Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Best plastic surgeon tampa breast augmentation

Breast augmentation is a type of cosmetic surgery performed on the breasts to enhance their size, shape, and appearance. This procedure can be done on women who have small breasts or asymmetrical breasts, or whose breasts have lost volume and firmness due to pregnancy or breast-feeding. Breast augmentation is also an option for women who feel as though their breasts are too small for their body frame. The procedure reshapes the breast tissue by placing implants under the pectoral muscle. These implants can be made from silicone gel or saline solution, which are filled with salt water.

Before undergoing breast augmentation, you should be aware that there are risks involved with the surgery. These include bleeding and infection at the incision site; scarring; implant rupture; implant displacement; capsular contracture (the formation of scar tissue around the implant); pain during sexual intercourse; and nipple sensitivity changes caused by the surgery itself or its anesthesia. However, many people report satisfaction after having this procedure done—and it’s important to remember that there’s no right way to feel about your body!

You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on Best plastic surgeon tampa breast augmentation, choosing your breast implants. Read on to learn more. We at cosmeticsurgerytips have all the information that you need about risks of breast augmentation. Read on to learn more.

Best plastic surgeon tampa breast augmentation

Breast augmentation for athletic women.

Looking your best is important to every woman in Tampa. That’s why breast augmentation is one of the most popular surgeries performed at Castellano Cosmetic Surgery Center. Breast augmentation also can have a dramatic impact on improving a woman’s appearance, helping you feel better about yourself and your figure.

There are many reasons to consider breast enlargement, such as changes in breast size due to weight loss or following pregnancy, or wanting to create a more proportionate figure in line with your body frame. Women may also choose augmentation in order to create symmetry in uneven breasts. Or, you may simply want a larger cup size and a curvier, more feminine figure.

WHEN BREAST AUGMENTATION IS RIGHT

The ideal candidate for breast implants will have realistic expectations about the results of their procedure. Patients should already be in good overall physical and mental health. Other factors to take into consideration include your typical level of physical activity, and whether you may want to breastfeed following the procedure.

WHAT TO EXPECT

A breast augmentation first requires a consultation with Dr. Castellano. During this initial appointment, Dr. Castellano will discuss your ideal results and the methods he can use to achieve these results. Since most patients think of implants in terms of cup size, while surgeons refer to implants by their volume, or CCs, it’s important to make sure you are on the same page during this initial consult.

Some patients may bring in photos showing their ideal silhouette as a reference. This can help Dr. Castellano understand what you want to achieve. You’ll also discuss what type of implants will be used and Dr. Castellano will explain the differences between saline and silicone gel so you can make the right decision based on your needs.

The procedure itself will take an hour or so, excluding the pre-surgical preparation time and the postoperative recovery. Incision size and placement varies depending on the size and type of implant used as well as the placement. Every effort is made to minimize scarring, and incisions are usually placed where they will disappear within the natural contours of the breast after healing.

RECOVERY AND RESULTS

The initial recovery from your breast augmentation will take about a week, although it may be longer before the swelling dissipates enough to reveal your final breast shape. Most women do feel some discomfort at first, although the amount will vary. Everyone’s body handles surgery differently. However, most patients find they can resume a low-impact routine within the first week. Exercise and other vigorous activity needs to wait a little longer.

WITH OTHER PROCEDURES

Augmentation alone will not move the breasts higher on the body, so if you are looking to improve both the size and position of your breasts, a breast lift may be combined with a breast augmentation. Tampa women who choose this option will be able to have both procedures simultaneously, leading to a faster recovery time than two separate procedures would require, plus enhanced results.

If you’ve been thinking about getting breast augmentation surgery, you’re far from the only one. Breast enhancement is the most popular surgery in the United States. Breast augmentation can help give you a more proportionate silhouette and help you feel more sexy and feminine. Consider this your comprehensive guide to breast augmentation FAQ – from how to know if it’s right for you to what to expect from your final results.

1. How Do I Know If I’m a Good Candidate for Breast Augmentation?

To be a good candidate for breast augmentation, you should be in good health. If you have any medical conditions, they should be under control. Any such conditions should be discussed with your cosmetic surgeon, who may request a medical clearance from the doctor who treats your condition. If you smoke, your cosmetic surgeon may ask you to quit for a period of time before having surgery. This is because nicotine causes your blood vessels to constrict. Therefore, smoking raises your risk for surgical complications and hinders your ability to heal afterward.

At a breast augmentation consultation, your cosmetic surgeon will examine you in order to determine your candidacy for the procedure.

2. Can Breast Implants Look Natural?

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Most women want breast implants that enhance their shape and add fullness without looking like they had work done. It’s very easy to avoid the “fake” look today, thanks to ever more sophisticated techniques and products. Implants themselves come in such a variety of types and placement methods that a skilled and qualified cosmetic surgeon can customize your breast enhancement procedure to suit your body and tastes and to give you the most natural looking results possible.

3. Should I Get Silicone or Saline?

One question that invariably appears in every breast augmentation FAQ list is, “should I get saline or silicone implants?” Let’s look at the differences between the two.

  • Silicone: Silicone implants are FDA-approved for cosmetic use in women age 22 and older. They are made of a silicone shell filled with cohesive silicone gel. Silicone implants are more popular than saline implants. This is likely because the gel inside them looks and feels more like natural breast tissue. Women who have little existing breast tissue often opt for silicone since saline implants for this reason.
  • Saline: Saline implants have silicone shells which are filled with saline, a sterile salt water solution. Saline implants are available to women 18 and older. Saline implants may not yield as natural-looking results as silicone implants, but do offer their own set of advantages. One such advantage is that saline implants can be inserted into the chest while they are empty, then filled afterward. This allows your cosmetic surgeon the ability to adjust the size of the implants during the procedure. Women who already have a substantial amount of breast tissue may prefer to use saline implants since the natural tissue present will serve to help conceal the appearance of the implant.

Many women also have questions about whether saline or silicone is safer. The answer is that there is nothing to indicate that one type of implant poses any particular risk above and beyond the other. Therefore, silicone and saline breast implants are considered to be equally safe.

4. What’s Better: Under the Muscle or Over the Muscle?

You’ve probably heard that breast implants can be placed either above or below the muscles in your chest, and you may have heard arguments about why one is a better option than the other. In truth, the best placement method depends on several factors. Some cosmetic surgeons may prefer one over another in a general sense. However, the best placement depends on your body, your lifestyle and your aesthetic preferences.

