Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Breast Augmentation: Communicating With Your Doctor

Breast augmentation procedures are now the most common cosmetic enhancements in the United States.  Since 2005, breast augmentations have been more prevalent than the most recent leader, liposuction.  If you are considering breast augmentation, one of the most important things you need to know is how to communicate with your plastic surgeon.

It may seem simple at the outset.  Some women have taken the approach, “Just make them bigger.”  However, when you consider that you are actually altering your own bodies shape, you should really take this matter seriously with your doctor.  Considering the risks and expenses of breast implant surgery, communicating your goals in breast augmentation accurately is critical to being satisfied with the results.

What Size Do I Want?

The single most common reason for patient dissatisfaction with the procedure has to do with breast implant size.   While up to 95 per cent of breast augmentation patients report they are happy they had the procedure done, as much as 50 per cent wish they had chosen a different breast implant size.

Much of this problem has to do with inadequate communication between the patient and their plastic surgeon.  In the past, communicating breast implant size goals has been fairly archaic.

1) Before and after photos of other women are exactly that…other women.  Your body is unique so a two-dimensional picture of another woman with breast implants cannot be adequate in terms of showing your doctor what you want to look like.

2) Cup size discussions such as “Make me a C cup” are theoretical only.  Bra manufacturers all vary in terms of their sizes so your doctor can only measure based upon an average of various bra sizes.

3) The Rice Test or Birdseed Test.  It is hard to imagine that on such a serious topic, women actually fill a bag with birdseed or rice to guess at what bra size they want.  It is cheap but largely ineffective based upon the statistical results.

Today there are breast implant sizing systems you can buy and wear for about one hundred dollars.  Take the size issue seriously and try out various breast sizes with a breast implant sizer.  After doing so you can actually show your doctor in three-dimensions on your own body what you want to look like!


What types of scars do you want to have after your surgery?  For some women it is important to have as little scarring as possible, but this type of incision method has issues all on its own.  For example, the increasingly popular belly button breast augmentation can result in less accurate placement of the implant.  While the scarring is well away from the breast, will your results look natural?  If you want this type of procedure be sure you are working with a qualified plastic surgeon who has a lot of experience in this technique.

Recovery Time

How long will it take to recover?   Each technique and breast implant size may impact how long the healing process will take for you.  Your doctor will be recommending healing products including breast augmentation recovery bras to aid you in the process.  There have been many advancements in this area in recent years.  If this is a big concern for you, you will want to make sure to discuss this thoroughly with your surgeon.  How many breast augmentation procedures do they perform each year?  Are they well versed on all the latest healing techniques?


Ultimately, the most important part of communication is to work with a plastic surgeon that you feel you can trust.  Are they answering all your questions thoroughly?  Do you feel rushed in the process?  Is breast augmentation a primary procedure for them?  How does the staff treat you?  If you do not feel this sense of trust, you will never be able to communicate with them as thoroughly as you wish.

Communication with your breast augmentation surgeon is critical to your success.  This is your body, the only one you will ever have.  If you can communicate well your plastic surgeon regarding the most important topics you will more likely be satisfied with your procedure.

There are many Manhattan plastic surgeons and Long Island plastic surgeons who are interested in taking the time necessary to help you through the process.  Be sure to visit at least two or three before you make your final choice in plastic surgeons.


Breast Augmentation Recovery