You have probably heard people talking about getting a ‘boob job’. This is the informal term used to socially describe the surgical procedure for breast augmentation also referred to as getting breast implants. This can be done either for cosmetic purposes or for medical reconstruction after a mastectomy and it helps women to get larger and fuller breasts as per their requirements and medical advice.

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Before signing that medical form to allow your doctor to go ahead with the procedure, it is important to know the relevant information to ensure that you are prepared and well informed. Below is a short guide to help you:

1. Understand the types of breast implants

There are two types of breast implants and both are made of silicon shells but the difference lies in the contents:

  • Saline implants: These are filled with sterile salt water and are more preferred especially because if they were to leak, the sterile saline water will not harm your body.
  • Silicone implants: These are filled with a plastic gel and according to WebMD; many women who have used them indicate that they have a more natural feel. If you use these, it is advisable to see a doctor as soon as any discomfort is felt because if the gel leaks and is not checked on time, it could have side effects on your body.

2. How to prepare for breast augmentation surgery?

In the United States, the law requires a woman to be above 18 years to have a breast implant and 22 years to have silicone implants. The next thing is to mentally prepare yourself and have a medical evaluation with your doctor in regard to your requirements. You may want to go for an experienced surgeon to ensure you get the best experience and results. If you are on any drugs or medical conditions, it is important to let your doctor know, so that you get proper medical advice.

3. What is involved in the procedure?

This is a short, one or two hour procedure that can be done as an outpatient or a day surgery and here are some highlights of what it involves:

  • You will be under anesthesia when the surgery is performed to ensure that you do not have any pain.
  • The surgeon will make a cut under the breasts, arms or nipples depending on the planned end result in terms of size, shape or body type.
  • The breast implants will be placed inside the pocket-like cuts and the incision is closed using surgical tape.

4. How long does it take to recover?

Full recovery and return to a normal life may take up to six weeks but in the initial few days, doctors advise that you avoid exhausting activities just like any other minor surgery. Pain and some swelling may be experienced but this can be managed with over the counter painkillers as per your doctor’s recommendation.

5. Are there any side effects to breast augmentation?

There may be side effects such as pain in the breast and sensitivity to touch, but they usually go away when you fully heal.

It is important to note that once you have recovered, you will need regular checks with your doctor because breast implants are not permanent. They may need to be removed or replaced every few years to avoid leakages. The FDA augmentation guide recommends an MRI three years after the first procedure and every two years thereafter.

Whether for cosmetic or reconstruction, this procedure is widely used and accepted to help women get comfortable with their bodies.