  • Submuscular: For submuscular placement, implants are placed under the pectoral muscles. This is often the preferred route for people who get saline implants and for women who are thin and have little natural breast tissue. This is because the muscles help to camouflage the implant, creating a more natural look. The chance of breast implant rippling is also reduced when this method is chosen.
  • Subglandular: For subglandular placement, a cosmetic surgeon places the implant above the pectoral muscle and underneath the breast gland. This placement method may be more ideal for women who have substantial existing breast tissue and in cases where silicone implants are being used since concealing the implant beneath the muscle is not as big a concern in such cases. Athletic women getting implants may prefer subglandular placement, since the chest muscles are not disturbed and healing time is faster.
  • Split Muscle: Split muscle placement offers a combination of the other two placement types. As the name indicates, split muscle placement is when the implant is inserted partially under and partially over the pectoral muscle. The top half of the implant sits under the muscle, while the bottom half does not. This can allow for greater projection than full submuscular placement, and help a woman to achieve the “perky” look that many desire. It’s also an attractive option for athletes, giving them more natural-looking results than subglandular placement would without having to opt for a full submuscular placement.

Split muscle placement helps the implant stay in place, reducing the chance of shifting and indentation.

15 Questions to Make the Most of Your Mommy Makeover Consultation Castellano Cosmetic Surgery Center

5. How Do I Figure Out What Size to Get?

One of the breast augmentation FAQs that always comes up early on is, “how big should I go?” Exact size probably doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. It helps to think in terms of proportion rather than size when considering how big your implants should be.

Breast implants are not measured in cup-sizes. Cup size measurements are not consistent across the many brands of bras. Therefore, this would be a pretty inaccurate way of determining size for implants. Instead, breast implants are measured in cc’s (or cubic centimeters). Don’t worry if you have no idea how many cc’s will give you the look you want. That’s where an experienced cosmetic surgeon comes in. He or she can help you understand how cc’s work and how they correlate with cup size. Another thing many women find surprising is that the size of implant that looks great on someone else might not look right on their body. Many factors come into play when determining the exact implant size that would work best for you

  • The dimensions of your chest area.The size of your chest wall and the diameter of your breasts will be a major factor in what size of implants could be comfortably and attractively accommodated.
  • Your height, weight and general body type.A petite woman with 350 cc implants might look totally different than a tall, curvaceous woman with 350 cc implants.
  • The amount of existing breast tissue you have.How much breast tissue you start out with makes a difference, too. Women with very little are usually advised not to go too big, since this can make the skin appear stretched and too-large implants can look very obvious.
  • Your personal tastes.Of course, much of the decision comes down to what you like. Some women want a very subtle, natural look while others prefer something much more dramatic.
  • Your lifestyle.When you’re thinking about size, imagine how your implants might affect your daily activities. One example would be if you are a very active and athletic person, you might want to avoid getting overly large implants.
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Another thing to consider in addition to size is projection. This is how far your implants protrude from your chest. There are 4 options when it comes to breast implant profiles:

  • Moderate
  • Moderate Plus
  • High Profile
  • Ultra-High Profile

The profile you choose will affect the way your final results look. For the subtlest look, you’d want to select a moderate profile implant. Ultra-high profile implants are at the other end of the spectrum. The most popular and commonly used type is moderate plus.

6. Will Breast Implants Help with Sagging?

Breast enhancement isn’t just about making your breasts larger. Over time, and particularly after pregnancy and breastfeeding or a weight loss, breasts tend to lose fullness and hang lower on the chest than they once did. While implants can restore the lost volume, only a breast lift can raise them up higher. If you are unhappy with the way your nipples or areolas appear, your cosmetic surgeon can adjust their positioning during a breast lift. A lot of women find their best results come from combining breast implants with a breast lift.

Sagging sometimes has nothing to do with age and a young woman can certainly be a candidate for a breast lift.

7. Where Will My Incisions Be and Will They Be Noticeable?

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Your cosmetic surgeon will need to make incisions through which to insert your breast implants. The placement of your incisions will depend on the type of implant you choose as well as your personal preferences.

  • Periareolar Incision: The preferred incision placement at Castellano Cosmetic Surgery Center, the periareolar incision is made along the bottom of the areola. This incision method leaves the smallest scar and can heal up so well as to be nearly invisible after surgery. Choosing a cosmetic surgeon with a high level of technical skill is critical in ensuring the best results from a periareolar incision.
  • Inframammary Incision: For this technique, the incision is placed in the natural crease below your breast. This gives your cosmetic surgeon the most access to the breast pocket, and consequently a great deal of control when it comes to exact placement.
  • Transaxillary incision: Far less common is the transaxillary incision, which is made through the armpit and leaves no visible scarring on the breast. This incision is only used in certain cases as determined by a cosmetic surgeon.

Our Before & Afters

The gallery contains before and after pictures of actual patients. View all cases for a complete listing of all of our before and after photos of the patients treated.

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Case 47 - Before

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8. What’s Breast Augmentation Recovery Like?

After breast augmentation surgery, you’ll need time to heal and recuperate. Everyone’s recovery timeline will vary slightly. However, here’s a general idea of what you can expect. If you have questions, such as what kind of exercises you can do during recovery, ask your cosmetic surgeon.

  • Day 1: You’ll need a ride home from surgery, since you will still be under some of the effects of anesthesia used during your procedure. Someone should stay with you in the first 24 hours after your surgery. You’ll need to rest and relax once you get home and will probably need to take prescription pain medications.
  • Days 2-7: In the first week after your surgery, you’ll be swollen and probably have some discomfort. At this point, you will likely want to continue taking pain meds to help keep you comfortable. You’ll have to wear a compression garment to help counteract swelling and aid healing, and you won’t be able to drive or do much of anything around the house. This is the time to rest and relax.
  • Days 7-14: You will probably be able to return to work at this point, depending on what you do at your job. You’ll still have some activity restrictions, but can begin to gradually get back to your normal routine.
  • Days 14–30: During weeks 3 and 4, you should be able to do some light exercise. You will still need to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous workouts at this point. Your breasts will probably still seem tight and look like they sit too high on your chest. This is totally normal.
  • 6 weeks and beyond: By this point in your recovery process, the swelling will likely have gone down significantly and your incisions will start to look better. Wait for the go-ahead from your cosmetic surgeon before getting back into vigorous exercise. It can take 3 to 6 months before your implants drop and settle into place, at which point you will be able to enjoy your final results.

While you can’t exercise much during the early stages of recovery, it’s important to walk around periodically to promote healthy circulation.

9. Do I Have to Replace Breast Implants Every 10 Years?

You may have heard that it is necessary to have breast implants removed and replaced after 10 years. This likely comes from the fact that manufacturers generally warranty their implants for 10 years. However, many women go well beyond the decade mark without any need for replacement. The most common reason for women to have implants removed is because they want to go bigger. The only other reasons to consider replacement are if a rupture occurs or you are unhappy with the way your implants look or feel.

Unless there is a problem with your implants, replacing them is not necessary.

10. How Do I Prepare for Breast Augmentation Surgery?

Once you find your cosmetic surgeon and decide to go ahead with having breast implants, it’s time to start planning. A little preparation goes a long way toward helping you have a quick and comfortable recovery.

If you’ll be recovering at home, there are some things you can do to make it easier on yourself.

