It’s the most popular plastic surgery procedure in the nation, and chances are you know someone who has had breast augmentation. But despite its popularity, there’s a lot that goes unsaid when breast augmentation patients talk about their experience, from how best to research your provider to getting the most out of your follow-up visits. Let’s follow a typical breast augmentation process from start to finish, to help you visualize yourself going through the same steps.
Before Breast Augmentation
Step 1: The Research
The first step—and arguably the most important one—in your breast augmentation process is researching potential surgeons. If you’re searching for a plastic surgeon here in the Sacramento area or another large metro area, it’s normal to initially feel completely overwhelmed by your options. It’s so important to stick with it, though, because taking the time to find a qualified surgeon can mean the difference between results that are so-so and results that are truly great.
Once you have a potential list, use before and after photos of past patients to evaluate a surgeon’s skills. (You should be able to find them easily on a surgeon’s website.) Here are some of my patients’ before and after photos so you can get an idea of what to expect:
You’ll also want to read reviews and professional online profiles on places like Vitals.com and RealSelf.
Another crucial point: Make sure you choose a surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Certification by the board indicates that the surgeon has completed a rigorous examination and demonstrated a high level of expertise in plastic surgery. It’s the single best standard for judging a plastic surgeon’s abilities.
Step 2: The Consultation
Unless you’ve previously undergone a plastic surgery procedure, your consultation is likely the first face-to-face encounter you’ll have with your potential surgeon. I try to emphasize to my patients that the initial consultation is a bit like an interview. In addition to hearing about your goals and evaluating you for surgery, you should also be using that time to determine if the surgeon you’re sitting down with is a good match.
There’s no way around it: Breast augmentation surgery is personal. That’s why the surgeon who you ultimately choose should be one you can form a connection with. He or she should respect your time and your wishes without sacrificing your safety—and ideally, you should feel at ease.
The consultation is also the time to review your surgical options, from incision placement to implant size, to help you narrow down your options and learn about the results you can realistically expect. After this appointment is over, you may go ahead and schedule your surgery if you’re ready. It’s also perfectly fine to head home and think about your options.
During Breast Augmentation
Step 3: The Surgery
I operate out of a 5-room outpatient surgery center — the first one to be licensed by California. Designed and equipped with efficiency and safety in mind, my surgery center is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF).
That’s an accreditation you’ll want to look for. The AAAASF ensures that all accredited facilities are held to stringent standards of cleanliness and safety.
For your breast augmentation, you’ll be comfortably treated under either general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation for about 1 ½ to 2 hours. (It’ll likely take longer if you’ve chosen to combine your breast augmentation with other procedures, such as tummy tuck.) During your procedure, the surgeon will make incisions and place implants beneath your breast tissue, based on the surgical plans you agreed on during your consultation.
After Breast Augmentation
Step 4: The Recovery
After breast augmentation, you can plan on being home from work for about a week. Once you do get back to the office, you’ll need to wear a special surgical support bra (easily hidden beneath your clothes) to help your implants settle into proper positions.
You’ll be scheduled for a few brief follow-up appointments, which is the surgeon’s opportunity to keep an eye on your recovery and healing. It’s also your opportunity to ask any nagging questions you might have, such as when you can get back to more vigorous exercise like running, HIIT, or Crossfit.
Every surgeon has a slightly different timeline, but you can expect to gradually return to your normal activities about a month after surgery.
Step 5: The Results
As post-op swelling fades, your breast implants will seem to soften and settle in place. Some call this settling the “drop and fluff” phase, and it’s when you’ll really begin to see your results taking shape. Each person’s experience is slightly different, but it generally takes about 6 to 12 weeks for your breasts to look and feel like a natural part of your body. At this point, you can simply enjoy your results. Most women say they love how they look and feel in clothes now that their breasts fill their tops better. Some even report a boost in their self-confidence after breast augmentation surgery.
If you’re ready to take the first step to fuller, more shapely breasts, we’re happy to talk with you about your options. You can request a consultation using our online form or call us at (916) 929-1833 to schedule an appointment.