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Breast Augmentation: Is it For Me?
Considering breast augmentation or breast implants. If you dream of enhancing your curves with breast implants, our experienced plastic surgeons at South Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery want to help make your dreams a reality.
Generally, a good candidate for breast augmentation surgery:
- Is in good health
- Has fully developed breasts
- Is dissatisfied with the size or shape of her breasts
- Wants to fix breasts that are asymmetrical, or uneven
- Is at least 18 years old (for saline implants)
- Is at least 22 years old (for silicone implants)
Breast Implant Choices—Saline and Silicone
Choosing a breast implant is an individual process. At South Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery, we offer both saline and silicone implants to our patients. Before choosing one over the other, it is good to know the benefits of both so that you can make your decision based on the look and feel that you want.
Saline breast implants are filled with salt water. The implant is placed empty and then filled to the proper size when in place in the body. One benefit of saline breast implants is that they require a smaller incision than silicone implants, which means a smaller scar. They generally feel slightly firmer than silicone implants, and they cost significantly less. And since they are filled with sterile salt water, they won’t harm the body if they leak.
Silicone breast implants, unlike silicone implants, come pre-filled and are implanted in the body that way. They are filled with a thick but flexible silicone gel. Although more expensive than saline, many women prefer silicone implants, insisting that they look and feel more natural. There has been some controversy in the past over whether silicone implants are safe to use. However, the FDA has tested and approved their safety for use in breast augmentation surgeries for women 22 years of age and over. In addition, as a silicone implant is made of cohesive, solid gel, no harmful fluids or substances will enter the woman’s body if the implant is damaged.
At the South Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery, your surgeon will discuss your options for breast implants and help you make a decision on the breast implant that is the most appropriate fit for your physique and your personal preferences.
Incision Options for Breast Implants
Once you decide which breast implant is right for you, you and your doctor can discuss your choice of the incision point — the place on your body through which the implant will be placed. Incisions can be made in one of two areas: periareolar (through the areola, or dark area around the nipple) or inframammary (in the fold below the breast).
The periareolar incision scar is usually concealed by the darker skin of the areola. The drawback of this incision site is that in some patients it can interfere with breastfeeding.
The inframammary incision scar is easily hidden by the breast fold, and completely concealed by a bra or bikini top. And since the breast glands are not cut with this incision option, it creates no complications for breastfeeding.
The Breast Augmentation Procedure
The entire breast augmentation surgery usually takes between one and two hours, during which time you will be under general anesthesia. The doctor will make an incision either in the areola or the breast fold, placing the implant either under or over your pectoral muscle (subglandular or subpectoral, respectively). The placement of the implant will depend on your breast tissue, body composition and the amount of sagging (ptosis) of the breast. When the implants are properly placed, the incision is closed using stitches beneath the skin (subcuticular sutures). For more support, the doctor may also tape the incisions. He will then apply a gauge bandage and then a surgical bra to your breasts. After surgery, you may return home, though you will need to have someone drive you and stay with you for at least the first 24 hours.
The Recovery Process—What to Expect
Your breasts will appear firmer and fuller immediately following your breast augmentation. As with any cosmetic plastic surgery procedure, some swelling and/or bruising can be anticipated. Your breasts may not attain their final feel or shape for three to four months. Be sure to address any questions or concerns with your surgeon immediately. Your health and happiness are the most important considerations at any time.
You may be uncomfortable when you “awaken” after your breast enlargement. The cosmetic surgeons at South Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery can provide medication to relieve any discomfort. You will be placed in a surgical bra immediately after your cosmetic plastic surgery procedure. You will continue to wear this day and night for approximately two weeks. However, you may remove this special bra for showering purposes during those first few days. You will receive specific instructions to follow during your recovery including rest and sleeping positions, raising your arms, bathing and showering techniques, breast manipulation and deep breathing exercises.