  • Plan meals. Make and freeze some meals ahead of time or make arrangements to have someone help with the cooking while you recuperate.
  • Stock up. Go shopping and buy all the things you’ll need (and won’t be able to drive to the store and get) while you recover. Fill your fridge and cupboards with healthy, nutritious snacks. Make a list and get all the bandages, ice packs, medications and other medical supplies you’ll need.
  • Clean up. Create a safe, healthy and pleasant atmosphere for your recovery by cleaning and organizing your house ahead of time. Make sure you have plenty of clean sheets, blankets, pillows and comfortable clothing.
  • Get proactive about boredom. While you’re resting, it can be tempting to get up and do more than you should. It helps to have an anti-boredom strategy in place ahead of time. Download some movies, check out some books or pick up a stack of interesting magazines.
  • Clear your calendar. Put in for time off work well ahead of your surgery and cancel or reschedule any appointments or obligations that fall during your recovery period.
  • Arrange for childcare if needed If you have kids, particularly younger ones, it’s important to make arrangements for someone to help care for them in the first week or so of your recovery.
Woman in a bikini with her hands in her hair on a blue backdrop.

11. Will I Be Able to Breastfeed after Getting Implants?

The majority of women are able to successfully breastfeed after having implants. If you plan to do so, it’s advisable to select submuscular placement rather than subglandular. This is the method least likely to interfere with nursing since no incisions are made around the areola. Talk to your cosmetic surgeon about your desire to nurse in the future so you can plan your breast augmentation for breastfeeding.

12. What Happens If My Implant Ruptures?

If your implant ruptures, which is rare, you will need to have it removed and replaced. When a saline implant ruptures, you will be able to tell very quickly since the saline leaks out quickly and the implant shell deflates almost immediately. It’s much more difficult to tell if a silicone implant has ruptured since the silicone gel filling takes a long time to leak out from the shell. That’s why women with silicone implants may be advised to have periodic MRI scans, as this is the only way to accurately tell whether or not a silicone implant has ruptured.

13. Why Does It Take So Long to See Final Results?

It can be difficult to wait for your final results to develop, but your patience will pay off. In cases of submuscular placement, the pectoral muscles become agitated and tense up after surgery. This causes the implants to seem tight and sit higher on the chest than you’d probably like. Once the muscle relaxes, your implant will settle into a lower position on your chest and look much more natural and beautiful.. The time it takes for results to develop is why many women choose to have breast augmentation in the fall.

Choosing your breast implants

The sheer number of breast implant variations available to patients and surgeons can lead to confusion; however, careful measurement, proper analysis of your anatomy, and experienced decision-making can help our plastic surgeons give you the best breast enlargement possible.

Unfortunately, some surgical recommendations are made on the basis of marketing, surgeon habit, or profit, rather than careful listening to the patient’s goals and concerns. As leading Minnesota aesthetic plastic surgery providers, our American Board of Plastic Surgery-certified plastic surgeons and experienced nursing staff help patients choose their breast implants with the benefit of extensive expertise and over 50 years of combined experience with thousands of patients.

Since breast augmentation is performed so frequently at Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, Ltd., we maintain an extensive on-site inventory of breast implants in virtually every size and profile, in both two types of cohesive silicone, as well as saline. Your implants don’t have to be ordered in advance, you don’t have to worry about us having the “right ones” in surgery, and on-time delivery is not an issue—they are already here!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgery’s AAAASF-accredited surgical facility is one of the first in the country to offer a complete on-site stock of Allergan Natrelle Inspira (Responsive) cohesive silicone gel implants in all sizes and profiles. Natrelle Inspira Responsive (cohesivity type 1) are higher-fill implants designed to reduce visible implant rippling compared to the previous  Allergan Natrelle silicone gel implants.

MPS now also offers a complete (all sizes and profiles) on-site consignment of Inspira Soft-Touch (cohesivity type 2) cohesive silicone gel implants with even more ripple resistance. In the unlikely event your anatomy requires the even-more crosslinked Inspira Cohesive implants (cohesivity type 3–identical to the style 410 cohesivity explained in more detail below), we can have multiple sizes and profiles of implants overnight express delivered to fulfill your requirements.

Breast Implant Information–What are the Options?

Types of Breast Implants

Breast implants come in numerous sizes (100cc – 800cc, or about 3 to 27 ounces each), shapes (round, oval, or teardrop “anatomic”), surface characteristics (smooth or textured), and fill material. Most breast implants are filled with saline or silicone gel, and occasionally other materials (though none of these “other materials” are FDA approved at the present time). Silicone gel implants presently come no larger than 800cc, but 800cc saline implants can be “overfilled” to volumes higher than this when requested in select patients.

Since the material inside breast implants is what gives them their “feel,” filler material choices have generated much controversy and media interest, not to mention scientific debate. We can provide both the science and years of expertise to help you determine whether saline or silicone is best for you.

Until March 9th, 2012, only two manufacturers produced breast implants FDA-approved for use in the United States (Mentor Corp., now part of Johnson and Johnson; and Inamed Corp., previously McGhan Medical, now owned by Allergan, Inc.). For the first time in 20 years in the United States, a third company (Sientra) has received FDA approval to sell their Silimed brand of silicone and saline implants, including textured anatomic silicone gel implants.

Prior to the FDA restrictions of 1991-1992, numerous companies produced breast implants with different designs, surfaces, and filler materials, including polyurethane-coated silicone gel implants, silicone-saline double-lumen implants (the Becker implant), and PVP hydrogel filled implants designed to pass mammography X-rays and have a feel more like silicone than saline (the Bioplasty Misti-Gold implant). After the FDA restrictions, these implant options and companies were lost to USA patients, though some of these companies and options remain available in other countries.

In the United States, besides the presently-available Mentor, Allergan, and now Silimed implants, several companies have produced investigational implants that are not yet FDA-approved and are implanted only by plastic surgeons associated with the FDA investigation/approval process.

Silicone or Saline? (How about fat?)

At Minneapolis Plastic Surgery we offer both saline and the latest cohesive silicone breast implants.

Saline identical to intravenous fluid was the most common type of breast implant filler material used in the United States from 1992 until November 2006, when the FDA re-approved the use of silicone gel-filled implants for primary elective breast augmentation. Prior to the 1992 FDA restrictions,and again after 2006, silicone gel implants are utilized in over 85 percent of all breast augmentation procedures in the United States, and remain the most commonly used breast implants worldwide.

Other types of filler material have been evaluated over the years prior to the introduction of silicone gel implants in 1963, and one or more problems are associated with these. Paraffin, sponges, and other unusual materials were used in early efforts to enlarge breasts; results were dismal until silicone came into use in the 1960s.

More recently, during the FDA restrictions from 1992-2006, soybean oil-filled implants were studied extensively, and were used in many patients in Europe, as well as a few U.S. patients in FDA studies. Breakdown of the oil, rancid smell, and other concerns ultimately led to withdrawal of this implant (Trilucent™) in the US and in Europe. Fat as implant fill material has the same concern, and is not used.

