The decision to undergo breast augmentation is one of the biggest and potentially life-changing decisions you can make. Remember that you will be bombarded by a lot of advertising and marketing information by hundreds of practices and doctors vying for your business. Not all of the information you will be given will necessarily be accurate and some may even be outright misleading. It is important to remind yourself that breast augmentation is a surgical procedure with real medical risks so you should choose your surgeon wisely. It is also important to be an active participant during the whole the process, so we've established the following list of concerns and questions to ask about during your appointment:
- What are your qualifications to do this procedure?
- Do you have surgical training and in what field(s)?
- Are you certified by a board like the American Board of Surgery, American Board of Plastic Surgery, or American Board of Cosmetic Surgery? What are the differences in these boards?
- Are you a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons?
- Were you trained in the field of cosmetic surgery specifically?
- How long was your training int he field of cosmetic surgery?
- How many of these procedures have you done?
- Can I see your Before & After results?
- Where will you do my procedure? In a hospital, surgery center, or in your office?
- Do you have healthcare facility privileges to do this treatment? If so, at which medical facilities?
- Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure in the event I have a complication and need to be hospitalized? Which hospitals and are they nearby?
- Will the procedure be done under general anesthesia or sedation?
- If I am undergoing general anesthesia, is the medical facility accredited by a nationally- or state-recognized accrediting company, or is it state-licensed or Medicare-certified?
- Am I a good prospective candidate for breast enhancement or augmentation?
- Exactly what shape, size, surface area texturing and incisions placement are advised for me?
- What are the pros and cons of each incision, implant type, or placement?
- Can I get sized so as to get an estimate of my final result?
- How long of a recovery time can I expect, and exactly what type of assistance will I require
- throughout the recovery process?
- Exactly what are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
- How many complications have you had in terms of bleeding, infection, hospitalizations, and re-operation rate? Have you had anyone die from this procedure?
- How are these risks minimized and how are they dealt with?
- How many extra implant-related operations can I anticipate over the course of my lifetime?
- Exactly how will my ability to breastfeed be affected?
- How will my breast cancer screening be affected?
- Exactly how can I expect my implanted breasts change over time? After pregnancy? After nursing?
- Exactly what are my choices if I am disappointed with the cosmetic outcome of my implants?
- Exactly how will my breasts look if I choose to have them removed in the future without a replacement?
- Do you have breast enhancement before-and-after pictures I can look at for this procedure and what results are reasonable for me?
- Are your before and after pictures your actual cases, un-doctored, and of cases you recently have done yourself as the primary surgeon?
- Can I have a referral to any of your former patients who have had this procedure done?
This is just a starting point of information you should know before deciding on who will perform your breast augmentation.
Make sure you entirely comfortable with your surgeon and that he/she honestly answers all of your questions. Signs that may be cause for concern include getting vague or deceptive answers, feeling pressured or the feeling like you are at a used car lot and not a medical office, or if the surgeon doesn't perform a physical exam on you, or if the estimate just seems too good to be true.
Remember that although elective, breast augmentation is major surgical procedure that can have many risks. In the right hands of a well-trained surgeon, it is an extremely safe and satisfying procedure with low rates of complication. Even in the best hands, complications can occur so it's paramount to make sure you are comfortable with your surgeon's ability and willingness to take care of you in the unlikely event it happens to you. If you choose wisely, your breast augmentation journey can be a truly safe, and highly satisfying experience!