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Breast Augmentation

With the use of saline or silicone gel implants, breast augmentation (“augmentation mammaplasty”) is designed to enhance the size and shape of the breasts. Along with providing women with a new aesthetic appeal, such as firmer, fuller breasts, this plastic surgery procedure has also helped many women gain a boost in their self-esteem.

During an initial consultation with one of our board certified plastic surgeons, you will have the opportunity to learn about the various factors involved with this breast enhancement procedure.

The most essential factors to discuss include: breast implant type, size and shape of the implant, incision location, implant placement (above or below the chest muscles), potential risks and complications, cost, and recovery.

Ideal Candidates

Breast augmentation is a highly individualized procedure, and requires a detailed assessment by a surgeon who specializes in this procedure. You may qualify for breast implant surgery if you:

  • Have realistic expectations
  • Are physically and psychologically healthy
  • Have fully developed breasts
  • Are unhappy with having naturally underdeveloped breasts
  • Have lost breast shape and/or volume following pregnancy, weight loss, or as a result from aging
  • Have breasts that are asymmetrical

Breast Implant Type

Pertinent information regarding both saline and silicone gel implants:

Saline

Saline implants are FDA approved for breast augmentation in women 18 years of age and older. Filled with a sterile saltwater solution, saline breast implants are commonly used for augmentation. They are empty prior to being placed above or below the muscle, and then the implants are filled during surgery once they are settled. Should the saline implant shell experience leakage, the implant will noticeably collapse and the body will absorb the saline before being naturally expelled from the body. Typically, saline implants feel less natural and look less natural than silicone implants.

Silicone Gel

Silicone gel implants are FDA approved for breast augmentation in women at least 22 years of age or older. This type of implant consists of an elastic gel, which mimics the quality of natural breast tissue. If this implant should leak, the silicone gel will either remain within the implant shell or release into the breast implant pocket. As compared to a saline implant, a silicone implant may not collapse (meaning the patient may not notice it right away). This may require you to visit one of our board certified plastic surgeons on a regular basis in order to make sure that the implants are functioning properly. An ultrasound or MRI screening can accurately evaluate the condition of the implants.

It is said that the most common disadvantage of silicone gel implants is the length of the incision; it is usually a bit longer as compared to the incision made for saline implants because silicone implants comes pre-filled.

Size and Shape of the Implant

Size: There is no “perfect size” when it comes to breast implants. Because every woman has individual cosmetic goals and unique anatomical features, the size to choose will be different with every patient. One of our plastic surgeons will help determine the most suitable breast implant size for your body during the consultation. This a significant step in preparing for augmentation because an implant that is too small or too large will produce an unsatisfactory, result.

Shape: Patients have two options when it comes to breast implant shape: anatomical or round.

Anatomical breast implants, also known as “teardrop” breast implants, have a fuller lower half. These implants typically provide a natural-looking shape and work well for many patients. However, due to the teardrop design of the implant, the appearance of the breast may appear distorted should the implant rotate.

Round breast implants are the most common shape used for augmentation, as they are known to create a full look throughout the entire breast. As compared to the anatomical breast implant design, it is very rare for the round breast implant to have an adverse consequence should it rotate.

Incision Location

Saline breast implants: Empty upon insertion, saline implants can be inserted via all incision locations, including the edge of the nipple (periareolar), under the armpit (transaxillary), the belly button (transumbilical), and at the lower breast fold (inframammary).

Silicone gel implants: The incision locations for silicone gel implants are limited because they come pre-filled. This particular implant can be inserted through the inframammary incision or the periareolar incision.

Implant Placement

There are three implant placement options for patients. Depending on the woman’s desire and the doctor’s recommendation, saline or silicone gel implants can be placed: under the breast tissue (subglandular), under the pectoralis muscle (submuscular), or under both the breast tissue and the pectoralis muscle (partial submuscular). Today, most patients who undergo breast augmentation prefer subglandular placement because this method provides a more natural-looking result.

Potential Risks and Complications

Every plastic surgery procedure has its own set of potential risks. However, when performed in the care of a qualified specialist, such as with a board certified plastic surgeon, complications are rare. During the consultation, you will be able to learn about the various factors associated with breast augmentation, including the potential risks and complications. Some of the most common post-operative problems that may develop after implant surgery are: infection, bleeding, capsular contracture, rupturing/deflation, poor healing of incisions, adverse scarring, and reaction to anesthesia.

Cost

The cost of an initial breast augmentation varies with every patient, because the total amount will depend on multiple factors. Some of the fees involved with this procedure are the:

  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Operating room fees
  • Anesthesia fees
  • Medical tests
  • Region or demographics
  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Post-surgical garments
  • Cost of breast implants (silicone gel is more expensive than saline)

* Breast revision surgeries are more expensive than the primary surgery due to the several procedures involved in recreating the patient’s desired look.

Recovery

Healing is a gradual process. Gauze will cover your breasts after surgery and you may have drainage tubes for the first few days. Although some patients recover faster than others, it is most common for patients to experience discomfort the first two to three days after surgery, taking prescribed pain medication as needed. You may be instructed to wear a surgical bra as you heal. In order to heal properly, be sure to follow the surgeon’s instructions; it is important that you abide all guidelines regarding when to return to normal activities, exercise, and work. This will help to reduce any risk of potential complications. Over time, incisions will fade and swelling will subside. It is normal for implants to initially appear high and the nipples to point downwards. The tissue will eventually stretch to accommodate the implant, and the breasts will appear more natural-looking.

The Results of Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation offers long-lasting results, providing women the opportunity to wear more versatile styles of clothing and swimwear while at the same time boosting their self-confidence.

Natural factors that can change the quality and appearance of the breasts include aging, weight fluctuations, hormones, and gravity. That said, implants are not lifetime devices; down the road, it is very likely you will need to have your saline or silicone gel implants replaced or revised. Some women may choose to undergo a breast lift in combination with a secondary breast augmentation in order to restore a more youthful contour. If you notice changes in your breasts over time, be sure to schedule proper visits with your surgeon for assessments.

*Breast lift surgery can also be performed in conjunction with a primary breast augmentation.

Please feel free to contact The Diamond Face Institute if you are interested in breast augmentation and would like to schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon. You can get started by calling (310) 859-9816, or fill out our contact form.

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