Breast augmentation is the most common cosmetic surgical procedure performed in the United States with over 300,000 women undergoing this procedure by Plastic Surgeons alone. This is frequently the cosmetic procedure with the youngest patient population behind rhinoplasty. Thus, there is a need for adequate education for patients who are considering undergoing this procedure. There is significant information available about this procedure, but there are some hidden details that every patient should understand before undergoing this procedure.
It’s not all about CCs when choosing an implant
When women communicate about their breast augmentation to other women, they routinely use CCs as the means of describing their implants. This is only one of many variables that reflect the implant a patient has. The fill (saline or silicone), profile, shape, and manufacturer are all different factors. Choosing an implant based on volume alone far underestimates the complexity of selecting the proper implant for your body type and aesthetic goals.
You will always be somewhat asymmetric
Almost every woman has breasts that are asymmetric. This is entirely normal, but something not often appreciated by women before their surgery. Breast symmetry is based upon the base width of each a breast, breast volume, nipple position, breast shape and the curvature of the chest wall. We make every effort to choose different shapes and volumes of implants to be used when needed based on the patient’s preexisting anatomy. That being said, there will always be a small difference in the appearance of the breasts when examined closely. In almost every circumstance, this is only visible out of clothes and easily concealed in a bikini or even lingerie.
The best surgeons don’t know exactly what they are going to do before surgery
Don’t worry; we know what we are going to do, but don’t commit to a particular implant before the procedure. Even with proper planning and measurements, including high-end devices like the Vectra, mistakes can be made in preparation. These measurement and devices do not usually appreciate the underlying chest wall irregularities that may contribute to the ultimate shape of the breast. These issues are typically discovered at the time of surgery, and the surgeon must be able to make a last-minute adjustment to the implant chosen to best account for unexpected findings. Also, skin stretch and underlying anatomic structures such as sensory nerves must be preserved whenever possible which can affect the “best” implant for the patient’s goals.
Not all silicone is created equally
We now have more implant choices than ever before. Not only do we have the traditional silicone, but we have a “gummy bear” style, and another in between called “soft touch.” This allows for differing abilities to help reshape the breast. The Gummy Bear implants are less likely to ripple, but they are firmer to touch. Traditional silicone implants have more of a “natural” result but can show some rippling in thin women. The “soft touch” implant is somewhere in-between. This gives patients some different options, but there are pros and cons for each implant style. This is something that needs to be addressed after an in-person consultation.
The weight of the implant affects your tissues
This is especially true in patients who are post-partum or those who have lost weight. Once the skin has been stretched for any number of reasons, the skin is no longer as strong as it originally was. The implant, although light, will impart some stress on your breasts and thus could result in breast droop. In this case, patients may need to consider a textured implant or possibly a surgical mesh to prevent the descent of the implant. Once the capsule forms around the implant, the risk of this decreases significantly.
You will likely need at least another operation in the future
Almost all women will need another surgery to improve the cosmetic appearance of the breast. This usually is due to the continued aging of the breast tissue and would happen with or without implants. Typically, the breast implant remains in position, and the breast tissue ages off the implant are creating a visual imbalance between the breast and underlying device. This is not worsened because of the implant placement but can occur as a result of time, pregnancy or even weight loss. Additional surgery is not mandatory but frequently needed to maintain an attractive and youthful result. Nothing lasts forever, and plastic surgery does NOT stop you from aging.
The most important decision you can make concerning breast augmentation surgery is choosing a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon who you trust and understands the complexity of this procedure. Any simplistic approach to this procedure underestimates the numerous anatomic factors that contribute to the success of breast implant surgery.
*The content in this blog is developed to spread the awareness towards plastic surgery. Our blog is not intended to serve as a replacement for an actual in-office consultation with Dr. Marin. As such, the information within this blog reflects the unique cases of our individual patients.