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What You Need To Know Before Getting Breast Implants

While having any sort of plastic surgery was once something that only the rich and famous had done, certain types of plastic surgery, including cosmetic surgical procedures and those associated with the “mommy makeover,” have become increasingly popular over the last decade.

Many women are now turning to their plastic surgeons after having children to help them regain the body they once had. Pregnancy and childbirth change so much of a woman's body that often diet and exercise alone aren't enough to help them get their body back to a shape they're happy with.

Breast augmentation is the most commonly performed cosmetic plastic surgery in the United States, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Over 310,000 breast augmentation surgeries were performed in the United States in 2018, and Dr. Daniel Maman, a New York-based plastic surgeon, feels it's because it's a surgery that simply appeals to so many women.

“It caters to a very large percentage of the population, it’s one of the more readily available procedures, and the price point is affordable for many ($5,000 to $15,000 is the range),” Dr. Maman told PEOPLE. “In addition, implant technology continues to improve significantly from year-to-year, making the procedures safer.”

The surgery is getting safer year after year and is becoming more and more popular, but there are still a number of things you should know if you're considering breast implant surgery.

There Is More Than One Type Of Implant

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There are two different types of breast implants: silicone or saline, but there are different options for each one, including a variety of shapes and sizes you can choose from with both kinds of implants. The implant itself is a silicone shell filled with either a silicone gel or saline, a sterile salt water solution. If you opt for a silicone implant, it's already pre-filled when implanted. Saline implants are filled with the saline only once the implant has already been inserted into the patient's chest. This makes a difference in the size of the incision needed as a saline implant requires a smaller cut.

The choice of which implant to choose is a personal one, and the patient will need to decide based on personal preference and consultation with their doctor. Many women prefer silicone implants stating they feel more natural than the saline variety, but there are many who think saline implants are safer. Still, silicone is the more commonly used of the two options, with 88% of all implants done in 2018 being silicone.

What Makes You An Ideal Candidate?

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As with any surgery, being in good health is important when considering having a cosmetic surgical procedure done. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons states that you must be at least 18 years old and in general good health to be eligible for saline implants. The FDA requires anyone who is looking to have silicone implants be 22 years old at a minimum.

Being a non-smoker, not pregnant or breastfeeding, and being a healthy and stable weight are also traits the experts say makes for an ideal candidate for breast implants. It's also important that the patient has realistic expectations as to what to expect with regards to the breast implant surgery and ensure they have done their homework, so they are fully informed on the surgery.

What To Expect And How To Prepare

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Breast implant surgery is fairly common, and most women can go home within a few hours of having the surgery done. They are typically done under general anesthesia so you will need someone to bring you home and help you for the first few days. Surgeons will either make their incision under the breast, arms or around the nipples depending on the type of implant the patient has selected.

It is recommended that the patient have someone there to help for the first 48 hours after the surgery when the pain will be at it's worst and mobility limited. Main Line Plastic Surgery also recommends ensuring the patient's home is filled with nutritious and often ready-made meals for ease and convenience. They recommended ensuring all prescriptions are filled and that the patient has enough over-the-counter medication available to help with pain management. They also suggest trying to have everything needed available on one floor of their home to make the first few days a little easier and more comfortable.

Breast Implants Require Maintenance

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What many women fail to realize when undergoing breast implant surgery is that it's a surgery that requires maintenance, and more than likely more than one surgery. Typically, with the most recent implants available, a patient can expect to have them for about 10 years before needing to have an additional procedure to have the implants replaced.

Having breast implants, especially silicone implants, mean that patients need to be diligent about their breast health. In addition to annual checkups and performing self-checks, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that patients with silicone implants receive an MRI three years after they first receive their implants and every 2 years after that. Those tests may not be covered by your insurance.

There Are Risks

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As with any surgery and implant, there are risks associated with breast implants. The FDA warns that women who undergo the procedure are at "low risk of developing a rare type of cancer called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) in the breast tissue surrounding the implant."

Other risks include requiring additional surgeries, scar tissue that affects the look of the implant, pain, numbness in the breast and nipple, leakage in both silicones, and saline implants, and asymmetry.

This Is What You Can Expect To Spend

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The cost of breast implants can range from as low as $3,000 to as high as $15,000. In 2017 the average cost of breast augmentation surgery was $3,718, according to statistics compiled by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

The cost can often be impacted by where you live, what surgeon you choose, and the type of implant used. Because breast implants are considered a cosmetic procedure, they're most likely not going to be covered by your health insurance plan.

Take Your Time

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Breast implants can drastically increase a woman's self-esteem, and it is a procedure that is done often throughout the country. If you're considering getting breast implants, you need to take time to research the procedure and find the right doctor for you. It's important that you ensure the doctor is certified with the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) or the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and is experienced in the type of procedure you are looking for.

After the procedure is done, it could take weeks for the swelling to reduce and for the implants to settle before you finally see the actual end result. "Mommy makeovers" are becoming more popular and are helping many women feel good about their bodies again after having kids. There is no shame in going under the knife if that's what you decide to do, but it's important that you take the time to ensure you know all you can about the procedure, the doctor you’ve selected, and life with implants before committing to the surgery.

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