The choice to get breast implants is exciting and often made after months—sometimes years—of thinking about the decision. Once you’ve decided to get a breast augmentation, the next step is scheduling consultations with plastic surgeons. Many patients aren’t sure what to expect at their breast augmentation consultations. At my Birmingham practice, I approach consultations as conversations where I learn about the patient and gather information needed to create beautiful results.
A Collaborative Process
Achieving the goals of a breast augmentation patient begins during the consultation when the surgeon can establish trust through an open, honest conversation. I want to put patients at ease during the consultation, which is a time when patients tend to feel some anxiety because of the personal nature of the procedure. Having performed thousands of breast augmentations, I understand the various emotions patients may feel as they embark on their journey.
This is also a time for me to gather information about the patient that can help in developing a customized surgical plan. Some of the topics I discuss with patients include:
- -Their reasons for wanting breast augmentation surgery
- -Their expectations about the results
- -Any medical conditions they have, previous medical treatments, and if they have drug allergies
- -Medications they take, including vitamins or herbal supplements, and their alcohol, tobacco, and drug use
- -Family history of breast cancer and results of any mammograms or previous biopsies
The conversation about why patients want breast augmentation is especially important, particularly if they indicate they’re doing this because they feel pressure from a partner to get implants. That motivation often leads to disappointment.
After patients describe their specific reasons for wanting breast augmentation—whether they’ve always been self-conscious about having smaller breasts, they want to restore volume lost after having children, or some other reason—we discuss the size and type of breast implants that will best achieve their goals. Additionally, we develop a plan for the procedure itself, including where to make the incisions and whether to place the implants in front of or behind the chest muscle.
Getting Questions Answered
I encourage patients to bring a list of questions to the consultation because it’s easy to forget something you want to ask about. It’s also helpful to bring “wish” photos that demonstrate how they would like their results to look. These can be photos of models or before-and-after photos in our gallery. Even though I provide a great deal of information about preparing for the surgery, the procedure itself, and the recovery process, most patients have specific questions or concerns that I may not initially address.
Some of the most common questions asked by breast augmentation patients include:
- -Will my breasts look fake after getting breast implants?
- -How do I choose the right implant size?
- -What’s the difference between silicone and saline implants?
- -What kind of bra should I wear after the surgery?
- -Does recovery hurt?
- -Will I be able to breastfeed with implants?
- -How long do breast implants last?
This is not at all an exhaustive list of questions, but it does provide you with an idea of the types of issues that concern many of my patients. We also discuss potential complications and risks involved with breast augmentation surgery. I’m completely transparent regarding these issues and note that I have an excellent track record for safety.
An essential part of the consultation is the physical exam, which includes precisely measuring their breasts’ dimensions and the width of the chest wall. The frame of the patient’s body—does she have a narrow or wide chest wall, for example—influences the choice of implant size and profile to produce proportional results. I also examine the quality of the breast skin and the position of the nipples and areolae.
Before the physical exam, patients disrobe privately, and then I’m accompanied by a nurse during the exam to ensure patients feel comfortable.
A Comprehensive Consultation
Besides the one-on-one time that I spend with patients, a consultation includes an extensive multimedia process that guarantees they become extremely knowledgeable about the breast augmentation procedure in general. We want patients to be well-educated about the surgery by the time they leave our office.
You’ll also meet with a patient coordinator to discuss the cost of breast augmentation and schedule a date for your surgery if you decide to proceed.
Begin Your Journey
If you’re looking in the Birmingham area for a breast augmentation specialist, you can request your comprehensive consultation using the online form, or feel free to give us a call at (205) 933-9308 to schedule an appointment.