4 Things to Know Before Breast Augmentation Surgery
Are you thinking about getting breast augmentation surgery done? You’re not the only one: It’s the most popular plastic surgery procedure in the U.S.! According to a report from The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there were nearly 300,000 breast augmentations performed in 2014. If you’re considering getting implants or a fat transfer breast augmentation, there are some things you need to know before fully committing.
At the office of board-certified plastic surgeon Richard J. Brown, we know how just powerful and life-changing a breast augmentation can be. We also know that it’s a major procedure, and one that our patients should prepare themselves for. It can take time to heal and adjust to all the changes, both physical AND mental, that you will go through as part of this procedure. Here are four things you need to know before getting a breast augmentation surgery.
1. Breast augmentation surgery doesn’t last forever.
An important thing to keep in mind about breast implants is that they are not lifetime devices. Just because they’ve become a part of your body doesn’t mean that they are now a permanent fixture. While saline and silicone implants are built to last, their outer shells can wear down over the years, especially if they’re subjected to serious injury or physical stress. At some point, your implants may need to be replaced.
When it comes to replacing your implants, the right time varies on a case-by-case basis. There are some people who mistakenly think they should be switched out every 10 years, but the truth is that may not be necessary. It all depends on the situation. The trick is to pay attention to your body and to monitor your breasts for any changes.
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If you have saline implants, it’s usually pretty easy to notice if one has ruptured. When a saline implant is compromised, it will safely leak out its sterile salt water content into the body, causing the implant to deflate. So if you notice a sudden asymmetry in your breasts, that could very well be a sign of damaged implants.
A leaking silicone implant, however, is much harder to detect. Patients with silicone implants should get MRI screenings to detect any ruptures three years after your initial breast augmentation surgery, and then every two years after that first screening. A ruptured silicone implant could be uncomfortable and may cause swelling and tenderness.
Aside from the possibility of ruptures, another reason why implants may have to be changed is capsular contracture. Capsular contracture is what happens when scar tissue hardens and squeezes the implant. In some cases, it spreads the breasts apart by causing them to become more rigid, making them look like two hard balls on your chest. In other instances, capsular contracture could make your breasts more sensitive and painful to touch. Not all forms of capsular contracture need to be dealt with surgically, and in some cases it may not have any negative impact on you at all.
2. They can change your life.
Breast augmentation surgery can change your life in many beneficial ways! If you have asymmetrical or misshapen breasts, augmentation can make them into a symmetrical and perfect pair. If you had a mastectomy because of cancer, implants could restore the womanly shape that you miss and let you fit back into your pre-mastectomy clothes. And if you’ve had children or undergone significant weight loss, your breasts could lose mass or alter their original shapes. Getting an augmentation can restore your breasts back to the way they were.
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In addition to the physiological changes it can have on your body, studies have shown that there are psychological benefits to getting an augmentation! Many patients who have the procedure done reported that they felt their confidence and self-esteem increase afterwards, and that their sex lives had improved as well (both in terms of frequency of sex as well as satisfaction). Augmentation gives women a chance to take control of their bodies and their desires and their health in a radical way, and taking on that kind of autonomy can be very empowering. A greater level of confidence in one’s self and a heightened sense of personal satisfaction can lead to less stress and fewer instances of depression. Getting an augmentation isn’t just a way of making yourself look better: it can make you FEEL better in every aspect of your being.
3. You need to take care of yourself before you change yourself.
Before you get your implants, you should prepare yourself for the changes you’re about to go through. If you don’t already sleep on your back, practice doing so because you’ll be sleeping like this for the first few days after your surgery. Try walking through your house with your elbows held to your sides: This will help you get a sense of how temporarily limited your mobility will be post-op. Focus on strengthening your back when you exercise. Stronger back muscles will come in handy during your recovery period.
If you can, see if you can get a sample implant to put in your bra so you’ll have an idea of what you’ll look like with your new breasts. Sometimes a bag of rice can be used instead to create the same effect. Doing this will give you some idea about the extra bit of weight you’ll soon have on your body and it will also let you start to find clothes that will be just right for your new figure.
YouTube embed: What’s the Difference Between Silicone and Shaped Gel Implants
Do you smoke cigarettes? If you do, you’ll want to stop a few weeks before the breast augmentation surgery and refrain from smoking again until your breasts have healed. The carbon monoxide in cigarettes keeps oxygen from getting delivered to your cells, which suffocates your healthy tissues. The nicotine in your smokes will also constrict your blood vessels, making it more difficult for your body to deliver oxygen, blood and nutrients to your healing breast incisions. These effects will slow down your healing and make you more susceptible to wound breakdown, infection and other health complications.
Make your physician aware of any medications, supplements and herbs you may be taking. You’ll want to stop taking blood thinner medication (which includes aspirin, ibuprofen, advil, coumadin, warfarin and plavix) or supplements (like vitamin E, omega-3, fish oil and garlic) before getting augmentation done. Eat a healthy diet, avoid alcohol and continue to exercise before your operation. When it comes to exercising, you’ll want to reduce the intensity of your workout the day before your surgery and then go easy on yourself for a bit as you recover.
You’ll have to refrain from eating or drinking anything after midnight on the day before the augmentation. You’ll also want to shower and rid your body of makeup, oils, moisturizers, scents, creams, and deodorant. You don’t want to have any of that stuff clinging to you when you get your work done. You should also remove nail polish from at least one fingernail and toenail; this helps the anesthesiologist monitor your blood circulation during your procedure.
4. You should manage your recovery time.
Augmentations can improve your life, but they’ll also make your body slow down for a spell after they step into the picture. Plan to have at least three to ten days off so you can stay at home and focus on healing. Your body will be very sensitive around this time, and doing something as simple as bending down to pick up a remote or brushing up against a door frame could prove to be a singularly painful experience.
If you have small children, you should make arrangements for their care. Get someone to watch over them for the first few days after the operation so you can focus your energies on resting and healing. And be sure to make arrangements for yourself, too: Get someone to drive you to and from your procedure, and have a friend or loved one stay with you for the first 24 hours after your breast augmentation surgery to make sure you don’t get injured or incapacitated.
Though you will be given pain medication for the first few days, expect to feel mild to moderate pain as you heal. You may also experience bruising, numbness, swelling and tingling as you recover. Distract yourself by having a good supply of movies, magazines and books on hand, or pick a friend to stay with you who will be great company .
As you heal, pay close attention to any signs of infection that could develop. If you have a fever or flu-like symptoms, pus, redness, inflammation, excessive swelling or breasts that are hot to the touch, you should call Dr. Brown immediately. Infections can be very serious, so you don’t want to let them get worse.
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Related: Breast Implant Recovery Time
At the Scottsdale offices of Dr. Richard J. Brown, we think every patient should be as informed as possible about any procedure they are considering. To find out more about breast augmentation surgery, or to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Richard J. Brown, give us a call at 480-568-3804.