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How Breast Augmentation Differs from Breast Implants

Published by Dr. Brandon Richland, MD

The terms breast augmentation and breast implants are often used interchangeably, but in reality, they refer to a medical procedure and medical prostheses, respectively. Breast augmentation surgery is intended to improve the fullness, shape, and contours of the breasts. In contrast, breast implants are the medical devices that are inserted into the breasts during this procedure.

Although it is possible to undergo breast augmentation surgery without using breast implants, through a fat transfer procedure where fat is taken from the patient’s body and injected into their breasts, the majority of breast augmentation procedures involve the use of breast implants to achieve the desired results.

Key Takeaways of Breast Augmentation Vs Implants

  • Breast augmentation is the most popular plastic surgery procedure available, with implants placed under the breast tissue or chest muscles to increase their size and shape.
  • Implants are either saline or silicone filled and come in various shapes, sizes, and materials depending on desired outcomes which should be discussed carefully with a qualified medical professional during an initial consultation before undergoing any treatment.
  • Patients can experience increased confidence, improved body image, balanced silhouette, and a more feminine overall look following breast augmentation and implantation if done correctly.

Understanding Breast Augmentation Surgery

What is Breast Augmentation?

It is a surgical procedure used by many women to enhance the size and shape of their breasts. The procedure can be done using either breast implants or fat transfer from another area of the body.

The goal of this procedure is to reshape uneven breasts and enlarge natural looking results that are proportional to your existing figure as desired by patients.

Image Credit: 3kstudio / 123RF.com (Licensed).

How is Breast Augmentation Done?

Breast augmentation increases the size, fullness, and projection of a patient’s breasts. It can be achieved through two techniques, implants and fat transfer.

In implant based breast augmentation surgery, saline or silicone gel filled breast implants are inserted either behind existing breast tissue or under pectoral muscles.

During a fat transfer breast augmentation, fat is harvested from one area of the body with liposuction and injected into each breast to increase its size instead of silicone implants.

Who is a Good Candidate for Breast Augmentation?

Patients who have naturally symmetrical breasts with moderate breast tissue and nipple location are considered the best candidates for breast augmentation. Good candidates for breast enhancement are women who want a better and more youthful look, or women who have breast cancer and want to restore their breast symmetry.

Benefits of Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation is a well respected procedure that can provide women who are dissatisfied with their natural assets a sense of both emotional and physical empowerment. It can help increase the size, shape, and contour of the breasts while providing improved self confidence and better body image.

Women who have received breast augmentation procedures describe feeling more feminine, confident, and attractive after the surgery. Many breast reconstruction patients report a better quality of life due to increased satisfaction with their appearance.

What to Expect During Recovery

During the recovery period after fat transfer breast augmentation or breast implant surgery, patients should expect to experience some discomfort and soreness. This is generally mild but may become more pronounced for a few days following the procedure.

Patients must take their medications as directed by their surgeon to keep pain and inflammation under control. Most doctors recommend taking 2 to 3 weeks off of work and abstaining from any strenuous activities until 6 to 8 weeks post-op. It’s important to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon about what activities are safe during recovery, which can differ between individual cases.

Patients should also anticipate feeling numbness around the chest area, as well as some form of swelling in the treated breast area, for at least 4 to 6 weeks post surgery. Having these sensations does not mean there has been damage done. Instead, it is simply part of the normal healing process that will abate over time.

Image Credit: Liudmilachernetska / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Long Term Results and Maintenance

Breast augmentation and implants are designed to provide long lasting results. However, regular follow up appointments with a qualified plastic surgeon are essential to monitor the progress and condition of your breast implants.

Breast implants can last up to 10 years, while some individuals may find that their implants need revision sooner than others. Depending on the type of implant you choose, as well as lifestyle factors such as weight gain, weight loss, or pregnancy, could influence how long your implants will last before needing replacement or revision surgeries.

Aftercare is also crucial for ensuring the longevity of the results. Patients should be mindful of avoiding activities that could cause trauma to breasts, such as heavy lifting and high impact sports following breast surgery.

Risks and Complications

It is important to note that, like any surgical procedure, there are potential complications and risks that patients should be aware of.

Common complications include excessive bleeding, allergic reactions to anesthesia, pain medication, and the formation of blood clots. Capsular contracture is another potential complication that can lead to an abnormally tight or thick implant which causes asymmetry and pain.

Importance of Choosing a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Selecting a plastic surgeon who is board certified is a crucial aspect of the breast augmentation procedure. Board certification guarantees that the surgeon has met the stringent requirements established by The American Board of Plastic Surgery and has the required training and expertise to perform plastic surgeries that are both successful and safe.

Ensuring that a highly qualified professional performs your procedure helps reduce the risks associated with breast augmentations or implants. It is essential for patients considering these procedures to research beforehand, familiarizing themselves with potential safety indicators like patient reviews and before and after pictures, and also communicating preferences such as smooth implants. All these should be done before deciding on any type of surgical intervention plan. This will improve judgment in choosing the right doctor for the job, which will greatly influence long term outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions About Breast Augmentation Vs Implants

1. What is the Difference Between Breast Augmentation and Implants?

Breast augmentation refers to the surgical reshaping of a woman’s breasts, while implants are synthetic materials inserted into the body to increase or restore breast volume.

2. Is there any Risk Involved in Getting a Breast Implant?

Yes, like any medical procedure, there are potential risks associated with receiving a breast implant, including infection, bleeding, or scarring. It’s important to discuss these risks thoroughly with your doctor before surgery.

3. How Long Does it Take to Recover from Breast Augmentation Surgery?

Recovery times vary depending on individual circumstances but typically takes around 3 to 8 weeks after surgery, including no strenuous exercise and avoiding lifting heavy items until several weeks post op.

Image Credit: Andersonrise / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Conclusion and Summary of How Breast Augmentation Differs from Breast Implants

Breast lift through implants or fat transfer are two procedures that can provide patients with an improved appearance and confidence boost. It is important for patients to fully understand the differences between these two types of surgery before making a decision.

Breast augmentation or breast lift is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the United States, with a wide variety of breast reconstruction options available for individuals looking to alter their overall look.

Breast implants are made up of different textures, shapes, sizes, and materials, which means there’s an implant type designed for each individual, and patient goals should be carefully considered when choosing one.

Please note that this article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Before making any changes to your treatments, please consult with your healthcare provider to discuss the appropriateness and safety of such changes.

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About the Author

Dr. Brandon Richland, MD is a respected Board Certified Licensed Plastic Surgeon in Orange County / Southern California specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries.

Driven by his passion for medicine, Dr. Richland obtained his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the prestigious program at Saint Louis University (SLU) School of Medicine in 2013. His exceptional skills were recognized when he received the McGraw Hill / Lange Medical Student Academic Achievement Award, and graduated top of his class with Honors. For his undergraduate degree, he attended University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and graduated with Honors in 2009.

To further enhance his surgical expertise, Dr. Richland completed his Residency in Plastic Surgery at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) from 2013 to 2019 earning the Academic Achievement Award twice during this period. A total of 14 years in dedicated schooling and medical residency.

Dr. Richland is actively involved with healthcare and medical societies, as a Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, and the California Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Contact Dr. Richland today by visiting RichlandMD.com, scheduling a cosmetic consultation, or by calling 714-241-0646 or 949-945-0025 directly.