5 Questions You Might Not Think to Ask About Breast Implants

So you’re considering breast augmentation and doing some online research. You might even be prepping that all-important list of questions to ask during consultations with plastic surgeons. You should absolutely ask about the doctors’ qualifications and experience, the types of breast implants available, and the details of the procedure itself.

Beyond that, there are a few more questions that can help you avoid any potential confusion later. You may want to add these to your list.

Do you recommend using Vitamin E after breast augmentation surgery?

Some plastic surgeons recommend that their patients take Vitamin E after breast augmentation surgery to help prevent capsular contracture. To be sure, this isn’t a universally-held belief, and there is little research supporting this assertion. But even if your surgeon isn’t a proponent, broaching the subject may naturally take the conversation toward other steps you can take after surgery to make sure your results are beautiful.

Do breast implants come with a warranty?

Breast implants are medical devices, and as such, they’re not 100% infallible. The 3 primary manufacturers of implants in the U.S. provide warranties (here’s an example). Ask your plastic surgeon for brochures describing the details of these warranties. This is also a good time to ask about the practice’s policy on follow-up appointments and revision surgery. Should you experience a (rare) complication that’s not related to the implant itself, such as capsular contracture, you will want to know what your options are.

Over or under the muscle: Are those the only options?

Most websites discuss 2 options when talking about the placement of breast implants: over the pectoral muscle (i.e., a subglandular pocket) or behind it (i.e., a submuscular pocket). That’s generally true, but sometimes neither option is ideal, and asking about other options can also provide a glimpse of the surgeon’s level of expertise.

Aside from the 2 morst popular approaches, there is also the subfascial pocket — inserting the implant behind a sheet of connective tissue that covers the pectoral muscle — and the dual plane approach. Of the latter, Dr. Paul Whidden, one of 2 breast augmentation specialists in Calgary at Macleod Trail Plastic Surgery, says it “offers the best of both worlds. The majority of the implant sits behind the pectoral muscle, which is also associated with lower rates of capsular contracture, while the lower portion of the implant is covered by breast tissue, providing a more natural breast shape.”

Will breast implants interfere with breastfeeding?

This may not be something you’re thinking about in the near future, but it’s a question worth asking if you would like to have children someday. Techniques differ in the risk of affecting your ability to breastfeed a child. Using an incision on the lower edge of the areola (called a periareolar incision) poses the most risk to the ducts involved in breastfeeding. To be on the safe side, women who plan to breastfeed in the future usually opt to have implants inserted through incisions at the base of the breasts (i.e., inframammary incision) or in the area of the armpit (i.e., transaxillary incision).

Will my implants explode if I go scuba diving?

OK, this question is admittedly limited to a narrow population of women considering breast augmentation. Dive instructors apparently hear it every so often. The fear is that the increased pressure will squeeze the implants until they burst. Not to worry. That doesn’t happen.

That said, an obscure question like this proves a larger point: If you regularly place your body in an unusual environment, it’s worth asking your surgeon how long you will need to wait before resuming those activities.