FAQ: Breast Augmentation Surgery

Breast Augmentation

Breast Augmentation Surgery (Breast Implants)

Breast augmentation has been one of the leading cosmetic surgeries for more than 40 years. Thoroughly refined and well tested, it enables women to enhance their self-esteem by safely enlarging and reshaping their breasts. Given the proper balance of patient presentation, patient expectations and the surgeon’s skill and esthetic, modern techniques allow for dramatic results.

What is the specific breast augmentation procedure?

Although the procedure varies widely based on individual requirements, the basics are straightforward: A computer-designed breast implant is placed behind your own breast tissue through a small incision. This implant may enlarge and/or improve the breast’s shape. Patients undergoing breast augmentation may be under local or general anesthesia. Click here for more specific information on Bay Area breast augmentation surgery.

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Where are the incisions made in breast implant surgery?

Depending on the patient’s unique presentation, incisions are made in one of three locations: periareolar, inframammary and axillary.

Periareolar indicates the areola, or the boundary of the colored area around the nipple that borders regular breast skin. This incision tends to heal nearly invisibly, though in a few patients a thin line remains. Some patients experience temporary numbness in the nipple, but sensation generally returns.

Incisions placed under the breast are called inframammary; they fall at the fold where the breast joins the chest wall. Although this incision is more noticeable than the periareolar, it can heal with minimal scarring and nipple sensation is usually not affected.

Axillary means in the underarm (armpit). This incision offers the benefit of no breast scarring at all. Although there is an underarm scar, it generally fades to near-nothing with time. Nipple sensation is rarely affected by this approach.

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Where and how are the breast implants placed?

Implants are placed behind your breast tissue, either over or under the pectoralis (chest wall) muscle. Whether it is placed over or under the muscle is determined by your particular breast and chest structure. Click here for more information on how implant placement decision is made.

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What filler material is inside of a breast implant?

All implants have a silicone rubber shell, which is filled with either medical-grade silicone gel or saline (salt-water solution). Many people believe that silicone-filled implants offer a more natural look and feel than the saline variety. Now that the FDA has determined that silicone gel breast implants are safe for use is cosmetic breast augmentation, they are rapidly becoming the more popular of the two options..

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Which breast augmentation procedure is best for me?

Ultimately, the procedure I perform is the one that’s right for you. Just as no single blouse looks great on every woman, so too is there no one-size-fits-all breast augmentation surgery. A surgeon who insists on a particular approach regardless of your case parameters is really communicating that he makes the patient fit the operation. My approach, on the other hand, is to make the operation fit the patient. At your consultation, we will discuss the options, and together we will choose the procedure that is right for you.

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How do I know which implant size is right for me?

Breast size and good proportions are subjective. Within a safe range determined by the surgeon, you make the final decision. I’ll help you choose by analyzing your general body shape and how different sizes will alter your appearance both clothed and unclothed. Trying on different-size implants at your consultation will also help you determine the most comfortable option. We recommend bringing along photos of similarly sized women with breasts you find attractive.

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What possible risks or complications are posed by breast augmentation surgery?

Though breast augmentation is a long-running procedure and considered safe, there are complication risks. As with any operation, bleeding, infection and scarring can develop. Asymmetry in size or placement, decrease or loss of sensation, and implant rejection are possible. Capsule scar formation that results in overly firm breasts is the most common complication.

We minimize the risk of capsule scar formation by promoting post-surgical breast massage. However, a small number of patients may need follow-up surgery to treat this problem. This information is intended to help you make an informed decision; no question or concern is silly or insignificant. At your consultation, I will gladly discuss any complications with you and answer your questions.

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Is there a connection between breast implants and breast cancer risk?

Many reliable scientific studies have been done, and they have concluded that breast augmentation neither increases nor decreases breast cancer risk. Regular breast self-exams can still be performed easily after implants, as can mammography.

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What is the standard recovery time after breast enlargement surgery?

Recovery time varies for each patient. Typically, the surgery is an outpatient procedure, and stitches are removed in 7-10 days. Although many patients return to work in as little as three days, I usually recommend one week off, with limited activity for 2-3 weeks.

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What are the FDA findings on breast augmentation with silicone and saline implants?

In November of 2006, the FDA determined that silicone breast implants are safe for use, and they are now widely available for cosmetic breast augmentation. At your consultation, we will discuss the important issues and reccomendations regarding the new availability of silicone breast implants.

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Can I get fat injections instead of implants as a form of breast enhancement?

Fat injection to the breasts is currently an area of controversy. Because questions remain over whether injected areas can mimic X-ray findings of breast cancer in mammograms, this procedure is not frequently performed..

Dr. Mosser is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon specializing in breast augmentation surgery in San Francisco. If you have any further questions about breast implants or wish to schedule a consultation, please contact us.