The breasts can be central to a woman’s body image. If you’ve never felt your breasts were in proportion with the rest of your figure, breast augmentation surgery can help change that. As one of the most popular cosmetic procedures, breast augmentation can help patients enhance the size, volume, and symmetry of their breasts.
Dr. Russell Babbitt, our board-certified plastic surgeon, specializes in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery of the breasts which is designed to help patients address their aesthetic concerns and achieve a boost in self-confidence. Through the breast augmentation procedure, he can help you enhance your breast proportions and contours, while preserving a natural-looking aesthetic.
Am I a Candidate for Breast Augmentation?
The decision to undergo breast augmentation is very personal. It is important for patients to choose this procedure for their own goals without any influence from others. During your consultation at Plastic Surgery of Southern New England, Dr. Babbitt will perform a physical examination, go over your medical history, and discuss what you hope to achieve from surgery. Based on this information, he can determine if you are a good candidate for breast implants.
In general, those with one or more of the following concerns can benefit from breast augmentation: dissatisfaction with their current breast size or shape, asymmetry between breasts, subtle issues of breast sagging (ptosis), and a deflated appearance often caused by significant weight loss or fluctuations.
If you feel you have more significant breast ptosis, either from pregnancy and breastfeeding or from weight fluctuations, we will discuss the more complex approaches. This may involve placement of implants at the same time as a breast lift, performing a breast lift alone, or performing a two-stage operation where the two operations are done at separate times. This helps to ensure that the maximal result of each surgery can be achieved in the most challenging cases.
What Are My Breast Implant Options?
At Plastic Surgery of Southern New England, we offer the highest-quality implants for your breast augmentation procedure. During your initial consultation, Dr. Babbitt will explain each of the options and discuss, in depth, which implant material may be best for your cosmetic goals. Below are descriptions of each implant option in order to familiarize yourself prior to your consultation.
Silicone Breast Implants
Known for their remarkably natural look and feel, silicone breast implants are a popular choice for breast augmentation patients and are available in a variety of pre-filled sizes and projections. The outer shell is tightly sealed with durable silicone material, while the inner structure is filled with a gel-like silicone material. Advancements in silicone implants have improved their safety to minimize chances of rupture. As leaks and ruptures are generally not easily visible with silicone implants, routine MRIs or ultrasounds are required.
One of the benefits of saline breast implants is the ability to customize and adjust the amount of saline (saltwater) solution that fills the implant during surgery. This type of implant also requires a smaller incision to insert the implant. If a leak or rupture occurs, the saltwater is reabsorbed into the body causing the implant to deflate. If this occurs, the complication becomes obvious, leading to a breast implant revision procedure. While saline breast implants can provide beautiful results for the right candidates, they do not demonstrate the same natural aesthetic look and feel of silicone.
How Do I Choose the Size of My Breast Implants?
Rather than focusing on the size of the breast implant alone, experienced surgeons will make recommendations based on the patient’s body type, various anatomical measurements, and the individual’s aesthetic goals. The sizing of breast implants is measured in cubic centimeters (ccs), not bra size.
Dr. Babbitt works closely with each patient to find the ideal breast implant size for their unique proportions and preferences. Our team utilizes different tools to help you visualize how varying implant sizes may look on your frame, helping you make an informed decision about your breast implant selection.
Where Will My Incisions Be for Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation with the team at Plastic Surgery of Southern New England involves many decisions. Beyond your choice of implant type, the location of your incision will be discussed at your visit as well. The implants can be placed above or below the pectoral muscle. The reason for placing the implants in a particular location is based on patient preference, the available tissue, previous surgery, and surgeon preference.
- Inframammary crease incisions — This incision is designed to rest in the crease underneath the breast, and is the most common incision used for many reasons. The implant can be placed above or below the muscle through this incision and the risk of capsular contracture is lowest with this approach. Also, in situations where revision breast surgery is being performed, the inframammary crease incision enables the surgeon to better perform the often complex maneuvers required to improve the result and restore the shape of the breast.
How Do Breast Implant Profiles Differ?
Implants have different profiles which details the amount the implant will project. Higher profile implant types have smaller bases and keep more of the volume up higher on the chest. Lower profile implants have wider bases and more of the implant is in the middle of the breast. Gummy bear implants have a teardrop shape. These are said to be more like a natural breast shape. Dr. Babbitt will help you understand your options with size and projection during your consultation.
How Should I Prepare for Breast Augmentation?
Your doctor will spend time with you during your consultation and pre-surgical visit to explain how you can prepare for a safe surgery and an optimal outcome. We will ask you for a complete list of medications you are taking. It is extremely important to list ALL medications including supplements. We will then supply you with directions on stopping certain medications prior to surgery to reduce any unnecessary surgical and post-op complications.
In addition,you may be advised to stop smoking or using nicotine or tobacco. Shortly before surgery, you should also curtail alcohol consumption. Combining these habit changes, with an increase in hydration and nourishment from lean proteins, healthy fats, and an abundance of fresh vegetables, can prepare your body for efficient healing from surgery.
How Is Breast Augmentation Surgery Performed?
The breast augmentation procedure is customized according to the needs and goals of each patient. From the location of your incisions to the placement of your implants, Dr. Babbitt will tailor his surgical technique to help you achieve the most natural-looking breast enhancement. In general, breast augmentation surgery can be completed within 45 minutes to one hour and is performed as an outpatient procedure.
To begin breast augmentation surgery, incisions are meticulously made, and a pocket is formed to insert the breast implants. As saline implants are filled after they are placed, the incision length for this type of implant is typically one inch, whereas the incisions made for silicone implants often span 1.5 to 2 inches. The breast implants are then placed in the ideal location and the incisions are closed via tiny sutures.
