Breast Augmentation with Breast Implants Explained

Posted July 13, 2020
In-depth look at breast augmentation with breast implants

Breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in the United States. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of breast augmentation surgeries performed increased by 48% between the years 2000 and 2018. Patients look to increase the size of their breasts as well as gain a better contour to them when they have a breast augmentation procedure.  For patients that do not know everything that is involved in the breast augmentation process using breast implants, check out the informative article below to learn more about how breast implant surgery is performed.

Basics of Breast Augmentation with Breast Implants

Breast augmentation using breast implants is when a surgeon places the implants inside the breast area of the patient. The breast implants can range from smaller implants that provide a subtle augmentation to larger breast implants that greatly increase the size and appearance of the breasts.

Breast augmentation with breast implantsThe size of the breast implants is measured in cubic centimeters or CCs. The size that will be used to provide the desired amount of breast augmentation is determined during the consultation appointment with the patient. Implants that are smaller than the base width of the breast of the patient means the natural teardrop breast shape will be kept by the body. Breast implants that are larger in size than the base width of the natural breast give the breasts a circular shape because of their size compared to the natural breast size of the patient.

As mentioned above, the consultation appointment is when the patients need to discuss their desired final results with the surgeon. Doctors want to make sure patients have realistic expectations about the final results because the results patients think they want might actually be the result of wearing a certain type of bra or the patients might be viewing the results of Photoshop on the appearance of the breasts in certain photos.

Breast Implant Decisions to make before Breast Augmentation Surgery

Before patients make the final decision to have breast implants placed during breast augmentation surgery, there are a few decisions they need to make that go beyond the size of the breast implants:

  • Silicone Implants or Saline Implants – Both of these implant choices contain an outer silicone shell but the saline breast implant is filled with sterile salt water.  Saline breast implants (at a cost of $3000-$6000) are inserted into the breast and they are then filled with the sterile salt water. On the other hand, silicone breast implants (at a cost of $4500-$9000) are pre-filled with silicone gel before they are placed in the body of the patient. Patients need to make the decision about what type of breast implants they want placed in their body as well as if they want textured or smooth breast implants.
  • Location of the Incision – When it comes to placing the location of the incision for the breast implants, there are multiple options available to surgeons:
  1. Inframammary Incision – This incision is made in the inframammary fold which is the horizontal crease where the breast meets the body/breast fold. This option provides a lower chance of breastfeeding issues or changes in the sensation of the nipple. Plus, any resulting scar might be hard to hide for the surgeon.
  2. Periareolar Incision – This incision is made halfway around the lower circumference of the areola. Any resulting scar is hidden by the darker pigment of the edge of the areola. Risks include a higher risk of trouble breastfeeding and changes in the sensation of the nipple.
  3. Transaxillary Incision – This incision is placed in the armpit and a tunnel to the breast is created so a pocket can be formed for the insertion of the implant. Saline implants are usually preferred with this technique since they are smaller. The only scar will be located in the armpit instead of being located on the breast.
  4. Transumbilical Incision (TUBA) – This incision is made in the belly button which means any scar is hidden in its folds. The surgeon will have to tunnel to the breasts to gain access to them and this can lead to the most common TUBA complication which is poorly positioned implants and results that are abnormal in appearance.
  • Under or Over the Muscle – The decision about placing the breast implants under (subpectoral) or over (subglandular) the muscle is determined by the percentage of breast tissue and body fat enjoyed by the patient. Women with a moderate amount of breast tissue are better candidates for breast implants that are placed over the muscle.

Breast Implants – Info to Know after the Surgery

Once the breast implants are placed by the surgeon, the body forms scar tissue around the area where the surgery was performed. Patients should be aware that capsular contracture is a possibility after surgery. This is a breast augmentation complication that happens when internal scar tissue forms a capsule that is constricting or tight. The capsule will start to contract and eventually it becomes hard or misshaped.

Patients will experience some pain in the breast area for a few days after the surgery. Gauze dressings will be applied to the breasts after the surgery but they will be replaced with a special surgical bra. Patients will need to limit movements such as lifting and bending as they can delay the healing process and increase the amount of pain felt by the person.

It can take up to three months for the breast implants to migrate to their ideal location and even up to a year for the breast implants to fully settle into place. In general, breast implants can last anywhere from 10-20 years after the surgery.



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