmentation is only affects the size of the breast. In fact, increasing the volume of the breasts can exacerbate the appearance of sagging. The lesser know procedure called a mastopexy is a breast lift. A mastopexy tightens the connective tissues surrounding the breast and removes any excess tissue. There is also a chance that the areoles and nipples will be repositioned as well to give a more natural look and shape to the breast. Often the case is that the patient will want both an augmentation and a mastopexy, especially women who have had children and breastfed them. Both of these procedures can be done at the same time.
No Implant Lasts Forever
Modern implants have come a long way from the first implants used. Today’s implants are safe, long-lasting and feel very natural. However, they are still man-made and most have a lifespan of ten years or so. Patients that do have implants will need to have an annual check up with their plastic surgeon and will also need to preform self-checks on a consistent basis. For those who opt for silicone implants, an MRI scan three years after the procedure, then every two years afterwards, is optional, but highly recommended. This is because leakage from silicone implants are much harder to detect. Expect to have additional breast surgery in the future. As most breast augmentation patients outlive their implants, it is a good idea to maintain the relationship the patient has built with her experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon, And if the original surgeon was not so reliable, then finding one who is is a priority.
Choices to be Made With Your Doctor
There are a number of factors that go into picking breast implants: shape (round or teardrop-shaped), texture (smooth or textured shell), insertion point and implant placement. Every person is different and will need different things in an implant. There are also other factors to include such as the patient’s body proportions, posture and skin elasticity. Very large implants can add to future back and shoulder problems or breast ptosis. Incision location is an important decision because it can affect the ability to breastfeed, however there are options should not affect breastfeeding at all. Similar considerations will affect the placement of the implant itself, whether is is behind the mammary gland or behind the pectoral muscle. Placement will partly determine the look, feel, shape and recovery time of the surgery, and is something that will be decided upon with the plastic surgeon.
As with any surgery, swelling and bruising are a typical and expected part of the initial recovery process. And yet many breast augmentation patients are upset with the amount of swelling and bruising they see the first days after surgery. Swelling can take weeks to go down, bruising and pain also takes some time to resolve. There might also need to be an adjustment of the breast implants to an appropriate position as well. A good recovery bra will make a big difference in how comfortable the patient is after surgery.
Surgery and Smoking
Smoking in the weeks before a breast augmentation is an absolute no go. Many plastic surgeons will refuse to perform the procedure if this strict rule is not followed completely. Nicotine is known to constrict the blood vessels. This creates a problem for proper blood circulation, which then in consequence means that an inadequate amount of oxygen is available in the body both during the surgery and afterwards, when tissue is trying to heal.
There are many elements to successful post-op recovery. From which recovery bra will give you the most comfortable support to roller coaster emotions, there is a wide spectrum of do’s, don’ts and maybe’s. Every patient should follow their physician’s instructions—these will consist of both general instructions that apply to all post-op patients and some tailored specifically for the patient and their needs. Following doctor’s recommendations will ensure that implants will settle quickly and correctly into their desired pockets and help the patient fully heal so that she can start enjoying her new life and new look.