Breast Implant FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions Help Patients Learn About Breast Surgery
Breast implant surgery is considered a more invasive procedure, therefore, patients are required to take time off work and also refrain from certain activities to recover and heal properly. There are many questions to consider before having breast surgery, here are some common questions and answers that will help you decide if breast implants are right for you and also help you prepare for your surgery.
How Much Time Should I Take Of Off Work After Breast Implants?
If you decide to have breast implants, part of the planning process is to schedule adequate time off work. You should take at least a minimum of five working days off after the procedure. Depending on your circumstances, your surgeon may require you to take more time off to heal. The length of time you need to recover depends on how invasive your particular procedure, if you have more than one procedure, and what your job requires of you. If your job is physically demanding, add another three days to a week onto your recovery period. If you get saline implants, and you have them positioned in front of your pectoral muscle, you will probably be all right taking off only a week. However, if you have saline implants placed between or behind the muscle, then more time may be necessary away from your job. If you get regular silicone or solid gel silicone (sometimes called gummy bear) implants, you will need at least another week to recover because these procedures require larger incisions and they are considered more invasive.
Ask your surgeon how many days to schedule for your recovery, this way you can ask for the time off in advance. It is best to follow the surgeon's orders and allow your body the time it needs to rest and recover after this procedure.
How Can I Tell If I Need Breast Implants?
Unless you have had breast cancer or unless your breasts are damaged from an accident or deformed in some other way, chances are that you do not need breast implants. Most people get them to enhance their physical appearance and feel better about their body image. Breast implants are usually considered an elective surgery, which means the implants are not medically required to cure something or fix the body after a major medical occurrence. You may want to get implants if you feel that your breasts are too small or if they are not proportioned right or if they droop or sag after having children. These are all common reasons that women choose to get implants.
You may actually need implants if you have had to have breast tissue removed because of cancer or if you have a breast birth defect. You may have been injured in some way that damaged your breast, and you may need to get an implant to overcome a medical condition or defect.
Ask your surgeon about your circumstance and if breast implant surgery is necessary.
How Many Different Kinds Of Breast Implants Are There?
There are three basic types of breast implants and then variations of each type. The three basic types are saline expandables (put into your breast empty and then filled with a sterile salt water solution), silicone gel pre-filled implants (put into your breast already filled to capacity with silicone gel), and strong polymer silicone gel implants (also put into your breast full with a semi-solid gel). There are some newer breast implants being introduced, but these are the three main choices for patients considering breast implant surgery.
Saline and regular silicone gel implants come in a variety of sizes. You can get them with a smooth or textured surface and in a round or tear-drop shape. Strong polymer silicone gel implants can also be smooth or textured, but they only come in the tear-drop shape.
Ask your surgeon which type of implant may be right for you and your body shape and your desired outcomes. During your consultation, you can discuss the various implant types, styles and shapes that may be right for you.
How Long Do Breast Implants Last?
Most breast implant warranties last from five to ten years, depending on the manufacturer. Some implants are more susceptible to rupture, and they may only have a life-span of ten years or so before replacement. Saline implants are more durable, and are now meant to last longer. Your surgeon can help you develop a realistic timeline to plan for a secondary surgery in the future to replace your implants.
Sometimes, unexpected complications force you to have an implant removed. You might develop an infection in the tissues surrounding the implant or have a rare case of necrosis (cell death) in the pocket surrounding your implant. These and other rare complications might force you to have your implant removed or replaced sooner than anticipated by you and your surgeon.
Some women have great success with their implants and are able to wear them for twelve or fifteen years without having any complications.
What Happens If My Breast Implants Ruptures?
If your implant ruptures, you will need to have it removed and replaced. Depending on the type of implant you get, you may or may not know that your implant has ruptured. If you have saline implants, you can usually see the result very soon after the implant has ruptured because your breast will have shrunk noticeably in size. If you have regular silicone implants, the leak will be very slow and so you probably will not have any visible sign that your implant is leaking. One of the only ways to catch it is by getting an MRI, which you should do every two years after you get implants.