More specific information will be provided during the consultation so you know what to expect on the day of surgery, including arranging assistance to return home from a trusted family member or friend.
How Safe is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation is generally considered a very safe and rewarding procedure. In recent years, as a result of safety concerns related to a specific type of breast implant, the FDA has increased its regulations around labeling requirements and screening recommendations. The goal of these regulations is to ensure that every patient receives the fullest extent of information regarding the potential risks of their surgical decision.
Some of the most essential things to know about breast implant surgery is that there are surgical risks and also long-term risks to breast tissue due to the presence of breast implants. We review your surgical risks with you during your consultation and may also review them during other pre-surgical visits. The more you know about the potential surgical side effects and complications, the better prepared you may be to diligently follow your post-op care instructions.
In addition to surgical risks, breast augmentation does come with long-term screening recommendations. The FDA advises patients to undergo ultrasound or MRI screenings at five years and then every two years after that to check for leaks in silicone implants. Ultrasound examinations have become increasingly popular due to their convenience and cost. If an implant leaks or if scar tissue forms around one or both implants, there is a chance that additional surgery may be needed.
Finally, you must understand that breast implants are not reversible. Yes, you can have implants removed, but this may require an additional surgical technique to address tissue changes that have occurred. Most people who have breast augmentation, even with increased breast screenings and surgical risks, are very happy with their decision.
What Results Can I Expect from Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation has an extremely high rate of satisfaction. A recent study from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that 98 percent of women felt their augmentation either met or exceeded their expectations. Over 90 percent of the women also said they felt the procedure increased their self-esteem. For many women, this procedure changes their entire body image.
Implant durability is continuing to improve. Although most implants will need to be replaced at least once in a patient’s life, there is no specific timeline. Manufacturers guarantee their implants for at least 10 years, and many patients have implants that can last double that time. If or when the implants need to be replaced, breast revision surgery to exchange the implants is not difficult, as we can simply enter through the original incisions to remove the old implants and place the new ones.
What Will My Recovery Be Like After Augmentation?
Following breast augmentation, it is normal to experience mild swelling, bruising, tightness in the chest area and soreness. It is also common to feel tired and a bit drowsy immediately after surgery. These symptoms should resolve over time and discomfort may be alleviated with medication that has been prescribed by your doctor. Dr. Babbitt will provide post-procedure recovery instructions that advise rest and waiting to return to normal work and daily activities for about one to two weeks after surgery. You will also need to hold off on light exercise for four weeks, and more strenuous work or vigorous activities, including lifting weights, for twelve weeks after surgery.
What Risks Are Associated with Breast Augmentation?
Beyond the general risks associated with any surgery, there are some risks specific to breast augmentation. These include:
- Capsular contracture
- Implant leakage or rupture
- Implant shifting
- Changes in nipple sensation
- Impaired ability to breastfeed
- Breast asymmetry
- Visible rippling of the implant
Dr. Babbitt will discuss these risks with you during your consultation.
Does Breast Augmentation Increase My Risk of Breast Cancer?
Extensive research has been conducted both by the FDA and other entities into breast augmentation and breast cancer risk. All of these studies have found no increase in breast cancer risk among women with breast implants.
Will I Have Scarring After Breast Augmentation?
Any time the human skin is cut, a scar forms. This is no different with augmentation. The choice for your incision locations will dictate the amount of scarring you will have. Incisions made around the areola are usually well hidden. Incisions made through the armpits don’t create any scarring on the breasts. There are only two vertical incisions in the armpits, and they are hidden in a natural crease. Incisions made on the breast crease at the bottom of the breasts create the most scarring, but these incisions are placed so they are covered by a swimsuit top or a bra.
Over time, scarring from breast augmentation should continue to fade in color, become softer, and flatten. To further minimize the appearance of your scars, Dr. Babbitt can recommend additional skin treatment options.
How Much Does Breast Augmentation Cost?
The average cost of breast augmentation surgery ranges from $7,900 to $8,750. This fee includes the surgeon’s fee, anesthesia, use of the surgical facility, aftercare and more. The varying cost is dependent on the complexity of your surgery and your choice of implants. After the initial consultation, a personalized estimate will be created based on the specific details of your customized treatment plan. Our team is available to answer your questions at any time and discuss payment options offered at Plastic Surgery of Southern New England.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Breast Augmentation
Will I Require Post-Op Appointments After My Procedure?
Yes. It is important that we check your progress as you heal from your procedure. You can expect to come into the office the day after surgery, one week after your surgery and then as recommended by Dr. Babbitt.
Can I Combine Breast Augmentation with a Breast Lift?
We usually recommend combining these two procedures if the patient has a good deal of sagging breast skin and also needs a significant increase in volume. Augmentation alone won’t produce your desired outcome. It’s best to remove the excess sagging skin and downsize the areolae in many cases before adding the implants. Adding implants to a breast lift is quite easy, as the incisions used to insert the implants have already been made for the lift.
How Can I Make My Breast Augmentation Results Last Longer?
You can start to promote long-term benefits from breast augmentation immediately after your procedure. First, you do so by diligently following your post-op instructions. It is especially important to support the weight of your larger breasts and to refrain from returning to strenuous activities too quickly after surgery.
Once you’ve recovered, you must continue to wear a comfortable, supportive bra. This can help sustain your new breast shape and also help slow the loss of elasticity in your skin. Moisturizing and using sunscreen provide additional support to the skin to maintain firmness and stretchiness over time, both of which affect the appearance of the breasts.