Thinking about getting breast implants but unsure where to start? Finding an experienced plastic surgeon with the proper training is the most important thing you can do. A successful breast implant procedure begins by compiling a list of potential surgeons and doing a little pre-visit research. While learning as much as you can about breast implants, take time to jot down any questions you have for the surgeon about his qualifications, technique and procedure. You can get some good ideas about what to ask from these top 10 questions you should ask your surgeon about breast implants.
- Are you a certified member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
Surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are also members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. These members must undergo 3 years of general surgery training, 2 years of plastic surgery training and they must pass certain exams as well as adhere to a strict medical code of ethics. Finding a list of certified plastic surgeons is as simple as a click of the button: www.plasticsurgery.org.
- How many breast implants do you perform each month?
Many people just assume that all plastic surgeons perform quite a number of breast implants each month. However, just because they are a plastic surgeon doesn’t mean they are skilled in breast implants. A surgeon who does an adequate amount of breast implants per month has usually perfected his skills and is knowledgeable about innovative techniques. As time passes, techniques improve and update. You will want to know if your surgeon, even a certified one, is keeping up with the changes in techniques.
- Do you have some before and after pictures of your breast implant procedures?
Looking through some before and after pictures offers a firsthand look at the work of the surgeon. Viewing photos of breasts and body types, which are similar to your own, can be helpful in helping you achieve your desired outcome.
- What breast size is best for my body frame?
Breast implant size is measured in cubic centimeters of liquid volume and not necessarily in cup size. Increasing a cup size, such as an A cup to a B cup, is approximately 200-250cc. Although viewing breast implant pictures of similar body types will help the surgeon understand your desires, the surgeon will do a series of measurements to ensure that the implant size you want will not exceed what your breast tissue and body frame can handle.
- Which implants are better for me?
Choosing the right implant is different for each individual person depending on their body build and preference. Saline and silicone each have their own advantages and disadvantages. It is best to weigh the pros and cons for each and decide which one is better for you. Saline is less expensive, has more volume choices and smaller scarring. However, saline has a higher degree of rupturing than silicone. Silicone implants are known to have a more natural feel and less risk of rupturing. However, annual tests are needed to tell if the silicone has ruptured at any point.
- Which technique do you use for your breast implant surgery?
Breast implants can be placed by making an incision around the areola, in the armpit or below the natural fold of the breast tissue. They can also be placed sub-muscular or sub-glandular. Sub-muscular is when an implant is placed below the muscle on the chest wall. Sub-glandular is above the muscle. It is important to talk to a surgeon about which specific technique he or she prefers.
- What are the risks associated with breast implants?
It is important to understand the risks involved with both types of implants as well as the placement of sub-muscular or sub-glandular implants. The biggest risk of all is capsular contracture which is scar tissue that hardens and then distorts the shape of the breast while causing pain. Rupturing of the implant, implant flipping, ripples in the breast tissue, infection and changes in breast sensation are some of the other risks associated with implants.
- What is the recovery and downtime after a breast implant procedure?
The patient can expect some soreness for the first few days. Swelling and bruising will be apparent for a few weeks. If the implant was placed sub-muscular, recovery may take a little longer due to the fact that the muscle was surgically manipulated. An elastic support bra must be worn for the first week or two. Patients will be limited in their amount of heavy lifting or physical activity for approximately 6 weeks. However, they can usually return to a non-strenuous job within one to two weeks post-op.
- If a complication arises or a rupture occurs, will my insurance cover the cost?
Breast implants is considered a cosmetic procedure and is usually not covered under health insurance. However, all insurances have different policies and, if a complication arises, patients will need to check with their insurance company to determine whether or not they deem the specific complication or follow-up procedure medically necessary.
- How much does a breast implant procedure cost?
The cost of breast implants can vary according to the type of procedure, surgeon and implant size. The average cost for breast implants can range from $5000 to $10,000. This includes the surgeon’s fees, anesthesiologist fees and hospital or facility fee.