Breast augmentation surgery continues to be the most popular aesthetic procedure in the world. With over a million procedures a year, patients the world over show no signs of waning interest in the procedure. Combine the interest with massively improved techniques and implant technology and what’s left is one of the most researched and performed medical procedures in the world.
Due to it’s prevalence, it is crucially important for any potential breast augmentation patient to do her research. Simply because a plastic surgeon can perform a breast augmentation does not mean that he or she should perform yours. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Mary Gingrass of Nashville, TN discusses the unique relationship between breast augmentation surgeons and patients, as well as what to look for when selecting a surgeon.
Cheaper is Not Always Better
Because the breast augmentation procedure is so popular, it is particularly important that patients “do some research and don’t just necessarily go for the cheap deal,” explains Dr. Gingrass. There is always going to be a range when it comes to pricing for any aesthetic procedure. Some of this will have to do with where you live, and some of it will have to do with the specific surgeon.
Perhaps the first step is researching surgeons who have immense experience in breast augmentation procedures. This kind of expertise takes years to accrue – like anything else, those who practice and experience more will be better at their craft. A breast augmentation patient wouldn’t want to select a plastic surgeon whose experience is weighed heavily in rhinoplasty procedures and does few breast augmentations. Their skill at crafting a nose will be excellent, but that’s not the same procedure as breast augmentation.
An experienced surgeon will accordingly charge extra, but patients are receiving more for that higher charge. The more experience a surgeon has, the more prepared they are to not only craft a unique result for a patient’s unique anatomy, but also is very deft and comfortable in the surgical setting, able to avoid common complications that just may save someone the potential cost of a revision surgery down the line. If chosen wisely, then, paying more up front for a surgeon who really knows his or her stuff is actually going to save you money in the long run.
Breast Implants are a Long-Term Relationship
Furthermore, “breast implants, especially in young women, are a long term relationship,” says Dr. Gingrass. It’s vital that your surgeon understand:
- how implants wear over time
- the ways in which a woman’s body changes with age
The more breast surgeries that a plastic surgeon has performed, the more able he or she is to properly advise you on the best breast implant for the given time in your life. While many women first get implants in their teens and twenties, Dr. Gingrass has also put implants in patients in their 60’s. They obviously have different needs. So, doing your research and finding the best surgeon possible will not only ensure that you are happy with your results now, but that your implants will stand the test of time.
The Special Relationship Between Breast Surgeon & Patient
Dr. Gingrass recommends that her patients come in and see her once a year at no additional cost. This is just a standard part of her aftercare. She feels that it is a good idea for someone to “keep their pulse” on what is going on in terms of your breasts. While breast implants are the most tested medical device in the world and completely safe, they are a foreign object in your body.
Most breast augmentation patients are good about taking care of their health. They perform regular self breast exams and see their gynecologist yearly for a professional exam. Even so, Dr. Gingrass still likes to show her patients, at their 2-3 month post op visit, exactly how to perform a self-exam with their implants. This entails knowing what the edge of the implant feels like and the best way to differentiate between your implant and your breast tissue. This helps to ensure that a patient, “would find something if god forbid, something popped up,” she says.
Regular Follow-Up Allows You to Ask Questions
The other advantage of seeing your breast surgeon regularly is that it allows you to ask questions. Things regularly come up in the media that can be scary. The yearly visit is a great opportunity for patients to get the facts from a plastic surgeon who is on the frontline of these stories. The media has a tendency to only focus on the bad or sensational. Maintaining a relationship with your breast surgeon gives you someone to call when things come up that you don’t necessarily understand. It’s a great panic reducer.
Breast Revision Surgery
In general, women who get implants early in life are probably going to need another set of breast implants at some point. “It’s not uncommon for women to come in for secondary surgery,” explains Dr. Gingrass. Even in cases where the primary breast augmentation surgery was performed beautifully, revision breast surgery may be necessary with age. Your body changes with pregnancy, menopause and weight fluctuations. Furthermore, your aesthetic changes with time. What might have looked good at 20 may not longer fit your lifestyle at 40.
No one wants to come in for revision breast surgery due to a complication, but these things can happen. This is why it’s so important to see a board certified plastic surgery who is an expert in all aspects of breast surgery. Choosing wisely on the front end allows you to avoid preventable problems down the road.