What is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation with implants is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures today and is one of our most frequently performed procedures here at the Cosmetic and Reconstructive Specialists of Florida.
Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure where saline or silicone breast implants are placed into pockets created in front or behind the pectoral muscle on the chest. Augmentation changes the breast size, projection characteristics, and volume, particularly on the upper breast. Breast augmentation has been the most popular cosmetic procedure in the U.S. for the last number of years. It has incredibly high satisfaction rates with patients.
Candidates for Breast Augmentation
Different women have different reasons for wanting to increase the size of their breasts. Some women have never been satisfied with the size of their breasts. Some would like more volume in the upper breasts. Some want to correct asymmetry. And many simply want to have larger breasts and a shapelier figure.
One thing that Dr. Low and Cheung stress with our patients considering augmentation is that the decision needs to be for you, and you alone. It cannot be made due to pressure from a spouse or partner. This needs to be something you want for yourself.
What are the Benefits of Breast Augmentation?
What’s the benefit of loving your figure? What’s the benefit of having breasts that are in proportion with the rest of your figure for the first time in your life? What’s the benefit of looking forward to buying a new swimsuit or clothes to accentuate your curves?
These procedures can change a woman’s body image, and really boost her overall self-confidence.
Breast augmentation has one of the highest satisfaction rates of all cosmetic procedures. A recent survey conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that 98 percent of women felt their augmentation either met or exceeded their expectations. Over 90 percent of the women also said they felt the procedure increased their self-esteem.
Breast Implant Options
Beyond the decision to have augmentation surgery, you’ll also need to make a variety of other decisions, such as the type of implants you want. Here are the options:
- Saline implants — A outer silicone shell is filled with sterile saline solution. Saline implants are placed empty and filled once in the breast pocket, requiring a smaller incision. Saline implants are more prone to rippling than silicone.
- Silicone implants — These implants are filled with medical-grade silicone. Today’s silicone is far more cohesive, meaning it tends to stay together, rather than liquid. Most silicone won’t leave the implant in the case of a rupture. People generally feel silicone implants feel more like natural breast tissue.
- Gummy bear implants — These silicone implants are made from highly cohesive silicone gel. If they are cut inhalf, the gel doesn’t leave the shell. They are made in a teardrop shape to mimic the natural breast contour.
- Round breast implants — Most implants are round. The differences are in the width of the base and the projection. Smaller bases feature more projection, as in high-profile implants. These place more volume in the upper breast and tend to project more. Lower profile round implants have wider bases.
- Smooth breast implants — The outer shell of these implants is completely smooth.
- Textured breast implants — Textured implants have texture on the outside to help them stay in position and not rotate. Last year, the FDA called for a recall and ban on a brand of textured implant from Allergan, the Biocell textured implant. This is due to the risk of developing a rare, but possible lymphoma.
How is Breast Augmentation Performed?
This is not a difficult procedure. Augmentation is performed as outpatient surgery with the patient under general anesthesia. The surgery takes from 45 minutes to one hour. Incision length is generally about one inch for placement of saline breast implants, and 1.5-2 inches for silicone implants. This difference is because saline implants are filled after placement, while silicone implants are placed already filled.
After the incisions are made, a pocket is created behind each breast that will hold the implant. Then the implants are inserted, and Dr. Low/Dr. Cheung checks for symmetry and position and then closes the incisions with tiny sutures to minimize scarring.
Our CRS Plastic Surgery surgeons have extensive experience with various incision locations — transaxillary, inframammary, and periareolar. They take meticulous care to avoid injuring the nipple (to not affect sensation) or the milk ducts (to not impact breastfeeding).
Recovery after Breast Augmentation
A nice thing about this surgery is that it can really change your figure and boost your confidence, but it doesn’t involve a difficult recovery. You’ll return home just a couple hours after your surgery. Your breasts will be bandaged, and you’ll be wearing a surgical bra for support. We’ll prescribe pain medication, but many patients don’t feel that they need it, as the pain is more soreness than acute. After one day, you’ll return to our offices and we’ll remove the bandages and check to be sure your healing looks to be going well. At this point, we’ll show you how to massage your breasts to relax the muscles and help the implants settle into their breast pockets. This type of postoperative massage has been proven to significantly reduce the risk of capsular contracture (where scar tissue contracts and hardens around the implant) and decrease discomfort.
Most patients can return to work approximately 3-5 days after surgery. Your sutures will be removed after one week. You’ll wear a support bra 24 hours a day for one month after your surgery so as not to place any stress on your incisions. This is very important. Normal activities can resume in 1-2 weeks, but any impact exercise will need to wait for one month. Upper body exercise, such as lifting weights, will need to wait for six weeks.
Risks of Breast Augmentation
Beyond the general risks associated with any surgery, there are some risks specific to breast augmentation. These include:
- Capsular contracture
- Implant leakage or rupture
- Implant shifting
- Changes in nipple sensation
- Impaired ability to breastfeed
- Breast asymmetry
- Visible rippling of the implant
You may have heard the recent news of the FDA asking the manufacturer Allergan to voluntarily recall its Biocell textured breast implant. This is in response to a possible link between these Biocell implants and women developing a very rare condition known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
Is Breast Augmentation Painful?
Our South Florida patients are surprised at how easy this recovery is. The pain is not acute. It is more a feeling of tightness and aching. Most of our patients don’t feel prescription pain medication is necessary, opting instead for over-the-counter options. Patients can return to work in just 3-5 days.
Schedule a Consultation
To learn more about breast augmentation or other cosmetic surgery procedures, schedule a consultation with Cosmetic and Reconstructive Specialists of Florida by calling 954-533-8029. We serve Fort Lauderdale, FL and nearby areas.