10 things you should know before getting breast implants
31 January 2018
You may well already know that breast augmentation remains the most requested cosmetic surgical procedure in the UK. If you’re thinking of getting a breast augmentation, it is important to have a really good understanding of what to expect and to be as prepared as possible before treatment.
Don’t part with any of your money until you have considered all the physical, financial and psychological factors involved in the process. Think it through first and in a few months’ time or so, if you are still interested, consult your surgeon.
Full details, including risks of surgery can be found here but these are some of the things you should know.
- Your first breast procedure is unlikely to be your last; did you know that breast implants do not last forever; and may need to be changed after 10 years or so. You will need to think about having them redone or removed at a later date. Are you prepared to have further surgery in years to come and take on the costs involved with that?
- You need to be healthy in order to have implants. You should not have surgery if you have active infection, have cancer or are pregnant. Smoking and obesity both increase the risk of complications of healing. Breast implants are also not a good idea for someone whose breasts are not yet fully developed.
- The recent trend for breast augmentation surgery is to go for a more discreet look and smaller implants rather than large. The average size is now 250-300cc (about a C to D cup) compared with 350-400cc (Double DD or E cup) several years ago but if you are looking to go “big”, be aware that if you go from small to huge in one go it will look unnatural and may not even be possible at one operation.
- Breasts with implants can feel different to the touch than unaugmented breasts and although silicone breasts feel similar to real breasts, they are still manmade and may not feel like natural breast tissue particularly if you have very little breast tissue.
- Almost half of women who have breast augmentation surgery will experience a temporary change in nipple sensation which can be painful during the first few weeks after surgery. This sensation is caused by the stretching of the nerve as it the breast adjusts to the implant. As the body continues to heal gradually, the nipples will return to their normal sensitivity. This usually happens within two to three months of the completion of surgery. Occasionally, changes in sensation are permanent.
- What you see immediately after surgery is not the final result. Initially your new breasts will probably appear unnaturally high and may appear ‘stuck on’. Your implants need to settle and it can take the best part of a year before you can see the final result.
- The post-operative blues can kick in. The fact that you lose your independence for a week or two can be difficult. You may also feel like you made a mistake and regret having implants. Things usually start to feel better after a week or two. Take some photographs. Some days you don’t feel like there is any change but looking from week to week can really help.
- Many women with breast implants successfully breast feed their babies but breast surgery does carry some risk that the ducts and nerves may be damaged so, if you are considering pregnancy post breast surgery, be sure to discuss this with your surgeon.
- Mammography (breast x-rays) can be less effective in screening for breast cancer in women who have breast implants. This is because x-rays can’t “see” through the implant to the breast tissue behind it. It is important to tell the radiographer carrying the mammogram if you have implants so that he/she can use a special technique to optimise cancer detection. Public Health England issued guidance on screening with breast implants in July 2017 which you can view here.
- You need to take special care when sunbathing. For about a year after surgery, it is best to keep incision scars right out of direct sunlight as the pigment change that occurs will be permanent; putting a sticking plaster over them should do the trick. Tanning should not affect the implants themselves – though the silicone may get warmer, meaning breasts take longer to cool down than the rest of the body. You should also bear in mind that wearing a support bra is recommended for the first few months which could affect your holiday wardrobe if you are going somewhere warm. It is best that you seek the advice if you are planning to go on holiday.