What Should You to Know Beforehand?
Whether you’ve considered enhancing your breast size for a while, or you’re just now starting to think about it, you probably have lots of questions. And since the results of breast augmentation surgery are long-term, it’s good to have a basic understanding beforehand of the types of decisions you will need to make for surgery. One of our experienced, board-certified plastic surgeons in the Leading Medical Clinics of the World® network will go over factors such as the implant type, size and more with you in your pre-surgery consultation. In the meantime, we’ve compiled an overview of the entire process, from implant options to recovery.
But before you delve into the details, first find out if you are considered a good candidate for this procedure.
Are You a Suitable Candidate for Breast Augmentation?
You may be considered a good breast augmentation candidate if you:
- Are healthy, with no medical conditions
- Are unhappy with the size or shape of one or both of your breasts
- Have realistic expectations of the results of surgery
- Wish to add volume to your breasts
- Want to fix asymmetry (where one breast is larger than the other)
Options to Consider for Your Breast Augmentation Procedure
There are a few options to consider when planning for your breast augmentation. Together with your plastic surgeon, you will make decisions on the following:
- Breast implant type, size, shape and texture
- Placement of the breast implant
- Placement of the incision
Choosing the Implant Type
The highly trained plastic surgeons in our network generally offer two or more of the following types of breast implants.
The choice of implant is one that should be made by the patient (taking into account their doctor’s recommendations) based on her body shape, lifestyle and aesthetic desires.
Saline implants are made with a silicone outer shell filled with saline solution.
- Less expensive than other implant types
- Can be adjusted to a specific (non-custom) size, since they are filled after insertion
- Filled with a sterile solution
- Looks and feels less natural than silicone implants
- More susceptible to folding and rippling
- Not a good option for patients with less body fat, as implants may be seen through the skin
Silicone implants consist of an silicone outer shell filled with a thick, cohesive silicone gel filling.
- Look and feel like natural breasts
- Less likely to wrinkle or ripple than saline implants
- Generally lasts longer than saline implants
- A more expensive implant option
Highly Cohesive Silicone (“Gummy Bear”) Implants
Highly cohesive silicone (also known as “gummy bear”) implants consist of an outer silicone shell filled with a cohesive silicone filling that retains its shape, preventing it from leaking or rotating within the breast pocket.
- The closest of all implant types to the look and feel of natural breasts
- No rippling and folding, since the stable filling maintains its shape and position
- Less likely to leak or rupture than other implants
- Placement requires a longer incision than other implants
- More expensive than other implant options
Other Implant Options: Size, Shape and Texture
Once you’ve decided on saline or silicone implants, your next decision will be selecting an implant size. Breast implants are measured in cubic centimeters (ccs), where 150 to 200 ccs equate to an increase of about one-and-a-half cup sizes.
Some factors to seriously consider when choosing the size of your implants are your body shape (the size of your frame, the width of your chest, etc.), your lifestyle (more active vs. more sedentary) and whether you desire a subtle or more noticeable change from your natural breast size. Your plastic surgeon will help you determine these factors and provide direction during your initial consultation, but ultimately it is your decision.
Both saline- and silicone-based implants come in round and “teardrop” (or anatomical) shapes. The choice of implant shape depends on your body shape and how you want your new breasts to look. For example, a round breast implant will make breasts look fuller, typically at the upper pole of the breast. And since it’s round, this implant shape won’t rotate in the breast pocket. A teardrop-shaped implant mimics the shape of a woman’s natural breast, with a sloped contour, creating more fullness at the bottom of the breast. Women who choose the teardrop shape often do so because it provides the most natural-looking breast shape.
The texture of a breast implant refers to the texture of the outer shell, which can be either smooth or textured regardless of the type or shape of the implant. Smooth implants allow for the most natural movement of the breast, as these implants move within the breast pocket, and there is less chance of rippling. Textured implants have more of a rough surface that keeps the implant in place within the breast pocket, a definite advantage for a teardrop-shaped implant that, once rotated, creates an irregular breast shape.
The Incision Sites: Which is Right for You?
During breast augmentation surgery, breast implants can be placed through one of three incision types: through the areola (a periareolar incision), through the breast fold underneath the breast (an inframammary incision) or inside the arm fold (a transaxillary incision).
The periareolar incision is made through the areola, or dark-colored skin that surrounds the nipple. Many women prefer this incision, since the resulting scar is well-hidden by the dark color of the areola. However, if you are considering this incision site, be aware that it may increase the risk of breastfeeding difficulties due to its possible impact on milk ducts and nerves.
