Breast augmentation, or breast enlargement, is a surgical procedure designed to enhance the breasts by increasing breast size and correcting breast deformities using saline or silicone gel breast implants.
Breast augmentation is the procedure of choice for 1) enlarging breast size or 2) restoring breast volume. It is not the procedure of choice for women who exhibit significant sagging of the breasts. These patients will often require a breast lift with or without a breast augmentation. Although breast augmentation is one of Dr. Weston’s most frequently requested procedures, it is one of the most complex procedures in terms of pre-op planning and decision-making.
Many women seek breast augmentation surgery because they simply desire bigger breasts and a fuller bustline, however breast augmentation can also create more balanced body proportions, enhance cleavage and correct breast asymmetries and deformities. Patients considering breast augmentation need to understand and accept that they are making a decision that will require some degree of upkeep throughout their lives.
During consultation, Dr. Weston will evaluate your health and medical history and talk with you about your goals for breast augmentation. The better you can describe and illustrate your vision for yourself, the better Dr. Weston can address your concerns. Dr. Weston prefers to create breasts that look full and natural. When patients desire a less natural appearance, it is important that they communicate this. Based on your stated goals, Dr. Weston will guide you through a series of 5 important decisions that will ultimately lead to your surgical plan. These decisions include the following:
Dr. Weston and her staff will help you choose the breast implant size and type that matches your stated goal. During a visit to the office, you will have the opportunity to try on breast implant sizers to help you visualize how different implant sizes will look on your body.
Breast augmentation is an outpatient procedure and is performed under general anesthesia. You will be able to go home or to a local hotel in the care of a responsible adult who will be available to attend to your needs for the first 24 hours following your surgery. Dr. Weston will make inconspicuous incisions as planned pre-operatively and then she will create pockets over or under your pectoral muscles where the implants will be placed. Following insertion of the breast implants, layered sutures are used to close incisions. You will be dressed in a surgical bra (new size!!) and a circumferential wrap will be fashioned around your chest to provide additional comfort during the first several days after your surgery.
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Remember that each patient’s anatomy and goals for breast augmentation will vary, so results will vary as well.
Pain following breast augmentation surgery is variable, but can be significant. When implants are placed beneath the muscle, the pain tends to be more intense and there may be some muscle spasm as well. Patients will receive pain medication and muscle relaxants to improve their post-op comfort. When the breast implants are placed above the muscle, pain is less severe. Patients who have not yet borne children usually have tighter tissue and experience more pain post-operatively. The pain usually subsides within 4 days, sooner for sub-glandular implants. Plan to have help with household tasks and childcare during the first few days after your breast augmentation surgery.
Your ability to return to work varies with your choice of implant placement and with the type of work you perform. If the implants are placed above the muscle, it is reasonable to expect to return to work within 3-7 days. If the implants are placed beneath the muscle, return to work is likely to take 5-10 days. Of course, patients with jobs that require heavy lifting or that use arms actively (hairdresser, cook, personal trainer) will need to plan for additional time off. All patients should be able to return to normal daily activities and light exercise within two weeks, and resume vigorous activity within four to six weeks post-op. Bruising and most swelling should also be resolved within six weeks.
It takes three to six months to complete the breast augmentation recovery period and judge your final results. Scars from breast augmentation will continue to mature and fade for as long as a year. If your implants are smooth and round, you will be instructed during one of your early post-op visits, on how to move the implants within the pockets. Mastering this skill will help maintain a natural appearance to your breasts and will keep your implants soft for many years to come.