- Step 1: Be old enough Be old enough: Because breasts are not fully developed until the late teens, women in the U.S. must be at least 18 years old to get saline-filled implants and at least 22 to get silicone ones.
- Step 2: Find a good surgeon Find a good surgeon – one who is board certified in plastic surgery and has several years experience in breast augmentation – and schedule a consultation.
- Step 3: Decide between saline and silicone Weigh the pros and cons of saline versus silicone. Silicone feels more natural, but saline implants are safer because if they leak, the saline is safely absorbed by the body. Women with silicone implants need regular MRI scans to check for rupturing.
- TIP: Ask your doctor about silicone "gummy bear" implants, which are popular in other countries due to their leak resistance, and may one day be available in the U.S.
- Step 4: Pick a size and shape Pick a size and shape. The size is partly dependent on the woman's body type; a very thin or petite woman may not be a candidate for large implants. There are two common shapes available: round and teardrop, the latter being more like the natural breast shape.
- Step 5: Know the cons Consider the drawbacks: Implants can make breastfeeding more difficult and mammograms harder to read. Potential side effects include breast pain, change in sensation, scar tissue, skin hardening, and infection. Up to one-quarter of women need follow-up surgery within the first five years due to complications.
- TIP: Research shows breast implants do not raise your risk of breast cancer.
- Step 6: Schedule surgery Schedule surgery, a one to two-hour operation generally performed under anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. Follow your doctor's instructions beforehand; you may need to stop taking certain medications in the days or weeks leading up to the surgery.
- TIP: Where the incision is made – under your arm, around the nipple, or under the breast – depends on your body, the type of the implant, and its size.
- Step 7: Recuperate Avoid heavy lifting and excessive physical activity for several weeks after surgery. Then, enjoy your new shape!
- FACT: The most popular choice in breast size among implant patients is a C cup.
You Will Need
- Age qualification
- Pros and cons
- Board-certified surgeon
- Aftercare adherence