Plastic surgery has seen a rise in demand over the last decade, mostly due to the advancements of modern techniques and surgical solutions that has made procedures safer and more affordable than ever before. Breast augmentation has been performed for more than half a century now, so it is not really news. However, there are plenty of myths surrounding this procedure and many people interested in undergoing it still don’t know what to expect when it comes to the surgical plan and what happens once you get in touch with a plastic surgeon.
In this article, we will discuss what breast augmentation procedure entails and what happens during the pre-operative consultation.
Consultation for breast augmentation
Nowadays we have three solutions for breast augmentation:
– Breast implant surgery
– Fat transfer to the breasts
– A combination of the two procedures mentioned above.
While it is generally accepted that breast augmentation is synonymous with breast implants, there are still plenty of patients interested in the benefits offered by fat grafting to the breasts. In other cases, the plastic surgeon recommends a combination of the two procedures to help the patient achieve superior results or to prevent potential complications that might occur such as implant visibility or palpability through the skin envelope of the breasts.
The implants we use now are actually the fifth generation of mammary prostheses, and they came on the market in the 90s. These are silicone implants containing semi-solid silicone gel, which has the lowest rate of leaking and migration outside the breast. Multiple studies performed both in Europe and in the United States have demonstrated that when using these implants, the rate of developing capsular contracture is much more reduced and the risk of rupture is minimal. These contribute significantly to deeming modern breast implants as safe to be used on patients. Nowadays, the breast implants we use are also FDA-approved.
The type of implants that is suitable for your particular case is something you will discuss with the plastic surgeon during the consultation for breast augmentation. You should know that depending on the contents of the implant, there are two types: saline solution implants and silicone implants. Saline solution implants are just as safe as silicone implants, but not as commonly used as they give a different feeling of the breasts when compared with silicone ones. Another disadvantage of saline solution implants is that in case of rupture, the saline solution is absorbed by the body, so the breast looks deflated and empty. Silicone implants are more commonly nowadays as their consistency is similar to the natural breast tissue, and in case of rupture, the implant won’t deform the breasts.
But before even getting to discuss the type of implants that should be used for breast augmentation, the plastic surgeon will need to make sure you are a good candidate for the procedure.
Candidacy for breast augmentation
The ideal candidates for breast augmentation with implants are healthy women over the age of 22 years old with a balanced emotional and mental condition and with underdeveloped breasts or breasts affected by mammary atrophy. Patients with a chronic or severe health condition that take medication that cannot be stopped, as well as patients suffering from low immunity should consider the risks associated with the procedure carefully and maybe postpone the surgery for a later time in their lives.
The recommended age to get silicone breast implants is over 22 years old, at least as what the FDA recommends. This is based on the fact that even if the mammary gland usually completes its development by the time the patient is 18 years old, there is a percentage of women that will have breasts developing up until 22 years old. This recommendation is for patients desiring to get breast implants to achieve an aesthetic improvement. However, if the patient has suffered trauma to the breasts or is confronted with certain breast malformations, breast reconstruction with silicone implants can be performed at a younger age.
Other candidates for breast augmentation with implants are women with visible breast asymmetry. One breast might be bigger than the other or of a different shape. We can correct these imperfections with the help of breast implant surgery.
Women who take medication such as aspirin, anti-inflammatory medication (Nurofen, Ketonal, Thrombostop, etc.) need to stop the treatment approximately two weeks prior to surgery.
Smokers should avoid smoking for at least three to six weeks before and after the procedure to allow for fast healing and avoid unwanted complications.
During the consultation for breast augmentation, the plastic surgeon will have to explain the surgical procedure in detail and also talk about its advantages and disadvantages, potential complications, what happens during recovery and after, and what the cost associated with the procedure is. Don’t be surprised if at this time the plastic surgeon will also ask to take pictures of your breasts. The purpose is to give proof of the initial condition of the breasts and allow you and the plastic surgeon to follow the evolution after the procedure.
What your plastic surgeon should tell you and you should keep in mind is that the anatomy of each patient is different. This is the reason why you won’t look exactly like your friend or a celebrity who has undergone the same procedure as you. Even if your plastic surgeon will show you before and after pictures of patients showing similar physical characteristics as you, it doesn’t mean you will look exactly like in those pictures.
During this meeting with the plastic surgeon, make it a priority to discuss your expectations: how big you would like your breasts to be, what bra cup size you wish to get, what shape of breasts you hope to achieve, and so on. The plastic surgeon will perform measurements of the breasts, thorax and also consider your height and weight. Depending on these factors, he will give you a minimum and maximum limit for the volume of the implants.
If your plastic surgeon tells you that according to your morphological characteristics you shouldn’t go higher than 500 ccs, listen to his advice and don’t get an 800 cc implant. You also need to consider the fact that the bigger the implants, the more complications they can trigger. Moreover, it is a known fact that overly large breasts are prone to early breast sagginess.
There are different methods available to simulate the final results. Just keep in mind that even a software simulation of the results, it won’t be 100% of what you are going to achieve after surgery. The purpose of these tests and simulations is to give you an idea of what to expect after the procedure in terms of size and shape.
It is also during this pre-operative consultation that the plastic surgeon will discuss the details about the pre-operative preparations and post-operative care that are important for the success of the procedure. It is essential for you to know even before scheduling the procedure that you will need to take time off from work for the recovery period. Moreover, significant arm movements and lifting heavy objects is strictly forbidden during the first few weeks after the surgery as it might cause wound opening, implant migration, and unnecessary pain.
If you have fears or concerns, make sure to discuss them with your plastic surgeon during this pre-operative consultation. A prepared patient who is at peace with her decision is a patient ready to undergo breast augmentation.
The pre-operative consultation for breast augmentation is an important step that will take you closer to your dream of having beautiful breasts. During this consultation, the plastic surgeon will need to make sure you are an eligible candidate for the procedure and rule out any potential contraindications to the surgery. Once you are cleared for the procedure, you will be presented with the options available for breast augmentation and a recommendation on the best treatment plan for your particular case. If implants are recommended, the plastic surgeon will perform measurements and recommend the volume of the implants. Depending on your desires and expectations from the procedure, the plastic surgeon will also make suggestions about the shape, profile, and surface texture of the implants to be used.
The consultation with the plastic surgeon should also include details about the surgical approach, potential risks, complications, and what to expect during the recovery period. The estimated costs should also be made clear during this time.
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