Introduction Breast augmentation with mammary implants continues to be one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the United States and all over the world. This article offers prospective cosmetic surgery patients some advice on what they should know and do before a breast augmentation procedure. Find out about the costs of the intervention It should not come as a surprise that the cost of a breast augmentation procedure varies from surgeon to surgeon and that it also depends on the type of procedure to be performed. Generally speaking, breast augmentation through fat transfer is less expensive than breast augmentation with mammary implants. Moreover, the type of implants involved in the surgery also influence the total cost of the procedure. The prices of saline implants and silicone gel implants are different; and in most cases, an augmentation surgery using silicone gel implants is more expensive than an operation that makes use of saline solution implants. Aside from the costs of the intervention that every plastic surgeon should openly discuss during the initial consultation, the patient should also consider the expenses that may be incurred after the surgery. These may be due to complications such as capsular contracture, implant rupture or implant rippling which may all require corrective surgery. Thus, it is equally important to ask the surgeon about the expenses of revision surgery. Take time off from work If there are people who believe that celebrities who go through breast augmentation simply proceed to the plastic surgery clinic in the morning and make public appearances by nighttime, they couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite the number of magazine articles claiming that particular celebrities undergo one cosmetic procedure after another as though they were changing hairstyles, the fact remains that breast augmentation surgery requires several days or weeks of downtime. Even if the pain and discomfort are only mild to moderate, the body still needs time to heal after a relatively complex surgery. Getting enough rest during the recovery period is still essential for the well being of the patient and the success of the surgery. Patients are usually advised to take at least two weeks off from work after the surgery, but there are others who prefer a longer vacation to give themselves a chance to get used to their new features before getting back to work. There are also patients who wish to resume work sooner than the recommended two-week period, but they usually have office jobs that do not entail physically taxing work. The plastic surgeon will instruct the patient to avoid all vigorous arm movements for at least a couple of weeks, especially if the patient had breast implants placed under the pectoral muscle (submuscular placement). Try different breast implant sizes and shapes Of course, you will not be able to try the breast implants on, but you could place them inside a bigger bra to see how they feel and how they look. Patients are advised to feel the implants for them to be able to understand the distinctions between different types of implants. The texture, as well as the shape and the consistency are very important factors in selecting an implant. Many of the patients who come to the clinic are almost convinced that they want saline solution implants, but after touching both types of implants, they decide that the silicone gel ones are closer to what they really want. There are also patients who request huge implants in spite of their rather petite frames. They are often advised to place the implants in their bras and subsequently walk around to experience what it would feel like to have those implants after the surgery. After spending less than five minutes with the implants in their bras, some of them begin to feel burdened by the extra weight and the pressure exerted by the implants on their backs. As such, the patients who want to enhance their breasts from barely noticeable to huge ones can sometimes be persuaded to try smaller implants. Getting a feel of the implants is useful because it helps the patient decide which implant is more appropriate for them. On the other hand, the plastic surgeon will make recommendations based on his knowledge, experience and the patient’s current build. Make sure you meet all the eligibility criteria before undergoing the procedure An ideal candidate for breast augmentation should not have a family history of breast cancer and should not be a heavy smoker. The plastic surgeon will instruct the patient to quit smoking at least two weeks before the intervention (preferably eight weeks) and to continue to avoid smoking after the intervention for at least the same amount of time. If the patient has been previously diagnosed with other significant medical issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure, it is imperative to let the plastic surgeon know so that all precautionary measures can be taken prior to the surgery. Select a board-certified plastic surgeon Choosing a plastic surgeon demands careful deliberation and it should not be entirely dependent on a verbal recommendation. The patient should take the surgeon’s expertise and other credentials into account before scheduling a consultation. It is paramount that the patient selects a board-certified plastic surgeon to ensure a safe and successful surgery with little to no risk of developing complications. Furthermore, the results of the intervention can only be properly evaluated a year from the surgery when the swelling has subsided, the wounds have healed, and the implants have ultimately settled into their final position. Patients are strongly recommended to research the doctor’s educational background before choosing the plastic surgeon to conduct the procedure and to make sure he has enough experience in performing breast augmentation. After setting up an appointment with the surgeon, the patient should ask for all the essential and relevant details about the surgery. Make sure you understand and accept the risks and complications of the procedure All surgical interventions come with associated risks and complications, and the breast augmentation surgery is no different. Talk to your plastic surgeon about all the possible hazards that may arise as well as short-term and long-term complications. Keep in mind that all plastic surgery interventions will leave behind permanent scars. If this is unacceptable, then the patient needs to reconsider undergoing a breast augmentation. Get some help around the house for the first few days following the surgery The patient might need help around the house as soon as they are discharged from the medical facility where the breast augmentation surgery was performed. Bear in mind that experiencing pain and discomfort is normal and the patient should avoid vigorous arms movements for the duration of the recovery period. Go shopping After breast augmentation, the patient might need to buy a few things that may not be presently available at home such as ice packs that are placed on the breasts to help reduce swelling for the first few days following the surgery, button-up shirts, food and other supplies. If you don’t usually wear button-up clothing, you will need at least a few of them since lifting your arms is not recommended soon after the intervention. Be prepared with comfortable clothes, healthy and well-balanced food and adequate means of entertainment to enjoy when you get back home. Eat well and exercise Prior to surgery it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is not recommended to start a diet before the surgery as it might interfere with the healing process. In addition, getting enough exercise before the surgery can help with a faster recovery. Think about the new aspect of your body The breast augmentation surgery will certainly change your body’s overall appearance so make sure you prepare for any emotional changes that may come with the procedure. Of course, make sure to keep realistic expectations from the surgery to ensure that you will not be disappointed with the results of the intervention. Conclusion There are a few things that patients are recommended to do before the breast augmentation procedure in order to ascertain that they are fully prepared to undergo surgery. Though much of the preparation may be done prior to the consultation, it would still be prudent to seek the advice of the physician. Choosing a highly skilled and board-certified plastic surgeon will ensure that you get all the information you need before the surgery so that you can suitably plan your recovery. Select a surgeon that you have confidence in because you are entrusting the plastic surgeon with your life; and this is worth much more than a simple breast augmentation. Finally, prepare a list of questions for your plastic surgeon to answer when you go to your first consultation and keep a separate list of things to do before your breast augmentation procedure.