Fat graft injections of a patient’s own liposuction fat (directly into or beneath the breasts) have been performed by some physicians. Among other names, this has been termed “natural breast augmentation” since the surgeon uses the woman’s own fat tissue (and you have to pay for the liposuction used to obtain the fat)! The American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons have been cautious in endorsing breast augmentation via fat grafting because 30-50% of the transferred fat always dies, and can cause microcalcifications, scar tissue lumps, and/or oil cysts within the breast. These can be seen on mammography, and may confuse or obscure diagnosis of early or small breast malignancies.

Though many radiologists state that they can tell the difference between dead-fat microcalcifications (from fat grafting), and dead-fat microcalcifications (from possible breast cancer), many plastic surgeons (including those here at MPS) are not willing to risk your life for a procedure that remains unproven regarding long-term safety, especially since 1 in 8 or 9 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. And also since implants are still a superior choice lacking these mammographic concerns.

Scientific studies confirm that fat cells removed via “standard” liposuction are mostly destroyed and non-living; improper storage of the fat for later use (freezing) kills even more cells (ice crystals puncturing cell walls kill the fat cells), so this is worthless and potentially harmful. The same goes for fat harvested with SmartLipo (laser destroys the living fat cells) or excessive ultrasonic liposuction (too much ultrasonic energy ruptures the living fat cells). Dead fat cannot turn into living grafts that maintain volume.

Unless your surgeon uses appropriate fat harvest technique, and transplants the still-living fat globules into carefully-spaced tunnels with tiny fat grafts surrounded by abundant healthy tissue for blood supply, fat damaged by poor liposuction techniques, or grafted haphazardly in big blobs, will not survive. Any breast enlargement initially achieved is gradually and ultimately lost as the dead fat cells are absorbed and carried away by the body—potentially leaving scars, lumps, and calcifications. Pretreatment with Brava suction devices may enhance fat “take,” but at best, most women realize no more than ½ to 1 bra cup size enlargement via grafting.

Breasts augmented with fat grafts that die, calcify, or become scarred nodules within the breast are far from “natural.” And as the dead cells are removed by the woman’s body, the once-larger breasts
gradually lose size, making lasting enlargement uncommon. We see many unhappy former fat graft breast patients who return for the implants they should have had in the first place.

The latest marketing “hype” around fat grafting for breast enlargement uses the term “stem cell breast augmentation.” This is the same procedure as fat grafting, but with the possible addition of centrifugation or addition of blood plasma to “concentrate” or “enrich” the “stem cells.” Until peer-reviewed scientific research validates breast augmentation via fat grafting (or stem-cell breast enlargement), this should be considered experimental only! Soft, natural, and lasting breast augmentation is (still) best achieved by skillful placement of breast implants.

Cohesive Gel or Saline Implants

Over the past decade, advancements in silicone gel implants have been developed and introduced, including a more firm, teardrop-shaped, textured-surface cohesive silicone gel (the “gummy-bear” implant). Like all cohesive implants, this “highly-cohesive” implant retains its form and innate integrity even when its outer shell is punctured. This implant is more firm (like a “gummy bear” or silicone bathtub seal) than the softer, latest-generation, cohesive silicone gel implant, and requires a larger 2.5 inch incision for placement. (It’s also more costly.) This implant–Allergan (formerly McGhan) style 410–has recently been FDA approved, but we feel this implant configuration is usually more appropriate for reconstructive or “rescue” operations than for primary cosmetic breast augmentation.

Between 1992 and 2006, FDA restrictions on the use of silicone gel implants for elective, first-time breast augmentation meant that most women received saline-filled silicone-shell implants. Minneapolis Plastic Surgery has many satisfied patients with saline-filled implants who underwent their breast augmentation during these years, and many are shown in our photo gallery. Because of our significant numbers of patients who received them during this period, we also became well-aware of the pros and cons of saline-filled implants.

Numerous scientific studies were performed during these years of implant controversy, and to date, there has not been one credible peer-reviewed study that shows cause-and-effect relationship between silicone gel or saline implants and any sort of auto-immune disease or illness. Saline implants can leak and deflate, particularly if they are not filled properly, and they have also been shown to have a higher visibility of rippling or wrinkling on the implant surface. This rippling can cause unsightly and unnatural breast appearance, and tends to be worse when bending over or when wearing swimsuits or cleavage-revealing clothing. Implant placement below the pectoralis major muscles reduces saline-implant ripples, and usually eliminates or significantly reduces them when silicone gel implants are used.

Saline implants cost less, and can be inserted via a slightly shorter incision, though we continue to be surprised by the length and position of breast augmentation incisions (both saline and silicone) in patients we see from other practices. Incision length is much less a factor of saline vs. silicone than choice of surgeon. We have also found that the cost differential between saline and silicone gel implants is not always passed on to the patient, making saline implants more profitable than silicone in some doctors’ offices.

Surgeons who tend to promote the use of saline implants may do so out of training, their own experiences, habit, or profit motive, but those who scare patients with (disproved) autoimmune illness association, or tell them of the (outdated) FDA recommendation for MRI scans to check for “leaks” in silicone implant patients (unnecessary for all latest-generation cohesive silicone gel implants), only serve their own interests, not those of their patients. These are old, outdated, and inapplicable “concerns” that have been exhaustively studied and we believe no longer apply.

Leak and deflation of saline implants require surgical replacement (the implant manufacturers provide free lifetime implant replacement, and will cover a majority of the surgical costs for the first ten years after initial implantation). But another operation is needed, including time off from work or social activities, and restrictions during healing. When saline implant leak requires re-operation, most patients choose cohesive silicone gel implants to replace both of their saline ones, ensuring that leak and deflation can never again occur. Significant numbers of MPS patients who initially received saline breast implants have undergone a second procedure (whether they had a leak or not) to replace their saline implants with the latest generation of cohesive silicone gel implants. Rippling is eliminated or significantly reduced, softness and natural “feel” is enhanced, and leak or deflation is no longer a concern. Many also use this opportunity to choose a larger size. Whatever the reason, and despite the fact that many happy saline implant patients remain without concerns and with excellent results, a majority of our patients now choose silicone gel implants.

The newest generation of cohesive silicone breast implants provides incredibly natural-looking and feeling results, and also a high level of safety. The latest types of silicone gel breast implants have been used as part of the more general FDA study since 1992, and are soft, yet still a cohesive solid gel that cannot leak. These implants do not leak even if the shell is cut or punctured, and can be inserted via a 1.5 inch incision. Slicing open one of this latest generation of breast implants is like cutting Jell-O—you get two solid intact parts and leakage does not occur. (These implants are often erroneously called “gummy bear” implants since they are cohesive, though the true first “gummy bear” implants were the Allergan style 410s.)

