It seems like breast enhancement surgery is everywhere these days — from even the youngest models and actresses going under the knife, to the constant throng of ads on the subway, it's no longer the taboo it once was.
But for all of the talk about boob jobs, there's still a slew of misinformation out there. While it's considered a cosmetic procedure, breast enhancement surgery is still a big decision that can have long-lasting effects on your life, for better or worse.
If you're considering getting surgery to go up a few cup sizes, make sure you're considering these often-overlooked facts first. And if you're still unsure about anything, do your research and speak with a few medical professionals (multiple opinions can help you ensure you're making the right decision).
Once you've gathered your information, you can be confident you're making the right decision for yourself, your lifestyle, and your body.
1. It's rarely a one-and-done surgery.
Our bodies change over time, even after being altered by an outside force. It is not uncommon to be required to have a second (or third) surgery after receiving your breast implants — these artificial additions to your body don't always behave harmoniously the first time around.
The FDA states that "some breast implants may rupture/deflate in the first few months after surgery and some after several years. Others may take 10 or more years to rupture/deflate." Be aware that, in all likelihood, you'll be forming more of an ongoing relationship with your surgeon than you might have originally expected. According to the FDA, "It is likely that you will need to have one or more reoperations over the course of your life because of local complications from breast implants."
2. Your plan may differ from your surgeon's.
There are multiple different insertion sites that can be used during a breast enhancement surgery — but it's not always up to you to choose which one you prefer. Your doctor will work with you to determine which site is best for your breast and body type, and ultimately, his or her recommendation will determine what type of surgery you have.
A typical breast enhancement surgery can be done by creating an incision at the underarm, beneath the breast at the fold, or by removing (and then replacing) the areola.
3. Not all surgeons are created equal.
Your plastic surgeon should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and should be a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Be sure to do your research and thoroughly vet your surgeon — comparing several plastic surgeons is always preferable. Beware of those who offer a greatly reduced price or operate outside of your home country, as it can be more difficult to verify the veracity of their credentials.
Remember, this surgery can have a great impact on your life, and it's worth spending the time, energy and money to ensure it's done correctly. Think of your future health when deciding on a plastic surgeon.
4. You'll have to account for recovery time.
Regardless of whether your breast augmentation surgery was an outpatient or inpatient procedure, you will need to schedule some recovery time after your surgery. It is typical that your surgeon will clear you to return to work in 1-2 weeks after the operation, but if your job requires any manual labor, this could be extended to up to a month. It is likely you will experience some pain and discomfort during this time, but your surgeon will be able to monitor this and prescribe painkillers as necessary.
Even after you've returned to work, you may not be able to resume your full schedule as usual — including workouts. The FDA advises that patients "avoid any strenuous activities that could raise your pulse and blood pressure for at least two weeks."
5. Sometimes, your body has something else in mind.
Some individuals who have undergone breast augmentation surgery have found that their breast size and shape altered dramatically after becoming pregnant and giving birth. For this reason, it's advisable to schedule your surgery after you are finished having children, if that is part of your life plan.
6. You might want to time it around your childbearing years.
By that same token, there is one aspect of childrearing that could be affected by having breast augmentation surgery. If your surgery was performed via an areola incision, it's possible that minor ducts could be damaged, leading to difficulty breastfeeding.
The FDA simply states that "some women who undergo breast augmentation can successfully breastfeed and some cannot," though exact numbers are not available at this time. There is currently no evidence of adverse affects on babies born to mothers with breast implants.
7. It can have an effect on the rest of your body, too.
Just as naturally endowed women may struggle with back, neck and shoulder pain, women who undergo breast enlargement surgeries may experience the adverse affects of carrying a larger load. Your posture may be affected if you choose large implants.
In fact, these two Playboy models believe that their breast implants caused various chronic conditions in their bodies years after their surgeries.
8. There are several different kinds of implants.
Saline and silicone implants are the most common types, with silicone by far being the leading choice in 2016. Though slightly different in consistency, both types of implant are prone to rupturing and/or deflating as time passes. Additionally, in rare cases, an autologous fat transfer (moving fat from another part of the body, typically the thighs or buttocks) can be used in place of implants.
9. It could affect future breast cancer screenings.
Your surgeon will likely advise you get a breast cancer screening in advance of your surgery — something you should be doing regularly already! — but it's possible that your implants will affect the ability to screen for breast cancer going forward.
After the fact, the FDA suggests you "continue to get mammograms to screen for breast cancer," but the process may be different that what you're used to: "Be sure to tell the person giving your mammogram that you have breast implants. Breast implants may make it difficult to see breast tissue on standard mammograms, so they may need to use different techniques."
10. Your breast will feel different.
Even the most masterful surgeon can't make a saline or silicone implant feel completely natural. Though the sensation of these implants will likely feel foreign to you because of their different texture, you can minimize this effect by getting small implants or implants that sit below the muscle.
11. You might not feel your nipples at all.
Some patients report losing feeling in their nipples after getting breast augmentation surgery. This is most common with surgeries that cut into the nipple area, but is not a given. Though you may lose sensation in the nipples, your nipples will still respond normally to heat and cold. Speak to your surgeon prior to selecting an insertion site if this is something that concerns you.
12. It's your decision — and only yours.
Ultimately, the decision to alter your body permanently is a personal one. While we advise doing lots of research (the FDA guide cited here is a good place to start) in order to have an informed opinion, it is ultimately the choice of you and you alone.
If anyone is pressuring you into having a breast augmentation surgery, please seek outside help. Remember that this is a big decision, and the most important factor in making this choice is: "What do I want?"