Breast Implants: 20 Must-Ask Questions For Your Surgeon

BethH on 28 Apr 2014 at 9:00am

woman measuring chest
You researched (and researched and researched) and found the courage to take the next step. Your very first appointment to talk about breast augmentation is finally scheduled!

To help you in your quest for better breasts, we've compiled a checklist of 20 must-ask questions for your prospective plastic surgeon. Take 'em with you if you're so inclined! You can even use our list as a reference at the end of your appointment.

    Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery? 
Surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery must undergo strict certification that requires at least 3 years of general surgery training, 2 years of plastic surgery training, passage of written and oral exams, and adherence to a stringent code of medical ethics.
    Where will my surgery be performed?
Your surgery should be done in an accredited outpatient surgery center or a hospital. A surgery center that is accredited has met requirements for patient safety. Certification by the American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAASF), the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), or Medicare are all acceptable.
    Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure?
Ask if your surgeon can also perform breast augmentations in the hospital, even if you're getting the procedure done in an outpatient surgery center. It's an extra layer of confidence for you! Hospital privileges mean other doctors have checked the surgeon's training and credentials.
    What sort of anesthesia can I expect during my procedure?
woman measuring chest with pink tape
   Will anesthesia be given by a board-certified anesthesiologist or nurse?
   What are the risks associated with my procedure?
   How often do you see breast augmentation complications in your practice?
   If a complication does occur during or after my surgery, how will be handled?
If you're getting breast augmentation in an outpatient surgical center, ask if your surgeon has admitting privileges at a local hospital in case of a serious complication.
   How many breast augmentations do you personally perform each year? 
   Am I good candidate physically and emotionally for breast augmentation?
   What will be expected of me to get the best results?
   How long will my recovery be and will I need help? 
   When can I return to lifting my kids, driving and working?
   Do you think silicone gel or saline breast implants are better for the look I want? 
woman measuring breasts with blue tape
   Which implant size, shape (round or teardrop) and texture are best for me?
   Which incision locations do you suggest?
   Should I go for subpectoral (under the muscle) or prepectoral (over the muscle)? 
   What happens if I'm not satisfied with how my breasts look after surgery?
   Will I be able to breastfeed after augmentation?
   Will pregnancy and breastfeeding change the shape of my new breasts?

Lastly, insist on looking through as many before and after photos as you can, and make sure the person doing your consult is the same person doing your surgery. Dr. Richard Rand advises, "I do all my own consultations and you should look for this in a doctor." 

Happy doctor hunting, ladies!

Did we leave anything off our list? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Comments (5)

I found it important to ask who handles the follow up care and visits. Dr.O'Toole not only calls me after surgery but he is present at all my follow up visits and he is the one who removes bandages, tape, and stitches. Follow up care can be just as important as the surgery itself, with just as important questions and a similar amount of stress if not more in some cases. As patients and customers, we don't pay to be redirected to a nurse or assistant.
For patients seeking surgery in the state of Utah, Membership in the Utah Plastic Surgery Society is a critical criteria. As the past President of the Society and a member of the Executive Committee for more than 10 years, I can attest to the rigorous qualifications necessary for membership in the Society. All of our members operate ONLY in certified surgical facilities, and all of them are Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Thanks so much for the list of questions! I will be taking these with me to my first consult tomorrow.
Consultation went GREAT! and these questions were right on the ball, as a matter of fact, he answered some before I even got to ask! Thanks for providing a resource of information to help people who are looking for answers.
Excellent list. Patients can also ask to speak to other patients to learn what their experience was like. Patients may also wish to ask who else will be in the O.R. with them. The best plastic surgeon should also have an excellent team. In addition to placement of the implants, women should ask about the position of the pocket for the implant. Some women may need to have the inframammary fold lowered. Women don't want implants that are too high, too low, too close together, or too far apart. I also agree that looking at many, many photos is essential.