Now that a third implant manufacturer (Sientra) is producing implants that are FDA-approved for use in this country, additional options exist for patient and surgeon choice. Sientra markets their version of high-strength cohesive silicone gel implants (smooth, round, textured, and teardrop-shaped) as “gummy bear” implants, further confusing this designation, which should probably be abandoned since it no longer describes a single type (or company’s) implants! Sientra has decided to sell their products only to American Board of Plastic Surgery-certified plastic surgeons (a laudable position), whereas Mentor and Allergan will sell their implants to any licensed physician, regardless of specialty. (This is how Dermatologists, Family Practitioners, and doctors with little or no plastic surgical training can legally obtain breast implants, and insert them into unwitting patients who think that these “cosmetic surgeons” have the same training and certification as ABPS-certified plastic surgeons.) Whether or not this will confer better statistics, outcome studies, or lower complication rates than the other companies’ practices remains to be seen.

Sientra also was the first company to receive FDA approval for their own brand of “high-strength” cohesive, textured-surface, teardrop-shaped (form stable) silicone gel implants, as their approval pre-dated Allergan’s style 410 FDA approval. This further confused individuals who use the “gummy bear” moniker to describe the Sientra version of the Allergan Style 410. For this reason, I personally believe that although the term “gummy bear” is descriptive and “catchy” to use, it has now become confusing, since each implant manufacturer has its own version of textured-surface, shaped, cohesive, “high-strength,” or “highly cohesive” silicone gel implants. Plus, the “regular” smooth round silicone implants (from all 3 breast implant manufacturers) are also cohesive. So they’re ALL “gummy bears” and they’re NOT all “gummy bears,” depending on how you define the term.

With silicone gel or saline breast implants, microscopic silicone molecules can still enter a patient’s body, just as liquid silicone does in the patient who has an injection with a needle lubricated with liquid silicone. No scientific study to date has provided credible evidence that silicone has any cause-and-effect relationship with autoimmune diseases or conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, or so-called “human adjuvant illnesses.” With these studies in mind, silicone gel breast implants were FDA-approved in November 2006 for elective first-time cosmetic breast enlargement in women over the age of 22. Use of silicone gel implants in women under age 22 is considered “off-label” use and is perfectly legal. We support the right of properly-informed women between the ages of 18 and 22 to consent to and request the implants of their choice, including silicone gel implants.

The present soft cohesive silicone implants made by Allergan are Natrelle implants, and newer Natrelle Inspira cohesive silicone implants are identical to the previous Natrelle implants, but with additional gel “fill” in the silicone shell, about 95% vs. 85%. Increased fill with the same soft (level 1 cohesivity) gel in the Inspira implant reduces visible rippling in thin patients with little tissue coverage. For even thinner patients that might still have ripple issues, Allergan now offers “Soft-Touch” level 2 cohesivity implants, with increased crosslinking to decrease rippling, and Natrelle Inspira “Cohesive” level 3 cohesivity implants, to decrease rippling further. Each increased cohesivity level is slightly less soft, more expensive, but offers progressively less potential for rippling in women with little tissue coverage.

Is an MRI really necessary every two years with silicone implants?

If your silicone implants were produced before the FDA restrictions of 1992, they were previous-generation devices that had a thinner shell and less-cohesive gel filler. In other words, if one of these older implants was damaged or defective, the silicone gel could indeed “leak” into surrounding tissues, eventually causing scar formation and capsular contracture. MRI studies proved to be more effective at detecting these kinds of implant damage and leak than physician exam, leading to this “recommendation” from the FDA.

However, since all 3 USA breast implant manufacturers now make cohesive or highly cohesive silicone gel implants, “leakage” does not occur, and since the shells are thicker and much more durable, implant rupture from manufacturers’ defect is extremely rare, and surgeon damage during insertion is the most common cause of implant “rupture.” Use of the Keller Funnel decreases forces on implants during insertion, and taking care to avoid contact with needles, instruments, or other sources of implant damage can virtually eliminate rupture. Since present-day solid cohesive silicone gel implants (from all 3 manufacturers) cannot “leak,” many plastic surgeons, including both plastic surgeons at MPS, do not believe there is value in MRI evaluation of asymptomatic breast implant patients. In fact, there is also a “false positive” rate of 21%, where absolutely normal intact implants are erroneously read as “ruptured” by MRI. I do not recommend MRI on asymptomatic patients whose breasts are soft and implants move normally.

How long do implants last? This is a common and appropriate question, since it takes an operation to replace them for any reason, including request for different size. No implants (by any of the three USA manufacturers) are intended to be lifetime devices. That being said, barring complications regarding size, position, contracture, or infection, we believe that the latest cohesive silicone gel implants will last much longer than the majority of their human recipients. They cannot “leak,” rarely have a manufacturer’s defect or rupture (requiring extreme injuring force or surgeon damage during insertion), and if kept from becoming bacterially contaminated at the time of surgery or subsequent dental work, they do NOT require “replacement” after ten years, or usually ever. We certainly have a significantly lower re-operation rate than the 47% in 7 years quoted in some of the implant manufacturer data. But then again, that data includes doctors of any type who decide they want to place implants, even without training and certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery—hence, the higher numbers.

Smooth or Textured? Above or Below Muscles?

The surface of present-day breast implants can be smooth or textured, and the filler material silicone gel or saline. When silicone gel implants were used prior to the FDA restrictions of 1992, placement above the muscle was also the preferred implant position for many plastic surgeons. (Capsular contracture was also common.) Texturing the surface of the silicone gel implant reduced the incidence of capsular contracture in this position (above the muscle and just below the breast tissue).

Once the FDA restriction on silicone gel implants led to the increased use of saline-filled implants, placement above the muscle led to unacceptable wrinkling that could sometimes be felt or seen. This caused most plastic surgeons to place saline breast implants below the muscle to increase tissue coverage and reduce these concerns. Even placement of saline-filled implants below the muscle will not always eliminate implant wrinkles, particularly in thin patients and/or patients with very little overlying breast tissue. Now that silicone gel implants are again available, more patients will be able to avoid the “water-balloon” feel and rippling seen in some saline implant patients. Although each patient’s circumstances are unique, our experienced plastic surgeons frequently use silicone breast implants to provide the most natural looking results. Of course, at Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, Ltd., we will help you determine the appropriate size, shape, surface configuration, and filler material to meet your needs.

Based on the choice of saline or silicone, textured or smooth, and the patient’s unique body type, appropriate surgical placement will be determined. Using textured breast implants below the muscle can cause unnatural adherence to the chest and restricted natural movement of the breast. With textured saline implants, the lack of gel to act as a lubricant inside the implant (saline is a poor lubricant) can allow flexing and creasing of the implant shell surface with each movement or breath of the patient. This can ultimately lead to a higher risk of failure at one of the low spots in the textured surface, with leakage and deflation of the saline implant. The textured implant shell is also thicker and more palpable. Submuscular placement already reduces the incidence of capsular contracture, so smooth breast implants in this location are preferable to adherent textured-surface implants. The smooth-shell saline-filled implant placed below the muscle is soft, less palpable, and less likely to deflate (if properly filled), and has lower rates of capsular contracture formation. It also moves with the patient’s position and therefore more natural and breast-like. Yet, saline implants (even below the muscles—”unders”) have increased rates of visible rippling in the cleavage areas or sides of the breasts.

