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What is Breast Augmentation?

Breast Augmentation, also known as breast enlargement or augmentation mammoplasty, is a cosmetic surgery procedure employed to enhance both the size and shape of the breasts.

There are a number of variables when undergoing breast augmentation and it is important that each variable is customized for each patient. Our doctors will explain and consider all the options including types of incisions, implant material (i.e. silicone vs. saline implants), implant sizes, and implant placement to create a customized approach for each patient considering breast augmentation. Our plastic surgeons assess over 10 variables for each augmentation to ensure the best possible outcome for each of their patients and deliver this quality at an affordable cost.

What Can Breast Augmentation Do for Me?

The reasons for electing to undergo augmentation mammoplasty include:

  • Enhance body shape and proportions
  • Correct breast asymmetry
  • Restore breast volume after pregnancy and nursing
  • Breast reconstruction

Breast augmentation has helped many women enhance the appearance of their breasts with beautiful results. If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss how this procedure can help you achieve your goals, please contact Florida Plastic Surgery Group today.

What Are My Breast Implant Options?

Implant Types

There are generally two choices in implant fill material: silicone or saline implants. Below you will find the advantages and disadvantages of both silicone and saline implants. In addition, breast implants can have either a textured or smooth surface and each type has its role in cosmetic surgery of the breast. The type most appropriate for each case is explained to all patients by our cosmetic surgery team.

Saline Implants

Advantages:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Implant costs are less
  • Easy to detect ruptures
  • If the implant ruptures, the saline is harmlessly absorbed by the body
  • Available for all ages

Disadvantages:

  • Can result is visible rippling of the tissue
  • Not as soft or natural feeling

Silicone Implants

Advantages:

  • Softer, more natural feeling
  • Less rippling
  • Improved results for patients with thin skin

Disadvantages:

  • Larger Incisions
  • Cost of implants is higher
  • Not available for women under 22 years old
  • Implant leaks can be more difficult to detect and diagnose

Implant Size

The size of the implant is a very personal choice as each woman has her own preferences and ideal body image. Our doctors listen to your input on sizing to help pick an implant size that satisfies each patient’s expectations as well as fits with the patient’s anatomy to maximize surgical success. When assessing implant size, patients should be aware that very large implants will result in sagging of the breast tissue faster than smaller implants.

Implant Shape

There are two types of implant shapes: round and anatomic implants. In addition, implants come in three ranges of projection or profiles. All of these factors are taken into account to ensure patient satisfaction when it comes to the final surgical shape as well as the amount of projection and cleavage created from breast enhancement.

Where Are Breast Augmentation Incisions Placed?

There are four possible breast augmentation incision options through which the breast implant can be placed:

  • PeriareolarIncision around the nipple-areola complex
  • InframammaryIncision at the base of the breast
  • Transaxillary Endoscopic Augmentation MammoplastyIncision within the armpit is utilized and with the assistance of a camera a precise pocket under the muscle is created for the implant
  • TUBA (Transumbilical Breast Augmentation)Incision around the belly button (umbilicus)
The incision option you choose depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Whether a saline or silicone implant is used: In a transumbilical incision, only a deflated saline implant can be inserted. Either implant can be inserted through the armpit, but there may be certain size restrictions for a silicone implant inserted through the underarm.
  • Your expectations and desires: The various incisions create different scars. If you prefer a highly concealed scar, the transaxillary or periareolar incision may be suggested. Within the armpit, the scar is well hidden even when you lift up your arms. Around the nipple, the scar blends into the color and texture change occurring between the areola and breast skin.

Depending on the parameters of your breast augmentation, our experienced plastic surgeons will make incision suggestions and offer additional information to help you make important decisions about your procedure.

How is the Breast Augmentation Procedure Performed?

Breast augmentation is commonly performed on an outpatient basis at a hospital or surgical center while the patient is under general anesthesia. During the procedure, local anesthetics are used around the breast to block the nerves that produce pain before the surgery. Our experienced cosmetic surgeons frequently perform transaxillary endoscopic augmentation mammoplasty. The minimally invasive breast augmentation technique is performed by placing the incision in the armpit to ensure NO scars on the breast itself. The incision under the armpit heals quite well and after 1 year will likely be imperceptible. A precise pocket is created under the muscle with the assistance of a small video camera after which a silicone or saline implant is placed. Immediately after the implant is placed, the incision is closed in a layered manner to prevent implant exposure or scar widening.

If the patient desires, a pain pump that delivers continuous local anesthetic to the implant pocket can be placed and maintained for 3-4 days to help with the post-operative pain control.

Implant Placement

There are three options for implant placement when undergoing breast augmentation. The implant can be placed in the following places:

  • Subglandular – Above the muscle, but under gland.
  • Submuscular – Under the muscle. The amount of muscle coverage is individualized to each patient and depends on the location of the nipple preoperatively. By utilizing this dual plane technique, the nipple-areola complex can be raised without making further unnecessary incisions.
  • Subfascial – Under the gland and fascia of the muscle.

What is Recovery from Breast Augmentation Like?

