As a plastic surgeon, I find that many patients are interested in breast augmentation. They naturally have a lot of questions about it during our initial consultations. In this two-part post, I’ll address the questions most commonly asked by patients, as well as implant options, how they are placed, and how often they’re replaced.
Let’s start with some of the general questions breast augmentation candidates ask.
Is breast augmentation safe?
The short answer is yes, breast augmentation surgery is a safe procedure.
Breast augmentation surgery is the second most common plastic surgery procedure performed worldwide. In America alone, more than 286,000 breast augmentation surgeries were done in 2014. Take comfort in knowing that this is obviously a procedure that is commonly desired among the world’s population, and know that you are not alone in this decision-making process. Ultimately, what this means for you is that as surgeons, we know a lot about this procedure, and we have a lot of experience doing them. It also means that as a patient, you have access to many resources that answer questions you might have.
That being said, whether it’s a breast augmentation procedure or something less invasive, any procedure is only as safe as the surgeon performing it. Any time you undergo a medical procedure, it is critically important that you do your homework and find a reputable surgeon who has a tenure of experience performing your specific procedure. Once you find that surgeon, it is also important they be willing to take the time to answer all of your questions. It’s your body, and you should feel completely trustful and comfortable with the person who will be performing surgery on you.
How commonly is the surgery performed?
Breast augmentation surgery is very common. It is a procedure that transcends all ages. I see women in their 20s who want breast augmentation because they’d like a more full appearance. I see patients who would like full breast reconstructions done because of congenital defects or asymmetry. Other patients have come in to restore some of the fullness they had before having children. Apart from the fact that teenagers under 18 are not candidates for breast augmentation, there are no real age limits for this procedure. Be aware that you’re not alone. A lot of times, patients come in with some hesitancy. They wonder if they’re too young, or they worry that they’re being vain. Your reason for having it done only needs to be right for you.
What will my recovery be like?
With breast augmentation surgery, there’s a short-term recovery time and a long-term recovery time. In general, breast augmentation procedures are an outpatient process that takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half to complete. The patient is given pain medication and a special bra with instructions to come back and see the surgeon that same week to check your progress. You’re typically sent home that same day. The hardest part of recovery is generally felt in the first two and a half days. There will likely be some pain and soreness, and there could also be some nausea from the anesthesia, but, typically, the majority of patients are back to work in two to three days. Within four to seven days, the majority of the pain and soreness is over. This is the short term recovery, and it’s basically when you are protecting your body from infections and bleeding.
Within a month, you should be back to your normal activities, including exercising. In that time, the swelling should have subsided, and we can see the results of the procedure unhindered by the swelling and bruising that will have occurred during the process. This is the long-term recovery period.
Part 2 – My next blog post will be about breast implants.