However, smooth-shell silicone-gel-filled implants are even more homogeneous with breast tissue and provide the softest, most breast-like, and most natural “feel” of any implant. Since the newest generation of silicone gel implants is also cohesive, they cannot leak or deflate. While the vast majority of patients are again choosing silicone implants for their breast enhancement surgery, we believe that the best and most experienced breast surgeons offer their patients a choice of either silicone or saline breast implants. With careful evaluation of the patient’s individual requests and needs, and detailed discussion of the pros and cons of the two surface textures available, our ABPS-certified plastic surgeons can help you choose not only the implant but the location and proper profile for your anatomy.

One final consideration should be noted regarding textured implants (either saline or silicone)—in 2011, an unusual type of lymphoma (BIA-ALCL: Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma—a cancer of the immune system) was reported in small numbers of breast implant patients who developed symptoms including breast enlargement, pain, asymmetry, lump in the breast or armpit, overlying skin rash, hardening of the breast, or a large fluid collection typically developing at least more than one year after receiving an implant, and on average after 8 to 10 years. BIA-ALCL is a rare and highly treatable type of lymphoma that can develop around breast implants. BIA-ALCL occurs most frequently in patients who have breast implants with textured surfaces. This is a cancer of the immune system, not a type of breast cancer. The current lifetime risk of BIA-ALCL is estimated to be 1:3817 – 1:30,000 women with textured implants based upon current confirmed cases and textured implant sales data over the past two decades. When caught early, BIA-ALCL is usually curable.

BIA-ALCL has been found with both silicone and saline implants and both breast cancer reconstruction and cosmetic patients. To date, there are few confirmed BIA-ALCL cases that involve only a smooth implant. BIA-ALCL patients seem to have a reaction to textured devices over many years. Given this information, we are happy to report that the vast majority of MPS breast augmentation patients over the past two decades have received only smooth implants.

Teardrop (Anatomic) or Round?

Breast implants come in round or teardrop (“anatomic”) shapes. While some plastic surgeons prefer the teardrop-shaped implants in some situations, smooth round implants are generally the softest, most natural in appearance (upright and lying down), least likely to be felt externally, and (for saline implants) least likely to leak. Round, smooth implants also cost less than teardrop-shaped textured implants, yet are superior in most cases.

Teardrop-shaped implants must have proper positioning and must stay in that position (sloped part up, rounded part down) to take advantage of their innate shape. (Upside-down teardrop implants really would look weird.) They are textured so that the body’s tissues can adhere to and maintain the proper position of the implants. Thus, the teardrop or textured “anatomic” implants cannot move as the patient changes from a standing to a reclining position. Also, the teardrop implant remains teardrop-shaped when the patient is lying down, whereas the natural breast flattens out and assumes a round appearance. Tissue adherence makes initial positioning critical—textured implants do not settle or drop over time. Post-op tissue swelling and tightness diminish, giving a softer feel, but position (by definition) is determined by initial placement and adherence of the textured surface to the adjacent tissues. The smooth round implant does just what a natural breast does: it is teardrop-shaped when the patient is upright, and flattens and moves slightly to the side when the patient reclines. Thus, the round implant is actually more anatomically realistic than the teardrop, or so-called “anatomic implant.”

Loss of adherence with trauma or activity can allow rotation and distortion of appearance, and this is something noted only with shaped implants, since they are designed to remain in a given position. Loss of that intended positioning can be difficult to correct, as the adherence is now gone, and the implant can freely rotate in its pocket. Round implants do not have this rotational concern, since they look the same in any position. Textured implants should not be “massaged” post-op, as this can prevent adhesion.

Some implant manufacturers and plastic surgeons have suggested that the “anatomic” or teardrop- shaped breast implant has a more natural look than a round implant, and much advertising and marketing has been used to promote “anatomic” implants to the public. These implants are perfectly good devices, but are more expensive than smooth, round implants, and whether or not they are truly more “anatomic” is debatable (see above).

A recent study compared actual women with smooth, round implants to women with textured, teardrop- shaped implants. Mammograms were performed in upright and supine (laying-down) positions, and digital tracings computerized and compared. Both the round and teardrop-shaped implants had a sloped, teardrop shape when the women were upright. In fact, in upright patients, teardrop and round implants were indistinguishable on X-ray. But when a woman is laying down, the natural non-augmented breast flattens, drops slightly to the side of the chest, and assumes a round shape, as does the round smooth implant. The teardrop-shaped implant stays teardrop-shaped in the laying-down position, which makes this unusual appearance actually LESS anatomic or natural than the round implant! Still, in rare situations, the textured or teardrop-shaped implant may be an appropriate choice.

Moderate, moderate plus, or high profile? (or ultra high?)

Both saline and silicone gel breast implants come in three or four profiles: moderate “classic,” moderate plus, and high profile. For example, a 400cc (Mentor style 7000) moderate profile silicone gel implant has a base diameter of 14.5cm and a projection (height) of 3.2cm. The 400cc (Mentor style 1000) moderate plus profile silicone gel implant has a base diameter of 13.1cm and a projection of 4.0cm. The 400cc (Mentor style 4000) high profile silicone gel implant has a base diameter of 12.2cm and a projection of 5.0cm. Mentor also makes an ultra high profile (style 5000) implant with a base of 10.6cm and projection of 5.4cm for the 400cc size. Thus, various dimensions are available to help best match the desired size of implant to the patient’s breast dimensions.

Allergan Natrelle® implants also come in a total of four silicone gel profiles: moderate, moderate-plus, high, and extra-high profiles. To use similar examples, a 390cc (Natrelle style 10) moderate profile silicone gel implant has a base diameter of 13.6cm and projection (height) of 3.8cm. The 397cc (Natrelle style 15) moderate-plus profile silicone gel implant has a base diameter of 13.1cm and a projection of 4.2cm. The 400cc (Natrelle style 20) high profile silicone gel implant has a base diameter of 11.9cm and a projection of 5.0cm. As you can see by comparing these two manufacturers’ implant dimensions, near-equal volumes and profile implants from each company have nearly identical measurements. Allergan also makes an extra-high profile silicone gel implant (Natrelle style 45) with an 11.2cm base and 5.1cm projection for the 400cc size.’

The newest Allergan Natrelle® Inspira implants come in five profiles: low, low plus, moderate, full, and extra full. This allows even more surgical options for every woman’s anatomy and goals. Since Sientra implants also come in many different shapes and sizes, including smooth, textured, round, and teardrop-shaped styles, many more options exist for patient and surgeon choice.

At Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, Ltd. we first measure the patient’s breast dimensions, including base diameter, nipple to crease distance, nipple-to-nipple distance (cleavage diameter) and overall chest circumference, determine what final breast size she wants to achieve, and then see if a properly-chosen implant volume and profile can be surgically combined with her own breast tissues and skin brassiere to yield the desired results. Most of the time it can! In other cases, there , not to mention a very wide gap, unnatural-appearing cleavage.may need to be compromises to achieve a good result, or additional skin shaping and tailoring (via breast lift) may be necessary.

Any surgeon who consistently recommends high-profile implants, for example, “because I like the look of those the best” or “high profile gives more upper pole fullness” [false, BTW] is selling some of his or her patients short. A narrow-chest small-frame petite woman who wants large breasts (but has virtually no breast tissue of her own), may require high profile breast implants to achieve the look she wants. But a tall, wide-breast base, large frame woman who only wants a modest enlargement (or has a fair amount of her own breast tissue), will not be served well by high profile implants—she needs moderate profile implants to get as much base diameter as possible for the small(er) size she has selected, in order to accurately fill her own breast base. Otherwise, she would have a narrow-diameter implant “sliding around” in a large-diameter breast pocket, not to mention a very wide-gap, unnatural-appearing cleavage.

Patients are often told (by some plastic surgeons, and often in on-line forums) that “High profile implants give more upper pole fullness.” Until implants drop over the 6-12 months needed for complete healing and “final” gravity-settled position, this is indeed true. But since smooth round HP implants have narrow widths (and more projection), they also have a less-tall height (vertical diameter) that leads to LESS upper pole fullness when the implants reach their proper position at the creases. Choose the widest (vertically tallest) implant profile that fits the breast base diameter for the most upper pole fullness.

Thus, implant profile is based on each individual patient’s anatomy, pre-operative breast measurements, and requests, not on a particular surgeon’s “habit” or “routine.” We believe it is not the surgeon’s job to decide what a patient should have, and certainly not to “routinely” use only one of the 5 available profiles, but rather to listen to the patient’s requests, examine and carefully measure the patient’s individual anatomy, and then use our experience and expertise to determine how to best achieve her goals, or at least come as close as the anatomy and details allow. One profile does NOT fit all, and the widest profile that “fits” your breast base will give the closest cleavage!

What Implant Size is Right for Me?

What is the right implant size for you?

Dr. Richard H. Tholen and Dr. Douglas L. Gervais have extensive experience in helping our patients choose implant sizes that are compatible with individual anatomy, while still coming as close as possible to personal goals. Every patient has a “perfect size” in her mind’s eye: all we need to do is figure out what that size is, and whether or not it will match appropriately with the patient’s chest and breast base dimensions, skin and muscle capacity, position of the nipple-areola complex, as well as a host of individual anatomic factors. We start with breast examination, careful measurements (everyone is asymmetrical), and ask you what your goals are. Based on these anatomic factors, we then determine if your requests can be achieved. For most women, the size you choose is not only possible, but perfect for you! If not, we will tell you, and will use our experience and expertise to plan how to best get as close as possible to your ideals.

Remember, you should never have surgery to please someone else, or to try to conform to someone else’s opinion; the same goes for choosing implant size.

One of the best techniques for choosing the size of breast implants is for the patient to bring photographs of models with the desired final breast size to their consultation, or at the time of surgery at our Minneapolis / St. Paul accredited office surgical facility. The proper size and profile of implants, added to your own anatomy, that most closely achieves your goal photo appearance is then chosen in the operating room. (Since we stock all sizes and profiles of saline and silicone gel breast implants in our surgical center, we do not have to “order in advance” and can change based on your choices right up to the time of surgery). “Wish photos” have proven to be much more accurate than requesting a letter cup size, or trying to find a similar person via internet search whose anatomy and/or results approximate your goals. Don’t try to match your height, weight, or preoperative breast appearance to the photos, and don’t use a stated implant size as a guideline for choosing your implant size—just find an “AFTER” photo you like.

Also, if your breast sizes don’t match (most women have some degree of asymmetry), we can choose different implant sizes and/or profiles to achieve as much symmetry as possible. In more severe cases, we can recommend appropriate procedures (such as breast reduction, breast lift, or other surgical options) to optimize size, shape, and position between mismatched breasts. Implant choices can be made to help camouflage chest wall or other skeletal asymmetries caused by scoliosis, pectus excavatum, tuberous breasts, Poland’s syndrome, or other genetic breast conditions.

Trying on implants in a brassiere is another excellent way to provide some idea of desired final breast size and the implant volume needed to achieve that size; however, it is essential not to become overly attached to a specific bra cup size (B, C, D, etc.) or implant volume (400cc, etc.), since the implant size you like in a bra or top will always look smaller when it is under your own breast tissues and chest muscles. Typically, a woman who chooses a specific cc volume implant that she feels looks good in her bra will be disappointed (too small) after surgery if that exact volume implant is used in her body. This is because submuscular compression of the implants makes them look slightly smaller than when sizing in a bra. A good general rule of thumb is to add 10-15% to the implant volume you feel looks good if you choose to size in a brassiere. In other words, if you like how a 400cc implant looks in a bra, it will take a 440-460cc implant to look about the same size in your body. Final size and profile are chosen in the operating room where your surgeon can actually identify specific characteristics of your skin and muscle tone, chest wall (ribcage) configuration, and accurately measure your pocket diameter, not relying just on estimations of breast base width measured pre-operatively.

Minneapolis Plastic Surgery features a comfortable, discreet, implant sizing room where you can try on actual silicone implants in a stretchy top. Comfortable chairs and plenty of mirrors allow you and a spouse, friend, or confidant choose what makes you feel the best about yourself. We then take this information, goal photos, and any other input from you to help us achieve the best outcome possible.

In general, for an “average” height and weight woman, 250cc equals about one bra cup size. A 12 ounce can of soda = 360cc. Most patients cannot even see a difference of 50cc (3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon), which is why implants are manufactured in 30-50cc increments (less than the threshold of visible difference). Thus, 400cc implants will cause an increase of about 1½ cup sizes to whatever breast volume the patient started with!

Since what this surgery accomplishes is increased volume, your own skin brassiere (pre-surgery breast shape) will determine your final breast shape after implants increase your breast size. Size and implant profile will also determine just how much breast mass extends to the side of the chest (armpit area), or into the cleavage region, since proper implant positioning is determined by the position of your nipple areola complex.

For instance, a woman with widely spaced nipples will need to have her breast implants positioned more laterally (towards the armpit area), since the implant pocket and final breast mound must be properly centered beneath the nipple areola complex. If too-narrow (high profile) implants were simply placed close together in the center to give a full cleavage look, each nipple areola complex would then be positioned too far laterally, giving the nipples a “wall-eyed” appearance. Wider- profile implants may therefore be necessary to give normal cleavage as well as position.

Similarly, a woman who has more medial nipple position would have a “cross-eyed” appearance if she requested lateral fullness and her implants were placed more to the side of the chest without taking into account the nipple position atop the new breast mound.

