Are you considering breast augmentation surgery? Often called a “boob job,” breast augmentation is the enlargement of your breasts through the transfer of your own fat or the placement of saline or silicone breast implants.
Before undergoing breast augmentation, you will have a consultation with surgeon so that you can be properly evaluated. It’s not a bad idea to schedule consultations with two or three different surgeons, so that you can get multiple options about what is best for you. At these appointments, you will be examined and have the opportunity to ask questions. The answers you receive will help you select the right surgeon for you.
Below is a list of the most important questions to ask your plastic surgeon before undergoing breast augmentation.
1. Are you board certified in Plastic Surgery?
The plastic surgeon you choose should be certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. Many patients simply assume that all plastic surgeons are board certified, however, this isn’t necessary true. In order to be board certified, surgeons must undergo years of training, difficult written and oral exams, ongoing education by attending national meetings and educational courses, maintain admitting and operating privileges at a nearby hospital, and operate in fully accredited surgical facilities. You want to select a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, and not a “Cosmetic Surgeon”.
2. What is your training and experience?
It’s important to only put your trust in a surgeon with adequate training and experience. In addition to choosing a surgeon who is board certified, you should look for one who has several years of breast augmentation experience. Ask them about where they went to school, where they did their residency, and how long they’ve had their own practice. In general, you want to select a surgeon who has done “several hundreds” of the procedure you are requesting.
3. Can I see before and after pictures from previous patients?
All plastic surgeons should have a gallery of before and after pictures from their previous patients. Take a look at these pictures, and look for those patients who have had the breast augmentation procedures you’re looking to have.
Examine the photos with care. You should look for after photos that look like something you would be satisfied with as a patient. You also need to to understand that every patient is different so pay attention to the before photos as well. If the before doesn’t look like you, then it is not fair for you to expect to look like that particular after. It’s important to remember that every plastic surgeon has a distinct aesthetic to their work. In other words, not every plastic surgeon will facilitate the same outcome, even when they’re given the same patient goals. Before and after photos can be a great way to see how your procedure will likely turn out when working with a particular plastic surgeon.
4. What individual procedures would you recommend for my augmentation procedure?
Depending on your goals for surgery, breast augmentation may include a single procedure or several procedures.
For example, some women choose to get breast augmentation as part of a “Mommy Makeover” procedure. A Mommy Makeover is a potentially full-body makeover meant to address physical issues that may occur during aging, pregnancy, weight changes, and breastfeeding. If you choose to have a Mommy Makeover, breast augmentation may be part of this procedure. Other singular procedures that may be involved include tummy tucks, liposuction, or buttock augmentation.
You may also do better with a breast augmentation (implants) and a breast lift. The breast augmentation procedure can make the breasts appear fuller and better shaped while the breast lift can eliminate excess skin and make the breasts appear perkier and less droopy.
Ask the potential surgeons you are speaking with how they would approach your individual procedure. From surgeon to surgeon, you may hear different approaches that can help you decide which is best for you. Does your surgeon prefer saline or silicone implants? Is fat transfer an option for you as an alternative to implants?
5. How long is the surgery?
Breast augmentation as a procedure is a fairly standard surgery. Most of the time, the augmentation itself takes just over an hour. But naturally, you’ll want to get a time estimate from your surgeon. There are various factors that will influence the overall time, such as your breast volume, the thickness of your skin, your body type, and the type of implant selected. Of course, the surgery time will also depend on whether you’re going to have other procedures at the same time such as tummy tuck, liposuction, or Brazilian Butt Lift.
6. Where is the surgery performed?
Your surgery may be performed in a hospital, an ambulatory center, or an accredited office operating room.
7. What nearby hospital are you affiliated with?
If your surgery is not being done in a hospital, it is important to ask what nearby hospital your surgeon works at. This is so you know where you will be sent in the rare event of an emergency. Your surgeon should have admitting and operating privileges at a reputable, nearby hospital.
8. What should I expect during my recovery from breast augmentation surgery?
The recovery period for breast augmentation surgery should be relatively easy. Naturally, if you plan on having more procedures (tummy tuck, liposuction, etc.) at the same time, your recovery will be more extensive. A simple breast augmentation, however, should allow you to be back at work and carrying out light activities within a relatively short period of time. Your surgeon will be able to tell you exactly how long you need off from school or work.
There are also ways that your surgeon can speed and recovery. Dr. Schulman, for example, offers Botox-assisted breast augmentation to some patients. The addition of a small and precise amount of Botox can make recovery easier and quicker.
9. Will I have any scars from the procedure?
Ask your surgeon what types of scars you can expect from the procedure. Naturally, some scarring is inevitably with this type of surgery. However, a good surgeon will know how best to minimize scarring and create a smooth and natural appearance you can feel good about. The specific scars may vary depending on exactly what you need done and your surgeon should be able to draw those scars on you, so you can see exactly how long they will be and where they will be located on your body.
10. How do I pick the size of my implants?
Does he or she pick the size for you or do you pick it yourself? Your surgeon should certainly guide you, but your selection should be a personal one. You want to be sure that you are clear about your implant size. This is usually done prior to surgery since you don’t want to wake up from surgery and wonder what size implant was used. Ask your surgeon how he or she specifically makes this size determination.
11.What if I am unhappy with my results?
You should be aware of what will happen in the event you are unhappy with your results. Each surgeon should have a “revision policy” and you should ask about this. If you need a revision procedure, how are the fees determined? Is there a certain amount of time you must wait before undergoing a revision? This revision policy should be provided to you in writing.
12. How much will my breast augmentation surgery cost?
After your consultation, the surgeon’s coordinator will be able to give you an exact price for your procedure. This price will depend on several factors, including the specific procedure your need, the time in the operating room required, anesthesia and facility fees, and post operative care. It should go without saying that you should never choose a breast augmentation surgeon just because they offer the lowest price. In fact, if you receive an estimate that seems unusually low, you should see this as a red flag. Keep in mind that the surgeon will likely choose to not discuss price with you during the consultation, since surgeons prefer to have medical and surgical discussions with you, and leave the financial discussions to their coordinators.