What questions should I ask at a breast augmentation consultation?

I've scheduled two consultations for the upcoming week with different surgeons. I want to make sure I pick the most talented and proficient surgeon. What questions should I ask during my consultations?

Doctor Answers 8

Good question.

Thank you for your inquiry. There are many questions to have answered when considering breast augmentation, but if your plastic surgeon is thorough you will hopefully not have to ask any questions since they would have all been answered by the time you consultation is complete. 

Unfortunately the most common reason for a woman to be unhappy after her augmentation is feeling as though she is either too big or not big enough. Thankfully, in our practice this is rarely a problem because implant size selection is what we spend most of our time discussing and determining. I do not place the onus of selecting the breast implant size on my patients since they are coming to me for my advice and expertise, but I do ask my patients to be as specific as possible about their aesthetic goals and I then advise them accordingly.

Without a physical examination it is difficult to determine which breast implant size is best for you is by first finding out your specific wishes not only with words or letters as in cup size or “not too big” or “natural”, but also with a visual understanding of what you hope to look like. This can be accomplished either with photographs of patients whose breasts and body type look like you, or ideally with photos of patients not only whose breasts are similar to yours, but are also a similar height, weight, and pre-operative breast size. In our own practice we have provided that unique functionality on our website to accomplish exactly that. 

Implants vary in width, projection, volume surface texture, shape, and firmness. This can be very confusing to women, who are used to discussing one number only such as “300 cc’s”. To better understand which implant is best for you, in our consultation room we have two shelves one above the other, each with four implants.  The top shelf has all the implants with exactly the same width (12.5 cm), yet the less projecting implant with that width is a 275 cc Moderate or Classic, and the most projecting is a 590 cc Ultra High Profile. On the lower shelf, all of the implants are 300 cc implants, yet the less projecting implant has a width or diameter of 12.8 cm, and the most projecting of the 300 cc implants is the Ultra High Profile which has a 9.7 cm diameter. 

Once it is determined which implant width or diameter would best fit you, the next step is to decide which what sort of look you are hoping to achieve, i.e. more projection, moderate, or least. This is determined by how much breast tissue you have naturally, and how large you ultimately wish to be. All of this would be discussed during your consultation. And don’t be shy about coming prepared with images which you feel best represent your desired end point. These can be determined by visiting our gallery, or any other photos you wish to bring. The advantage of using our gallery is that all of the relevant information about patient age, implant size and type, are clearly indicated. 

Finally, and this is very important, I would advise you to seek the advice of a board certified plastic surgeon experienced in breast enhancement surgery and make sure that your own sense of aesthetics aligns with that of your plastic surgeon. Your idea of “natural” or “pretty” or “proportionate” might be different from your plastic surgeon’s and it is very important for you to feel confident that you are both of like minds as far as the goals. Best of luck to you and I hope you are successful in achieving the enhancement you are seeking. 


Mount Pleasant Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Breast augmentation

Things you might want to know.

1. Is your surgeon board certified?

2. How long as the surgeon been in practice? Has he been in multiple locations, or been in the same place? Moving around raises questions.

3. How many does he/she do yearly?

4. Is the procedure performed in a hospital/surgery center with a board certified anesthesiologist present? Or, is it done in the office?

Look for reviews on line. Talk to your primary physician.

Good luck,

Greg Sexton, M.D.

Columbia, S.C.

Breast Augmentation Consult

Your consultation should include a thorough explanation of all aspects of the operation, including the pros and cons of the different types of implants and technique. You should develop a rapore with your surgeon and feel comfortable. He or she needs to understand firmly all your desires and expectations. Check out the link below to an article I wrote exactly about this subject. Be sure to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon. Good luck

Robert M. Tornambe, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Good questions to ask

It's always a great idea to ask questions in order to build confidence in your surgeon. A few possible questions to ask; implant placement (above or below muscle), incision placement, size & profile based on your measurements, downtime & aftercare of procedure. Ask about the surgeons background, experience & technique. Remember every patient is different so look at before and after photos as well. These are questions to hopefully help you reach your cosmetic goals. Best Wishes!

Breast consult

There are many questions to ask but I think it is important to find a board certified plastic surgeon that you like and that does good work.  Go for the consultation with the two you had in mind and listen to what they say. Your questions will likely be answered before you ask them.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Breast augmentation

Thank you for your question.