The inframammary incision is made under the breast, in the fold where the breast and chest wall meet. Due to its location, the scar can be easily concealed by a bra. And though its scar is more visible than a periareolar incision scar, the inframammary incision is a great alternative for women who wish to avoid the risk of causing breastfeeding complications that are increased with a periareolar incision.
The transaxillary incision is a small incision made underneath the arm fold, in the armpit area. The scar is easily hidden in the arm fold, and gradually fades a couple months after surgery.
Implant Placement: Under or Over the Muscle, or Partial?
Another choice that you will have to discuss with your plastic surgeon is where to place your implants (under or over the chest muscle, or partially under the muscle). This choice is based on factors that include a patient’s anatomy and the type of implant used.
- Submuscular Placement: This option places the implant underneath the pectoral (chest) muscle.
- Subglandular Placement: This option places the implant over the pectoral muscle and breast tissue.
- Dual Plane Position Placement: This is a placement option that only some of our plastic surgeons use; it places the implant partially over the pectoral muscle (underneath the breast tissue) and partially under the pectoral muscle.
What to Expect during a Breast Augmentation Procedure
Breast augmentation surgery is typically an outpatient procedure that takes one to two hours to perform. Patients are placed under general anesthesia for this procedure. Saline or silicone implants are placed through one of the incision sites (areola, breast fold or armpit). Saline implants are placed empty and filled once in place. Depending on the surgeon, he or she may use an endoscope (a small camera attached to a long, thin instrument) placed inside the incision to guide them during the surgery. Once the implant has been placed and properly positioned, the surgeon will close the incision with sutures. Patients are then typically bandaged or placed in a surgical bra to protect the surgical area as it heals.
The Breast Augmentation Recovery Period
During your recovery, you can expect a few days of soreness, swelling and limited mobility. Your doctor will likely provide you with pain medication to help with any discomfort. Sleeping on your back and with your upper body elevated will help reduce swelling, most of which dissipates after the first two weeks. Activities that involve lifting should be avoided for two weeks. Most patients can return to work and daily tasks after one week, and exercise (though no lifting or chest exercises) after two weeks.
Aftercare and Your Final Results
You will begin to see the results of your breast augmentation surgery after the second week, once most of the swelling is reduced and your breasts begin to look and feel softer and more natural. Most surgeons provide instructions for an aftercare regimen, which may include scar management, breast massaging exercises and other information to help the implants settle into their final position. Follow-up appointments with your doctor are also important during this time, so that he or she can make sure that you are healing properly. The final results of your surgery will appear around the two- to three-month mark. Generally by this time, your new, fuller breasts will have taken shape.
An Alternative to Implants: Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation
Some of our network’s plastic surgeons also offer a fat transfer breast augmentation (also called “natural breast augmentation”) procedure using the patient’s own fat (instead of implants) to increase the fullness of their breasts. This procedure uses excess fat from another part of the patient’s body (such as the stomach, flanks or thighs) that is removed through liposuction, refined and then transferred to the breasts through injection. This procedure works best for women who desire only a small increase in breast volume and who prefer natural-looking results.
What to Look for in a Plastic Surgeon
How do you ensure that you are getting the safest surgery, the least risk of complications and the most beautiful, natural-looking results? By choosing a plastic surgeon with a reputation for providing all three! The plastic surgeons that have been included in the Leading Medical Clinics of the World® directory have been selected because they are all:
- Well-respected by peers
- Positively reviewed by patients
- Ranked as a top medical practitioners in their field
- In good standing with their medical board(s)
- Operating from a clinic that upholds the highest level of healthcare standards
Some questions you might wish to ask during your initial consultation include:
- Would I be a good candidate for breast augmentation?
- Which breast implant options would you recommend for my body type and desired breast size and shape?
- How many breast augmentation procedures have you performed?
- What are the risks and complications associated with breast augmentation?
- How much time will I have to take off of work for recovery?
- What types of limitations (driving, exercising, etc.) will I have after surgery?
- Can you provide me with any more information (whether print or digital) to help me better understand the procedure?
- How long will my breast implants last? Will they need to be replaced?
- Do you offer evening or weekend appointments?
- What do you charge for breast augmentation surgery?
- What financing options are available to me as your patient?
Click the icon to print out this list and bring it with you to your consultation.
Connect with the Top Breast Surgeons in Your Area
Are you ready to schedule a breast augmentation consultation with one of the premier plastic surgeons in our network? At Leading Medical Clinics of the World®, we’ve already narrowed it down to the best of the best healthcare providers in your area. Now, all you have to do is find the breast surgeon that you feel will help you to achieve your specific surgery goals!