Breast augmentation is one of the most popular forms of surgery today, on both sides of the Atlantic, according to National Surgery Associations. The benefits to self-esteem are well documented, especially for women who wish to regain their figure after motherhood. However, breast augmentation is not only for older women, and many teenagers are proud owners of new breasts.
For older women who wish to regain their younger silhouette, breast lifts are recommended by surgeons which change the position or angle of the breasts. A breast lift will remove sagging skin and restore the breasts to a more youthful position. This can be especially desirable for women after pregnancy, extreme weight loss or women who experience pain and discomfort due to the weight of pendulous breasts.
Lifting procedures combined with liposuction for optimal results
For the best of both worlds, many women prefer to combine a breast lift procedure with augmentation, adding an implant. This is called a Mastopexy, and not only changes the shape and location of the breasts, but it also increases their volume.
Implants: Saline versus silicone
Saline-filled implants are silastic shells filled with sterile salt water. Some are pre-filled, and others are filled during surgery. The advantages of saline are that they can be used for women under 20 years old, unlike silicone implants. They are also less expensive and leave a smaller scar. There are no silent ruptures, and there are more choices on the volume, diameter, and size of the implant. However, they are firmer and less natural than silicone implants and may have a less regular shape.
Silicone implants which are silicone shells filled with a plastic gel (silicone). They feel more real and have less risk of rippling. Ruptures are less commonplace, although they are more dangerous than saline implant ruptures, as they are difficult to spot, hence the name “silent ruptures.” They have a more natural shape, and they are more stable in their position. There are new products on the market, and Ideal offers a saline implant that feels like silicone, from which there is no chance of a silent rupture.
Doctors advise patients to take their overall body shape and size into consideration when choosing the size and type of implant to use.
Most implants range from 150-800 ccs (cubic centimeters), but most only hold 400 cc’s of material. One cup size is approximately 100-150 ccs.
For a more natural looking breast the implant can be placed below the pectoralis major, also known as the pectoral muscle, and for those women who had a small cup size before surgery, this can be advantageous as it provides better support for the implant. It also reduces the risk of capsular contracture, which happens when scar tissue surrounds and compresses the implant, causing an irregular appearance.
The other surgical option for breast augmentation is to place the implant between the existing breast tissue and the muscle. This procedure is known as a subglandular placement. This technique is less invasive than the submuscular placement and recovery time can be less. Implants in this position may also produce a larger cleavage and feel a bit softer to the touch. However, this is not advisable for women with thin skin or insufficient breast tissue as rippling, or visible implants may be the result.
Patients complete their paperwork at their initial appointment, and their surgeon will use a marker on the skin to highlight incision sites and expanded breast area. The doctor will also outline the surgical procedure and be available to answer any. Surgeons may also take “before” photographs to compare to the final postoperative breasts.
It is recommended that any prescriptions for pain medication and antibiotics be filled before the surgery, so they are on hand. As general anesthesia results in sleepiness following the procedure, patients should ensure they have pre-arranged a comfortable and quiet place to recover, where they have the assistance of a hired nurse or family on call. It is also advisable to have pre-prepared food and snacks readily available.
Notebooks containing information on post-operative pills and dosage, along with pill organizers are recommended as are antiseptic wipes to keep incision areas hygienic. Lightweight ice packs can minimize pain and reduce swelling. A stack of books and films are also a useful aid for the first few days after surgery when movement is restricted, and bed rest advised. The contact information of your doctor should also be kept close at hand.
Most surgeries take around 2 hours and are performed under general anesthesia. The surgical area is disinfected, and incisions are made either where the tissue creases underneath the breast, in the underarm, or around the aureole. The surgeon will stretch the skin, to fit in the breast implants.
The implants will either be inserted if silicone or placed then filled, if saline. Incisions are then sealed with stitches. Bandages will be fitted to support the new breast size, and a medical bra may be provided to wear for the six weeks following surgery.
Breast Lift Surgery
A breast lift can be performed alone or in conjunction with augmentation. During the breast lift, an anchor-shaped incision is made on the breast and extra skin removed. The nipples are moved to a natural-looking location on the newly reshaped breasts, and the incisions sutured.
Total recovery time varies with each patient. However, most patients will experience soreness and swelling for the first few of days after surgery. Ice packs and pain medication will minimize discomfort and keeping the upper body elevated while sitting or lying down, will reduce swelling.
Most patients can return to desk work, after a week, and stitches are removed after ten days. Surgeons advise against any lifting for the first three weeks, and gym visits are not advisable for the first 6 weeks.
For three months after surgery patients are advised to massage their breasts to keep the breasts feeling natural and supple. This also minimizes scars.
Breasts will begin to feel normal after three to four months, and internal healing will continue for up to a year.
Meet Dr. Steinbrech
There are many top-class surgeons available. Dr. Douglas Steinbrech, who works in Los Angeles and New York, uses minimally invasive aesthetic techniques to minimize bruising and recovery time. Learn more about this top plastic surgeon here: https://www.drsteinbrech.com