I apologize for the lack of posts this month. I've been in a bit of a funk lately and it's difficult to write, but today, the fog has lifted and some inspiration has returned to me.
After receiving many questions and comments about my breast augmentation surgery and several requests to write about it in detail, I've decided to do a four-part series describing the whole process and my feelings about it. Not only do I hope to provide valuable information to those of you that are considering the surgery (or are simply just curious), but I also believe it will be good for me to reflect on my own experience.
The first and most vital part of preparing for any surgery, medically necessary or not, is doing the necessary research to decide if it's the right thing for you. Given my analytical nature, I'm inclined to do huge amounts of research on any topic to ensure I'm making the most informed decision - especially when it comes to my health. I won't even take a new medication without researching it first, but something as major as cosmetic surgery that would forever change my appearance required even more due diligence.
I toyed with the idea of a breast augmentation (BA) for many years, since I wasn't quite happy with the shape and size of my breasts. I didn't have any major issues with self confidence or body image and didn't feel like I needed a BA to be happy, but dammit I wanted one! I have always been petite, so small breasts didn't look too out of place on my body. However, I naturally carry more mass in my lower half and have broad shoulders for my frame. Whenever I worked out intensely and reduced my body fat, my breasts would get even smaller, which put a damper on my fitness progress. I felt like my body would look much more balanced with a larger bust line. Already addicted to lingerie, I felt like there was a world of gorgeous bras out there that I could finally wear if I had bigger breasts.
I started to seriously think about getting a BA after working full-time for about a year and saving a good chunk of money. The tipping point was seeing a friend's beautiful post-op results and imagining myself looking like that, too. I began my research on www.justbreastimplants.com (JBI), an active, tight-knit online community as per my friend's recommendation. Here I found enough information to make my head spin, so I'll break it down into a few key categories.
The first question I asked was "can I afford this?" I didn't see any point in further research and wishful thinking if I knew that this procedure would put a huge financial strain on me. I didn't want to fall into the trap of obsessing over a procedure I couldn't afford, much like going into Saks Fifth and falling in love with a designer dress that I could never buy. For some reason, I always imagined a BA surgery would be prohibitively expensive - in my head it would be tens of thousands. However, on JBI I found that a BA with a board-certified surgeon would cost anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000, depending on the location and the surgeon's reputation. Prices in Florida seemed to be on the cheaper end of the spectrum, while surgeons in California and New England charged more.
In addition to a realistic price range, I learned about the ways that many women had financed their surgeries. A really great option for many patients is CareCredit, an interest-free financing option for medical procedures like dental work, vision correction and cosmetic surgeries. For me, the best option was to put my surgery on an interest-free credit card, since the reward points and introductory cash back offer offset some of the cost of the surgery.
Once I decided that a BA was within my budget, the next step was to find out what I could expect to look like post-op. After being approved as a valid member on the forum, I found that JBI has thousands of pages of pre and post op albums, showing every stage of recovery. I was going for a natural look and didn't want anyone to know I had work done, so I focused on finding women with similar bodies that chose smaller implants. Seeing many women with amazing, natural results built my confidence in the procedure. It was great to be able to see how results change from week to week and month to month.
I was also concerned with how the implants would feel. Would they feel like water balloons? Would they be hard and bolted on? Would everyone know my breasts were fake? I learned that technology has come very far in the last few decades and that some implants can feel very authentic. In fact, many women said they forgot their breasts weren't natural after several months of having the implants. This really put my mind at ease.
Finding a Surgeon
When looking for a surgeon, the most important thing is to check if he or she is board certified. Just because someone has a medical degree does not mean he or she is qualified to perform plastic surgery. In the United States, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the agency that certifies plastic surgeons, but naturally, this differs from country to country. Also, it is important to check if a potential surgeon has any malpractice suits filed against him or her.
Beyond checking credentials, I decided to stay local for my surgery. Although I could have had a cheaper BA in a different state, I didn't want to deal with the stress of traveling for numerous consultations and my procedure. That narrowed down my choices to Massachusetts and nearby states. A number of great plastic surgeons were recommended on JBI and I took the time to look at all of their galleries and research their certifications & experience. I picked three surgeons whose work I liked best and set up consultations. I was informed that each surgeon had a nominal consultation fee that would eventually go towards my surgery if I ended up booking. I felt like this was a small price to pay for exploring all of my options, though.
In the end, I ended up loving the first surgeon I met with. He had the most impressive gallery, as well as great testimonials from some women on the forum. I booked a surgery date shortly after my first consultation and cancelled the rest of consultations.
So, this wraps up Part I. Hopefully this was informative. Stay tuned for Part II - Deciding in Type, Size and Placement.