Why Choose a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon
Choose a board-certified plastic surgeon and be confident you are in the care of a highly trained surgeon you can trust.
Cosmetic plastic surgery has been consistently on the rise, but breast enhancement is by far the most popular procedure. In 2017 alone, there were 300,378 breast augmentations and 105,219 breast lifts performed.
Many women have lots of important questions about breast augmentation, including the following frequently asked questions.
Breast enhancements are performed to enhance the size and shape of a woman's breasts. This is done primarily and traditionally with implants.
There are lots of reasons why women opt for this treatment, including when they have significant asymmetry or have experienced loss of breast volume due to weight loss or pregnancy, or generally to enhance their breast shape and volume and create more balance with the rest of their body.
Breast implants are composed of a silicone shell that is either filled with a cohesive silicone gel or saline (salt water). Ultimately the decision on which implant to use will come down to aesthetic goals and personal preference.
Aside from the material, implants also come in different shapes and sizes. Round implants are quite popular and are generally chosen by women who want substantial lift, cleavage and fullness, and teardrop-shaped implants can in some cases give a more natural projection and fullness to the breasts.
Saline implants are silicone shells filled with sterile salt water or saline. If saline implants leak the saline will be absorbed by the body. This leak can occur but is an uncommon event.
Silicone implants are filled with a special, medical-grade gel that is intended to create a more natural feel and look to the breast as compared to saline implants, in particular in thinner women.
For saline implants, any healthy patient 18 or older is eligible for this surgery. To receive silicone implants, the FDA deems that only patients 22 or older are eligible.
Ideal candidates are:
The surgery is usually performed with either general anesthesia or conscious sedation, which means the patient is either asleep or sedated for the procedure. This varies by surgeon and patient, so be sure to discuss beforehand.
During surgery, the surgeon uses small incisions to create a "pocket" to make room for the implant. Once the implant is positioned, the incisions will be closed and bandaged. A helpful 3D visual animation of the process can be found at the ASPS website. In general, the entire procedure usually lasts two hours or less, and patients can go home soon afterward.
As with any surgery, there are potential risks to be aware of, including:
Speaking to your surgeon about these and preparing in advance can greatly help allay any concerns and minimize risks.
Your doctor and their staff will give you a specific list of instructions, but in general:
When choosing a plastic surgeon, patients should consider the following questions:
After choosing a plastic surgeon, patients should be sure to ask questions such as:
Recovery varies from one patient to the next, so each person's total recovery time may be different. On average, full recovery ranges from four to six weeks. Most patients will feel substantially improved within one week of surgery, but doctors generally recommend sticking to light activity and no strenuous exercise until a patient is fully healed.
All skin incisions are permanent and will leave some type of scar, but in most cases they heal very well and become harder to see with time. Most surgeons can leave minimal scarring in an inconspicuous place, such as underneath the breast, but patients should always ask about size and placement of scars before surgery.
It's important to go into this surgery with realistic expectations. This type of breast enhancement procedure can:
Augmentation does have some limitations, and in the case of severe drooping or sagging, many women will need a supplementary breast lift as well. This is normal and can easily be performed alongside augmentation.
Exact cost should always be discussed in detail with your doctor because it can differ greatly depending on your location and needs.
The results of a breast implant procedure are typically long-lasting. Breast implants often "last" as long as 10 years (this number is variable and can be larger or smaller) but can vary depending on the patient, type, size and shape, among other factors. Patients often elect to undergo second or even third breast augmentation procedure as they naturally age to maintain their aesthetic profile.
Patients cite this procedure as a great confidence booster, especially when patients are good candidates and maintain reasonable expectations for what breast augmentations can achieve. Asking the right questions and performing your due diligence before your procedure can go a long way to help provide a wonderful experience and ultimately reach your aesthetic goals.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.