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Breast Augmentation Surgery Review: Confident in My Choice

Published by Dr. Brandon Richland, MD

“Before considering breast augmentation surgery, it finally got to a point where I could not even wear a bra or any of my clothes without a jacket, because of the difference in breast size. I am a very anxious person especially when it comes to my health and body. Immediately I felt comfortable with the Staff and most importantly, Dr. Richland.”

Read the full Google Review here.

Understanding Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure to enhance breast size and shape. It involves the placement of breast implants or fat transfer to achieve the desired outcome. Patients should make informed decisions about implants, choose a qualified surgeon, understand the preparation required, and be aware of anesthesia options.

Types of Breast Implants

Breast implants come mainly in two types:

  • Silicone implants are filled with a silicone gel that feels like natural breast tissue. If a silicone implant leaks, the gel may remain within the implant shell or escape into the breast implant pocket.
  • Saline implants are filled with sterile salt water, providing a uniform shape, firmness, and feel. If these implants leak, they will collapse, and the saline will be absorbed by the body.

Other options include:

  • Structured saline implants: These implants are filled with sterile salt water and contain an inner structure that aims to make the implant feel more natural.
  • Cohesive gel silicone implants: Also known as “gummy bear” implants, they are thicker and firmer than traditional silicone implants, maintaining their shape even if the implant shell is broken.
  • Fat transfer breast augmentation: This is an alternative to implants where a surgeon uses liposuction to take fat from other parts of the patient’s body and inject it into the breasts.

Criteria to consider when choosing implants include longevity, potential risks, the feel of the implant, and the desired aesthetic goal. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons provides guidelines that can be helpful for patients to understand the different options.

Choosing the Right Surgeon

Selecting a qualified plastic surgeon is crucial. Patients should look for surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons indicates that the surgeon has received additional training in plastic surgery and adheres to a code of ethics. Experience with breast augmentation and a portfolio of past procedures can also provide insight into a surgeon’s expertise.

Preparation for Surgery

Preparation for breast augmentation surgery typically involves:

  • Medical evaluation: Health assessments to ensure a patient is fit for surgery.
  • Medications: Adjustments to current medications and supplements as advised by the surgeon.
  • Smoking cessation: Patients are often required to stop smoking well in advance of the procedure to promote healing.
  • Fasting: Avoiding food and water for a certain period before surgery as instructed.

Following the surgeon’s guidelines ensures the best conditions for a successful surgery and recovery.

Anesthesia Options

During breast augmentation surgery, patients typically receive general or local anesthesia.

  • General anesthesia renders the patient unconscious for the duration of the procedure.
  • Local anesthesia numbs only the breast area, so the patient stays awake but does not feel pain.

The choice of anesthesia is made by the patient and the plastic surgeon, often in consultation with an anesthesiologist. The decision is based on factors like medical history, patient preference, and the specifics of the procedure.

The Procedure and Recovery

Undergoing breast augmentation involves a surgical procedure aimed at enhancing the size and shape of the breast, followed by a period dedicated to recovery and healing. Here, key aspects such as the surgical process, aftercare, recovery phases, and potential risks are outlined.

During the Surgery

Breast augmentation is performed under anesthesia to ensure the patient’s comfort throughout the procedure. The surgeon makes an incision in the areola, the inframammary fold beneath the breast, or the axillary area under the armpit. The chosen incision site helps minimize visible scarring. A pocket is then created either above or beneath the pectoral muscle to insert the breast implant. The positioning of the implant will depend on the patient’s body type, the type of implant, and the agreed-upon aesthetic goal. After positioning the implants, stitches or surgical tape are typically used to close the incisions.

Post-Surgery Care

Immediately after the surgery, bandages and a surgical bra may be applied to aid in supporting the breasts and minimizing swelling. Drainage tubes might be placed to remove excess fluid. The patient is given pain medication to manage discomfort and instructed on how to care for the breasts at home. Follow-up appointments are critical for monitoring healing and addressing any concerns.

Recovery Timeline

Recovery from breast augmentation can vary, but here’s a general timeline:

  • 1-2 days after surgery: The patient will experience fatigue and soreness.
  • 1 week: Initial follow-up care to remove drainage tubes and check on incision sites. Patients are often advised to wear a sports bra to support their new breasts.
  • 2-6 weeks: The patient should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities, allowing the breasts to heal properly. Swelling and bruising diminish during this period.
  • 6 weeks onward: Most patients can return to normal activities. The breasts will settle, and scar tissue will start to mature.

Possible Risks and Complications

Breast augmentation surgery has its risks and potential complications, including:

  • Infection: Rare but serious when it occurs.
  • Bleeding and bruising: Common but typically mild.
  • Implant rupture: The implant may leak or break.
  • Scarring: Usually fades over time but can be prominent in some patients.
  • Capsular contracture: The formation of tight scar tissue around the implant, leading to hardening.
  • Swelling: Normal part of the healing process.
  • Changes in nipple and breast sensation: Usually temporary. Routine mammograms should be continued after breast augmentation, but the patient should inform the mammogram technician about the presence of implants.

Considerations and Outcomes

Before undergoing breast augmentation surgery, it is critical to understand the potential physical and emotional impacts, its effects on breastfeeding and future pregnancies, and the need for long-term care and maintenance of the implants.

Physical and Emotional Impact

Breast augmentation can significantly alter an individual’s body contour, often leading to increased self-confidence due to the desired increase in breast size, fullness, and projection. However, addressing any pre-existing asymmetry is important to achieve symmetrical results. While many experience a positive boost in self-image, some may encounter breast pain or fatigue post-surgery. Rarely, patients may develop breast implant illness, a range of symptoms that some individuals believe are directly connected to their breast implants. Additionally, while breast augmentation is a cosmetic surgery, it can sometimes be part of reconstruction after mastectomy or injury, impacting not just appearance but also a person’s sense of wholeness.

Breastfeeding and Future Pregnancies

The ability to breastfeed after augmentation may be impacted, and potential mothers should discuss breastfeeding considerations with their surgeons, as implant insertion methods can affect lactation. Future pregnancies can also alter breast volume and the aesthetic results of the augmentation, potentially necessitating a breast lift or revision surgery later.

Long-Term Care and Maintenance

Breast implants are not lifetime devices and may require replacement or removal due to complications or personal preference. Regular check-ups and breast exams are important for detecting any changes, including the rare but serious risk of breast cancer associated with certain types of breast implants. Patients should also consider the cost of the procedure and its long-term maintenance, as most insurance plans do not cover cosmetic surgery and related complications or follow-up surgeries. Procedures are typically performed at a hospital outpatient facility or a surgical facility, and choosing a reputable facility and experienced surgeon is crucial for minimizing the risks of complications.

Schedule Your First-Class Cosmetic Consultation with Dr. Brandon Richland, MD

Contact Dr. Richland today by visiting RichlandMD.com, scheduling a cosmetic consultation, or by calling 714-844-0398 or 949-997-2958 directly.

Cover Image Illustration by: Dr. Brandon Richland, MD