is breast augmentation right for me?

Aug 09, 2012

Breast augmentation can have a big impact on your appearance, self-image and lifestyle. But breast enhancement surgery isn't the right choice for every woman. When you meet with a plastic surgeon, he or she will talk with you about your goals and expectations, discuss your medical condition and ask you about your lifestyle. You may be a good candidate for breast augmentation if:

  • You meet the FDA's age requirements. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved saline implants for cosmetic augmentation in women ages 18 and over. Silicone and cohesive gel implants have been approved for cosmetic use in women ages 22 and over. All three types of implants are approved for reconstructive augmentation in women of any age.
  • You're happy with your body, but you want to enhance your figure. Plastic surgeons like to work with patients who are confident and self-assured. If you're basically content with your appearance but you want to correct breasts that are disproportionately small, asymmetrical or droopy, you're probably a good candidate for augmentation. Women who are simply trying to please a partner or meet an unrealistic ideal probably won't be satisfied with their results.
  • You're willing to accept the risks. Some of the most common risks of breast augmentation include visible scarring, implant damage or displacement, capsular contracture and rippling. You should also be aware that breast implants might interfere with breastfeeding and mammograms.
  • You're willing to accept the responsibilities. Once you have breast implants, you'll need to take extra steps to maintain your health, like checking your breasts for signs of deflation and having regular follow-up visits with your plastic surgeon. If you have silicone implants, your plastic surgeon will recommend that you have regular MRI screening to check for implant leaks, or "silent ruptures." You may also be asked to enroll in clinical studies to track your body's response to the implants.
  • You understand that breast implants usually need to be replaced. Although there are exceptions, most saline or silicone breast implants will leak or rupture. Most women need surgical replacement or revision at some point after the original augmentation, and health insurance will rarely cover these expenses.
  • You're in good physical and mental health. Your plastic surgeon will want to know if you have a recent history of breast cancer, an autoimmune disorder or depression, or if you have any medical conditions that might cause complications during surgery, like chronic high blood pressure or allergies to anesthesia.
  • You're committed to leading a healthy lifestyle. Women who follow a nutritious, balanced diet, exercise regularly and don't smoke are good candidates for plastic surgery. A healthy lifestyle reduces the risks of surgery and promotes efficient tissue healing. 
  • You realize that plastic surgery has its limitations.  Women who expect too much from breast augmentation are bound to be disappointed. If your expectations are realistic and you understand that breast augmentation has its risks and limitations, chances are you're a great candidate for breast augmentation.