Have you ever wished your breasts were bigger? If so, then you’ve likely considered breast augmentation. For many women, the size or shape of their breasts is a constant disappointment. Feeling more confident in swimsuits or strapless dresses are some of the reasons so many patients seek breast augmentation surgery. If you want to feel sexier and boost your self-confidence with breast enhancement, you’re not alone. It’s not difficult to see why breast augmentation is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the United States, and Doctors Plastic Surgery offers patients in Chicago, IL, a first-rate experience with fully trained plastic surgeons.
What is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation is a popular plastic surgery procedure that is performed to enhance the size and/or shape of the breasts. Synthetic implants, filled with either a saline solution or silicone gel, or the popular, Gummy Bear implant are surgically inserted to boost the size of the bust and enhance their overall appearance. Breast implants are designed to look natural and come in all shapes and sizes to suit the preferences of different patients. If you’ve always been dissatisfied with a small cup size or you’d like a better contour for your breasts, breast augmentation might be a perfect solution for you. Most women who undergo the procedure find that they have more confidence and self-esteem once they have recovered from the surgery. Breast augmentation can help resolve a number of different problems, including:
- Small breasts
- Elongated or asymmetrical breast shape
- Volume loss in the breasts after pregnancy, weight loss, or aging
Who is a Candidate for Breast Augmentation Surgery?
If you’re considering breast augmentation, then you’ll need to ensure you are a good candidate for the procedure before you proceed. Patients should be healthy adults whose breasts are fully developed. While many young women reach full breast development by the age of 17, it’s important to keep in mind that some women experience growth spurts into their early 20s. Women who become pregnant and breastfeed will also experience fluctuations in breast size. This is why choosing the right time for your breast augmentation can be difficult.
Prospective patients should have realistic expectations about the results of the surgery, and they should be prepared to follow all after-care instructions provided by our Chicago surgeons in order to help facilitate healing and prevent complications. Patients must also be non-smokers or quit several months before surgery for their own safety and optimal healing. During your consultation, your surgeon will go over your medical history to ensure you are healthy enough for breast augmentation surgery.
Your Breast Augmentation Consultation
Once you’ve decided to see if breast augmentation is right for you, you’ll need to come into our Chicago offices for a consultation with one of our expert surgeons. This consultation serves several purposes: it allows you and your surgeon to get to know one another, it allows you to ask questions and discuss your goals, and it gives your surgeon an opportunity to ensure you are a good candidate and to plan your surgery. During the meeting, you will be evaluated and recommendations will be given for how to proceed with your surgery and which type of implants will suit you best.
You should also address any specific concerns you have about the procedure at this meeting, since you will have an expert available to give you definitive answers. It’s best to come to your consultation prepared with a list of questions. You will also have the opportunity to try on various sizes as recommended by your surgeon. Our state of the art sizing system will allow you to visualize your body with your new breasts and help you choose the perfect size.
The Breast Augmentation Procedure
The breast augmentation surgery is simpler than most patients realize. For a few weeks prior to surgery, you may be required to stop taking natural supplements and some over-the-counter medications. This is to prevent complications during the surgery. On the day of the procedure, general anesthesia is typically used to keep patients safe and comfortable during the surgery.
A small incision is placed in one of several locations near the breast, allowing the implant to be inserted either above or below the pectoral muscle. Once both sides have been completed, the incisions are closed and the surgery is over. This process typically takes under an hour. Patients generally return home the same day of the procedure.
Recovery and Downtime
Recovering from surgery is never comfortable, but you will be prescribed pain medication to control your discomfort and help you get through the first few days following the procedure. Initially, your breasts will be wrapped with gauze and you’ll wear an elastic bandage or support bra following the procedure. You will be given specific instructions on how to care for your breasts for optimal healing, which you should follow to the letter. These instructions may include everything from special massages to perform, to which positions you should sleep in.
Most patients feel well enough to return to work and light normal activities within a week or two, but it’s important to rest and recover at your own pace. A support bra should be worn constantly during the initial healing phase to support the breast tissue. You will need to postpone exercise and other vigorous activity for several weeks. Our surgeons will let you know when it is safe to resume these activities.
Swelling will gradually subside, and your sensations will change throughout the healing process. After a few months, you should be able to see the full results of the procedure.
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Are breast implants permanent? Will I ever have to replace them?
Unfortunately, not all breast implants last forever. They typically come with a warranty but may have to be replaced beyond the terms of the warranty, once the warranty expires. With that said, replacement typically does not have to take place unless there is a problem with the implant, such as rupture or capsular contracture (internal scar tissue). Many women have their breast implants for 5, 7, 10 years or more with no problems! In fact, many replacements are due to a desire for a change in size, not because of the age of the implants.
What are the risks and potential complications of the surgery?
All surgery carries some risk, and breast augmentation is no exception. Patients may experience bleeding, infection, poor healing, implant rupture, capsular contracture (scarring underneath the skin, which squeezes the implant, making it misshapen), or rippling beneath the skin. By working with an expert plastic surgeon, like our expert doctors in Chicago, you can minimize your risk for complications.
Where will my incisions be placed?
There are several possible locations for the incisions depending on the implant being used and the patient. The most common are around the areola (nipple area), through the armpit, or in the fold below the breast. Any incisions made will be carefully placed to minimize the appearance of any scarring.
Will there be scarring?
All surgery produces some scarring, but breast implant surgery is carefully performed to minimize the amount of visible scarring. Most patients find that these scars fade quite well and are barely noticeable.
Will anyone be able to tell I have implants?
Breast implants, especially silicone gel implants, have come a long way and look and feel more natural than they used to. However, saline implants are a bit harder and more uniform than natural breast tissue, and may not feel or look quite the same as normal breast tissue. Most patients are very satisfied with the look and feel of their implants after the procedure.
Should my implants be placed over or under the muscle?
Every patient is different, and your surgeon will discuss your options with you prior to your procedure. Generally, patients who are receiving saline implants, those who have naturally small breasts, or those with a family history of breast cancer may opt for under the muscle placement. Patients who want silicone implants or those who have more natural tissue may benefit from the over the muscle placement. The surgical technique that is best for you, however, will depend on your surgeon’s evaluation.
What size should I choose?
Your implant size is a very personal decision and not something to take lightly. You should “test” different sizes by adding rice to a bag and placing them in your bra to get an idea of how different sizes will look. Your surgeon will also be able to provide some guidance. You might be surprised to find that a smaller size suits you better than large implants!
Will I be able to breastfeed after breast augmentation?
While some women do experience problems breastfeeding after an augmentation procedure, others have no issues. It’s a small risk associated with breast implants. Some women choose to wait on the surgery until they are done having children for this reason.
Are silicone or saline implants better?
Both silicone and saline implants are great options, and the choice is purely personal. Saline implants are generally smooth and round, while silicone implants tend to be softer and more anatomical in shape. You and your surgeon will discuss your options before you make a decision.
Will my breast and nipple sensitivity change after breast augmentation?
During recovery, sensation will likely change as the breasts heal (the first 6-12 months). Afterwards, you may notice an increase or decrease in sensitivity, but this varies from patient to patient and is difficult to predict.
Your Next Steps
Think breast augmentation might be right for you? Our surgeons are standing by at Doctors Plastic Surgery in Chicago, IL, to help you take the next steps in your breast enhancement journey. Call today to schedule a consultation with our plastic surgeons!