What is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation is a plastic surgery procedure that involves enhancing the size of the breasts via breast implants. This procedure can also help to restore lost breast volume due to weight loss or pregnancy. While breast augmentation surgery can augment the size of the breasts, this surgery cannot lift the breasts; those who wish to lift the breasts higher can benefit from a breast lift.
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Who is a Good Candidate for Breast Augmentation?
Individuals who wish to increase the fullness or projection of their breasts, improve the overall balance of their breasts or hips, and improve their self-confidence can benefit from a breast augmentation. Candidates should be physically healthy and non-smokers. Also, individuals should ideally undergo this procedure when they are finished having children and are not breastfeeding, as future pregnancies may negatively impact the outcome of the procedure. The best way to determine if this procedure is right for you is through a consultation with Dr. Howland.
Why Do Patients Choose Breast Augmentation?
There are a variety of reasons for seeking breast augmentation. First, many patients simply wish to increase the size of their breasts based only on cosmetic preference. They may feel that their breasts are out of proportion with the rest of their body, or wish their clothes fit differently, for example.
Some patients also choose breast augmentation because their natural breasts are asymmetrical. It’s incredibly common for one breast to be bigger than the other, but in some cases, this causes complications when finding properly fitting bras or other clothes and can be visibly noticeable. If the breasts are uneven, using two differently sized breast implants can help create a more balanced and symmetrical appearance.
Finally, it’s common for patients to choose breast augmentation as a result of the changes that occur in the breasts after pregnancy and breastfeeding or after a dramatic weight loss. In each of these instances, the breasts can have a “deflated” appearance due to a rapid change in size. By utilizing breast implants, patients can restore a full and youthful appearance.
Types of Breast Implants
Breast augmentation surgery is done under general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. There is a selection of breast implants that can be used to augment the breasts. These include saline implants, silicone implants, or gummy bear implants.
SALINE BREAST IMPLANTS
Saline implants are made with a silicone shell and filled with a sterilized saline solution. These implants are often less costly than silicone implants and are said to feel firmer than real breast tissue. However, because they can be filled after placement, they often require a smaller incision to be made. Saline implants are FDA approved for patients 18 years old and older. In case of rupture, the saline will naturally be absorbed by the body, leaving behind only the outer shell, which will require surgical removal and replacement.
SILICONE BREAST IMPLANTS
Silicone Implants are made with a silicone shell filled with a silicone gel. These implants often cost more than saline implants, but are said to feel similar to natural breast tissue. Because they come pre-filled, they may require a larger incision for them to be placed. Silicone implants are FDA approved for patients who are 21 years old and older. In case of silicone implant rupture, both the outer shell and the silicone gel filling remain in place within the breast capsule. Both the shell and filling can then be removed and replaced.
GUMMY BEAR IMPLANTS
Gummy Bear Implants are made with a firmer, cohesive gel than silicone implants. These implants are often the costliest and offer natural looking and feeling results.
During the procedure, several different incisions can be used to place breast implants. These include:
- The periareolar incision, which is made around the nipple areolas
- The inframammary incision, which is made in the breast fold.
- The transaxillary incision, which is made in the armpit.
The type of incision used will depend on your individual anatomy and your desired results, and will be discussed when your individualized treatment plan is created for you.
BREAST IMPLANT SHAPES
In addition to different materials, patients and surgeons can choose between different shapes of breast implants. The primary breast implant shapes are round and teardrop shaped. Deciding between the two will ultimately change the final results of your breast augmentation in terms of the final shape and projection of the breasts. Dr. Howland will help you choose between round and teardrop shaped breast implants after discussing your goal results during a thorough consultation.
In addition, there are both textured and smooth implant shells, which have their own pros and cons. Smooth shell implants tend to feel softer and more natural, but tend to move more than textured implants. Dr. Howland will recommend the implant shell type that’s best for your unique needs.
Breast Implant Location
Breast implants can either be placed over or under the chest muscle, depending on the aesthetic goal. Here are some of the pros and cons of each technique.
OVER THE MUSCLE (SUB-GLANDULAR PLACEMENT)
Typically, placing breast implants over the muscle involves a simpler and less invasive surgical procedure. Patients can also expect a shorter recovery time after their surgeries.
