When considering undergoing a cosmetic procedure such as breast augmentation, it helps to be as informed as possible beforehand. After all, deciding to modify any aspect of your appearance can have long-lasting ramifications on every part of your life, including your self-confidence, the types of clothes you can wear and your relationships with others.

Board-certified San Francisco cosmetic surgeon Dr. Michael Kulick has specialized in breast augmentation procedures for more than 20 years, and has answered many questions during his one-on-one consultations with patients. Here’s a comprehensive breast augmentation FAQ to help you understand the most important things about breast augmentation.

Breast Augmentation Guide

How do I know if I am a good candidate for a breast augmentation?

In general, most women over age 18 whose breasts have finished developing are good candidates for a breast augmentation surgery. However, there are certain conditions that might put you at a higher risk for the procedure. If you are a smoker, obese or have a family history of breast cancer, breast augmentation may not be right for you. Talk to your doctor about your medical history and any health concerns that might put you at risk.

How much does breast augmentation cost?

Cost is one of the most common breast augmentation FAQs. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports breast implants cost, on average, $3,787*. One of the most important things to keep in mind about breast augmentation is that your costs will vary based on factors such as where you live, your choice of breast implant material and how long or complex your surgery turns out to be, as well as fees for anesthesia and your hospital stay. Be sure to ask your surgeon if he or she offers any financing plans that would allow you to pay off the cost gradually.

Are breast implants permanent?

One key takeaway from this breast augmentation guide is that, in general, breast implants do not last forever. Many women who choose to get breast implants need an additional breast intervention after surgery to maintain their results.

What should I know about breast augmentation planning for surgery?

Breast augmentation is a very personalized procedure. You and your board-certified plastic surgeon have four key decisions to make together about breast augmentation: size of the breast implant, type of breast implant material, whether to place the implants over or under your chest muscles, and the location of your incisions. The three locations Dr. Kulick recommends for the incisions are either under the arms, around the nipple area or beneath the breasts. These locations are designed to keep your incisions and the resulting scars as discreet and unnoticeable as possible.

What’s the difference between silicone and saline breast implants?

Though many patients opt for silicone gel implants, saying they look and feel more like natural breast tissue than saline, it’s important to be aware that you are at a greater health risk if your silicone gel implants happen to rupture.Questions About Breast Augmentation The FDA recommends women with silicone implants** get an MRI screening three years after they receive a new implant, and every two years thereafter, to help detect a rupture.

Breast Augmentation – After Surgery Questions

How long will it take me to recover post-breast augmentation surgery?

When it comes to breast augmentation, after surgery, you must be mentally and physically prepared for both the operation and the recovery. The most successful breast augmentations depend on the patient’s willingness to rest and follow all breast augmentation post-op instructions to the letter. Your breast augmentation planning for surgery should include taking at least a week off from work, and returning to normal activities in 7 to 10 days.

If your job is very physical or requires any heavy lifting, you will need a longer recovery time before going back to work post-breast augmentation, as it is not recommended to lift anything for at least the first two weeks after surgery. Also, if you have young children, keep in mind you may need extra help from your spouse or another family member during your breast augmentation post-op recovery. See our full breast augmentation recovery guide here.

When will I be able to resume my exercise routine?

A good general breast augmentation post-op guideline is that you can start doing light activities within two weeks post-breast augmentation, and work up to more challenging activity as you feel comfortable. Do not run, lift weights or do any high-impact cardio exercises for at least a month or two – you probably won’t feel like doing those things anyway with breast augmentation after surgery. Keep in mind, your recovery time will be longer if you choose to have your implants placed under the muscle.

This breast augmentation guide can be a helpful starting point on your road to breast augmentation planning for surgery. If you are ready to take the next step, contact Dr. Kulick’s office today to schedule your consultation.

* Source: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

** Source: FDA.gov