Breast Augmentation: What to Look for in a Doctor?

Posted July 22, 2016

Breast implants, or breast augmentation, is a widely popular procedure that uses silicone or saline implants to enhance the shape and size of the breasts. Each type of implant has its own characteristics. Saline is known for its natural feel while silicone tends to offer a more natural look. 

According to a 2014 statistic from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the average price of breast augmentation is between $3000 and $10,000. Practices that are located in metropolitan areas like Beverly Hills or New York City tend to have a higher price point than average.

When searching for the right surgeon, it is important to be diligent in your research. Make a checklist while keeping a few things in mind:

How to Find a Board Certified Cosmetic Breast Surgeon

Is your breast cosmetic surgeon board certified?  Board certifications from recognized and accredited organizations like the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) or the International Society of Plastic Surgeons (ISPS) ensures your doctor has received high standards in training, ethics, physician practice and research in plastic surgery.

How experienced is your doctor? Like every other cosmetic procedure you want to find a surgeon who is not only specialized and properly trained for the procedure of your choice, they also have to be certified by a proper medical board. Here are the certifications that you need to look for:

Cosmetic Breast Surgery Results

Undergoing cosmetic breast surgery is a major decision and you need to know everything you can to become more educated about the process and its end results. The good news is most doctors are aware of this and they provide plenty of before and after photos on their websites.  A good rule of thumb is to stay away from the doctors who don’t have any patient photos on their website or other public profiles they have in different cosmetic surgery directories.

You may find a highly recommended plastic surgeon with years of experience doing one particular procedure and not enough experience in others. If you cannot see the results in person, you want to make sure you have seen plenty of before and after cosmetic breast surgery pictures from the doctor.

Feedback from Real Patients

Relevant patient reviews from those who underwent cosmetic breast surgery are very important. Viewing patient reviews on trusted third-party websites such as Yelp will give you an honest, first-hand perspective of what the doctor and the practice are like. Even if your cosmetic breast surgeon has plenty of positive reviews, look for specific complaints from patients that will give you a better idea on what to expect from the doctor. If for any reason you are still unsure, it may be a good idea to try another surgeon. 

When it comes to assessing the reviews, it is important to check for the most relevant ones to your case.  Discuss your decision with your family and friends if you can and try to get recommendations. Try to see if your close friends or a family member had a cosmetic breast procedure and then get referrals to see their cosmetic surgeons. You can also ask the doctor to see if they can put you in touch with one of their previous patients. Getting a firsthand account from a patient is crucial as it allows you to set your expectations accordingly.

Cosmetic Breast Surgery Techniques

You need to do your research before seeing your cosmetic breast surgeon and learn about the different techniques of the procedure you will be undergoing. For example, it is important to know what incision the doctor will use for your breast procedure. This will determine the type of scar the patient will end up with. The 4 main breast incision types include:

  • Inframammary – The incision is made directly into the natural folds of the breasts. This makes the resulting scar less visible and is virtually undetectable when wearing a bra or bikini. Inframammary incision is the most straightforward approach and is known for producing predictable and reliable results. It also has the lowest rate of capsular contracture occurrence.
  • Transumbillical – Also called TUBA, for trans-umbilical breast augmentation, this incision goes through the bellybutton to deliver the implant and produce a scar-less result. This approach is limited to only saline implants because the implant needs to be empty in order to be rolled up and placed through the belly button into the breast. This cannot be done with silicone implants as they come pre-filled.
  • Transaxillary – With an approach similar to transumbilical, it uses a location away from the breast to deliver the implant in a scar-less fashion. Using this technique, the incision is made in the armpit to deliver the empty saline implant into the breast. Besides possible nerve damage, the biggest limitation with this technique is that it can only be done once. If any revision or adjustment is required, the same incision location cannot be used because it would have evident scarring as a result.
  • Periareolar – This incision is the second most commonly used approach. However, patients might be limited depending on the size of their areola. The bigger it is, the bigger the implant that will need to be placed. Silicone implants are generally not used here because the implant needs to be empty to be properly placed.

What Questions to Ask Before Your Breast Cosmetic Surgery?

Before meeting with a plastic surgeon, it is crucial to prepare your questions thoroughly in order to get as much information as possible. The most important things to know are:

  • Do you think I am a good candidate for breast enlargement?
  • How long has the surgeon been performing breast augmentation or breast enhancement surgery?
  • How many breast augmentation procedures does the doctor perform every month?
  • What are my options if I don’t like the results?
  • How will the breast enhancement procedure affect my breastfeeding in the future?
  • How can my implanted breast transform and appear over time? Can pregnancy and breastfeeding affect the appearance of my enhanced breasts?
  • What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the cosmetic outcome of my implanted breasts?
  • Where and how will you perform my breast augmentation surgery?
  • What is the size and shape that the doctor recommends and what is the likelihood of achieving the exact same shape after breast enhancement procedures?
  • What is the recovery period like? How soon can I be completely functional in regards to my daily activities?
  • What are the complications of my breast augmentation procedure? Is there anything I can do to minimize the risks?

During your first consultation, make sure that you meet with the doctor who will be operating on you. Finally, do your research online and through your state medical board to see if any complaints have been made against the doctor or his practice. 

- KT


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