I would recommend when looking for a surgeon to perform your breast augmentation that you choose one who is board certified and specializes in breast augmentations. You may also want to look on the ASPS website as this lists board certified plastic surgeons in your area. I would also look at the surgeon’s credentials, memberships, educational background, reviews and before and afters. Before and afters are a good indicator of their techniques and outcomes from breast augmentation surgeries and reading reviews from other patients is a good way to see what their experience with the doctor was like. During your consultation you will want to discuss what types and sizes of implants the surgeon offers, his technique, prices, payment protocol etc Best of luck in your endeavors!
Sincerely,

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Board Certified ENT
Board Certified Plastic Surgery
Member of ASPS, ASAPS, ISAPS, The Rhinoplasty Society, AAFPRS, OTO/HNS, ASLMS, International Federation for Adipose Therapeutics & Science

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

How to pick a plastic surgeon

Thank you for your questions and post.  Below is an excerpt from a book I have written that may help.  Also, on our website, I have multiple FAQ's regarding breast augmentation that may be beneficial to you before your consultation.  If you need more info, please let me know.  Best wishes!

HOW TO FIND A QUALIFIED PLASTIC SURGEON

In our world of slick Internet and social media marketing, many patients are duped into

thinking that someone is a hero, when, in fact, they’re something much less. Beautiful

websites lure us in and convince us that we’re in expert hands. Some are truthful, but

some are not. I even had one doctor “borrow” my photos off of my website and post

them as his own work. When I confronted him, he said he would tell patients that the

photos were examples of what could be possible, but claims he never said they were his

own work. Obviously, the fact that he posted them on his website was a way of making

patients think that he had done the work himself.

So how do you know if a plastic surgeon is qualified or not? One excellent way is to talk

it over with friends to see if they have any insight as to who is good or not. Hair stylists,

nurses, aestheticians, or other medical personnel are also good resources of

information. Online reviews can also be helpful. If you have the good fortune of being

able to talk with a former patient, this too would be extremely valuable.

What about board certification? Almost every doctor will tout that he or she is “board certified.”

The question you must ask is “what is the name of the board that certified

you?” All board certifications are not created equal. And, you do not need to be board certified

in plastic surgery to be able to perform plastic surgery. In other words,

someone could be a gynecologist who performs plastic surgery procedures and is board certified

by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Therefore, he can

honestly say he is “board-certified,” but not tell you that it’s not in plastic surgery.

If the physician you are considering has a board certification in something that has the

word “cosmetic” in it, I would advise you to “beware.” Some of these board certifications

have been obtained by doctors that have had minimal training to learn how to do some

plastic surgery procedure. For example, I once had a patient with a terrible complication

from breast augmentation. One implant was about 2 inches higher than the other. When

I questioned her as to who did her surgery, she told me her doctor was an expert in

breast augmentation with “board certification.” When I researched information about

her physician, I found out he was an emergency room doctor who was certified by “The

American Board of Breast Enhancement Surgery.” It sounded impressive until I found

out that this board certification could be obtained by attending a weekend course. She

was obviously shocked and wished she had understood this doctor’s credentials before

undergoing her breast implant surgery. It would have prevented her from having to have

a secondary operation to correct her deformed breasts.

If you are not sure of the validity of your doctor’s board certification, you can research it

by contacting The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). The ABMS is

considered the gold standard for recognizing which boards are valid due to the intensive

training and testing needed to pass these boards. If you look on the ABMS website

(ABMS.org) you will see that the only valid board for plastic surgeons is The

American Board of Plastic Surgery. To be board-certified by The American Board of

Plastic Surgery, a physician had to complete at least 5 years of residency training after 4

years of medical school. Once out in practice, an in-depth written examination must be

passed. Then, if a plastic surgeon has shown competence in plastic surgery for over a

year, the surgeon will then be “grilled” during an extensive oral

examination. If the written and oral exams are passed, the board certification will be

awarded.



Breast augmentation consultation

Hello and thank you for your question. It is very important that you thoroughly research your surgeon before committing to surgery. It is a good idea to research your surgeon's educational background, online reviews, before & after pictures, and speak with anyone who you may know who has had surgery with that surgeon. During your consultation, make sure that you don't feel rushed and make sure that you have adequate time with your surgeon and not just their patient coordinator or nurses. If the majority of your consultation is spent with someone other than the surgeon, this is usually not a good sign.  The size, profile, and shape of the implant is based on your desired breast size/shape, your chest wall measurements, and soft tissue quality.  This decision should be based on a detailed discussion with equal input from both you and your surgeon.  This entire surgery can be performed with a small incision technique.  Make sure you specifically look at before and after pictures of real patients who have had this surgery performed by your surgeon and evaluate their results.   The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.