Maybe a boob job is NOT the right thing to do

Breast ImplantsOk… This may sound funny coming from a surgeon, but breast implants may not be the right thing for you. The best way to think about cosmetic surgery is in terms of cost and benefit. It turns out that most people only think about the benefit. Incidentally, the benefits are obvious…. bigger boobs. There are also benefits in self esteem. You will probably love the way you look. That’s worth a lot. But what are the costs?

Some of the costs are pretty obvious. Cash. Pain. Scars. New wardrobe. No one ever listening to another word you say…

Here’s one cost you may not have thought about. If you have implants put in now. YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER OPERATION in the future. Implants don’t last forever. Unless you suffer an untimely death, you will outlast them. In general, you can count on implants lasting 10-15 years. Then you’re looking at another surgery, another surgical fee, and another chance for things to go wrong. So how do you decide if it’s worth it?

Here’s an example. You’re a cute 30 year-old woman interested in breast augmentation. On a scale from 1 to 10, you give your own breasts a 7. They’re a little saggy, a little smallish (maybe a B-cup), and they have some stretch marks. Basically, they don’t look like they did when you were 18. So you decide to perk them up again with implants. You get the surgery and now your breasts are a 9. We can’t get to a ten because the surgery will require scars, the implants will have some rippling as all implants do, and the stretch marks are the same as they were before.

So we’ve gone from a 7 to a 9, up two Warnock Boob Units (WBU’s). But at what cost?

Two weeks of pain.
Time off work.
1% risk of infection (with another surgery and loss of an implant).
15% risk of repeat surgery in the first few years for hardening, shifting, unevenness, or other problems.
And probably another operation at age 45, 60, 75, and 90… at a total cost of at least $30,000 (with inflation) if you live that long.

As a surgeon, I’m happy to do it. My kids need to go to college. But it may not be the best thing for you. Here’s how I see it. If you were my wife, sister, daughter, friend, neighbor, or…. patient, I would probably tell you NOT to do it, not for two WBU’s of improvement. Instead, use the $6,000 to buy a new big screen TV and super soft sofa and invite me (and my wife, and some other friends) over to watch a football game and drink some beer (you could afford a lot of beer).

Now, what if your boobs are a 3? Thats a different situation because the improvement is more significant. It may be more worth it. The benefit to risk/cost ratio is more favorable. And when your breasts go from a 3 to a 9 on the Warnock boobie satisfaction scale, we’ll both be happy.

One final thought. The one thing that we haven’t put into this equation is the “How much I want it” factor. Only you can say what a cup size or two really means to you. Self esteem is a delicate thing and good self esteem is priceless. Only women really understand how breasts affect their self esteem. I would not pretend to diminish that.

So weigh the costs and benefits carefully… then find an experienced, qualified plastic surgeon to help you.

Dr. Steve