Things you need to know before going for a Boob job.
Thinking about going under the knife? Here's what you need to know before you go to a consultation.
Do your research before you go ahead with surgery.
Knowledge is (boob) power, so here's all the info you need (and must read) before you have any kind of breast operation...
1. Fake boobs are getting smaller
In the UK there’s a shift away from Baywatch boobs to a more subtle ‘European’ result.
"The trend now is to be discreet," says cosmetic surgeon Marc Pacifico. "One of the most common requests I get is, 'I don’t want to wear a padded bra any more, but I don’t want anybody to notice anything different.’"
Opting for smaller implants has other advantages besides being fashionable.
"The larger the implant, the more potential there is for it to have issues, such as rippling, seeing the outline and having a stuck-on look," adds Marc. "There’s the weight too: a 500cc implant weighs about half a kilo and that can have negative consequences, such as sagging and skin stretching."
2. There's no ultimate stamp of surgeon quality
Do your research before you book surgery.
OK, so qualifications are a good starting point. As an absolute minimum, your surgeon should be on the specialist register for plastic surgery.
Surgeons with a particular interest in elective cosmetic surgery (as opposed to fixing up trauma wounds, for instance) are better suited. "Breast surgery is an apprentice-like trade: you start out helping one boss, you watch what he does, and if he’s always done it one way it’s likely you will too."
There’s nobody monitoring how pretty (or not) a surgeon’s technique is, so it’s up to you to meet them and decide if you think their work is right for you.
3. Most Before and After pictures are useless.
Browsing boobs on the internet to get an idea of the result you’re hoping for? Just bear in mind they won’t be any help unless the ‘before’ picture resembles your own breasts, says Marc.
"You can probably disregard about 90% of pictures on the internet, because they won’t be relevant to you. It’s not just a case of picking a pair of breasts off a shelf and saying, “I want those”.
"The result you can achieve is dictated by what you have in the first place, and there are so many variables in a woman’s anatomy, such as the footprint of the breast, the gap between breasts, and the size of the rib cage."
4. Scarring is becoming more subtle
Scarring is less prevalent with surgery now.
If you do need an uplift to get a good result, the scarring may not be as intrusive as you fear. Firstly bear in mind the ‘after’ pictures you see are usually taken within six months of surgery (when patients are going back for check-ups) and will still look pretty livid.
"In time, the scar running down the breast from the nipple fades incredibly well,’ says Marc. "If women are still concerned about that vertical scar and only have minor drooping, they may be suitable for a technique called a circumareolar lift also called the Benelli Lift or Donut Lift.
"It’s done in combination with breast implants, and the nipple is positioned further up the breast. The only scarring is around the areola and isn’t very visible."
However, if you have saggier boobs, it isn’t ideal – you need to consider whether avoiding a scar (which will fade) will outweigh the risk of a stretched-out areola (which won’t).
5. No more stitches and bandages
So you’ll wake up swathed in bandages and have to wait days to meet your new boobs… right? Probably not. With the evidence showing no advantage in swaddling the breasts, there’s a move towards minimal dressing.
"We just use glue on the wounds rather than stitches, then just a tiny dressing over the top," says Patrick. "You’ll see your breasts the moment you wake up. The glue is waterproof, so you’ll be able to shower straightaway."
6. A mummy makeover is all about timing
Let your body recover from the birth before consider surgery.
Want surgery to get your pre-baby boobs back?
"You need to wait a minimum of six months after finishing breast-feeding, because of all the potential changes to the breasts," says Marc.
"Ideally you should be at the weight you want to remain at, and I would recommend against surgery until your family is complete. Another pregnancy will change the breasts again, with or without breast-feeding."
7. Uplifts mean more scars than implants
Uplifts create more scars than augmentations or reductions. Excess skin is removed and the breast is remodelled to a tighter shape. The nipple is removed and replaced higher. It works better and lasts longer on smaller breasts – large ones may sag again.
In some cases implants alone can create perkiness.
"Implants fill out the breast, and this can be enough to force the nipple upwards in a slightly low-lying breast," says surgeon Ash Mosahebi. "But if there is drooping, implants will make breasts sag more."
8. There's no such thing as a 'natural look' implant
Make the right implant choice for your breasts.
There’s a lot of marketing hype about round implants versus the teardrop shape: don’t fall for it.
"There is incredibly good evidence that there is no correlation between the shape of the implant and the naturalness of the result," says Marc. "A teardrop doesn’t guarantee a natural result, and round doesn’t guarantee a fake-looking result.
"It’s all to do with making the right choice for the breast. Personally, I use round implants more.
"A teardrop implant is useful in some women, because there are options to vary the width and height. So for instance in a woman whose natural breast has a short height but wide base, a teardrop implant can be a better match."
9. Implants don't last forever
If you’re thinking about having implants now, you also need to think about having them redone or removed in the future.
"Implants need to be changed every 10 years or so," says Ash. By that point there’s more chance of the implant hardening, or the shell of the implant rupturing.
"Ruptures aren’t a health concern, as long as the silicone is medical grade (unlike the industrial silicone used illegally in PIP implants), as the scar tissue around the implant keeps it contained," reassures Marc Pacifico.
In many cases it won’t be immediately obvious a rupture has occurred, so surgeons recommend implants are scanned annually beyond the 10-year mark.
10. The bigger the boobs, the more fake they feel
Implants shouldn't feel hard after your six month check-up.
We’re now into ‘Fifth generation’ implants and they feel much softer than implants of old.
"However, size is a big factor in the final feel of the breasts,"explains Marc. "If you have a smaller implant with more of your own tissue covering it, what you’ll mainly feel is the natural breast. However, if you have a large implant and a smaller volume of your own breast tissue, you’re mainly going to feel the implant."
But for the first three months all fake breasts have an unnatural firmness about them, says Marc.
"That’s down to the trauma of surgery, but by the six-month check-up they should have a much more natural softness. Augmented breasts shouldn’t feel hard or uncomfortable, and if they do, that needs investigating."
11. Wonky boobs are a big challenge
It’s not just a case of putting an implant in the smaller side – that might look OK in a bra, but unclothed the difference between real and fake will look pretty odd.
"One option is to make the larger breast smaller, so there’s no need for an implant," says Ash. "But as you might guess, most women want both bigger, so usually it will be a case of using different-sized implants, often in combination with an uplift-type operation to reshape the breasts – especially if they are pointing in different directions. It’s quite a challenge to correct asymmetry."
12. Recovery is faster than you think
You can usually get on with everyday activity after surgery but consult your surgeon.
The post-op philosophy has changed, says Patrick Mallucci.
"In the past patients were given warnings to take it easy, now it’s the opposite. There’s a lot of evidence that those who carry on with life after their op are the ones who recover quicker. We encourage women to get on with normal activity the very next day."
Remember you’ll need at least one day off work to go back to see your surgeon, and take anything down from high shelves beforehand, as reaching your arms up isn’t going to be easy for a few days.
"If you’re a gym goer, avoid anything that feels uncomfortable, and I wouldn’t advise lifting heavy weights," says Patrick.