Before your surgery, a breast augmentation consultation is a must. The consultation gives you a chance to meet with your plastic surgeon, learn more about the procedure, and ultimately determine if the surgery is the best choice for you.
It’s important to understand that a breast augmentation consultation isn’t meant to be your first introduction to the procedure. Instead, it should be the final step you take before you decide if you want to move forward or not.
Before your consultation, there are a few things you should do to prepare so you can make the most of your appointment.
Learn About Your Implant Options
Although your plastic surgeon will go over the different types of implants that are available, it helps to have a basic understanding of the difference between saline and silicone implants before your consultation. Silicone implants are more popular overall, but that doesn’t mean that some women aren’t better candidates for saline implants.
One of the major advantages of saline implants is that they can be filled after insertion, meaning the surgeon can make a smaller incision. The two types of implants also have a different look and feel once they are placed in the body. Understanding the major differences between the two types can help you be better prepared to ask your surgeon questions and to pick the kind that’s right for you.
Although saline implants are no longer the only option available to patients seeking breast augmentation, some people still prefer them. One benefit of saline implants is that the surgeon can fill them after placement, allowing for a smaller incision and scar.
A disadvantage of saline implants, however, is that they can create rippling beneath the skin or otherwise be visible in the breasts. Often, the implants are more visible in patients who have less natural breast tissue.
Silicone implants returned to the market in 2006 and are FDA-approved for cosmetic use in people over the age of 22. Many plastic surgeons and patients prefer silicone implants to saline, for several reasons.
Silicone implants tend to have a softer, more natural feel than saline implants. Some types of silicone implants are made of a cohesive gel, which enhances their natural feel.
During your consultation about breast implants and breast augmentation, your plastic surgeon is likely to review the different types of silicone implants you can choose from. The implants can have a smooth or textured outer surface.
Smooth implants are generally preferable, as they can move freely within the pocket of the breast. When an implant has a smooth texture, it often feels more natural than a textured implant.
Size of Breast Implants
Implants are measured in volume, specifically in cubic centimeters (cc). The bigger the implant, the greater the volume. One of the goals of your breast augmentation consultation might be to figure out which implant size will work best for you.
It’s important to separate implant size from bra cup size when you’re reviewing your options with a surgeon. This is because cup sizes can vary significantly depending on the bra brand. Instead, they’re likely to assess your overall size, including your height and general frame, to make a size recommendation that’ll fit your needs.
If you have any questions about implant types or sizes, be sure to ask when speaking to your plastic surgeon.
Make a List of Questions to Ask During Your Breast Augmentation Consultation
Speaking of questions, it’s a good idea to create a list to bring along with you to your breast augmentation consultations. Having a list of questions in hand will reduce the chances of you forgetting to ask something important.
Your questions should cover the basic expectations for the surgery, details about the surgeon, and what you can expect afterward. Good questions to ask include:
- Are you board-certified? Board-certified plastic surgeons have completed additional years of training and have passed demanding exams.
- How many years of training do you have? Ideally, the surgeon will have specialized in plastic surgery in their post-medical school training.
- How many breast augmentations have you performed? The more experienced the surgeon is with breast augmentation, the more likely they are to perform the surgery well.
- Where do you perform the surgery? You want to choose a surgeon who will perform the procedure is an accredited outpatient surgical center.
- Do I seem like a good candidate for breast surgery? Not everyone is a good candidate for breast augmentation. Ask the surgeon for their candid opinion.
- Can you explain the risks of the surgery? All surgeries have risks. Knowing what they are can help you determine if going forward is the right choice for you.
- What do you do to minimize risks? Safety precautions can help to reduce the risk of complications during and following surgery.
- What happens after surgery? Find out when you’ll go home or if you’ll need to stay the night at the surgery center.
- How long will I need for recovery? Many people need at least a week for the initial recovery after breast augmentation. Ask the surgeon what you can realistically expect.
- Will I be able to breastfeed after breast augmentation? If you want to have children later, it’s a good idea to make that clear to the surgeon upfront, so they can plan the procedure accordingly.
- What happens if I am unhappy with my results? Find out if you’ll be able to have a revision.
- What happens if I don’t want my implants anymore? You might be able to have your breast implants removed if you don’t want them anymore. Find out more about what’s involved in a removal surgery.
- What are my other options? Other breast enhancement options exist, such as breast lift surgery. You might also be a candidate for breast augmentation with fat grafting rather than implants.
- Can I see before and after photos of past patients? Looking at pictures of past patients can help you assess the quality of the results and whether they align with what you want.
- Can I speak with past patients? Previous patients can give you insights and advice about their experience with a particular plastic surgeon.