Your surgeon will want to examine you at regular intervals during the first 90 days following your breast enlargement. Our patients return to the Center sometime after the third day so that a surgeon can remove any bandages and check the incision area. You will need your surgical bra to support your breasts until your doctor tells you otherwise. Your breasts may be swollen and bruised for approximately one to two weeks.
In most patients, the scars from the breast enlargement incisions will be pink for about six months and gradually fade thereafter. The scars are usually inconspicuous. Nevertheless, you should know that all scars are permanent and their height, width and final color are not totally predictable.
As with any surgical procedure, small nerves to the skin are interrupted during surgery. Portions of the nipple area may feel numb or have less than full feeling. Sensitivity usually returns over several weeks, but some diminished feeling may last indefinitely after your cosmetic plastic surgery.
If you sunbathe, or utilize a tanning bed, you must not do so until any numbness of the breast is gone (to avoid burning). After this point, you must protect the incision site with a sunscreen of SPF 15 or more for at least six months.
Even though most breast augmentation patients find that their bodies tolerate their breast implants well, your body’s natural reaction to any foreign material is to surround it with a thin membrane called a “capsule” in order to stay in the desired pocket. The formation of this capsule is not a problem and occurs in every patient. In some cases, for reasons that are as yet not completely understood, this capsule can shrink around one or both implants, compressing the implant and making it round and firm. This is called capsular contracture and can occur in varying degrees. Although some women may consider some firmness desirable, the capsule can cause the breast to become unnaturally firm, misshapen or uncomfortable. Capsular contracture may occur from a few weeks to several years after the initial procedure.
There is no way to predict your body’s reaction after breast enlargement in Fort Lauderdale, and no test to determine if you will develop capsular contracture. Placing the implant under the muscle, in some cases, can reduce the incidence of this condition. If a patient does develop capsular contracture, surgical intervention may be required.
The opposite of capsular contracture can also occur when breast implants are in a satisfactory position but several months later there is spontaneous expansion of the capsule. This is described medically as an inferior and lateral migration of the implants. If this happens, the breast enlargement patient will require closure of the breast pocket to reposition the implant either through the original incision or through a small inframammary incision.
While there is no evidence that breast implants cause breast cancer, it is recommended that the patient have a preoperative mammogram as a baseline. Thereafter, when having a mammogram be sure to go to a radiology center where the radiologist is experienced in the (Eklund) special technique required for an accurate x-ray of a patient with breast implants. It is emphasized that regular breast examination and mammograms are the best way to detect early cancers.
Meet the Doctors
Frequently Asked Questions
- How is this cosmetic plastic surgery procedure performed?
- How do I prepare for my breast enlargement?
- What is the difference between silicone and saline breast implants?
- Are implants safe?
- How long does the procedure take?
- What form of anesthesia is used?
- Can I return home the same day?
- How long before I can return to normal activity?
How is breast augmentation performed?
For your breast augmentation, an incision is made either under where the dark skin of the areola meets the light skin of the breast (periareolar) or under the breast where it meets the chest wall (inframammary). During your initial consultation, your surgeon will thoroughly discuss the placement of your incision, the pros and cons for you personally and consider your preferences.
A salt water (saline) filled implant or a cohesive gel implants (“gummy bear”) is placed either under or above the chest (pectoral) muscle–depending on your breast tissue, body formation, and amount of sagging (ptosis) of the breast. If the implant is placed under the pectoral muscle, simple movement of the arms automatically moves the implant around in its pocket. In some breast augmentation patients, these muscles are extremely active and can distort the implant so it is important to discuss with your surgeon the right implant placement for you. During your consultation, you and your surgeon should also discuss the differences between saline and silicone breast implants.
Your surgeon’s goal is to achieve the most natural breast appearance possible. Incisions are made in only 2 areas, periareolar and under the breast. On rare occasions, during the breast enlargement surgery, your surgeon may change the placement of the implant if a more optimum location can be determined. The incision is closed with stitches beneath the skin (subcuticular sutures). The incisions may also be taped for greater support and a gauze bandage applied to help with healing.
