What is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation is a procedure to enlarge the size of your breasts using a saline-filled or silicone implant. Breast augmentation not only increases breast size, but also heightens self-esteem, especially in women who have long thought of enlarging their breasts. We have seen time and again the uplifting of spirit, confidence, and self-image following breast augmentation. The recovery is relatively rapid. Saline or silicone implants are options for our patients and depend on personal preference and individual needs. The newly designed silicone implants are now available and offer an excellent alternative for selected patients.
We invite you to learn more about breast augmentation by exploring the informational sections and media provided below, or simply contact our practice today to schedule a consultation with our experienced plastic surgeon.
“My breasts look amazing and look how I always wanted them to look! Dr. Houssock was very transparent with me from the consultation and every visit I had with her after. I felt very comfortable the entire time and I am very happy with the decision I made to get a breast aug. I loveeeed how Dr. Houssock called me to check on me after my procedure! That really showed me she cares about the wellbeing of her patients.”
What Are the Different Types of Breast Implants?
Traditional Silicone Breast Implants
FDA-approved in 2006, traditional silicone gel breast implants were redesigned for enhanced safety after older models were taken off the market. Today’s silicone implants feature a more rupture-resistant silicone rubber shell filled with silicone gel. For many patients, silicone breast implants can provide an exceptionally natural look and feel. Implant manufacturers offer a wide range of sizes/volumes and projections to accommodate the unique needs and cosmetic goals of a broad spectrum of breast augmentation patients.
Gummy Bear Breast Implants
Cohesive silicone gel breast implants, which are also called “gummy bear” breast implants due to their form-stable silicone gel, are the latest form of silicone breast implants to be FDA approved. These firmer gel implants offer patients round and anatomically shaped (tear drop) implant options that are available in a wide range of sizes and profiles. For certain patients, anatomically shaped models can provide a natural-looking breast slope and enhanced lower pole fullness.
Saline Breast Implants
Saline breast implants, which are comprised of a silicone rubber shell filled with a sterile salt-water solution, can provide a suitable option for breast augmentation patients who do not want silicone or who desire a placement strategy that requires saline. Unlike silicone breast implants, which contain a fixed amount of gel, the amount of solution contained in saline breast implants is adjustable at the time of surgery. Additionally, if a saline implant ruptures, it is immediately detectable (while silicone leaks typically occur more slowly), and the leaked solution simply absorbs harmlessly into the body.
If you are unsure about which breast implant type is best suited for your needs, do not worry—Dr. Carrie A. Houssock will take the time to explain your choices and recommend an option that aligns most closely with your goals and priorities.
What Are the Breast Augmentation Incision Options?
At our practice, Dr. Houssock typically prefers to use an incision in the crease underneath the breast for breast augmentation. The reason for this is, first and foremost, safety and consistency. Although an incision around the areola is appealing in many cases, this approach does have an increased likelihood of capsular contracture. Another option is an incision in the armpit; however, this approach does not provide the flexibility needed to manage the breast crease positioning, which is critical in many cases. Our surgeon has never used the belly button as an incision option, and this choice is limited to saline implants. Dr. Houssock believes that the breast crease incision affords a maximal exposure and excellent healing with the highest safety.
There are other considerations to explore when choosing the type of incision to use, and these factors are discussed in detail at the time of your consultation. Of course, additional decisions to make include whether to place the implant above or below the (pectoralis) muscle and the size and type of breast implant to use. You and your surgeon will have a lot to discuss while customizing a plan that best fits your needs and goals.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
My breasts have a tubular shape. Is this normal?
Yes, this is a common variation on breast shape. Typically a breast has a pyramid shape, but some people have breasts that have a shape closer to that of a tube. The appearance of the breast in this situation typically includes some breast tissue pushing against the areola and expanding it, a tight, narrow breast base near the chest, and a short distance between the bottom of the areola and the infra-mammary crease. This tubular appearance can be improved with breast augmentation and some additional skin tailoring.
Below is an example of this type of improvement in the Tubular breast shape.
How can I avoid capsular contracture (hardening of the breast implants due to scar tissue build up)?
No one really knows why this occurs in some breast augmentation patients, and it cannot be 100% eliminated. Some theories state that contracture is related to a variety of factors, these include: low-grade infection, inherent scar formation tendencies by the patient, or location of the breast implant above or below the muscle. We take every possible precaution to avoid these potential problems that might lead to contracture. In addition, we are big believers in massage of the breast implants following surgery. It is known that massage softens scar tissue and our patients have a very low rate of contracture.
Is it better to have the breast implants placed above or below the muscle?
Some surgeons only place the breast implants below the muscle, others only above. We will recommend what is best for you based on the way your breasts appear and the look you desire. Sometimes a dual-plane approach is the best customized option for you. During your thorough breast augmentation consultation, we will decide on what method is right for you.
What size breast implants should I be getting?
You are the person who will live with your breast augmentation results on a daily basis, and the decision for size is a very personal one. We will recommend a size based on what you tell us you are looking for. You may wish to bring in photos to demonstrate a desired look and size. Some women prefer to appear totally natural and others prefer a fuller look. We are happy to provide both options and everything in between.
Am I able to breast feed after I get implants?
Most patients who have breast augmentation at our practice do not have problems breastfeeding.
Are silicone implants better than saline implants?
Both saline and the new cohesive silicone gel implants are excellent, improved from those used years ago and offer different benefits. Most patients these days are requesting silicone implants because they do appear and feel more natural. On the other hand, the saline implants are less expensive and can be placed through smaller incisions because they are filled after the implant is placed under the breast—as opposed to the silicone implants which are pre filled. We will be happy to offer you both options if you are undecided, and we will make sure you understand all of your options regarding the type of breast implant to choose.
Are silicone implants safe?
The answer is yes. Although there was much concern and controversy 5-10 years ago regarding the safety of liquid silicone in breast implants, the FDA has since failed to uncover any health risks from silicone implants and the earlier restrictions for use have been removed. In addition, the implants we now use different are improved from the older generation of implants. The implants we now use are cohesive silicone gel implants and when cut in half, there is no free flow of silicone gel and in fact they demonstrate a texture that resembles a “gummy bear” candy. We will be happy to discuss this topic with you during the consultation as well.
Are mammograms less effective when breast implants are in place?
Breast implants do hide a certain amount of breast tissue on mammography. Additional mammographic views are recommended to maximize the amount of breast tissue seen, however. This does mean additional radiation at the time of mammography, but the total amount is certainly not excessive. Digital mammograms and MRI’s do not produce radiation and offer excellent breast analysis.
If my breasts droop is a breast lift needed?
Generally, if the nipple is at or below the breast crease, a lift (mastopexy) can be beneficial. Weight loss or past pregnancies are the most common causes for breast droop. The medical term for breast droop is ptosis. To achieve a lifting of the breast, the breast skin is excised and the “breast skin envelope” is made tighter. The scars on the breast that result from this lift are considerable, but usually heal very well. With the excess skin removed, the breasts rise to a more youthful level. Some women may require a breast implant (augmentation mastopexy) as well in order to get adequate lift and fullness.
What is recovery like?
Most breast augmentation patients have only moderate soreness for a few days, but this improves quickly thereafter. Contrary to what you may read on the internet, breast augmentation patients at our practice truly have very little pain postoperatively. Most of our patients only need to take off 3-5 days from work to recuperate.
Can I speak to some of your previous patients who had this surgery and get a reference?
Absolutely, we would encourage this. Our past breast augmentation patients are our greatest endorsement. The staff in our office will gladly arrange this for you.