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Am I a good candidate for breast augmentation?
One or more of the following feelings or conditions may indicate that you are a good candidate for breast augmentation:
- You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too small
- Clothes that fit well around your hips are often too large at the bustline
- You feel self-conscious wearing a swimsuit or form-fitting top
- Your breasts have become smaller and lost their firmness after having children
- Weight loss has changed the size and shape of your breasts
- One of your breasts is noticeably smaller than the other
How will my plastic surgeon evaluate me for breast augmentation surgery?
Your plastic surgeon will examine your breasts and perhaps take photographs for your medical record. He or she will consider such factors as the size and shape of your breasts, the quality of your skin and the placement of your nipples and areolas (the pigmented skin surrounding the nipples). If your breasts are sagging, a breast lift may be recommended in conjunction with augmentation. You should come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions, drug allergies, medical treatments you have received, previous surgeries including breast biopsies, and medications that you currently take. You will be asked whether you have a family history of breast cancer and about results of any mammograms. It is important for you to provide complete information.
How should I prepare for surgery?
In some instances, your plastic surgeon may recommend a baseline mammogram before surgery and another mammographic examination some months after surgery. This will help to detect any future changes in your breast tissue. Following breast augmentation, you will still be able to perform breast self-examination. If you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop smoking well in advance of surgery. Aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs can cause increased bleeding, so you should avoid taking these medications for a period of time before surgery. Your surgeon will provide you with additional preoperative instructions. Breast augmentation is usually performed on an outpatient basis. If this is the case, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you at least the first night following surgery.
What will the day of surgery be like?
Your breast augmentation surgery may be performed in a hospital, free-standing ambulatory facility or office-based surgical suite. Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. Frequently, local anesthesia and intravenous sedation are used for patients undergoing breast augmentation, although general anesthesia may be desirable in some instances. When surgery is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. Your breasts will be wrapped in gauze dressings or a surgical bra. You may be permitted to go home after a few hours, unless you and your plastic surgeon have determined that you will stay in the hospital or surgical facility overnight.
When can I resume my normal activities?
After breast augmentation surgery, it is often possible to return to work within just a few days or a week, depending on your job. Vigorous activities, especially arm movement, may be restricted for two to three weeks. Sexual activity should be avoided for at least the first week following surgery. After that, care must be taken to be extremely gentle with your breasts for at least the next month.
What type of implants will be used?
In 1992, because further studies were needed to establish the safety of breast implants, the Food and Drug Administration decided that silicone gel-filled implants would not be generally available for cosmetic breast enlargement. Currently, all women undergoing breast augmentation receive saline-filled implants which consist of a silicone shell filled with sterile saltwater.
New scientific data on the safety of breast implants is rapidly being collected. In the future, it is possible that additional types of filler materials may become available. Your plastic surgeon will be able to provide you with the latest information.
Where are the incisions placed?
One of the advantages of a saline-filled implant is that, because it is filled with saltwater after being inserted, only a small incision is needed. Often, an incision of less than one inch is made underneath the breast, just above the crease, where it is usually quite inconspicuous.
Another possible location for the incision is around the lower edge of the areola. A third alternative is to make a small incision within the armpit. Once the incision is made, the surgeon creates a pocket into which the implant will be inserted. This pocket is made either directly behind the breast tissue or underneath the pectoral muscle which is located between the breast tissue and chest wall.
An incision can be made either underneath the breast, just above the crease, around the lower edge of the areola or within the armpit.
How long will the results last?
Except in the event of implant deflation requiring surgical replacement with a new implant, the results of your breast augmentation surgery will be long-lasting. However, gravity and the effects of aging will eventually alter the size and shape of virtually every woman's breasts. If, after a period of years, you become dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts, you may choose to undergo a breast "lifting" to restore their more youthful contour.
Is it Necessary to Keep in Contact with my Plastic Surgeon?
You should return to your plastic surgeon's office for follow-up care at prescribed intervals, at which time your progress will be evaluated. Your surgeon will encourage you to schedule routine mammographic evaluations at the frequency recommended for your age group.
Please remember that the relationship with your plastic surgeon does not end when you leave the operating room. If you have questions or concerns during your recovery, or need additional information at a later time, you should contact your surgeon.
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