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Your Breast Augmentation Timeline, Month by Month
It may be too late to upgrade your bikini for this summer (how is it August already?), but fret not! This is the perfect time to begin planning a breast augmentation procedure that will have you healing during sweater season and stunning when swimsuits are back.
Check out this month-by-month guide to all the steps you should take.
4 Months Out: Research, Research, Research
You need to start exploring the world of breast augmentation and plastic surgery now so that you have a good handle on the options and terminology by the time you meet with a doctor. Some of the topics you should look into online include: incision sites, implant placement, recovery details, cost, and breast implant options such as size, shape, and material. Look at before-and-after photos, and read about patients' real experiences. A great place to start is RealSelf, a highly popular plastic surgery forum.
3 Months Out: Doctor Hunting
Now that you know more about what you're looking for, you can begin searching for the perfect plastic surgeon for you. This is one of the most important decisions a patient can make toward ensuring her safety and her cosmetic results. Recommendations from friends can be a good place to start, but if you don't know any surgeons in your area, try this surgeon finder tool from The American Board of Plastic Surgery. When a doctor is "board certified," he or she has been thoroughly tested both in and out of the operating room. You can also look for surgeons on RealSelf or the respected Top Doctors list. Read online reviews, and when you've found a doctor you like, move on to the next step.
2 Months Out: Consultation Time
Feel free to book appointments with multiple surgeons so you can choose the one you think will best meet your goals. Be sure to write down questions beforehand, save photos to take in, invite a loved one along, and do anything else you need to feel fully prepared. It is best to be open and forthcoming with the surgeons about everything from your health history to style preferences. Just like with your general practitioner, the information you share with your plastic surgeon is protected by HIPAA.
Also, try to get a feel for each surgeon's experience and preferences. You should feel comfortable asking about credentials and even questions such as "How many breast augmentation surgeries have you performed in the past year?" You should also look for an efficient, compassionate staff, high safety and care standards, and a warm, comforting bedside manner.
1 Month Out: Get on the Books
Once you have found a surgeon you click with, it is time to book your surgery! There are 2 main factors at play here: cost and timing. When you schedule your surgery date, you're often expected to put down a deposit or even the entire cost of the procedure, so be sure you have your finances in order by this time. Many plastic surgery practices are happy to work with you to secure financing through healthcare lending companies such as CareCredit®.
As far as timing goes, you should have a good picture of how much downtime you'll need from the information you learned during your consultations. Be sure you schedule surgery for a time when you can take off from work or your other activities and have someone help you around the house in the early part of your recovery.
Finally, it's your big day! Just make sure all your medications are filled, laundry is done, and household chores are complete before heading in, because you won't be able to do many of those everyday tasks during the first week or 2 of the recovery. Follow all your doctor's prep instructions, and head to the O.R.!
1 Month After: On the Mend
Let's be frank: This is the tough part. But it will so be worth it in the end! Promise. You'll have detailed instructions from your surgeon about things like wound care, showering, medications, diet, and so on, but the biggest thing to remember about this period is to make sure you take it easy. If you start trying to do too much too soon, this can affect your results.
You can likely get back to work in about a week, according to Dr. Ronald J. Johnson, a breast augmentation specialist in Memphis, TN, but being too active before you are fully recovered can increase your chance of post-surgical complications. Don't be afraid to ask for help! You'll feel a lot better after a week or 2, and your results will start to look great soon after. For a full breakdown of the breast augmentation recovery process, check out this article on RealSelf.
2 to 3 Months After: The Turning Point
At this point, you're going to feel more like yourself again. Your swelling should be gone, and your implants will have started to settle. You can return to regular exercise, gradually working up to higher-impact activities such as running. Best of all, this is the time when you start to really see the results of your investment in money, time, and effort. Prepare yourself to field questions from friends, family, and co-workers who may notice your new figure, depending on how dramatic you go, and get ready for the telltale surge in confidence that typically follows breast augmentation surgery.
6 Months After: Bust out Your New Bust!
It's time for the big reveal! By this point, your breasts are 100% healed and have fully dropped, giving them a bit more natural appearance than even a few months back. Many patients also notice that the implants feel much softer and more organic. All those months of planning, research, and recovery will have paid off by this time. Go ahead and don those swimsuits, curve-flattering tops, and new bras with confidence, and start enjoying your results!
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