Posted June 28, 2016
Breast augmentation remains one of the most popular plastic surgical procedures in the United States. Many women, because of lack of development or smaller bust size, loss of volume or the natural aging process seek out breast augmentation to enhance or restore their breasts. An augmentation can also increase fullness and projection of the breasts. Combining a mastopexy, or breast lift, with augmentation is another option that can enhance breasts that have lost volume associated with weight loss, pregnancy or aging. Often times, women find breast augmentation improves the balance of their figure which can enhance their self-image and allows them to feel more comfortable with their body. Breast reconstruction also uses breast implants to restore the breast shape after mastectomy.
It is important to do your research as you consider any surgical procedure. Be sure your surgeon is a board certified plastic surgeon. It is critical to find the right surgeon that you can communicate your expectations to and discuss desired outcomes. Ask questions to your surgeon and feel comfortable with the response you receive. Be sure you have the same aesthetic desires. You can find a surgeon’s checklist on our website under patient resources.
It is also important to ask about the surgery center or operating facility where your procedure will be done. You can check accreditation with the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery facilities or refer to our website article on Surgery Centers for an excellent resource tool.
Photos are an important tool in your research as well. Ask to see before and after pictures of your particular procedure. Most surgeons will have a photo section that you may refer to on their web site. Some offices will also have previous surgical patients that you can talk with about their experience.
Considerations When Choosing Implants:
- Implant Size: Important elements to be considered when choosing an implant include a patient’s activity level, height, weight and body type. There are many different sizes and shapes of implants that may be used to best enhance a woman to reach her desired outcome. A well-proportioned breast will give balance and create curves that enhance a woman’s shape.
- Implants: There are two main types of implants available. These include silicone and saline. A consultation with your doctor will best determine the correct implant for you.
- Position: Implants can be placed above and below the muscle. There is still debate amongst surgeons about which plane is better. Many doctors feel there is only one place to safely place a breast implant: under the muscle. The most common risk associated with breast augmentation is “capsular contracture.” Simply stated a contracture means the breast can become firm after healing from an augmentation. There is no good explanation as to why this can occur and it affects approximately 10-12% of women undergoing an augmentation. Placing the implant under the muscle can decrease a woman’s risk of developing a contracture to 5%. Another reason is for better breast cancer surveillance. An implant above the muscle will interfere with mammography results more than if the implant is below the muscle. In other words, a small, developing cancer can be missed in early detection due to the implant being placed above the muscle. Also, there is no difference in aesthetic outcome between the 2 planes.
Before Surgery: A pre-operative consultation is important to discuss expectations between the patient and their surgeon. This is an opportunity to have all of your questions answered involving the procedure and the anesthesia. Breast augmentation is done under general anesthesia. The patient will meet with a patient care coordinator to discuss financial arrangements and the scheduling of their procedure. Price should not be a primary factor when considering your surgeon as experience, geographic location, type of implant, surgery center costs, and anesthesia can all factor in to affect cost. More importantly, as stated above, a surgeon’s credentials as well as those of the surgical facility should be considered.
Surgery: The surgical procedure generally takes between 1-1 ½ hours and is an outpatient procedure.
After Surgery: Post operatively a patient may experience some mild swelling, bruising or discomfort. Down time is approximately 1 week. Patients will be discharged wearing a post-operative garment and given instructions to be followed throughout their recovery. Most patients may resume exercise after 3 weeks.