Breast augmentation is one of our most popular procedures here at North Charlotte Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. Our office is certainly not alone in this regard. In fact, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that breast augmentation has been one of the most commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedure in the U.S. every year since 2006. Clearly, there are many women who are dissatisfied with their breast size and shape, who could achieve a huge boost in confidence with a breast augmentation.
Because this procedure is so popular, we find that many of our patients have questions about breast augmentation. We would like to take the time to answer some of those questions here. Although this is by no means an exhaustive list, it does answer some of the most common questions about breast augmentation.
Am I too old to have a breast augmentation?
There is no upper age cutoff for breast augmentation. While many younger women choose breast augmentation, middle aged or even older women may also elect to have this procedure. As women age, they become more aware of their body image and the impact that it has on their lives, and are less willing to “just live with” the things they don’t like. Many women also become unsatisfied with their figures after completing pregnancy and breastfeeding, or as aging takes its toll on the body. They may then wish to undergo breast augmentation in order to restore their confidence in their figures. As long as a woman is in good general health, she can undergo a breast augmentation at any age. Keep in mind that as people age, they lose skin elasticity and it is common for older women to also need a breast lift tom achieve the best result.
Am I too young to have a breast augmentation?
In general, breast augmentation is not appropriate until a young woman is mature enough to make her own well-informed decisions regarding her medical care. It is also important that the breast tissue has fully developed before having a breast augmentation, because continued breast development may alter the results if the procedure is done too early. Those under age 18 are not considered candidates for this procedure. Some 18 or 19 year olds may not be ready for breast augmentation, while others may be good candidates. You will need to meet with a plastic surgeon to learn whether or not you’re ready to consider having a breast augmentation. The FDA has recommended that saline implants be used on any patient younger than 22 years old. To learn more, please visit our Breast Augmentation Candidacy page.
What will happen if I get pregnant after breast augmentation?
Having a breast augmentation will not interfere with or cause problems in a pregnancy. However, pregnancy often leads to changes in the breasts. During and after your pregnancy, you may notice changes in the appearance of your breasts, which may affect how you feel about your breast augmentation results. In some cases, women choose to have their implants exchanged for a different size after they have completed their families and are not planning any more pregnancies.
Younger women often choose to undergo breast augmentation, even if they think that they may eventually want children. This is an appropriate decision and should not cause any problems. However, if you are currently pregnant or are actively planning a pregnancy in the near future, then we would recommend waiting until after you are done with pregnancy and breastfeeding before you undergo your breast augmentation.
Will I be able to breastfeed after breast augmentation?
The short answer is that yes, you probably will. Most women are able to successfully breastfeed their babies after having a breast augmentation. However, there are certain choices that may decrease the chances of being able to breastfeed. Some studies have shown that a periareolar incision leads to an increased risk of being unable to breastfeed. If you believe that you might like to breastfeed your baby in the future, then you might want to choose a different incision location. Keep in mind that many women who have not had breast augmentation also have problems breastfeeding, so the ability to breastfeed is dependent on many factors.
Do I have to be at my goal weight before my breast augmentation?
Natural breasts are made up largely of fat tissue. When you gain weight, the breasts will usually grow larger, and when you lose weight, they become smaller. If you are overweight and want to get your weight under control, it is best to do this before you have your breast augmentation. Otherwise, as your weight changes, you may no longer have your ideal results. You do not have to be at your ideal weight before having your procedure, but your weight should be stable, with no plans to dramatically alter it anytime soon. Many women who experience a dramatic weight loss are bothered by the much smaller size of their breasts afterwards, and may choose a breast augmentation to regain their confidence in their new bodies.
How long after surgery will my breasts look normal?
The swelling from the surgical procedure is usually gone in about 2-3 months. This swelling may cause the breasts to feel firmer than usual, and their shape may be somewhat abnormal. As the swelling subsides, your breasts should soften and assume a more natural shape.
If you have had your implants placed below the pectoral muscle, the muscle can swell and spasm and there will appear to be more fullness on the upper chest wall. As the muscle stretches out, the implants will settle into their final positions. Tightness of the overlying skin can also affect the position of the implants, and this will also resolve over time as the skin stretches to accommodate the implants. Settling of the implants into their final positions can take 3 to 6 months; in some cases, particularly if the muscles are very tight, it may even take a bit longer than that.
When will I be able to resume exercising?
You will receive personalized advice about this from your surgical team. In general, light exercise (slow walking) should begin the day after surgery to prevent blood clots. After two weeks, you can begin to gradually ramp up your cardio and lower body exercise, but should still avoid heavy lifting or other strenuous upper body exercises. In about six to eight weeks, most patients are fully healed and can begin to do any type of exercise that they choose. Still, everyone is an individual, so it is important to listen to your body and not overdo it. If you feel pain or discomfort when exercising, then you may want to back off a bit and ramp up more slowly.
How long until I can go back to work?
This depends a lot on what type of job you have. For those with a desk job, we usually recommend taking a week off for your recovery. Some patients may feel up to going back to work sooner, but it’s best to ensure that you have enough time to recover from surgery. For those whose job involves physical activity, it may be longer than a week before you are ready to return to your full work duties. As described above, you will not be able to lift heavy objects for at least six weeks after your procedure. Dr. Miles can write a note prescribing “light duty” if necessary.
What size of implants should I choose?
In general, women come to us with an idea of what cup size they would like to be. However, implants do not come in cup sizes; rather, the implant size is related to the volume of filling material (saline or silicone) inside of the implant. A given implant size will create different results on different women, depending on their individual anatomy (breast base diameter most importantly). For more information, please see our Breast Augmentation Size page.
Talk with your plastic surgeon about your breast augmentation Charlotte
If you have any additional questions we have not answered here, or if you would like more information about any of these topics, we strongly encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Miles. For women who are considering a breast augmentation in Charlotte and the surrounding area, he is a highly-respected and well-trained plastic surgeon with excellent technical skills. Just as importantly, he truly cares for his patients, and spends a great deal of time with each person during the consultation appointment. His goal is to ensure that each patient fully understands any procedure they are considering, and has all of the information necessary to be confident in their own choices.
To schedule your consultation appointment with Dr. Miles, please call our office at (704) 896-5556 or contact us online.