I love performing breast augmentations. They are definitely one of my three favorite procedures for many reasons, but mostly because there are so many variables. While this is creatively challenging for me as a surgeon, it can be overwhelming for many of my patients. There are a lot of decisions to make when it comes to your breast augmentation:
- saline vs. silicone
- over/under the muscle
So, I thought I’d help simplify the process for you. Here are the top 3 questions that I think every patient should ask during a breast augmentation consultation.
What Type of Implant?
First things first, do your research. The internet is a wonderful thing. It allows you to read up on the different types of implants, compile a “wish list” of what you want your new breasts to look like, and find the best surgeons in your area. The latter is really key. You want to find a surgeon who is board certified. This not only lets you know that we have years of experience (very important for insuring great results), but that we also passed more than one really intense test. Bottom line, board certification means that we know our stuff. And experience + technical know how = a successful result is an equation that works every time.
So, assuming that you’ve made one or two appointments with board certified surgeons in your area, what are the things that you need to ask? First up would be about what type of implant. There are only two — saline and silicone. Both have their pros and cons, but both are completely safe. Silicone breast implants are literally the most tested medical device in the world. The new generation are practically fool proof. I tend to use primarily silicone breast implants because I think that they deliver the most natural look and feel to your breast. But the right one for you is going to depend on your anatomy, your goals and your lifestyle.
Your anatomy is really the determining factor in so many of the nuts and bolts decisions of your breast augmentation. If you think about it, a breast implant will make your breasts look fuller, that’s its job, but it still needs to be centered behind your nipple. So many patients come in wanting more “cleavage” or upper pole fullness. But the reality is that if your breasts are placed far apart, there is only so much that can be done. One of my most important jobs during a breast augmentation consultation is to manage a patient’s expectations. I want to deliver on your hopes and dreams, but only if the results are going to last. No one wants post op complications. And the number one reason for them is using an implant that is too big for a patient’s body.
What Type of Incision?
The number two reason for a complication comes down to what type of incision. There are three choices:
- inframammary fold
- around the nipple
- through the armpit
The safest incision is going to be through the inframammary fold or crease beneath the breast. It allows the implant to be placed without touching the skin. We’ve found that this helps to dramatically lower the risk of capsular contracture which is a painful hardening of the implant and capsule that nobody wants. Trust me.
I know that the idea of a visible incision on the breast freaks a lot of people out, but here’s what you need to know. Incisions on the breast heal really well. Most patients literally don’t notice their incision a year out from surgery. Even if yours don’t, there are great scar treatments available today that can work wonders. Also, your incision will be hidden by the droop of your new, bigger breasts. So, really, the inframammary fold incision is the way to go in my book.
How Do You Deal with Complications?
While no patient or surgeon wants a complication, they can happen. So, it’s important to know how your surgeon deals with this fact. Ask him or her about their complication rate. Find out what their protocol is for revision surgery. Not only will this allow you to go into your procedure with your eyes wide open, but these kind of questions can really give you a good feel for your surgeon. And that’s important. The relationship between a plastic surgeon and a patient is very personal. You not only need to trust your surgeon, but I think you should like your surgeon as well. Your implants can last for lifetime so this is the beginning of a long journey together. Asking tough questions is always a good way to see how your surgeon deals with adversity.
A breast augmentation is an awesome surgery that will change your life for the better. But it is surgery. So, be smart. Do your homework. Ask the right questions. And then choose the surgeon who has the skill and personality to deliver your dreams.
To find out more about a breast augmentation with Dr. Sean Doherty at his Boston or Brookline office, contact us today or call (617) 450-0070 to schedule a consultation.