Once you are aware that you have a rupture, you must contact your doctor right away and make arrangements to have the ruptured implant removed and replaced. There's no getting around the removal surgery because it is not safe to have a ruptured implant in your breast. Your doctor will probably recommend that you have another implant put in to replace the first, but you always have the option of having an implant/implants removed without replacing it/them. Of course, if you have one implant removed permanently, you will want to have the other one removed at the same time so that your breasts will look the same. Your surgeon can help you determine what is best for you if and when this occurs.
If I Get Breast Implants And Don't Like Them, Can I Get Them Removed?
Patients sometimes feel remorse or regret after having implants, this can be common right after breast surgery, because they may feel like the implants are a bit foreign and they take time to get accustomed to the way they look and feel in the body. Every patient is different, one may feel it was a mistake all-together, another may feel they are too small, and another may feel they are too big. Give yourself time to adjust. Your surgeon will more than likely recommend you not consider any post-surgical procedure for at least six months to a year after having breast implants placed.
You can get them removed or replaced, but the procedure may be more expensive than the initial implant surgery. It may also take longer and be more painful. If you are not satisfied with your implants, you may be able to get them replaced with different implants or you may have the implants removed without replacing them. But again, your surgeon will want you to wait and adjust to see if you adapt after a few months before revision surgery.
If you choose to have your implants removed but not replaced, you may not like how your breasts look after you have had your implants removed permanently. Your surgeon will consult with you if you are not satisfied after your surgery and help you determine the best course of action.
Can Implants Be Used For Reconstructive Surgery?
Implants can be part of reconstructive surgery, yes. If you have had cancer or if you have been injured or born with a birth defect, you may want to get reconstructive surgery to make your breasts look more normal and natural. Some women are able to get one or both implants as part of reconstructive surgery in such cases. In many of these cases, insurance will cover and pay for the procedure. If you have any of these conditions, and if you have recovered from cancer and you are back to good health, you might talk to your doctor about the possibility of getting implants.
What Size Implant Is Right For My Body?
The size of implant for you depends on your body proportions and your preferences. To some extent, the size of your breasts limits the size of implant that you can get. If you have very small breasts, you may not be able to get huge implants-there just isn't room in there for them. Also, the size you choose will determine how large your breasts will be post-surgery. So, how big do you want them? Try to be realistic about breast size when you make these decisions and remember that overlarge breasts can be just as annoying as tiny breasts. Your doctor will let you look at photos of other women who have had breast implants for you to view the various sizes of implants. This will help you decide what size is right for you.
What Different Shapes Do Implants Come In?
Implants come in round or tear-drop shapes. Round implants are designed to increase the fullness of the breast. They make your breasts project more and sit more widely on your chest. Tear-drop implants are lighter at the top and heavier at the bottom, mimicking the natural shape of the breast. Saline and silicone gel implants tend to shift around, so sometimes the effect ends up being the same, regardless of the shape of implant that you have chosen.
If you opt for strong polymer silicone gel implants (nicknamed gummy bear implants), you do not need to worry so much about your implant shifting. All strong polymer silicone gel implants are tear-shaped and they are designed to stay in place so that your breasts look completely natural. Breast implant shape is decided by the patient, but your surgeon can help you understand the differences and make recommendations based upon your body, desires and budget.
Is It Worth It To Pay More Money For A More Expensive Plastic Surgeon?
Although this is somewhat of a matter of priority, the general answer is yes. Doctors who charge more money usually command more respect because they are highly experienced and skilled at performing breast augmentation surgeries. Also, if a surgeon is in high-demand based upon his/her reputation and credentials, then he/she may charge more for the procedure. The surgeons who are the most experienced or if they are Board Certified Plastic Surgeons then they may charge more for the surgery. Research is a very important part of this process. Learn as much as you can about the breast surgeons in your area and make comparisons. Look for consistent results in before and after photos and check to see if there are any pending cases.
Patients should never make a decision to go with a surgeon because of a deep discount or great deal. This is your body and your decision should be based upon expertise and great, consistent results - not price. The best advice is not to bargain shop when it comes to your health and making an amendment to your body.