What Is Breast Augmentation?
A woman’s breasts can be intrinsically tied to her self-esteem. If she feels her breasts aren’t in proportion with her hips and her overall figure, she may wish to increase her breast size. Additionally, she may simply want to have larger breasts or to add volume and shape. This can be done with a breast augmentation, also sometimes called breast enhancement. In the procedure, breast implants are placed into pockets to increase the size of the breasts.
Reasons To Consider Breast Enhancement Surgery
Breast size and shape can be affected by a wide range of different factors. Some factors are specific to personal genetics while others are due to body changes such as pregnancy or a change in weight. No matter the individual reasons, all patients are seeking to achieve a higher level of personal satisfaction in regards to the cosmetic appearance of their breasts. Dr. Altamira will sit with you and discuss your desires to come up with the best surgical plan to achieve this goal. Some of the most common reasons why individuals seek breast augmentation include the following:
- You feel that your breasts are too small
- Dissatisfaction with your breasts losing shape and volume after pregnancy, weight loss or with aging
- You are unhappy with the upper part of your breast appearing “empty”
- Your breasts are asymmetrical
- One or both breasts failed to develop normally or have an elongated shape
Breast Augmentation Before and After Photo
Types of Breast Implants
- Silicone Gel Implant
- Saline Implant
- Gummy Bear Implant
The two most common implants for breast augmentation are silicone gel and saline.
Silicone Gel Breast Implant
Silicone implants are made from a silicone outer shell filled with medical-grade silicone gel. Today’s silicone gel is much more cohesive than was used in the 80s and 90s, with the consistency now being closer to gelatin. The consensus is that silicone implants feel more like natural breast tissue than saline implants. Additionally, silicone implants are inserted fully filled.
If a silicone implant ruptures, the implant will not collapse. But some of the gel may leak into the breast pocket and this will need to be removed, along with the ruptured implant.
Saline Breast Implant
Saline implants are made from a silicone outer shell that is then filled with a sterile saline solution once the shell is placed in the breast pocket. Because the implant is filled in place, this allows some flexibility in adjusting size. In addition, because they are filled once in place, saline implants require a smaller incision size. However saline implants, especially if placed atop the breast muscle, can sometimes develop rippling.
When a saline implant ruptures, the body simply absorbs the saline solution. The implant will fully collapse and the empty shell will need to be removed and replaced.
Gummy Bear Breast Implants
Gummy bear implants are a type of silicone implant that is made with what is called “highly cohesive” silicone gel. The consistency of this gel is much thicker than other silicone implants, more akin to a gummy bear. If a gummy bear implant is cut in half, the gel will remain within the shell and not leak out.
Gummy bear implants are created in a teardrop shape, which is closer to the shape of the natural breast.
How Are Breast Implants Sized?
Some people assume implants are sized like bras, but this isn’t the case. Implants are sized by the amount of material used to fill the implant. This is measured in cubic centimeters, cc’s.
What Type of Breast Implant Should I Choose?
Many women are plagued with this question, as they are unsure which implant is best for them. It is important to know that all patients are different and looking to achieve different looks. It is important to discuss your cosmetic desires with Dr. Altamira as he will be able to assist you in making the best decision for your personal goals. There are many factors to consider when it comes to picking the right breast implant. These factors include the surface, shape, and overall content of the implant.
- The surface of implant: Smooth or Textured
- The shape of implant: Round or Shaped
- Implant content or composition: Silicone (Cohesive gel or Gummy Bear) or Saline
During your consultation, you will be able to feel the different implants and discuss the advantages and disadvantages to each one. Dr. Altamira will provide a great amount of expertise on each implant and provide the best insight based on your preferred results.
What Type of Incisions are involved in Breast Enhancement?
Dr. Altamira can place your breast implants through four incision locations: areola, inframammary crease, transaxillary, and transumbilical. Each location has advantages and disadvantages.
- Areola: This incision is made just outside the dark skin of the areola. This incision location is very well hidden once healed and allows the implant to be placed either above or below the pectoral muscle. On the downside, this incision can limit the size of silicone implants used. This is because the implant needs to fit through the incision fully filled. Also, there is a risk of loss of nipple sensation and the future ability to breastfeed.
- Inframammary crease: This incision is made just above the crease on the underside of the breast. This allows the incision to be hidden under a bra or bikini top. This incision can handle any size of silicone implant. As a downside, this incision creates the most visible scarring. Also, to place the implants beneath the chest muscle, the muscle will need to be cut, complicating recovery.
