Breast Augmentation is a surgical procedure designed to increase the fullness/size and improve the shape of the breast. This can be achieved with a breast implant or, to a certain degree, with fat grafting.
Who is a good candidate for a Breast Augmentation?
Patients who want an increase in size of their breasts, especially those who like the appearance of increased cleavage, are good candidates for a Breast Augmentation.
The traditional way to augment the breasts is with a breast implant. Implants are a great way to augment the breast and give reliable upper pole fullness/cleavage and can be used to achieve a wide range of sizes, from small to large.
Fat grafting is another way to augment the breasts and is a good option for certain patients. Those who want an improvement in shape, less cleavage and a more “natural result”, and those who only want to go up about a cup size can be great candidates for fat grafting procedures. If a significant amount of increased size is required to meet the patient’s needs, then breast implants are a better option.
Patients with significant extra, loose skin and those whose nipples are low on the breast may require some breast reshaping (a Breast Lift/ Mastopexy) in addition to or instead of a Breast Augmentation for the best outcome. If breast reshaping is needed, some people still benefit from an increase in volume to improve the shape of the breast with implants or fat grafting.
What should a patient expect during and after a Breast Augmentation?
If an implant is used, it will be placed above or below a muscle called the pectoralis major, and this depends on how much natural breast tissue the patient has. If the implant is placed under the muscle, there can be some additional soreness and a tight sensation for the first few days after surgery, which generally improves with mild range of motion exercises and low dose muscle relaxant. Most patients are able to go out into public within a few days of surgery. Patients will be restricted to no upper body strenuous activity for 6 weeks to prevent movement of the implant into an unfavorable position.
With fat grafting, the patient can expect mild swelling that improves over a few weeks. There will be some soreness where Liposuction was used to harvest the fat. Generally only 80% of the fat injected will retain long term, so it is not uncommon to require 2-3 rounds of this procedure for the desired result. The fat will continue to grow with the patient and will change long term with weight gain or loss just like any other fat in the body.
What size and type of implants are used in a Breast Augmentation?
Similar to a water balloon, all breast implants have an outer shell (like the rubber portion of the balloon) and a different material that fills the inside (like the water inside the balloon). All breast implants types have a silicone shell. The material on the inside of all breast implants is either medical grade silicone or saline (a certain mixture of salt water that is safe for the body). Both types of implants have a wide range of sizes that can meet the needs of almost any patient.
There are nuances that make a silicone or saline filled implant better for certain patients. In general, silicone implants feel slightly more natural but are harder to check for any leaks, which can occur in a small portion of people as the breast implants age over time and are generally treated with exchange for a new breast implant.
New technologies with both implant types have made breast implant surgery safer and more predictable than ever. This helps avoid many of the problems that patients had with older implant types in the past. It is important to discuss implant choice closely with your Plastic Surgeon to custom tailor your results for the best outcome and to understand all the risks and benefits of using an implant for a Breast Augmentation.
What results can a patient expect from a Breast Augmentation?
Patients can expect significant improvement in the size and shape of their breast. The size of the implants will be custom fit to their body according to their desired size and shape. We work through a comprehensive system to help choose the implant size and type with the patient, so there is no guesswork on the day of surgery. This will ensure the final implant size is one that the patient is extremely happy with.