Breast augmentation is one of the most frequently performed cosmetic surgery procedures in the U.S. and one of our most popular services. Breast augmentation can give women with small or unevenly sized breasts a fuller, firmer, better-proportioned look through the placement of saline or silicone implants in the breast.
Our patients elect to undergo breast augmentation for many different medical and aesthetic reasons, including balancing breast size, compensating for reduced breast mass after pregnancy or surgery, and correcting a congenital breast defect. Under our doctors’ expert care, patients enjoy great-looking, natural-feeling breasts that are one or more cup sizes larger after the operation.
Fully Customized Breast Enhancement
We know that every woman is unique in both her desires and her body shape. With that in mind, we take the time during the preoperative consultations to learn what each patient hopes to gain from breast augmentation surgery and to decide which implant type and implant placement is best. In this way, every one of our patients enjoys completely customized treatment designed with her specific goals in mind.
Breast augmentation can achieve dramatic and beautiful results on its own as well as in conjunction with other cosmetic surgery or non-invasive procedures. We sometimes recommend combining breast augmentation with other procedures such as a breast lift for more satisfying results.
Saline and Silicone Gel Breast Implants
Breast implants are silicone shells filled with either saline (salt water) or silicone gel. Both implant types are very safe, and each offers its own advantages. We will help you decide which kind is right for you. During surgery, we will place the implants behind each breast, underneath either breast tissue or the chest wall muscle.
After many years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved silicone breast implants for breast augmentation surgery. We are proud to offer patients the option of silicone gel-filled breast implants, since they are much softer and feel more natural than saline-filled breast implants.
Breast Augmentation Surgery – Incision Techniques
The breast augmentation procedure lasts one to two hours and is typically performed with general anesthesia. Incisions are made in inconspicuous places on the breast to minimize scar visibility. These may be located:
- In the crease on the underside of the breast (inframammary), or
- Around the areola, the dark skin around the nipple (periareolar).
The breast is then lifted, creating a pocket into which the implant is inserted. Saline implants may also be placed endoscopically through an incision in the navel. This minimally invasive breast enhancement technique is known as a transumbilical breast augmentation or TUBA approach.
Breast Augmentation Surgery – Placement Options
- Submuscular – Beneath the muscle of the chest
- Subglandular – Beneath the breast tissue
- Subfascial – Above the muscle, but beneath the fascia
Implant placement beneath the muscle of the chest offers a few advantages over placement beneath the breast tissue only. These include reduced risk of capsular contracture (post-operative tightening around the implant) and less interference with mammogram examinations. Possible disadvantages include need for drainage tubes and elevated pain in the first few days following surgery.
The subfascial placement of breast implants has many of the advantages of both the submuscular and subglandular techniques of breast augmentation, and has become the preferred position for the placement of breast implants in our practice. During our consultation, we will discuss which option may be best for you.
After the implants have been inserted and positioned beneath the nipples, the incisions are stitched closed, then taped and bandaged. In a few days, these bandages may be replaced with a surgical bra.
Most patients feel tired and sore after breast augmentation surgery, but this usually passes in a day or two. Many patients return to work within the week. Stitches are removed in a week to 10 days after breast augmentation. Any post-operative pain, swelling and sensitivity will diminish over the first few weeks.
Scars from breast augmentation incisions will begin to fade in a few months and will continue to fade for months or years.
Complications following breast augmentation surgery are uncommon and usually minimal. They may include capsular contracture, swelling and pain, infection around the implant, a change in nipple sensation, milk production if you nursed a baby within a year before the procedure, and breakage or leakage of the implant (implant rupture) as a result of injury or the normal compression and movement of your breast.
If a saline implant ruptures, the implant will simply deflate in a few hours and your body will absorb the salt water. If a silicone implant leaks, you will need to see a doctor immediately. Regular monitoring of breast implants after breast augmentation is recommended to ensure continuing breast and implant health.