1. Is your surgeon board certified? If you are considering a breast augmentation, it is extremely important for your plastic surgeon to be board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. To be board certified, the surgeon must complete training in surgery as well as a formal residency in plastic surgery, followed by passing a rigorous written and oral examination. For a patient, this guarantees that the surgeon chosen has met a standard of training, education, and knowledge in plastic surgery outlined by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Any doctor that has completed medical school and has M.D. after their name can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon; this is NOT the same thing as a board certified plastic surgeon.
2. Do your research! When considering any type of surgical procedure, such as a breast implants, it is imperative to do your research. Find the best plastic surgeons in your area specializing in breast implants. Look at the website of the surgeon and view the before and after photos of the breast augmentations. Ask questions when you have a consultation, it is also good to see a couple different surgeons and pick the one you are most comfortable with. There are great websites that can help you find a board-certified surgeon in your area such as asps. Know the facts and be well-informed!
3. Placement of the Implant. When getting breast implants, you have an option to have the implants placed above the pectoralis muscle (subglandular) or under the pectoralis muscle (submuscular). The decision to go above or below the muscle should be left up to you and the surgeon and is generally dependent on your anatomy and personal preference.
4. Size. Breast implant sizes are measure in cubic centimeters (cc's) and range from 120cc-850cc. When considering the size of you breast implant, forget about bra size and think in cc's. Consider this conversion: 1cc=1mL and 30cc=1ounce. The size of breast implants will be different for each patient and will depend on your personal anatomy, original breast size and shape. In the consultation, you will have the opportunity to try on different sizes of breast implants. It is important to note that once placed inside, the will be a bit smaller in appearance. When choosing the size, consideration must be paid to your expectations after surgery and to your body type and proportion.
5. Silicone or saline. When undergoing a breast augmentation, there are two choices for breast implants: silicone or saline. Both are approved by the FDA and have three projection options: moderate, moderate plus, and high profile. Silicone breast implants are filled with a cohesive silicone gel that feels and looks more natural. Silicone breast implants have a slightly larger incision size because they come filled to a particular volume. Saline breast implants are filled with saline solution (salt water) and has a slightly firmer feel. There is a higher chance for rippling and deflation with saline breast implants. The incision size is smaller because the implant is placed in the body and is filled once implanted. During surgery, the surgeon is able to adjust the fill volume of the implant.
6. Silicone Is Safe! In 1992, the FDA put a ban on silicone breast implants due to claims that they had made patients ill. In 1997, the US Government began one of the most extensive research studies in medical history. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science (IOM) found that “Evidence suggests diseases or conditions such as connective tissue diseases, cancer, neurological diseases or other systemic complaints or conditions are no more common in women with breast implants than in women without implants.” In 2006, the FDA approved silicone breast implants by two manufacturers, Mentor and Allergan, and were placed back on the market with restrictions.
7. Incision site. There are four options for breast augmentation incision sites: peri-areolar (around the areola or nipple), inframammary fold line (under the breast), trans-axillary (in the arm pit), and trans-umbilical (through the belly button). It is very important to discuss the options with your board certified plastic surgeon and ask their recommendation for incision placement. Some surgeons do not perform all of the incisions for various reasons.
8. You can breastfeed! After a breast enhancement most women are able to breastfeed, especially when the breast implant is placed under the pectoralis muscle. Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure and carries risks and potential complications with it, it is important to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon before getting breast implants.
9. There is no guarantee. There is no guarantee that after your breast augmentation procedure that you get what you expected. It is important to have realistic expectations, consult with a board certified plastic surgeon, and do your research!
10. Risks and complications. Breast augmentations carry risks and complications. It is a surgical procedure and there is always a possibility that something can go wrong. Also, breast implants are a man-made devise and may rupture or leak. Many women require a second breast augmentation or breast revision at some point. A consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon will explain all of the potential risks and complications with surgery and breast implants.