Breast Augmentation/Breast Implants
A Breast augmentation, often called breast implants, can be done for cosmetic reasons or to help reconstruct breasts after a mastectomy or lumpectomy for cancer treatment. Breast implants are placed through incisions made either in front of or behind the chest muscle. The incision technique used will depend on the patient’s anatomy, lifestyle and personal preferences.
Patients can choose between saline and silicone breast implants, both of which are designed to last for many years. Today’s implants are very natural-looking and come in several shapes and sizes. The plastic surgeon will go over the pros and cons of each in detail with the patient during their initial consultation. A key difference between saline and silicone implants is that, because they are filled with a saltwater solution, saline implants look noticeably deflated in the case of rupturing or leaking. In contrast, silicone implants consist of thick silicone gel that retains its shape in the event of a leak or rupture.
How are breast implants used?
- Breast reconstruction to restore the look of the breasts following lumpectomy or mastectomy. Breast implants may be used alone or during reconstruction with tissue flaps. The reconstructive surgeon will work with the patient’s oncologist to design a safe and successful treatment plan that takes the patient’s unique aesthetic and reconstructive needs into consideration
- Breast augmentation to restore volume and fullness to deflated and shapeless breasts
- Breast lift with implants - The breast surgeon will place the implants into a breast pocket created before closing the incisions with dissolvable sutures.
- Breast revision - In some cases, a woman may no longer be unhappy with the size and shape of her breasts or may want to replace her implants with another type.
Fuller, Shapelier Breasts with Breast Augmentation
Women who are unhappy with small or deflated breasts as a result of genetics, pregnancy, nursing or the natural aging process may benefit from breast augmentation. Using breast implants, breast augmentation adds volume and reshapes the breasts for a fuller and more attractive appearance. Breast augmentation is the most commonly performed plastic surgery procedure, and when completed by a qualified plastic surgeon, it can produce life-changing results.
The board-certified plastic surgeons at Franciscan Health are experienced and skilled in performing breast augmentation to achieve natural-looking and beautiful results tailored to meet each patient’s needs and goals.
Breast Augmentation Candidates
Ideal breast augmentation candidates are women who:
- Have naturally small breasts or deflated breasts due to pregnancy, weight gain, nursing or the natural aging process
- Have asymmetrical breasts
- Do not smoke
- Are in good overall health
- Have realistic expectations from breast augmentation
Breast Implant Options: Saline vs. Silicone
There are two types of breast implants: saline and silicone. Each type has pros and cons, which the plastic surgeon will go over in detail with the patient during their initial consultation. One of the key differences between saline and silicone implants is that because they are filled with a saltwater solution, saline implants look noticeably deflated in the case of rupturing or leaking. In contrast, silicone implants consist of thick silicone gel that retains its shape in the case of a leak or rupture. Silicone gel implants are preferred by many patients because of their more natural look and feel.
Breast implants are placed through incisions made either in front of or behind the chest muscle. The incision technique used will depend on the patient’s anatomy, lifestyle and personal preferences.
It is important to note that breast augmentation alone does not treat breast sag (ptosis). In fact, larger breasts can worsen breast sag. Women who desire perkier breasts can combine breast augmentation with breast lift.
Breast Augmentation Procedure Details
Breast augmentation is an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia. During the procedure, the surgeon will make an incision and create a pocket where the implant will be carefully placed. Once the implant is placed, the incisions will be closed with sutures. The surgeon will then dress the treatment area with soft bandages and a surgical bra for support and to minimize swelling as the tissues heal.
In a breast augmentation with lift procedure, the surgeon will remove excess, sagging skin and reshape the breast tissue. He or she will also lift the breasts higher on the chest. The result is fuller, youthful looking breasts.
Breast Implant Recovery Details
Following surgery, patients will be taken to a recovery room to rest while the effects of the anesthesia wear off. Once they are cleared by medical staff, they will be released into the care of a loved one, so they can recover in the comfort of their own home.
The initial recovery period can take anywhere between one and two weeks, depending on each patient’s personal healing progress. During this time, patients should take time off from work and their normal routine. Patients will also need to refrain from vigorous activities including exercise, bending and lifting heavy objects. Bed rest is key during the first few days after surgery. However, small walks around the house are encouraged in order to promote proper blood circulation and to minimize the risk of developing blood clots.
Initially, the breasts may feel tender or sore. These side effects are temporary and can be minimized by taking prescription pain medication. Patients will initially notice that the breast implants will sit high up on the chest wall. Over time, the implants will settle into a more natural position. Follow-up appointments are key in order to monitor patients’ healing progress and ensure a safe and quick recovery as possible.