Since you are reading this, perhaps you have been thinking about having a breast operation. There are many reasons for wanting to have a breast operation. Perhaps you feel that your breasts are disproportionate in size to your body, or you have lost a lot of weight or breast-fed, which has resulted in the loss of the shape of your breasts, or someone you know is thinking about doing this. Regardless of the reason, you would like to be sure that this will be done in a safe way and with a successful result.
Therefore, we have gathered together in this blog post a number of questions you need to ask yourself and your future plastic surgeon before you make a decision about an operation.
1. Why do you want a breast operation?
Is it a desire for change that you have had for a long time, or is it something you recently have become inspired to do? Consider the extent to which your situation is having a negative influence on you, and why you want to do something about it. If you are doubtful, then you should wait until you really know what you want. Does the desire come from you or do you want to do this because your friends have done so, or god forbid, does the initiative come from your partner? Think about the fact that you are the one who is going to go through the procedure, and you are the one who has to live with it, and therefore, it is you yourself who should make the decision.
2. What do you want to achieve?
A discrete recreation or a large change in your appearance? What are the long- and short-term consequences? There are many new techniques and methods that claim to be able to attain fantastic results without side-effects. However, in many cases they have not been evaluated, either in the short- or long-term, and you can run the risk of paying for participating in an experiment. Be critical towards new methods and pose active questions to your clinic about risks, evidence-based results, and do not put too much trust in nice pictures that in reality can be produced in Photoshop.
3. Who should perform the procedure?
Any doctor at all can claim to be an aesthetic or cosmetic surgeon. This says nothing about his or her education in the field. The only specialist title that is protected is plastic surgeon, and this title may only be used by those who have gone through a specialized training course in plastic surgery, which after completing medical school, takes about 10 years. This does not necessarily mean that the individual is the most suitable person to perform the operation, but rather that the person has had formal training and has experience in the field.
Plastic surgeons in Ireland who have completed specialist training in plastic surgery and have passed the FRCS (plast) examination are eligible to apply for membership of the association IAPS which is an abbreviation for the Irish Association of Plastic Surgeons.
The Irish Association of Plastic Surgeons (IAPS) is the official voice of plastic surgery in Ireland. It is the only body of plastic surgeons recognized by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), and The Medical Council. Therefore you should always be critical and ask questions about the experience and training of the person in whose hands you are thinking about putting your body. Ask also about whether the doctor is working with aesthetic surgery on a full-time basis or only now and then as extra work.
4. Where will the procedure take place?
Will it take place in a hospital, in an office or home environment, or somewhere else? What type of safety equipment and what type of monitoring is there during and after the operation?
Primarily for safety reasons surgery of this nature should be performed in large accredited private hospitals. There are far higher risks associated with surgery carried out in small peripheral hospitals or stand-alone clinics that are unregulated. Ask your surgeon about this and see to it that all of this is at hand.
5. How willing am I to expose myself to potential risks?
Operations always involve risks. The question you must ask yourself is how much you really want this, and how much you dare to risk.
6. Can I be away from work and from training?
A breast operation takes time to heal. When you will be able to return to work varies, depending upon what kind of job you have and what type of procedure you have gone through. If you use your body a great deal in your work, this can pose difficulties. Since you are not allowed to use the breast muscles, you are not allowed to perform lifts. So try to take a week’s time off from work after the operation. Any type of strenuous training should be avoided for at least 3 months, whereas you can begin less strenuous leg training earlier, but only that which does not cause too much sweating.
7. What does the operation cost?
Find out what is included in the price that is offered. Sometimes extra costs can be required, for example for bras and girdles, and for potential corrective procedures. A higher cost for a procedure can be motivated by a higher standard at the clinic, more experienced personnel, or the use of more expensive breast implants. Consider that safety comes at a price, and that it has an impact on the cost of the procedure, but it is definitely worth the money when you need it.
Be curious, inquisitive, and even at times be difficult. By all means go to several clinics. The best opportunity to pose questions is prior to your procedure. If you have not thought through the above questions, then wait. Take your time when you make important decisions.