- Transaxillary: This incision is made vertically in the armpit. Dr. Altamira may use an endoscope for better viewing of the breast pocket. As you would assume, this incision leaves no scarring on the breasts, and the vertical scar in the armpit quickly becomes almost invisible. Implants can easily be placed behind the chest muscle without any cutting. Plus, this incision doesn’t interfere with nipple sensation or later breastfeeding. On the downside, transaxillary incisions may limit the placement of extra large silicone implants. Also, the patient can’t wear deodorant for two weeks after surgery.
- Transumbilical: Also known as TUBA, this incision is made through the belly button. This is far and away the least common of incision locations. An endoscope is used to provide a view of the inside of the body as the implant is moved upward into position. There isn’t any scarring on the breasts with TUBA incisions and recovery is easier as this method is less invasive. On the downside, this incision cannot be used with silicone implants; their filled size is not able to fit through the belly button. Bleeding can be difficult to control. Also, there is a higher risk of damaging the implant shell during insertion.
How Do I Prepare for Breast Augmentation Surgery?
Preparing for augmentation surgery with Dr. Altamira is not complicated. You’ll need to stop the use of herbal supplements and any blood thinners and the like, as you would with any surgery.
Specifically for this surgery, don’t eat spicy food the night before. Don’t drink anything after midnight, maybe earlier with earlier surgery times. Be sure to answer the call from your anesthesiologist the night before. He or she must talk with you to be able to go ahead with the next day’s surgery. Take it easy on the alcohol — just one drink or glass of wine is fine, but not more.
The day of your surgery you’ll need to wash head to toe with Hibiclens antiseptic soap. Don’t wear any deodorant or moisturizer. Don’t wear any makeup or jewelry. Do brush your teeth, but don’t swallow any of the water.
Breast Implant Placement
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 (sub-glandular). 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 the implant) and less interference during mammograms. Disadvantages include a slightly longer recovery period due to muscle soreness and a potential for the 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 Patient Testimonial
Breast Augmentation With Fat Transfer
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.
Breast Augmentation Recovery
Recovery will not be as difficult as you may think. Although, your recovery will vary depending on your incision location and with the size of your implants. There will be some discomfort for the first few days, but many patients don’t use prescription pain medication. Those who do usually use it only for the first few days.
Your chest will feel tight, but this is completely normal because your tissues need to stretch and the implants need to settle into place. At first, it may seem your implants/breasts look too high on your chest. But this is also normal, as they will settle down into the breast pockets.
When you return home, you’ll be wearing a medical compression bra over your incision bandages. The compression helps to minimize swelling and takes any stress off of your incisions. You will wear this 24 hours a day for the first month. You may be able to switch to a sports bra after three weeks, but this depends on implant size and other factors. Dr. Altamira will discuss this with you. Supporting your breasts is critical so that your incisions are not stressed in any way.
Most patients can return to work in just four or five days, although submuscular implant placement may require a full week. Non-impact exercise can be done in about one week, but any impact exercise or activities need to wait for at least one month. Upper body exercises can resume in six weeks. You won’t be able to lift anything above your head for six weeks.
Will I Have a Scar After Augmentation?
This depends on your incision location. Areola and inframammary incisions create breast scarring. Areola scarring isn’t very visible and the scar on the inframammary crease will be visible. Incisions through the armpit leave only a vertical scar in the armpit, and this becomes basically invisible. TUBA incisions create no scarring.
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
- Temporary or permanent change in nipple/breast sensation
- Irregularities in breast contour/shape
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.
- Breasts will continue to change after augmentation. Weight gain or weight loss might further change the way your breasts look.
How Long After Having a Baby Can I Get Breast Augmentation Surgery?
If you just had a baby and are currently breastfeeding, You may have to wait up to 6 months before getting Breast Augmentation Surgery. It is also important to know that breast implants might hamper breastfeeding. Some women are able to successfully breastfeed after breast augmentation, while others aren’t.
Schedule a consultation
For more information about breast augmentation, contact our practice today at (713) 271-9000 to schedule a consultation. Don’t wait any longer to achieve the body you always wished to have. Dr. Altamira has plastic surgery offices located in Houston, Cypress, Sugar Land and surrounding areas in Texas.