Everything You Need To Know About Getting Breast Implants

Like any surgical process, it's important to know exactly what you're getting into before making the big decision to undergo breast augmentation. But with all the information and medical jargon floating around the subject, trying to educate yourself can be an overwhelming experience. We have sifted through the dense technical language and fluffy blog advice to give you ten simple, but vital things you need to know when preparing for your breast enhancement.

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1. Breast Implants Do Not Last A Lifetime

According to the FDA, breast implants are not considered lifetime guaranteed devices and require regular maintenance, and eventual removal or replacement. In their published guide on breast implants, they state that "the longer you have your implants, the more likely it will be for you to have them removed". With studies showing a deflation rate of 4% at one year, 5% at three years, 7% at seven years, and 10% at ten years, it's safe to say that breast augmentation isn't a one-time procedure. This may be a deal breaker with those on a tight budget or who simply don't want to deal with years of maintaining their breasts.

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2. Is Your Surgeon Certified?

Buyer's beware: there is no law against performing cosmetic surgery without being backed by the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS). Because of this, it is important to make sure that your doctor is ASPS certified. This certification ensures that your surgeon has at least six years of surgical training with three years of specialized training in plastic surgery, regularly satisfies continuing education requirements, and operates only in accredited medical facilities. The fate of your breasts literally lie in the hands of your surgeon and so does your investment.

3. Get A Thorough Medical Evaluation

Getting a regular check-up with your doctor before your surgery is beneficial to you and your surgeon. Despite how common breast augmentation may be,  it is still a complicated operation that can be made even more complex when faced with unknown medical conditions. While conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, can place a candidate at a higher risk, they do not necessarily cancel out your ability to undergo the procedure. Speak to your surgeon about your medical history and any breast abnormalities you may have so that he/she can perform the operation with a better understanding of your body or suggest alternative methods.

4. Know The Complications and Adverse Outcomes

While complications aren't likely, it's important to be educated on negative outcomes that are rare but possible. The FDA notes capsular contracture, the immune system's abnormal response to foreign objects in the body, as a feasible consequence of breast implants, along with rupture, deflation and inevitable reoperation.  The result of poor surgical technique may include dimpling, puckering, or wrinkling. Scar tissue, pain, and infection can also occur at the site of the incision.

5. You Might Need An MRI Every 2 Years

Undetectable by neither you nor your surgeon, silent ruptures are a disturbance of the implant that occur without any symptoms. Because these take place most frequently in silicone gel-filled breast implants due to their gelatinous nature, the FDA has mandated periodic MRI examinations three years after initial augmentation and every two years afterwards. Because these MRIs are for cosmetic purposes, many insurance providers may not be able to cover the costs of these screening and you will have to pay the price out of pocket. In which case, you're going to need to dig deep.

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6. Understand The Pros And Cons of Saline Versus Silicone

Because saline implants are just that—a liquid solution that when ruptured, leaks out into the breast tissue and can be easily noticed—they can avoid the dreaded silent ruptures that can sometimes occur with silicon implants. Saline has its share of downfalls, however, as the liquid creates a firmer consistency that many consider less natural than the gelatinous nature of silicone that mirrors normal breast tissue. The bottom line is this: know your options. Figure out what is important to you and communicate that with your surgeon, who can suggest a fit choice for your desired results. Suggest is the key word, because in the end, the decision is 100% yours to make.  

7. Don't Think Cup Size

Notice how you can wear a size 34A bra from one lingerie brand but a 36B in another? That's because the way we buy bras, in cup sizes, is an inaccurate measurement of the size of our breasts. Communicating that you want D-cups can mean a variety of different proportions and shapes based on your unique body and preference. Don't set your heart on one specific size alone, but consider the desired volume and overall look of your implants and instead, communicate that to your surgeon. This way, he/she will have a better understanding of what you really want and avoid undesirable results.

8. Be Ready For The Unexpected

While you have a certain vision for your new look once you have decided to undergo breast augmentation, you may find that those full, perky breasts you imagined cannot be achieved through implants alone. In this case, surgeons often suggest an additional breast lift or nipple surgerysomething you weren't planning on, much less budgeting for. In the event that your investment won't satisfy your full expectations, you may need to consider supplemental operations to reach your desired effect.

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9. Give Your Implants Time To Look Normal

Whatever you do, do not schedule your breast augmentation a week before your wedding or a few days before your high school reunion. Like every surgery, your body needs time to heal. That means, it will take some time for your new breasts to achieve the look you envisioned.  The ideal recovery period takes about a week (with cushion for minor complications) and your implants will initially sit higher up on your chest before slowly dropping down to a normal position within six weeks to six months.

10. Preparations Must Be Made

This is far from the fun part, but covering all your bases before your operation will take a load off of your recovery period. You may want to arrange for someone close to you to be on call for the first 24 hours after your surgery, in case you need any extra assistance or emotional support, and have them drive you on the day of your surgery. Consider the upcoming week after your breast augmentation. Are there appointments you need to cancel? Medications that need to be refilled? Make sure to ask your doctor when it is best to resume your normal routines such as physical exercise, driving, and engaging in sexual activity.  

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