Every patient’s body heals differently, so the exact length of breast augmentation recovery periods vary. Post-operative recovery begins with plenty of fluids and resuming walking as soon as possible. Bandages are placed over the incision for about a week, though patients are able to shower the same day of surgery.

Patients are asked to take a short course of antibiotics after the operation to prevent an infection. A supportive bra is worn to help support the breast as the incisions heal and the implants settle into position.

As the incision begins to heal (after 3 weeks), there are a number of things you can use to help minimize the size and appearance of the scar. Massaging the scar with firm finger pressure will help minimize the appearance of the scar and decrease the swelling. In addition, paper tape and silicone gel sheeting have both been shown to help minimize the scars with time. Some commercially available products such as Mederma or vitamin E may also have some benefit.

Generally, patients can expect to resume their normal activities after about a week of downtime. You should refrain from any vigorous exercise for the first month to prevent postoperative bleeding. Since swelling takes time to fully dissipate, the final results of your breast augmentation surgery may not be apparent for several months.

How Much Does Breast Augmentation Cost?

Breast augmentation is customized to each individual patient’s needs. With that in mind, the cost of the procedure will not be the same for every patient. A variety of components are factored into the total price. The 2016 estimate from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons regarding the price of breast augmentation surgery is $3,719; however, it’s important to note that this estimate is usually based on the surgeon’s fee only and does not take into account the costs relating to operating room facilities, anesthesia, the complexity of the procedure, post-operative medications, the geographic area in which the practice is located, and other factors. The national average cost of breast augmentation with those factors included tends to hover in the $8,000-$12,000 range. At Florida Plastic Surgery Group, our average range is around $5,000-$6,000.

Again, breast augmentation surgery is a customized procedure; therefore, the overall cost is highly dependent on the individual’s needs and goals, and will vary between patients. Once you have completed your initial consultation with one of our surgeons and a preliminary treatment plan has been developed, a member of our team can produce an estimate of the total cost. We are committed to transparency at the outset, providing you with the clearest possible valuation of your procedure so that you will know what to expect. Our staff can talk with you about the price estimate and the many payment methods we accept to help you determine the most ideal option for your budget. Our cosmetic surgery team constantly evaluates multiple companies to find the most reliable financing options for our patients. Please view our plastic surgery financing page to learn about the options available to you.

What is the Best Age for Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentation is a way for women of diverse ages to achieve the breast volume, symmetry, and balance they have always desired. In fact, women from 18-60 years of age and above have safely received breast augmentation and enjoyed the results. If you are a woman in her 50s, 60s, or beyond and you are in good general health, you are most likely a candidate for breast augmentation. If you are a young adult, you must be at least 18 years of age to receive saline breast implants and at least 22 years of age for silicone breast implants. Other factors concerning age and breast augmentation include:

Plans for Pregnancy

If you are planning to become pregnant in the next few years, you may want to postpone breast augmentation. Breast implants will not hinder your ability to become pregnant or negatively affect the progress of a pregnancy, but the physical changes accompanying pregnancy will most likely change the aesthetic results of the procedure.

Financial Considerations

Breast augmentation is an investment for many people. Prior to making the decision to undergo surgery, you should ensure you have the fiscal means to comfortably pay for treatment. If you wish to learn more about planning for the cost of breast augmentation, you may want to review our practice’s plastic surgery financing options.

Physical and Emotional Maturity

The main physical component to consider is your breast development. Many young women have fully developed breasts by the age of 18. However, some women do continue to physically develop into their twenties. It is best to receive breast augmentation only after your breasts have fully developed.

Your decision to have breast augmentation surgery should also be guided by your emotional maturity. In addition to choosing the procedure for your own interests and not to please another person, you should have realistic expectations of what the procedure may achieve. Although you may experience improved social interactions because you feel more confident in your body, breast augmentation should not be used to correct severe feelings of low self-esteem.

Ultimately, the best age for you to receive the procedure depends mostly on your discussion with one of our plastic surgeons who are experienced in providing breast augmentation to women of many different ages.

How Do I Choose a Breast Augmentation Surgeon?

Choosing the best possible breast augmentation surgeon for your needs is critically important. In fact, it’s one of the most ideal ways to increase the chances that your results will meet – and perhaps even exceed – your expectations. Researching the background and qualifications of surgeons you are considering, asking for recommendations, and taking the opportunity to “interview” the surgeon during your initial consultation are all a necessary part of the decision-making process. Remember: all types of surgery involve some level of risk, which makes it vital that the surgeon you are considering is extensively trained, skilled, and experienced in performing the procedure for which you are interested.

The doctors at Florida Plastic Surgery Group are some of the most skilled and talented plastic and reconstructive surgeons in the nation, and they are all board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc. They have a broad range of experience and are committed to utilizing advanced techniques to provide you with beautiful and natural-looking breast augmentation results. A highly-qualified plastic surgeon who is willing to answer all of your questions, go through every aspect of breast augmentation surgery with you, and offer you honest advice about your options can ultimately help you feel more comfortable and confident when making your decision.

