Breast Implants: What to Expect Before and After the Procedure
If you’re unhappy with the size or shape of your breasts, breast implants can help improve your look and self-confidence. Knowing what to expect before committing to the procedure is key to making sure you heal well and are happy with your results.
Before the Procedure
Before you schedule a surgery date, you’ll have a consultation with your surgeon to discuss exactly what you want from your breast augmentation. Your surgeon can help you decide on the size and implant material that’s best for you.
Types of Implants
Breast implants come in two main types: silicone and saline. Silicone implants are filled with a gel encased in a silicone shell. They have a more natural appearance and feel and are less prone to visible rippling than saline implants are, but they also require more frequent checks to make sure they aren’t leaking.
Saline implants are composed of a silicone shell with a liquid saline solution inside. They’re less prone to leaks than silicone implants are, and they don’t require as large of an incision since they’re filled after the shell is placed in your breast. Saline implants have a firmer feel than silicone ones do.
Size and Shape
Your surgeon will measure your breasts and consider the shape of your figure when helping you decide what size implants to choose. Implants range from 150cc on the smaller side, ideal for women who want to fill out drooping or deflated breasts, to 800cc or larger for those who want to alter their profiles by going up a full cup size or more.
You’ll discuss the expectations you should have for how your breasts will look after you’ve fully healed so you can be sure what you’re asking for is realistic.
Breast implants can be placed through a few different types of incisions. An inframammary incision is made in the crease under your breast which makes scarring less noticeable. A transaxillary incision is made in your armpit, leaving your breasts free of any scarring at all.
Implants placed through a periareolar incision around the nipple allow your surgeon to insert the implant directly. This type of incision disguises any scarring in the pigment of your areola.
Your surgeon will consider the shape of your body, what kind of implant you’re getting, how large you want to go, and your personal preference when deciding on the right incision type.
After the Procedure
While healing times vary by patient, most women who get breast implants are fully recovered six weeks after surgery. The first week after your surgery will be the most uncomfortable. Your breasts will be wrapped with gauze, and you’ll wear an elastic bandage wrap to support your breasts and minimize swelling. Most women are able to take a shower 48 hours after surgery.
Your doctor will prescribe pain medication to help you rest and might also prescribe antibiotics to lower the risk of infection. After the first few days, most patients are able to control pain with over-the-counter medications.
Make sure you have soft, comfortable bras with no underwire to wear for support once your doctor allows you to remove the elastic bandage, usually after your one-week visit. Your swelling and pain should subside by the end of the second week, and you can begin doing most light daily activities again.
Avoid exercise for at least four weeks after your surgery. You’ll need to wait longer, at least six weeks, for exercises that target your chest muscles. Don’t sleep with your chest against the mattress or wear underwire bras until your healing is complete, between six to eight weeks post-op.
You’ll return to your surgeon for a check a week after your surgery. If you have a sedentary desk job, you may be able to return to work after this appointment. If your job requires vigorous activity or heavy lifting, you may need six to eight weeks off work.
Dr. Christine Nygaard at the Renaissance Center for Facial and Body Sculpting has performed over 5000 breast augmentation procedures. If you’re considering breast implants, contact us today to set up a consultation appointment.