Breast augmentation surgery is a procedure that plastic surgeons use for breast enhancement or to obtain more symmetry. Every day, women all over the world decide to undergo breast augmentation surgery for a variety of reasons. It is important to research and understand the surgery and examine your reasons for considering it when deciding whether breast augmentation is the right procedure for you.
Is Breast Augmentation Surgery Right for Me?
Women are impacted by the pressure from society to look perfect from a young age. Compound that with a spouse or partner that prefers larger breasts and it is reason enough for many women to decide to undergo breast augmentation surgery. There are plenty of women that decide to proceed with breast enhancement for the right reasons, based solely on their own wants and needs. To ensure a successful outcome, it is important to take a close look at what is behind your desire for enhanced breasts.
The Breast Augmentation Surgery: Before and After
- Have realistic expectations - Women must go into breast enhancement with realistic expectations of what the operation will do for them. It is important to keep in mind that even though breast augmentation surgery can do wonders for self-esteem, it is meant to enhance your appearance, not make your life perfect.
- Who are you doing it for? Yourself or someone else's happiness? - It is essential that you decide to explore breast enhancement for yourself and not for anyone else. Many women make the mistake of going through with breast augmentation surgery to please their spouse or partner, or to comply with social pressures, instead of listening to their own needs. This is a mistake that will not fix problems, but has the potential to multiply them.
- Be physically healthy - The best age for breast enhancement is anywhere between 18 and 50. After 50, you can still get implants, but there is a higher risk of medical complications, and the operation has a lower success rate. If you are pregnant or nursing, now is not the time for breast augmentation surgery. Make sure that you don't have any serious chronic diseases or ongoing treatments that may pose a risk. The best way to be sure that you are a good candidate for breast enhancement is to talk to your doctor.
- Does your surgeon have the necessary experience to deliver the breast enhancement result you are looking for? Ask potential surgeons to disclose important information about their background, including; education, professional experience, board certification, and the number of years they have performed breast augmentation surgery.
- Be mentally prepared for altering the appearance of the body - Often, there is a period of adjustment after surgery. Take the time to ensure that breast enhancement is right for you from both a physical and mental perspective.
- Know what results you want to see - Be upfront and open with your doctor about what you want your breasts to look like after the breast augmentation surgery. Clear up any questions or lingering concerns about expectations before moving forward with breast enhancement.
- Know what type of breast implants you want - The two options for breast implants are silicone or saline. Both are safe for breast enhancement, but each has pros and cons that need to be considered.
- Understand the maintenance that may be required over the long-term - You can undergo breast enhancement, but you cannot stop the process of aging and your shape may change with time and a breast lift may be required later. Many women have to go in for follow-up treatment, either to remove or replace the implants, or have them adjusted due to the effects of age.
Although breast augmentation surgery is a quick and efficient procedure, it is still serious and it is important to know what to expect during and after, in terms of pain and recovery. A breast enhancement is performed as an outpatient procedure, usually under a general anesthetic and takes about one hour. There is mild to moderate soreness that improves significantly two to three days after breast augmentation surgery and most patients are back to work three to four days after surgery. Low impact activities can resume immediately but there are some restrictions on strenuous activity for three to six weeks. Six weeks after the surgery there are no restrictions.
Short term side effects of breast augmentation surgery include soreness, swelling, change in nipple sensation (increased or decreased sensation), and bruising. Most of these resolve completely within a few weeks to a few months. Some potential long term problems include deflation, leaking, rupture, capsular contracture, and rippling. Capsular contracture is abnormal scar tissue around the implant. All implants develop a capsule around them but some can become hard or painful and may require a procedure to remove the scar tissue. An MRI can confirm leakage of a silicone implant if suspected and saline implants usually deflate entirely when there is a leak or rupture.
When considering breast augmentation surgery, do your homework on the options available for types of implants. In November of last year, the FDA approved use of silicone implants for all women over twenty-two years old, which ended a thirteen year restriction on silicone implants. Plastic surgeons can now use silicone or saline implants for breast enhancement, depending upon patient preference and anatomy.
If silicone implants are used during breast augmentation surgery, the implants can be placed above or below the chest muscle. If saline implants are used for breast enhancement, most plastic surgeons will place them under the muscle. There are pros and cons to placing them above and under the muscle. Placing the implants above the muscle decreases post-operative pain and may decrease distortion during heavy chest muscle activity--important for body builders or weight lifting enthusiasts. Placing the implants below the muscle hides the upper portion of the implants and offers slightly more tissue coverage if tissue in this area was very deficient.
Breast enhancement is a valuable option for women who want to enhance their appearance, with realistic expectations in mind. In order to ensure a successful outcome from breast augmentation surgery, it is important to understand your own motives and to do your homework to learn about all the risks and potential side effects that could result from the procedure in the short and long-term.
By Dr. Richard Reynolds Ph.D.
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