Clearly, not only size, but also the profile and exact position of your breast implants, is critical to your final result. Your own anatomy determines shape (unless you also need a breast lift, where incisions are made to lift or otherwise shape your breast skin, or reposition too-low nipple/areola complexes).

Most women seeking breast implants at our Minneapolis / St. Paul practice emphasize that they do not wish to be “too large” after augmentation. There is a natural hesitancy to make a change that is so dramatic that “everyone will know” or that might embarrass you at the health club, swimming pool, relative’s home, or church meeting. Most patients have these concerns, and many verbalize this. However, 6 to 12 months after surgery, when these concerns evaporate, and the social settings where “someone might notice” are successfully overcome, a surprisingly large number of patients admit they now wish they had chosen larger implants. Some undergo another operation to place new, larger implants. Fortunately, when size change is requested, the surgical pocket for the implant is already created, and recovery is often easier.

Although the choice of size is entirely up to each individual patient (with some anatomic limitations), choosing just slightly larger than what you consider to be optimal pre-operatively will help you to avoid re-operation for size change, including the cost of new implants, operating room, and anesthesia.

Risks of breast augmentation

breast augmentation risks

When carried out by an expert plastic surgeon, breast augmentation is a very safe procedure with minimal risk of complications. Any type of surgery carries certain risks, and breast augmentation is no different. Your surgeon will discuss the risks and potential complications of breast augmentation at your consultation. This will allow you to weigh up the pros and cons of the procedure before making your decision.

Some of the risks of breast augmentation include (but are not limited to):

  • Anaesthesia-related complications such as anaphylaxis
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Wound infection
  • Post-operative haematoma formation
  • Seromas
  • Implant malposition
  • Change in nipple sensitivity
  • Capsular contracture – formation of excessive scar tissue around the implant
  • Implant rupture
  • Breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)
  • Excessive pain that does not improve over the first two weeks
  • Need for revision surgery

It is essential to bear in mind that many of these risks are very rare. In contrast, others, such as haematoma formation, can be easily managed by a washout procedure with the preservation of the breast implant.

Breast augmentation risks

Breast implants must be approved by the medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency (MHRA) before they are suitable for use in the UK. We also use FDA-approved implants. This means the implants have been shown to be safe and effective. The vast majority of breast augmentation patients do not develop serious complications during or after their procedure.

Several key risks should be borne in mind when considering breast augmentation. Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma is a severe complication of breast augmentation. However, it is extremely rare, with only a handful of cases reported worldwide out of millions of procedures performed. Breast implant illness is a condition some patients believe is due to breast implants. Patients may complain of the following symptoms:

  • Excessive fatigue
  • Generalised muscle and joint pains
  • Skin rashes
  • Cognitive impairment or ‘brain fog.’

If complications occur after breast augmentation, we would advise you to get in touch with our post-operative nursing team immediately. The next step would be to have an urgent clinical assessment by your surgeon. If you decide to have breast implant removal, we recommend discussing this with your surgeon.

Key points about breast augmentation:

  • Breast implants are not designed to last for your entire lifetime. It is recommended to have revision breast surgery to remove or replace one, or both breast implants 10 to 15 years after your first procedure.
  • The appearance of breast implants can change over time due to the influence of significant weight loss, pregnancy or menopause.
  • Excessively large breast implants could exacerbate breast sagging. A breast lift may be required in combination with breast augmentation to treat saggy breasts.
  • X-ray mammograms can be more challenging to interpret in the presence of breast implants. However, x-ray technology has significantly improved over the last ten years, making this less of a problem.
  • We would advise regular checks to monitor for breast implant rupture. Centre for Surgery is one of the few clinics to offer complimentary high-resolution ultrasound scans to monitor the condition of your silicone breast implants. If a potential rupture is detected, we advise having an MRI scan to confirm the diagnosis.
  • Breastfeeding can, in some cases, be affected by breast augmentation. Although many women can breastfeed normally after surgery, other women may find it more difficult.
  • Women who have breast augmentation will require regular post-operative reviews to monitor the condition of the breasts and ensure capsular contracture or implant rupture has not occurred.

If you think your breasts or implants appear different in some way after the surgery and/or you have symptoms of pain and discomfort, please get in touch with us to arrange a consultation with your surgeon for further evaluation.

Am I suitable for breast augmentation?

We would recommend women be familiar with the potential risks of breast augmentation before considering their suitability for the procedure:

  • Patients should be in good physical and mental health with no chronic medical conditions or active bacterial infection. If you have a significant medical condition, discussing this with your doctor at the consultation is essential to determine if any further investigations will be required to confirm your suitability for the procedure.
  • Patients with a flat chest or have saggy or tubular breasts are ideal candidates for breast enlargement surgery.
  • We recommend patients stop smoking and avoid excessive amounts of alcohol for at least six weeks before and after the procedure.
  • The procedure is designed to significantly improve the appearance of your chest for permanent results. Therefore, we recommend being in optimum mental health to embrace the changes after the procedure.
  • Breast augmentation is not designed to address body image problems such as body dysmorphic disorder or to make you look like a completely different person. It is vital to have realistic expectations about what the surgery can achieve.
  • It is essential to follow the post-operative instructions in full. Taking at least one week off work to allow breast augmentation recovery will help ensure your healing is as smooth as possible. You should avoid lifting heavy objects and have someone around you to help with everyday tasks.

What happens at the consultation?

The breast augmentation consultation is an ideal opportunity to enquire further about the risks of breast implants. Your surgeon will ask the following questions as part of the clinical assessment:

  • Your reasons for wanting the procedure and your treatment expectations
  • Any medical conditions you may have and potential allergies to medicines
  • What medicines you are currently taking, including any over-the-counter herbal supplements
  • Whether you have a personal or family history of breast cancer

What does the procedure involve?

Breast augmentation is most commonly carried out under a general anaesthetic to ensure your comfort during and after the procedure. There are three main types of breast augmentation incisions which can be used for breast implant placement, including:

  • Incisions under the breast crease (inframammary)
  • Incisions around the nipple (periareolar)
  • Incisions under the arm (transaxillary)

Once the incision has been made, the surgeon will gently separate the overlying breast tissue from the pectoralis muscle. This leads to creating a breast pocket positioned either on top of the chest muscle or beneath it. The surgeon will then place the implant in the pocket and ensure the implant is correctly centred behind the nipple to prevent implant malposition. The implants are inserted using a breast funnel as part of a ‘no-touch’ technique to minimise implant-related infection. Once the implants are correctly positioned, the incisions will be closed with dissolvable stitches, followed by applying sterile dressings. A post-operative support bra will be applied before the anaesthetist wakes you up. It is normal to have localised swelling and mild post-operative discomfort for up to 2 weeks after the procedure. Any breast augmentation scars will gradually become less noticeable over time, although they will not disappear completely.

If you develop pain, redness or localised warmth around your incisions or you generally feel unwell, we would advise seeking an urgent clinical assessment from your surgeon as these symptoms could be signs of infection.

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