What is it like to go through a breast augmentation? One of my patients, a woman in her twenties, generously offered to share her experience. Below is her story in italics and some comments of my own.
"Why I Wanted a Breast Augmentation"
"I wasn't able to fit in my clothes." As a teenager I always had smaller breasst and it made me insecure growing into a woman. When I grew older, clothes and bathing suits didn't fit. When I had a child, my breasts lost volume and were even smaller.
"How I Chose My Plastic Surgeon"
After I had my child, I spent four years researching plastic surgeons. I asked friends who’d had surgery. I searched for plastic surgeons online, read reviews, and looked at doctors’ website. When I finally came in for my appointment and I fell in love with all the staff, which made me feel comfortable moving forward with my surgery.
This patient did her research. Though she didn’t mention it, she found a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This should be a minimum requirement in anyone's search for a breast augmentation surgeon.
"The Night before Surgery"
I'm so excited! I have a feeling I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight. I’m nervous. This is a big procedure, but I've been preparing for a good long while. This patient's preparation for surgery and planning for enough time to recover helped her get an excellent outcome. Patients who haven’t planned and do too much too early are more likely to have complications that affect their final result. A great outcome depends on teamwork between both the plastic surgeon and the patient.
"The Day of Surgery"
When I arrived early in the morning, I was actually pretty scared, but everyone was so kind and calm and reassuring that I felt comfortable going into surgery. Being scared and nervous is normal!
The surgeon’s staff is plays a big role in patient care. Do they listen? Are they responsive? Will they pass messages to the doctor? Are they warm and caring? Are they knowledgeable? It's reassuring knowing the entire team is taking good care of you.
"One Day after Surgery"
Since my pain medication made me sick to my stomach, Dr. Furnas prescribed another kind, which worked great. After that, the pain wasn’t even noticeable. I just found that it was hard to get up in the morning because my breasts felt heavy.
The amount of pain a patient experiences after a breast augmentation varies from almost none to a lot. In addition to pain medication, ice packs wrapped in cloth and placed along the sides of the breasts help alleviate pain by numbing the nerves.
After surgery, I sometimes apply an elastic band (“bandeau”, pronounced band-oh) around the upper chest. If the patient experiences pain, I ask her to remove it. The breasts start to swell after surgery, and they can feel tight, hard, and heavy. Elevation and ice, particularly in the first 48 hours, helps improve both swelling and pain.
"Four Days after Surgery"
I love my boobs! It’s hard to get out of bed, but I’m excited to see the results after they heal. When implants are placed under the pectoralis major muscles of the chest, the muscles can be sore for a while. I suggest that my patients put ice packs wrapped in cloth over the upper chest to improve swelling.
"One Week after Surgery"
I feel good. My boobs are stiff, I'm sore, but still excited. After a week, I tell my patients they return to desk jobs as long as they’re off their prescription pain medication and feel comfortable enough to drive. (Most people are off their prescription pain medication by one to five days after surgery.)
"Two Weeks after Surgery"
I am so happy! My breasts are very stiff and swollen and high on my chest, but they're coming down slowly but surely. I'm excited about the results. Some patients with tight skin may notice that their implants ride high. After the skin and tissues relax, the implants should find their home.
"Six Weeks after Surgery"
I’m so happy. My boobs look so good. Now all of my friends want a breast augmentation!