Pick Out Tops to Bring to the Consultation
Part of the breast augmentation consultation involves trying on sizers to get an idea of what implant size and shape best meets your needs and wants. The sizers will give you an idea of how your implants will look and feel.
It’s usually a good idea to pick out a few different shirts to bring along with you to the consultation so that you get an idea of how having implants will change your silhouette. For example, it’s usually a good idea to bring a fitted T-shirt, so that you can determine if you feel comfortable with the size and appearance of the implant. You might also want to bring a blouse or button-front shirt and a bikini or swimsuit top.
Review Your Medical History
Your overall health will determine if you’re a good candidate for breast surgery. While your plastic surgeon will perform a physical exam during the consultation, it’s often a good idea to review your medical history before your appointment, so that you have all the information and details ready.
For example, make a list of any medications you take regularly, even vitamins and herbal supplements, plus a list of any current or past medical conditions you have dealt with, such as heart disease or diabetes. If you have a history or a family history of a reaction to anesthesia, your surgeon needs to know that, too.
You’ll most likely need to have a blood test before surgery, to make sure you don’t have any underlying medical issues. Depending on your age, your surgeon might also request you have a heart exam.
You’ll also be asked to stop smoking and to avoid certain medications for several weeks before your procedure. Being upfront with your surgeon is essential for minimizing the risks of breast augmentation surgery.
Figure Out Financing
Your surgeon will review the costs of breast augmentation and your financing options with you during the consultation. But, it’s helpful to have a general idea of how you plan on paying for the surgery before you visit the doctor. For example, you might want to pay for the entire procedure in cash, upfront.
Depending on your financial circumstances, however, you might prefer to finance the surgery. Knowing what financing options are out there, from using your credit card or getting a personal loan, to getting medical financing or borrowing from a relative, can help you make the most informed and sensible decision.
Preparing for a Virtual Breast Augmentation Consultation
The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a new way of conducting breast augmentation consultations: virtually.
Online or virtual consultation with a breast augmentation surgeon can be just as informative and useful as an in-person appointment. It can also be considerably more convenient, as you don’t need to leave the comfort of your home.
In many ways, a virtual consultation is very similar to an in-person visit. You’ll want to prepare a list of questions to ask during the appointment. It’s also helpful to write down your medical history and have any medications you take in front of you.
One key way that a virtual visit differs from an in-person one is that you need to have a reliable internet connection for it to take place. If your home Wi-Fi is spotty, you might find it easier to use your phone data to connect to the call.
You can also improve call quality by minimizing the number of programs your device is running during the consultation. To reduce CPU usage, close any browser tabs or windows and any other apps that might be running. Only have the call browser open.
Privacy is also important during your virtual consultation. Ideally, conduct the video visit while in a room with a door that closes securely. You want to minimize the chance that children, spouses, or pets will interrupt your appointment.
Taking Photos for a Virtual Breast Augmentation Consultation
Photos can help a plastic surgeon get a better sense of the size and shape of your breasts. When you make the request for a virtual consultation, you’ll want to send along several pictures of your chest area.
To get the best pictures, it’s a good idea to have someone take them for you. Ideally, take photos from different angles. One can be from the front of the breasts while another can be taken from the side. Ideally, the camera will be level with the breast area when taking the photo.
A consultation is required before breast augmentation. It gives you a chance to learn more about the procedure and make an informed decision. It also gives your surgeon a chance to start planning your surgery.
You may choose to meet with several surgeons before you decide who to work with. There’s no magic number. Some patients might find a surgeon they are comfortable with immediately while others might need to meet with several before they find a good match.
Talk to the plastic surgeon to find out more about the cost of the consultation. Some practices offer free consultations while others charge a fee that is deducted from your overall costs if you decide to move forward.
You might find that one consultation is enough to answer your questions and help you decide whether to move forward or not. Some patients might want to meet with a plastic surgeon several times before booking their surgery.
The length of the consultation will depend in large part on the number of questions you have. It can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or two.
Who will I speak with during the consultation?
Ideally, you’ll speak to the plastic surgeon who will perform the surgery during your consultation. The consultation is a chance to get to know the surgeon and to see if they are a good fit for you and your needs.
I can’t make it to the office in person. Can I schedule an online consultation?
Yes, virtual consultations are available. Following a virtual consultation, if you want to have breast augmentation, your surgeon might recommend an in-person visit to check implant sizes before proceeding.
Think of your breast augmentation consultation as the next-to-last step on your journey before surgery. It’s an opportunity for you to really get to know the surgeon and learn as much as you can about the procedure.
If you’ve been considering breast augmentation for some time now and are ready to take the next step, call (361) 245-5463 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Paul Vitenas, Houston’s leading breast augmentation surgeon.