Breast augmentation surgery has steadily increased in popularity over the last decade and has become the most common cosmetic surgery procedure performed in the United States, with over 300,000 women undergoing the procedure annually. However, despite its popularity, breast augmentation surgery does carry some risks and maintenance issues which must be taken into consideration when trying to decide on whether to go under the knife. In order to ensure that you make an informed decision, here are the factors you should consider.
COST: Though costs vary depending on what region you reside in, which surgeon you select and what type of implant you choose, you can expect to spend anywhere from $4,5o0 to $10,000. Saline implant surgeries are less costly due to the fact that the incision site is smaller, the surgery is somewhat less involved, and the implant material uses less silicone. Just as a side note, ALL implants have silicone since the capsule in which the implant material sits is composed of silicone.
IMPLANT TYPE: Two different substances are used to fill an implant shell: saline and silicone. Some women opt for saline because they fear rupture and leakage of silicone. Others will turn to silicone because it has a more natural look and feel. There is a newer cohesive gel silicone implant that if ruptured will not leak, thus providing an additional option for women. There are also different shapes of implants such as round, round high profile, and teardrop. Discuss options with your surgeon to determine the best type for you.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Surgery for breast augmentation takes between one to two hours and is performed under general anesthesia. The vast majority of women go home a few hours after the procedure with prescription pain medication and aftercare instructions. Incisions can be made around your nipples, at the fold of the breasts, in the underarms or at your navel. The implant is inserted into a soft tissue pocket either above or beneath your chest muscle, then the area is closed up with sutures.
After the surgery you may have drainage tubes, an elastic bandage and/or a bra to wear for several days. You should also expect to take it easy for several weeks following surgery so that you can heal optimally. Swelling and tenderness are to be expected for up to two weeks following surgery.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS: As with any surgery, breast augmentation surgery is not without risks. Some of those risks include: pain, changes in nipple sensation, bleeding, infection, scarring, capsular contracture, asymmetry. Over time, implants may also leak or rupture.
MAINTENANCE: Breast implants tend to have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years and should be replaced as the risk of leakage increases over time.
WHAT SIZE TO CHOOSE?: When choosing a size of implant, make sure you choose one that will look proportionate to your frame. In most cases the surgeon will be able to determine what size is most appropriate for you. Whatever you do, please do not give into peer pressure or get a size that your significant other wants you to get when you do not feel comfortable with that size. Remember that you are the one who has to live with your decision 24 hours a day, so you should be happy with the end result.
FIGURE OUT WHY YOU WANT THEM: I have heard women say that they want to get their breasts done because they believe the procedure will somehow change their lives. I have heard other women say they want to please their men more and have been pressured by their men to have the procedure done. If you are considering breast augmentation surgery, make sure you are doing it because YOU WANT IT. Don’t do it to please your man or to “fit in” more with societal pressures.
When I decided to have breast augmentation surgery in 2003, I truly did it for myself. I was going through a divorce and felt it was a great time to do something I had always wanted to do. I chose the date of my surgery, the size I wanted, and the incision site. I was tired of not being able to wear certain styles of clothing and figured that having the surgery would give me the fashion accessories I had always wanted. I had a very positive attitude about the whole thing and never had any doubt or fear about the procedure. In other words, I had a very healthy attitude about having breast augmentation surgery.
It is VERY important for a woman to have a healthy mental attitude about having cosmetic surgery of ANY kind, whether it be breast augmentation, a neck lift, lid lift, nose job, tummy tuck, etc. Make sure to gather information, make informed decisions, and undergo procedures only if you understand that while they may boost your self-confidence, you must already be secure within yourself.