Maximizing Your Breast Augmentation Consultation: Essential Tips from a Plastic Surgeon
If you're considering a Breast Augmentation procedure, it's crucial to make the most out of your consultation with your Plastic Surgeon. The consultation serves as an critical opportunity to discuss your goals, understand the procedure, and make informed decisions about implant options. Unlike most other Plastic Surgery consultations, not only do we need to discuss the surgery in detail, but we also have the added nuance of discussing the breast implants themselves. The consultation also serves as a critical time to get to know your surgeon and assess whether or not you and him/her would be a good long term fit (yes, long term!). As a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who performs a high volume of breast surgeries, many of which involve breast implants, I'm here to share my tips for maximizing your Breast Augmentation consultation. After all, the more time you can spend learning and engaging in this process, the more comfortable you will be in making such a big decision.
Leave the Padded Bra at Home:
Every surgeon will have a slightly different approach for how they pick a recommended implant size, ranging from purely based anatomic measurements to the use of 3-D camera simulators. I’ve used all of those approaches over the years, and one of the most effective ways I found to find the right implant size for your body and dimensions are implant sizers. Implant sizers are a series of shaped volume inserts that are designed to fit over your natural breast tissue. We slip them in your bra, which allows you to simulate what different sized implants will look like on your frame. To accurately assess how your breast size and shape will change with the sizer, you really need a bra that made of a soft and flexible material and that contours over the sizer without adding artificial bulk. Wearing a padded bra can cause distortions, making it challenging to accurately visualize the potential outcome. Another reason why I prefer sizers during breast augmentation consultations are they help tune patients into something we rarely talk about when discussing breast implants– the weight they add to your chest. While not meant to be exact replicas of the actual implants (size, shape, weight), I think the physical act of adding different weights to your chest helps cue patients into this important but overlooked attribute.
Wear The Right Clothes:
Just as a padded bra can distort how breast implant sizers look on our chest, the wrong clothing can sometimes make it challenging to accurately picture how different sized implants will affect your overall silhouette. A slightly more fitted shirt will hug the implant sizers and allow us to visualize not only the size of the chest but also the chest proportions in relation to the rest of the body. This concept also applies to the lower body and your hip-to-chest ratio–an important factor to consider when discussing body proportionality. For example, wide-legged pants or a loose skirt might make your lower body appear bigger and distort the size of implants that “fit” it’s size. No matter what outfit you choose, however, be sure that it represents clothing you would normally wear. There is no point in simulating a situation that doesn’t represent you in real life.
Most Important, Forget About The Numbers:
This is my NUMBER ONE tip for all Breast Augmentation consultations, and for good reason. There are lots of people walking around with breast implants and people showing before and after photos online. It's all too easy to be persuaded by a friend, or go down an rabbit hole of photos you see online with people who “look like you” and “look like what you want.” What a particular size implant looks like on someone else has little to do with what it will look like on you. While online before and after photos have gotten better in the sense that they often include patient height and weight, there are many other measurements and factors to consider than just those two characteristics. Breast footprint, breast width, breast height, width:height ratio, and chest wall circumference are all critical factors I consider when recommending a particular breast implant size and profile. In addition, it’s also important to consider lifestyle factors such as activity level into your decision making. For example, a particular implant size might be visually on par with your aesthetic goals but be too large to fit your super active lifestyle.
It is also critical to underscore that breast implant sizes are measured in cubic centimeters (cc), which do not directly correlate to bra cup sizes. In fact, cup size is also a relative measurement, making it a pretty poor system of evaluation anyways. Every person's anatomy is unique, and what matters most is how an implant looks and feels on you. Instead of fixating on a specific implant size number, focus on finding an implant that enhances your overall proportions and aligns with your desired aesthetic.
On The Fence? Take Photos:
Visual references play a vital role in understanding your aesthetic preferences. During your consultation, you will have the opportunity to try on a number of different implant sizers. Usually, patients will narrow it down to one or two sizes that they like and, often, get hung up choosing between the two. Take this opportunity to capture some photos of yourself. Not only can this help you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, but can serve as valuable references when reviewing your options and discussing your preferences with friends, family, or loved ones. It is also common that someone you trust (friend, significant other, spouse) couldn’t make it to your consultation. Photos serve as a great way to include them later in the conversation.
Piggybacking on my previous tip to not play the numbers game, photos during your consultation can serve as a great way to sooth anxiety when you start second guessing your decisions. It’s easy to go down the internet rabbit hole after you have left your consultation and, oftentimes, that overload of information will make you question the breast implant size you and your Plastic Surgeon chose. Take a breath, review your photos, and remember all the important factors that went into your decision making the first time around.
In summary, there is a lot of information to cover in a Breast Augmentation consultation and even more to consider when trying to find the right implant size for your body and aesthetic goals. One thing I didn’t mention but should go without saying is to do your homework before you show up. Look your surgeon up online and review their before and after photos to see if their baseline aesthetics align with your aesthetics. Using your time wisely and efficiently while you have face-to-face time with your Plastic Surgeon will set you up to feel informed and confident about the critical decisions you are making about your body.
Dr. Megan Dreveskracht is a Seattle-based Female Plastic Surgeon who specializes in Aesthetic Surgeries of the Breast, Body & Face. To schedule your consultation, call 206.860.5582 or fill out a contact form here.