Breast Augmentation Consultation: How to Manage Expectations

Updated September 2018

You have a vision as to what you want your new breasts to look like. Maybe you want them to project out. Perhaps you want to go big (we mean really BIG). You might even want them to sit up high or have some sag to appear like natural breasts. Plastic surgeons can do wonders in changing the appearance of our breasts, but unfortunately, they aren't miracle workers. They can only work with the canvas (your body) provided to them.

If you keep these things in mind, you'll enter your breast augmentation consultation as a realist.

5 ways to enter your breast augmentation consultation as a realist

When considering plastic surgery, you must make sure you have realistic expectations and goals, otherwise, you risk being disappointed despite your board-certified plastic surgeon's best efforts. To help you get as close to your target, if not hit it all together, consider these things:

1. Understand breast width diameter will determine your implant size, not you

Breast width diameter (BWD) is perhaps the most important consideration when it comes to choosing breast implant size, shape, and profile. It is the measurement taken from the width of your breasts—from cleavage to the outermost edge. This tells your surgeon how large of an implant will fit, and what profile or projection.

So, while you may envision yourself donning large implants, it may not be feasible without your surgeon having to over-dissect your breast pockets, which can lead to complications like symmastia (uniboob), bottoming out, and breast implant extrusion.

Expect to get an implant a little narrower or approximately the same width as the width of your breasts.

2. Don't confuse cup size with breast implant size

Many women go into a breast augmentation consultation requesting a certain cup size. They want to achieve a C cup or D cup. Unfortunately, implants are sized in milliliters (cc) of volume. They can range anywhere from 80cc to 850cc, and come with a base width of 7.4cm to 17.2cm. This can cause confusion when choosing implant sizes if you look to your current cup size as a marker.

That said, a general rule of thumb is that 125cc represents between 1/2 to a full cup size.

3. Remember that breast augmentation goal photos are just that—a goal!

We're sure you've read that you should find and take goal photos to your breast implant consultation so your plastic surgeon can get a sense of what you are trying to achieve. Yes, you should do this, but understand this:

It's easy to assume you can pick a photo, take it to a surgeon and say, "I want these breasts." That's not exactly how it works. You can’t place an order for breasts like you would place an order for fast food at a drive-thru. From the amount of breast tissue you have and your skin laxity to the spacing of your breasts and breast width diameter, your anatomy plays an enormous role in the final outcome.

For example, if you have breasts that are spaced widely apart, you will still have breasts that are spaced widely apart after your breast augmentation surgery. The opposite is also true—if you have breasts that are naturally close together, a plastic surgeon cannot make them farther apart. So, while you have chosen goal photos, expect your plastic surgeon to produce a similar result based on your own breast and body type.

4. Learn how to describe your breast augmentation goals

If you're looking to get a breast augmentation, then there are things about your breast you wish were better. What about your breasts could use improvements? Describe these to yourself, first, then perfect the conversation before your consultation. You might say things like:

  • My breasts have lost a lot of upper pole volume. I want my breast implants to provide more cleavage and projection.
  • I want my breast implants to have a natural breast shape and feel, with a slight sag at the bottom to mimic a real breast.
  • I prefer my breasts to be round and firmer.
  • My areolae are large. I'd like them to be reduced so they look more proportionate to my new breasts.

Coupling specific language with breast augmentation photos are great tools that help your breast implant surgeon better understand your wants.

5. Thoroughly research breast augmentation and breast implants

When you do your research, you’ll find there is a lot more to breast augmentation than choosing saline or silicone implants. There are various implant shapes, textures, placements, incision sites, and profiles—all of which have limitations and advantages.

For instance, if your breast skin has lost laxity and the tissue within is thin, asking your surgeon to place sizeable implants over the muscle, through the inframammary fold, would not be ideal. In fact, your surgeon would likely ward against these methods, citing potential complications like bottoming out and breast implant extrusion.

If you do thorough research to understand the breadth of breast implants and breast augmentation, you'll go into your consultation with an open mind, allowing your surgeon to examine your breasts and detail where and how far they can go. Then, you have options that work for your breasts and body type.

Want more tips for your breast augmentation consultation?

If you want additional tips for your breast augmentation consultation, our breast augmentation forum is the great way to start. There, you can converse with real women who've gone through the process. They can tell you about the pitfalls and highlights of their own consultations, so you can get the most from the time spent with your surgeon.

But if you want to hear from board-certified surgeons themselves, move over to our Q&A forum. Pose your consultation questions. Get answers. It's as simple as that.

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