What Is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation (breast enlargement) is performed to increase breast size and/or correct breast asymmetry. Candidates include women who want larger breasts, and those who want to restore the breast volume often lost as a result of pregnancy or significant weight loss. Breasts can be enlarged with implants or by fat transplantation. Breast augmentation is not a substitute for mastopexy, which is a procedure to “lift” breasts that sag significantly.
Breast Augmentation with Dr. David Altamira
Types of Breast Implants
- Silicone Gel Implant
- Saline Implant
- Gummy Bear Implant
- Fat Transfer Implant
Silicone gel and saline are the two implant types most commonly used in breast augmentation.
Silicone Gel Breast Implant
These implants are filled with silicone gel, feeling significantly more like natural breast tissue than saline ones and are generally preferred for most augmentations.
If the implant leaks, the gel may remain within the implant shell, or may escape into the breast implant pocket. A leaking implant filled with silicone gel will not collapse. Keep in mind that if you choose silicone implants, you may need to visit your plastic surgeon regularly to make sure the implants are functioning properly.
Saline Breast Implant
These particular implants are filled with sterile salt water. Saline breast implants are inserted empty and then filled once they are in place. They provide a uniform shape, firmness and feel. There are certain women who will have a better result with saline implants in order to achieve the look they want.
Gummy Bear Breast Implants
The “gummy bear” or form-stable implant is a “teardrop” shaped implant which is actually a type of silicone gel implant. The difference is that the gel in the gummy bear implant is slightly firmer and maintains more of a teardrop shape in the breast than do the usual round gel implants.
The consistency of the silicone gel inside the implant is thicker than traditional silicone gel implants. These implants are also firmer than traditional implants, but are thought to be less likely to break.
How are Breast Implants placed?
Implants are placed underneath the breast, in a pocket created either just above the pectoralis muscle or just below the muscle. In most cases, the implants are placed below the pectoralis muscle (submuscular), but there are certain women who will achieve a more favorable result with the implants placed above the muscle (subglandular). The decision to place the implants above or below the muscle is based on several factors and will be decided at the time of your consultation. The procedure lasts 1 to 2 hours, and is typically performed with general anesthesia.
Advantages of implant placement behind the pectoralis muscle include a possible reduced risk of capsular contracture (hardening of scar tissue around implant), and less interference during mammograms. Disadvantages include a slightly longer recovery period due to muscle soreness and potential for motion of the breasts and implants when the chest muscles are flexed. Advantages of implant placement above the pectoralis muscle include that the breasts move more naturally as the patient uses her chest muscles, and that slight breast sagging is corrected.
Breast Augmentation Incisions
Incisions are made in inconspicuous places (in the crease underneath the breast, around the areola, or in the armpit) to minimize scar visibility. The space for the implant is then created under the breast, either on top of or below the pectoralis muscle, and the implant is inserted.
Breast Augmentation with Fat Transplantation
Breast augmentation with fat transplantation (fat transfer) uses liposuction to harvest excess fat from other parts of the body, and then the fat is then injected into the breasts. This procedure is appropriate for women who are looking for only a small increase in breast size, and want breasts that look and feel as natural as possible without using an implant.
First, fat is removed using liposuction, in which a cannula (a thin, hollow tube) is inserted through small incisions, and then moved back and forth to loosen excess fat, which is suctioned out using a vacuum or a cannula-attached syringe. The harvested fat cells are then purified, and the fat is injected into the breast through small incisions. The procedure takes approximately 2 to 3 hours.
Breast Augmentation Before and After
Breast Augmentation recovery
After breast augmentation with implants, the incisions are stitched, taped and bandaged. A surgical bra is typically worn to minimize swelling and support the breasts. For a few days most patients feel tired and sore, but many return to work within a few days. Stitches are removed in 1 week to 10 days. It is common to experience some degree of postoperative soreness and swelling for a few weeks. Exercise and normal activity can usually resume gradually over a two to three week period.
After breast augmentation with fat transplantation, recovery time is short. Normal activities may be resumed as soon as the patient feels comfortable in a few days. Compression garments are typically worn over the areas that received liposuction.
Breast Augmentation risks and side effects
In addition to the risks associated with surgery and anesthesia, those related to breast augmentation using implants include the following:
- Capsular contracture (hardening of scar tissue around the implant)
- Implant leaks and ruptures
- Implant deflation or shifting
- Temporary or permanent change in nipple/breast sensation
- Irregularities in breast contour/shape
The risks related to breast augmentation using fat transplantation include those related to liposuction, as well as the following:
- Fat necrosis
- Oil cysts
- Loss of volume
Due to the loss of volume that occurs when fat is reabsorbed by the body, touch-up injections of fat may be necessary.
Factors to consider before Breast Augmentation Surgery
- Breast implants won’t prevent your breasts from sagging. To correct sagging breasts, you might need to consider a breast lift (Mastopexy) in addition to breast augmentation.
- Breast implants aren’t guaranteed to last a lifetime. You might need to changed your implants in 8 to 10 years.
- Breasts will continue to change after augmentation. Weight gain or weight loss, might further change the way your breasts look.
- You might need routine MRI scans. It is recommended to monitor silicone breast implants with routine MRI scans every two years, starting three years after the initial implant surgery.
- Breast implants might hamper breast-feeding. Some women are able to successfully breast-feed after breast augmentation, while others aren’t.
- If you just had a baby and are currently breastfeeding, You may have to wait up to 6 months before getting Breast Augmentation Surgery.
Schedule a consultation
If you are interested in Beast Augmentation surgery, and would like to see if you are a good candidate, call (713) 271-9000 to schedule a consultation. Dr. Altamira has plastic surgery offices located in Houston and Sugar Land, Texas.