Research the Plastic Surgeon’s Qualifications Prior to Your Consultation

Here are some of the steps you can take in order to gauge the level of qualifications in the surgeon you are considering against other potential candidates. It’s always good to begin this research before you schedule the initial consultation:

  • Take a look at his or her education and training
  • Find out what other patients have to say by reading testimonials and recommendations about the surgeon
  • View before-and-after breast augmentation photos. This can give you a general idea of the results that can be achieved

What You Should Learn During the Consultation

There are some things you can do to prepare for your initial consultation that can help you evaluate the surgeon and determine your comfort level with his or her expertise. Be sure to bring a list noting all over-the-counter and prescription medications you are taking, as well as herbal and vitamin supplements. You should also note all doctors you are currently seeing, and be upfront about any history of complications/conditions experienced by you or members of your family in the past. Never be afraid to ask questions – a good plastic surgeon will be completely honest and forthright with you at all times. Here are a few questions that can help you in your evaluation:

  • How many times have you performed this procedure during the last year?
  • What are the risks and the potential complications associated with this procedure?
  • What kind of support does your practice provide after surgery and during the recovery process?
  • Do you recommend this procedure for my specific body type? Why?
  • What can I do if I don’t like the outcome?
  • What can I expect in terms of the recovery process? What kind of pain medication do you often prescribe to deal with discomfort effectively?
  • What is the overall cost of the treatment?
  • What kind of financing options are available through your practice?

An open discussion with your potential surgeon is vital to determine whether you feel comfortable moving forward. Research into the surgeon’s background and credentials and evaluating how you feel about his or her expertise after the consultation can go a long way toward narrowing down your choices and feeling confident in your decision.

Additional Breast Augmentation FAQs

  • Will I have to massage my implants after surgery?There are different opinions amongst plastic surgeons in regard to the benefits of massaging your implants to prevent capsular contracture. There have been no reputable studies demonstrating a benefit, so our board-certified plastic surgeons at Florida Plastic Surgery Group do not ask patients to massage their implants, as it results in unnecessary discomfort. In addition, if you have textured implants, massaging will be counterproductive since the purpose of the texturing is to allow tissue growth.
  • Will I be able to breastfeed after a breast augmentation?According to studies, only about half the women with no prior breast surgery who attempt to breastfeed are able to do so. With the inframammary and minimally invasive breast augmentation (transaxillary) techniques, none of the breast tissue or glands are injured. Therefore, if a woman was able to breastfeed before her surgery, she could continue to breastfeed afterward.
  • Will I lose sensation in my nipples?This is a very common breast augmentation question. The way your surgery is performed is critical to preserve the sensation to the nipples. The periareolar breast augmentation does have a slightly increased chance of changes in nipple sensation. However, if performed properly, all the techniques will result in normal nipple sensation for the majority of women. Patients should note that during the healing process and as the swelling resolves, nipple sensation may be diminished, but any lost sensation generally returns with time.
  • What is capsular contracture?Capsular contracture is the hardening of the capsule around the breast that can occur months to years after surgery. There are general 4 grades of capsular contracture, depending on the severity. The result is either one-sided or bilateral breast firmness as well as elevation of the breast mound.
  • What causes capsular contracture?There has been no clear cause for the development of capsular contracture, but some evidence suggests that micro-infection of the breast pocket may predispose some patients to develop capsular contracture.
  • How can capsular contracture be prevented?There is no foolproof way to prevent capsular contracture of the breast. However, there are number of techniques to minimize the chance of developing capsular contractures. The placement of older generation silicone implants in the subglandular position did result in a slightly increased risk of developing capsular contracture. Therefore, if you choose to have silicone implants, the placement of the implants in a subfascial or submuscular (under the muscle) position is recommended.

    In addition, since there seems to be a correlation with bacteria around the pocket and the development of capsular contracture, the utmost attention to sterilization is important. Our plastic surgery team tries to eliminate any bacteria by using anti-bacterial solutions to wash out the pocket and to coat the implant prior to implant insertion. In addition, the implant is opened and touched by surgeon only after new gloves washed in an antibiotic solution are worn and the implant pocket is ready. This ensures almost no contamination from the skin or air.

  • Can capsular contracture be treated non-surgically?There are no proven non-surgical means of treating capsular contracture. There have been a number of drugs and modalities that have been used with anecdotal reports of success. A leukotriene inhibitor named Accolate™ has been used by many plastic surgeons, but the potential side effects (i.e. liver damage) outweigh the limited unverified benefit. One of the newer less well-known non-surgical methods of treating capsular contracture in the early stages of its development is the using of transdermal non-steroidal anti-inflammatory patches. Please ask our plastic surgery team for more information about this nonsurgical treatment.
  • What is the surgical treatment of capsular contracture?Generally the implant is removed and the scarred capsule is surgically removed from the breast. The implant pocket is then thoroughly washed with antibiotic solution and the implant replaced. A site change is also frequently performed if the implant was originally above the muscle to help reduce the chance of recurrence of the contracture.

    If you have any additional questions about breast augmentation, please contact us for an initial consultation.