Peri-areolar Breast Augmentation
This technique involves making incisions around the areola. This is the dark area surrounding the nipple. Because of the placement of the incisions, most residual scarring is hidden by the naturally dark pigment of the areola.
Infra-mammary Breast Augmentation
This technique involves making a small incision in the infra mammary fold. This is the fold where the bottom of the breast meets the chest. The incision is placed so any residual scarring will be hidden by the fold of the breast.
You may choose to have other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, such as liposuction, performed at the same time as breast enlargement. Please consult directly with your surgeon to devise the best schedule for you.
How do I prepare for my breast enlargement?
South Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery breast augmentation patients should schedule a consultation to help determine post-operative breast size and to prepare for their cosmetic plastic surgery.
Please understand that the degree of your breast enlargement may be limited by the amount of tissue you have available to cover the implants. During your preoperative consultation, you will be given specific directions to help you prepare for your procedure. Instructions generally include cautions about taking certain medication and drinking alcohol, the shaving process and use of antibacterial soap.
You must stop taking aspirin, aspirin containing medications or diet pills for 2 weeks prior to your surgery. Do not eat or drink anything eight hours before your procedure and do not smoke two weeks prior to and two days after surgery. If you take daily medication, ask your surgeon if it is safe to take prior to your procedure. If you have any sores on your body, if you have a cold, sore throat or allergic condition, inform your surgeon so you may be examined again prior to your procedure. If you are at or over age 40, an electrocardiogram will be required.
What is the difference between silicone and saline breast implants?
Saline (salt water) breast implants have been the only choice for women getting breast augmentation over the last 14 years. This has been because of a FDA ban on silicone breast implants while their safety was being determined. Patients undergoing breast reconstruction have been able to choose silicone breast implants during this time and can attest to their natural shape and feeling and their sturdiness. In November of 2006, the FDA cleared these cohesive gel implants for use by patients over 22 years old who are getting breast augmentation. Breast enhancement candidates are encouraged by the FDA’s announcement that “gummy bear” cohesive gel implants are as safe and effective as their salt water (saline) counterparts. At the South Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery, your surgeon will discuss your options for breast implants and help you make your decision.
Silicone breast implants are less prone to rippling than saline implants; however, most doctors will place a saline implant under a layer of muscle so there is more tissue above the implant. This lessens the “wrinkling” that you may see or feel through the skin. Some surgeons have found that another way to dampen the rippling of saline implants is to slightly overfill them.
Are implants safe?
Every women wonders: “What if my implant bursts?” Saline implants are filled with salt water and, if something did go wrong, the salt water solution would be absorbed by your body. Years ago, there was concern that if silicone breast implants leaked, the silicone could harm a woman’s health. This is no longer the case. Cohesive gel implants, sometimes called “gummy bear” implants, are made of a solid, flexible gel. If one of them is damaged, no harmful fluids or substances will enter the women’s body. The FDA recently cleared cohesive gel implants for general use when it was determined that they were as safe and effective as saline breast implants.
How long does the procedure take?
Operating time is generally one to two hours.
What form of anesthesia is used?
General anesthesia is used for all surgical procedures and is performed by a Professional M.D. Anesthesiologist.
Can I return home the same day?
Yes. Breast enlargement is done on an ambulatory basis. However, it is necessary that you have someone to pick you up after the procedure, take you home, and stay with you for at least 24 hours.
All Patients must schedule check-up appointments for the following times:
- 1 day
- 1 week
- 1 month
- 3 months
- 6 months
- 1 year
How long before I can return to normal activity?
Most women return to their usual activities in one week. However, you must not lift anything for the first two weeks and do no heavy lifting for the first four weeks.
Schedule Your Consultation
Are you overwhelmed with your implant options? Do you have more questions you need to be answered? Are you ready to have the breasts that you’ve always wanted? Then you are ready to have a consultation with the experienced surgeons at the South Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery. Contact us today at (954) 565-7575 or toll-free at (800) 274-LIPO and schedule your consultation.