The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that breast augmentation is the top cosmetic surgery performed today, which means thousands of women choose it every year. At a basic level, breast augmentation, commonly referred to as breast implants, is a surgical procedure to enhance the size and shape of the breast.
There are many reasons to do it, but if you’re considering such a procedure, you want to prepare ahead of time. Here are five things every woman should research thoroughly before deciding whether breast augmentation is right for her.
1. The Benefits
One obvious benefit for breast augmentation is an improved appearance for women with small or uneven breasts, poor cleavage, or a bosom that seems deflated or lacks fullness. Often, implants are not just to serve one’s vanity; breast augmentation was originally used for reconstructive purposes after trauma, developmental defect, or breast cancer surgery.
An often overlooked benefit is the greater confidence many gain after the procedure. In a survey of women who had recent breast surgery, nine out of ten said their self-esteem had improved. Increased self-esteem can create more opportunities at work, give you more confidence with your friends, and lift your love life.
2. General Cost
The average cost of breast augmentation ranges from $4,000 to $10,000, based on such factors as location, surgeon fees, the type of implant and procedure/incision, complications, and other medical costs.
The most weighty factor is the cost of the surgeon, which can range anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000. The national average is about $4,000. The fee is based on the surgeon’s level of expertise, the level of difficulty of the procedure, the demand for that surgeon’s work, and how long the procedure will take.
Another factor in the cost is the likelihood of multiple procedures, especially if you want to dramatically alter your cup size. In these cases, multiple procedures may be required, sometimes over a span of years.
Also, implants don’t last forever: Another procedure may be required after many years to address leakage, shape shifting, change of preferences, or other complications. The lifetime of an implant varies because each body is unique, but 25 percent of all augmentation patients will require another surgery after 10 years.
3. The Feel
The feel of your implants will depend on the kind of implant you use, how it was placed, and its size. There are two types of implant: silicone and saline. Silicone has a firmer feel, versus saline’s softer, water-like texture that many regard as more lifelike.
The implant placement can be either subglandular, or on top of the chest muscles, or submuscular, which is underneath. The latter should result in a more natural-feeling tissue.
The decision about where to place your implant depends on your lifestyle, the amount of natural breast tissue involved, the size of the implants, and your desired appearance. Consult with your surgeon for specific recommendations.
4. The Risks
Common risks include bleeding, asymmetrical and scarred breasts, deflation or rupture of the implant, and breast pain and discomfort. Another possible complication is a loss of feeling in the nipples due to nerve damage.
The likelihood of lost sensation is higher with larger implants, and it can last anywhere from six to 18 months. In rare cases, it may be permanent.
A less common problem is an inability to breastfeed later. There’s a risk of damage to the ducts and disconnections of glands, but this is substantially reduced when the underarm incision or incisions in the crease of the breast are employed. Few women experience serious complications that permanently alter their lifestyle.
5. Recovery Time
Recovery time for breast augmentation is fairly quick. Most patients return to work within five to seven days. Larger implants or placement behind the breast muscle can lengthen recovery time.
Although you can return to work, you should still limit your physical activity for several weeks. Most surgeons recommend waiting eight to 12 weeks before you resume exercise or any other vigorous activity, especially any movement that will jostle your breasts.
Breast augmentation can be a good choice, and thousands of people make the decision every year. Thorough research will help you decide whether this is the right decision for you.