Breast Augmentation FAQs Frequently Asked Breast Augmentation Questions
Before undergoing breast augmentation surgery, patients often have many questions to ensure they have a clear understanding of the procedure and its potential outcomes. While individual concerns (and results) may vary, here is our definitive collection of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that our patients often ask our board-certified plastic surgeons:
How do I know what type of implant is best for me?
Answer: During your breast augmentation consultation you will discuss your desires and goals in detail. Your surgeon will go over with you any asymmetries or limitations of your breast anatomy that may affect the implant selection. There are many types of implants which vary in base diameter, projection, and shape. Your surgeon will help you to determine which implant type will best fit your body and provide you with the best cosmetic results.
What is the difference between saline and silicone implants?
Answer: Saline implants are filled with a "Normal Saline" solution which is basically sterilized water with added sodium chloride (salt). Should the implant rupture or leak, this saline solution, just like water, would be absorbed by your body. Silicone implants are now FDA approved for use in the United States. Silicone implants are filled with a silicone gel that holds together and is "cohesive". This implant feels more natural and has more natural give that resembles breast tissue. Patients are able to achieve natural results with either choice. During your breast augmentation consultation you will have an opportunity to examine and feel both saline and silicone gel breast implants.
Where is the breast implant placed during breast augmentation surgery or breast lift with breast augmentation surgery?
Answer: The breast implant is surgically implanted either under your chest muscle (subpectoral) or, less commonly, under your breast tissue (subglandular).
How do I know which incision placement to choose?
Answer: The three most common incision placements are periareolar(partially around the nipple), transaxillary (in the armpit), and in the inframammary crease (under the breast). Incision placement is dependent upon your anatomy and personal preference. For those individuals who are considering the periareolar incision it is important that their areolas are not too small. A small areola requires making the incision more than half way around the nipple and causes too much constriction to the nipple, possibly resulting in a thicker or wider scar. The transaxillary incision or hidden scar technique is another alternative that would leave no scarring on the breast. Most patients are candidates for the inframammary crease incision, and this is a popular choice for incision placement. At your breast augmentation consultation, your surgeon will discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages to each incision placement. Again, it is important that you are involved in the decision process.
How do I know if I need a breast lift or mastopexy with my augmentation?
Answer: It depends upon the elasticity and relaxation of the skin - how much sagging there is and the position of the nipple. The lower the nipple, the more likely you are to need a lift. The breast lift procedure tightens the skin and reshapes the breast to give a more firm and "perky" appearance. If your nipple is positioned in the middle of your breast, you probably will not need a lift. Weather or not you will need a mastopexy will be discussed with you at your consultation.
How will I know what size I should ask for?
Answer: During your consultation, your surgeon will take breast measurements that help to determine the appropriate range of implant size for you based on your chest and breast diameters. At your consultation you will view some of our "before and after" pictures to help you get a better idea of what different implant sizes look like. You may want to look in bathing suit or lingerie catalogs or magazines before your consultation to select an example of your preferred end result and bring these pictures with you. Additionally, breast implants of different sizes will be provided to you to "try on" during your consultation.
Do the implants need to be replaced after a number of years?
Answer: With the implants being used currently, there is no recommendation that the implants be replaced after a certain amount of time and it is not necessary to replace the implants unless you are experiencing a problem. Should you have a complication with the implant, it is usually obvious and you will know that it needs to be replaced. The silicone implants from a number of years ago had thinner shells and replacement was recommended after ten years because the incidence of the implant rupturing increased as they got older. That is not true for implants today - saline or silicone. Many patients have their implants for twenty years or more.
Am I at greater risk for breast cancer if I have breast implants?
Answer: Reports in the medical literature indicate that women who have breast implants are not at a greater risk than those without.
Should I continue to have mammograms if I have breast implants?
Answer: The current recommendations for getting screening/preoperative mammograms are no different for women with breast implants than for those without implants. However, it is essential that you tell your mammography technologist before the procedure that you have an implant. The technologist can use special techniques to reduce the possibility of rupture and to get the best possible views of the breast tissue.
Do I need a mammogram before having breast implants placed?
Answer: For those patients 30 years or older or those with a strong family history of breast cancer the answer is yes. It is important to determine and document that the breast is free of any disease process prior to any breast surgery.
How soon can I return to work after breast augmentation surgery?
Answer: Most women can return to work a few days after surgery.
What are my restrictions following breast augmentation surgery?
Answer: Most women return to their normal exercise routine 2-4 weeks following surgery.
When can I swim or get in a hot tub after breast augmentation surgery?
Answer: You should not submerge the breasts in any water until the incisions are completely healed. This means there are no scabbing areas left and the incision is completely closed and healed. This generally takes 4 weeks.
Will I be able to breast feed after breast augmentation surgery?
Answer: Usually breast augmentation does not interfere with the ability to breastfeed.