However, over-the-muscle placement typically results in a “more augmented” look, meaning that results are somewhat less natural-appearing than other placement types. Whether this is a preferable look varies from patient-to-patient. In addition, over-the-muscle breast implant placement may have a higher risk of capsular contracture.
UNDER THE MUSCLE (SUB-MUSCULAR PLACEMENT)
Placing breast implants under the chest muscle has several benefits. First, this technique reduces the risk of the implant rippling. Results tend to look more natural than above-muscle placement as well.
However, placing breast implants under the muscle necessitates a more invasive, complex surgical procedure. In addition, it is possible that the breast implant can become distorted when the chest muscle is flexed.
Can I Pair Breast Augmentation with Other Procedures?
Many patients do choose to pair their breast augmentation with another procedure. So long as Dr. Howland has determined that it is safe for you to do so, combining surgeries can lead you to your goal results sooner.
For example, breast augmentation is often chosen as part of a mommy makeover. This combination of procedures is designed to address different areas of the body that are affected by pregnancy and breastfeeding. In addition to a breast augmentation, mommy makeover may include tummy tuck, liposuction, or labiaplasty.
It’s also common for patients to choose to have a breast lift in combination with their breast augmentation. If you feel that your breasts are sagging or too low in addition to lacking fullness, combining breast augmentation with breast lift is an option.
Finally, some patients find that combining breast augmentation with a procedure for another area of the body helps to create a more balanced figure overall. One option is Brazilian butt lift, in which the buttocks are augmented using fat transfer.
Results of Breast Augmentation
Following surgery, patients can expect to experience swelling, discoloration, and feeling of tightness during recovery. Any discomfort that occurs can be controlled with pain medication. Patients will also be required to wear a special compression bra to help control swelling and support their new breast contours. Drains may also be in place to encourage proper healing. Most patients can return to a desk job within a week, though recovery time will be discussed with Dr. Howland both before the surgery and through post-operative appointments. It’s important to follow Dr. Howland’s directions closely through the recovery process to ensure your health and safety as well as achieve your best possible results.
While the breasts are noticeably larger immediately after the surgery, they may be higher on the chest than they will be after healing is complete and swelling remains for a few weeks following the procedure. The final results of a breast augmentation are typically visible at about three months after the surgery.
If you are interested in breast augmentation and live in the Salt Lake City or Draper, UT areas, contact our office today to schedule your initial consultation!
FAQs About Breast Augmentation
HOW WILL PREGNANCY AFFECT MY BREAST IMPLANTS?
Pregnancy can change the shape and size of a woman’s breasts, whether she has implants or not. It is recommended that women postpone pregnancy at least six months after breast augmentation surgery to ensure optimal results. Breastfeeding with implants is possible for some women and is safe for both the baby and mother.
CAN BREAST AUGMENTATION CORRECT MY SAGGING BREASTS?
While women with sagging breasts can receive breasts implants, a breast lift may also be necessary, depending on the amount of breast sag. This can be discussed during your consultation appointment.
WHEN CAN I RETURN TO WORK AFTER BREAST AUGMENTATION SURGERY?
The amount of downtime required following your breast augmentation procedure will depend on the extent of your procedure. The physical demands of your job will determine when you can return to work. It is important that patients avoid upper arm movements such as reaching for 1-2 weeks and lifting anything over 5 lbs. should be avoided for up to six weeks.
WHEN CAN I RETURN TO DRIVING AFTER BREAST AUGMENTATION SURGERY?
Most patients can return to driving a car one week after surgery, as long as they are finished taking any pain medications.
HOW OFTEN WILL I NEED TO REPLACE MY BREAST IMPLANTS?
While breast implants can last many, many years, they are not designed to be lifetime devices; most implants last about 15 years before needing to be replaced. However, if you are not having any problems with your implants, there is no need to replace them “just because”. It is only if capsular contracture, rippling, or other issues become apparent when breast implants should be replaced.
WILL SCARS FROM MY BREAST AUGMENTATION BE NOTICEABLE?
Scars from breast augmentation surgery are generally short and well-hidden on the breasts. They can also easily be covered with a bra or bathing suit top, so you will not have to worry about them being noticeable.
IF A SILICONE IMPLANT RUPTURES, HOW LONG SHOULD I WAIT BEFORE HAVING IT REPLACED?
It is best to have a ruptured silicone implant replaced or removed as soon as possible, since silicone can leak and cause more scar tissue to form around the implant.