What you need to know about breast implants – NJ plastic surgeon busts common myths
Breast implants are extremely popular in North America. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that in 2017 alone, 300,378 women underwent breast augmentation. That’s a 41% increase compared to the year 2000, and the numbers continue to increase year by year.
If you’re thinking of undergoing the procedure, there is obviously a lot you need to know first. While general guides are great for providing basic information, there’s a lot more that people need to know before actually getting the surgery done.
In this article, Dr. Berlet – one of New Jersey’s finest plastic surgeons – will cover some important facts that people should know about breast augmentation.
- Did you know you can test out sizes at home?
When helping patients decide what size would work best for them, doctors use little bead-filled bags called testers. These are inserted into the bra, and they somewhat imitate the effects of breast implants. NJ plastic surgeons often use these. If you’d like to make your own tester at home, it’s easy enough!
Cut a pair of pantyhose a little above the ankle, and put some uncooked rice in it. 1 ounce is roughly equal to 30cc, so you can start with 10 ounces and adjust from there. Once the 10 ounces of rice are in tie the pantyhose, and stuff it into your bra.
When you’re happy with the final result, set the knotted DIY tester aside and take it with you to the doctor’s office. Since this method is easy and can be done at home, you can do it with your friends or partner, so they can chime in and provide feedback as well.
Note, however, that the final decision of your ideal size will be made once your doctor examines you. The tester is just so you can convert bra sizes (which surgeons don’t use) to volume – which they do use for measuring implant size. It’ll save time and communicate your wants better.
- People don’t realize you can only go up a couple sizes at a time.
If you have small breasts (like an A or a B cup), you can’t go straight to a DD. While it is possible, it often causes complications so plastic surgeons almost never recommend it. Instead, they advise patients to go up gradually, a couple cup sizes at a time. The smaller your breast size, the smaller the recommended increase.
How big the implant can be depends on a number of factors. Your chest size, for one. If you’re narrow in the chest area, getting huge implants may not be very wise. It can cause the skin between your breasts to lift, resulting in symmastia (which would reduce cleavage).
Another factor is your current breast size. The implant shouldn’t be much larger than your breast tissue, so that the breast continues to feel and look as natural as possible. If it’s significantly larger, it may also cause the skin to stretch too thin and develop stretch marks.
Something a lot of small-breasted women fail to realize is that large breasts can sometimes be a hindrance. So if you’re a C or a D cup and want to be an F, a lot of surgeons may try and dissuade you, because large breasts (natural or otherwise) can cause neck and back pain, get in the way, hurt during strenuous activities, and they’ll sag sooner. In some cases, it’s against the advice of our doctors to go through with the procedure.
- Post-operative care is a necessity, not a suggestion.
Breast modification requires major surgery, and post-operative care is imperative. Often, people tend to think of cosmetic surgery as ‘light’ – this is simply not the case.
Most cases are fairly straight-forward, where the patient doesn’t need to do much other than resting after the surgery. However, in some cases, they may be asked to wear braces, make dietary changes, or take certain medications. This would depend on their health, the extent of the surgery, and certain other factors. These instructions must be followed.
In all cases, patients will need to rest, avoid physical exertion, avoid raising their arms above their head, and avoid showering for a few days after getting breast implants. NJ surgeon Dr. Berlet says these are common care instructions and should absolutely not be ignored.
Post-operative care isn’t something doctors advise out of overzealousness, it’s something you need to do to allow your body to rest and heal. If the instructions aren’t followed, you risk pain, slower recovery, scarring, infections, and in severe cases foiling the surgery’s results.
- Take more time off work than you think you’ll need.
There is a lot of suggestion on the web that lead one to believe you’ll need just a week off from work while getting implants. In our experience, we have found that to not be true. Healing is a slow process which shouldn’t be hurried – especially when scarring is undesirable. Never under any circumstances should you force yourself to work if you’re not feeling fully recovered.
“The process of healing can be fast or slow, depending on factors such as your vitamin intake before the surgery, your age, your general health etc., but most of my patients have found that two weeks was the ideal time period before getting back to work,” says Dr. Berlet.
If you return to work much before your body has had time to heal from the surgery, you risk causing yourself pain or injury. If you feel pain while performing any activity during the healing period, that’s usually a good indicator that you’re exerting yourself.
When figuring out how many days to take off work, think of it as a health procedure, not simply getting breast implants, NJ plastic surgeon Dr Berlet advises. Decide how many days you need off, and add four days to it. You’ll thank yourself for it.
- Incisions can be made in a number of different places.
For the purpose of the implant, there are four different locations where an incision can be made. These are the armpit, under the breast, along the areola, and the belly button. These locations are all ideal for hiding scars, and have their own pros and cons.
Your surgeon may opt for any of these depending on the type of implant (silicone or saline), implant placement (above or below chest muscles), implant size, and the size of your breast.
An armpit incision, for instance, is normally used for women with very small breasts. An inframammary incision – which is one made in the crease under the breast – is the most common type for breast implants. The NJ surgeon adds that while a trans-umbilical (belly button) incision can be tricky and time-consuming, it is an option if hiding scars is crucial.
Surgeons often have preferences based on their experience, but they will usually discuss the matter with you and present options. The final decision is made between you and your surgeon, after you’ve been informed of the pros and cons for each.
- Breast implants won’t last forever.
Many people think of cosmetic surgery as permanent. It often isn’t, simply because our wants change. Surgery done by a good doctor will last a long time and make you very happy, but at some point, you’re likely to want it re-done.
Usually, breast implants last for at least 5-10 years, and can sometimes last for up to 20 years. However, your body changes over time. As you age, sagging, stretch marks or loose skin may make it so you need the process done again.
Another reason for this is that implants age. They have an expiry date of sorts, much like any other man-made product. The shell will break down in your body over time, and eventually need to be removed and (if you want) replaced. Note, however, that this takes a long time, and is not very often the cause for a surgery.
The chief factor is that of personal preference. What you want now may not be what you want five or ten years from now. You may want the implants removed, or you might want to go a couple sizes up or down. This is extremely common, with around 20% of women getting another surgery within 5 years’ time due to changed preferences.
If you’re looking for a trustworthy surgeon who does breast implants in NJ, Dr. Berlet is a top choice.
Anthony Berlet, M.D. is a well-established plastic surgeon who has been in practice for over 20 years in northern New Jersey. He has formed a very strong reputation as a plastic surgeon due to his breadth of expertise in a wide array of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery procedures.
He has been recognized repeatedly as a “Top Doctor” by New York and New Jersey Magazine as well as Castle Connolly for the New York Metropolitan area. His clients consist of many high-profile people in the entertainment industry including many models and centerfolds.
In addition to being a highly skilled plastic surgeon, Dr. Berlet is also an architect, medical illustrator and author. He has an extensive artistic background that allows him to see patients from a three-dimensional perspective. This talent was recognized when he was asked to curate an art exhibition in New York City at the Apexart art gallery on Plastic Surgery as art. The show “I am Art” opened to rave reviews from the New York Times as well as international news agencies. le 5 Dark