Breast implants have been around for more than half a century, and breast augmentation stands as the most popular type of cosmetic surgery in the country. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that in the United States, 290,244 breast augmentation procedures were performed in 2013 alone.
Just as the amount of surgeries performed each year continued to grow over the years, surgical techniques and improvements in breast implant technology have advanced. That said, I’d like to set the record straight by highlighting four main points concerning breast augmentation:
1. Silicone vs. Saline Implants
Breast implants have seen many advancements that have resulted in better outcomes for patients concerning profile, size, and structure of the implants.
Some patients may recall the headlines regarding the old-style silicone implants used decades ago. Today’s breast augmentation patients have plenty of safe and effective implant options to choose from.
In 2013, 72 percent of breast augmentation patients chose silicone over saline implants. Silicone implants include the latest cohesive gel – also referred to as the “gummy bear” type of implant – which provides a lighter and more natural result. Deflation rates tend to be lower, and patients experience less rippling. Silicone breast augmentation is more costly when compared to procedures employing saline implants.
Saline implants are a suitable choice for those who prefer a less expensive procedure or a smaller surgical incision.
It’s up to the patient to decide which option is best for her, and she must be comfortable with the implants she chooses.
2. Surgical Incision
While society is far more accepting of breast enhancement surgery these days, most patients wish to keep their surgery private. Because of this, most are worried about how large the surgical incisions might be, and where they will be located.
Thanks to the evolution of surgical techniques, as well as products including the Keller Funnel, the appearance of scars is significantly less than what may have been the case years ago. Most surgeons make incisions either beneath the breast fold (known as an “inframammary incision), on the outer edge of the areola (peri-areolar) or in the underarm area (transaxillary).
Patients should talk with their surgeon about which kind of incision will be the best fit for their body, lifestyle and the kind of implants they choose.
The biggest source of anxiety for patients considering breast enhancement surgery is deciding on size.
Most women don’t want their new breasts to look too large, but they do want others to notice a change in their appearance. Other patients express a desire to replicate the results a friend or relative achieved after getting a particular size of the implant, but patients must understand an individual’s anatomy plays an important role in determining breast implant size. The final size will include the breasts you started with, in addition to the size of the new implants.
To determine the size that will best suit the patient’s body type, the surgeon should take measurements following the initial consultation. Imaging technology makes it possible for patients to try on various implants, which allows the patient to be actively involved in selecting implant size.
The last point to understand when contemplating breast augmentation is the importance of choosing the right plastic surgeon.
Not only should the surgeon be on staff at the hospital where your procedure will be performed, they should also be Board Certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Surgeons should also provide patients with access to before and after photographs that depict the outcomes of breast augmentation surgeries he or she has performed in the past, either on the practice website or at the surgeon’s office.
Online reviews can be useful to some patients, but most place more value on feedback they hear from friends and relatives who have had a cosmetic procedure done in the past.
Patients should feel comfortable with the surgeon they choose, as well as the staff at the practice. They should also feel confident that their surgeon is capable of delivering the outcome they desire.