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You’ve probably heard of breast augmentation, or augmentation mammoplasty, a surgical procedure to increase the size of your breasts. This is done by either adding implants or fat grafting.

While there are many reasons why someone might consider getting breast implants, it’s important to remember that this is major surgery with risks and side effects. If you’re thinking about getting breast implants, here are some things you should know before you schedule an appointment with your plastic surgeon.

Why do so many women choose to undergo breast augmentation? For many women, it’s about improving their self-confidence and self-esteem. Breast implants can change a woman’s body shape, giving her a fuller bustline and making them appear larger or more proportionate to the rest of her body.

Before you decide to undergo breast augmentation surgery, make sure you’re aware of all the risks involved with this procedure and what effects it might have on your health long term. The following points will help you make an informed decision about whether or not breast augmentation is right for you:

1. What are the risks of breast augmentation?

Risks include bleeding, infection, and capsular contracture. Capsular contracture occurs when scar tissue forms around the implant, causing it to shrink or harden. This can cause pain or discomfort and make it difficult to remove or replace the implant if necessary. The risk of capsular contracture is higher in women who smoke or take oral contraceptives; those who have had previous breast surgery; those who have a family history of capsular contracture; and those who use steroids during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

2. What can go wrong during surgery?

Infection. Infections following breast augmentation occur in about 1 percent of patients. Signs of infection include redness, warmth and pain at the incision area, swelling and drainage from the incision site. Other symptoms include fever and chills. If you experience any of these symptoms after your surgery it’s important to contact your doctor immediately so that they can determine the cause and take steps to treat it as soon as possible.

Scarring. Scarring can happen if a surgical error was made during the procedure or if there was an infection following surgery (see above). Scarring is more common when implants are inserted through an incision under the breast instead of over top of it (submuscular placement) because this technique results in less space between skin and implant.

3. Can I breastfeed after augmentation surgery?

Yes, you can breastfeed after breast augmentation. As with any surgery, there are risks of infection and bleeding. But these risks are low and, if you follow your doctor’s instructions, should not prevent you from breastfeeding. If you’re thinking about getting breast implants, talk to your doctor about the best time to have the surgery so that you’ll be able to breastfeed when your baby is ready. You may have another option: autologous fat transfer. This procedure involves taking fat from one part of your body and injecting it into another area where it can be used for breast augmentation. It doesn’t involve implants, but it does require liposuction beforehand.

4. How long will my implants last?

Implants can last for many years, but there are no guarantees. There are many factors that affect the longevity of breast implants, including your health, body weight and activity level. If you have had a significant weight change since the time of your surgery or have developed medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure that may affect implant durability, you should be aware of the possibility that your implants may need to be replaced at some point.

5. What if I gain or lose weight after getting the implants?

In general, implants are adjustable and can be removed if you gain or lose weight. However, there are risks associated with any surgical procedure, including infection, bleeding and scarring.

6. Will I need a lift later on to keep them looking good?

Some women find that their breasts sag over time. If this happens to you, you may want to consider getting a breast lift at the same time as your breast augmentation. This will give you more shapely results than if you wait until later.

7. What if I just don’t like my new breasts?

One of the most common questions people have about getting breast implants is whether or not they’ll like their new look. The truth is that everyone’s taste differs and while some women absolutely love their new look, others aren’t always as happy with their results as they expected to be. If this happens to you, there are ways to improve your results and even have your surgeon remove your implants if needed.

8. Are there complications related to pregnancy or breastfeeding after breast augmentation surgery?

If you are pregnant, your doctor may recommend waiting until after delivery if you are considering breast augmentation surgery. This is because swelling and changes in your body following delivery can make it difficult for your surgeon to assess the results of your procedure. There may also be changes in skin elasticity during this time that affect how well your surgical scars heal. It’s important to talk with your doctor about when it’s safe for you to undergo breast augmentation surgery after having a baby. If you’re breastfeeding at all, you should wait at least six months before undergoing any type of plastic surgery

9. How Long Does It Take to Recover from Breast Augmentation Surgery?

For most people, recovery from breast augmentation surgery is fairly quick. You can expect your first post-operative appointment within five days of surgery, and your doctor should give you specific instructions on how to care for your new breasts as they heal.

10. Your breast will likely look red, inflamed, and bruised immediately after surgery.

The first few days after surgery, your breasts will likely be swollen and bruised — even if you had an implant placed above the muscle (subpectoral). They may also feel tight and tender to touch.

11. Your implants can feel lumpy or hard at first.

This is normal. The changes in your body from the surgery will cause your implants to feel hard and lumpy for a few days to a few weeks. But this feeling should go away within a few weeks after the surgery.

12. You can’t take a bath or shower for at least a week.

You’ll need to wear surgical bras and support bandages after the operation. There may be some discomfort and swelling in your breasts during this time, but most of these symptoms will subside in about two weeks.

13. Have realistic expectations.

Your surgeon will discuss with you what results they expect from the procedure, but it’s important that you know your own needs as well. While many women want bigger breasts, others may be happy with just slightly larger ones or more symmetrical ones.

14. Plan to take time off work and home duties.

You’ll need at least 2 weeks to recover from this procedure, so plan to take time off work or school and adjust your schedule around it as needed. In addition, you may need help around the house while you recover from this procedure — ask your family members or friends if they can pitch in with cooking or cleaning while you recover from surgery.

15. Who Is a Good Candidate for Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentation surgery can improve the size and shape of your breasts, but it isn’t right for everyone. A good candidate for breast augmentation has realistic expectations about what an implant can achieve and is committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle after surgery. You should also have realistic expectations about how an implant will look and feel once it’s implanted in your body. Women with symmetrical breasts usually have better results from breast enhancement than those with asymmetrical breasts.

16. Should I Get Implants That Are the Same Size or Different Sizes?

This is one of the most common questions we hear from patients who are considering breast augmentation. The answer depends on your goals and needs. If you want to look more proportionate, then we suggest that both breasts be done at the same time with implants of similar size and shape.

17. You’ll need someone to help care for you during recovery.

Most doctors recommend that patients have someone else nearby who can drive them home from the hospital after surgery or be available to help with minor tasks such as driving them to follow-up appointments or cooking meals for the first week or two afterward. You’ll probably need help with these things until your swelling goes down significantly (about 4 weeks).

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