Breast Surgery - Silicone & Saline Breast Implants
Breast Augmentation- Silicone & Saline Breast Implants
Breast augmentation is performed to enhance the size or shape of a woman’s breasts for cosmetic, or reconstructive reasons. Women in all stages of life have this procedure performed for various reasons. We have women from age 18 to 70 who seek this procedure, and we work with everyone to understand their goals and desired outcome. This procedure is very common and women are feeling empowered to take control of their look. Breast augmentation can be used to enhance what nature didn’t provide, or restore what gravity has taken away.
What breast augmentation can, and cannot, do for you
Because a woman’s breasts (both natural and augmented) are an integral part of her physical and emotional identity, it’s important to point out what breast augmentation can and cannot do. Some women approach this surgery unrealistically, thinking that a bigger, more shapely bust will change their lives in extraordinary ways. Breast augmentation is a way of helping reshape an area you might be dissatisfied with, and the self-confidence that accompanies the change is what will give you that special glow and appeal. Many breast augmentation patients often talk about how much they enjoy shopping for new clothes following the procedure, and there is certainly a benefit to feeling more fun, stylish, and confident.
The statistics bear it out
Breast augmentation has one of the highest patient satisfaction rates in plastic surgery, and it’s also the most sought-after cosmetic surgery procedures in this country. Women are having this procedure in great numbers, especially since the latest models of silicone implants have been shown to be safe and provide a very natural shape. In 2011, over 300,000 breast augmentation surgeries were performed in the United States (Source: The American Society of Plastic Surgeons). This 45% increase since 2000 shows the procedure’s well-deserving popularity.
Why have breast augmentation surgery?
Breast augmentation surgery is a highly personal decision, but there are certain unifying themes among the women seeking it. Some women feel their breast size is too small, and breast augmentation surgery can increase one’s bustline by one or more bra cup sizes. For some, this helps enhance both appearance and self-confidence.
Other women have breast augmentation in an attempt to restore what they once had but has been potentially changed by breast feeding, or the natural aging process which causes loss of fullness and perkiness. For women who seek to restore their breasts to their former look (or even better than before!), breast augmentation can help provide full and youthful-looking cleavage, as well renewed volume and height. To produce this result, breast augmentation can also be done in conjunction with a breast lift.
Lastly, some women have breast augmentation to correct a breast deformity or irregularity. Some women have one breast much larger than the other, or are abnormally shaped. This procedure can be performed to help create a natural look.
Breast augmentation has something to offer all women. In fact, thanks to advanced plastic surgery techniques, almost any defect, abnormality, or size deficit can be improved.
Implants: which are safe, which are approved?
Currently, both Silicone Gel and Saline (salt-water) implants are FDA approved for use in Cosmetic and Reconstructive surgery. As of November 2006, the FDA approved the return of Silicone Gel implants to the market for general use. The new generation of Silicone Gel implants has research showing that 92% of implants were still intact after 11 years, and can withstand a force 25 times that of a mammogram. These implants have a stronger shell, as well as a more cohesive gel which makes them very durable while still creating a natural look and feel.
Saline implants have been used in breast augmentation for many years, and 97.5% stay intact for 10 years. They are filled with sterile saline at the time of surgery. If they were to rupture, the saline would be harmlessly dispersed. It is important to talk to Dr. Rodgers about which type of implant is right for you and to understand the safety measures and risks involved with either type of implant.
Which Implant is Right for Me? (as opposed to “How do saline implants perform?”)
There are several factors to consider when choosing your implants. Your build, your preference about materials, and the look you are going for with your new breasts all play a part in what you choose. In most cosmetic patients, Saline implants can look and feel very nice. In a thin woman, the side wall of the implant may be felt however, and you might also see some wrinkling or rippling from the implant. This is typically not the case with Silicone Gel implants. With them, the edges are smoother and there is no visible wrinkling. Patients also appreciate a more natural "feel" with silicone gel implants. Again, speak with Dr. Rodgers about which type of implant is the most appropriate for your body.
Dr. Rodgers’ approach to breast augmentation
Dr. Rodgers works to create a natural look in her patients. Saline implants, if they are too large for a woman's chest, will not conform to one's natural body shape like a silicone gel implant does and can look unnatural. However, even silicone implants can look unnatural when too large in proportion to the rest of a woman’s build. This is why she recommends to her patients that they keep the size of the implants proportional to their natural chest, shoulder and hip size. Too large and you’ll certainly be bigger, but you won’t necessarily look real. Too small and the implant will not fill the breast pocket and would not be positioned correctly.
Before and During Surgery
All of our cosmetic breast augmentation patients must have a mammogram before the surgery to be sure that their breasts are healthy. It is important to have a baseline mammogram because any breast implant can make early detection of breast cancer slightly more difficult.
Dr. Rodgers prefers placing the implants under the muscle. Implants can be placed on top of the muscle, but particularly if they're saline, the patient will notice more wrinkling and rippling. By putting the implants under the muscle there is also a lesser incidence of tissue hardening, and allows for a more accurate mammogram than when they're on top of the muscle. Furthermore, the breast implant manufacturers recommend that implants go under the muscle as well because the implants are better positioned this way and are less likely to rupture.
Dr. Rodgers usually places the implant under the muscle through an incision along the infra-mammary line (the bra line). Other surgeons might insert the implant through the armpit or through the areola (nipple) complex, but this doesn’t allow for full assessment of the breast pocket. She feels strongly that the infra-mammary incision allows her to place the implant in a more natural position, more gently, and with less bleeding. The incision is only about 3 cm (1.18 inches), and once you have the implant in, it is difficult to see the scar in most cases. At the end of surgery, the breasts are taped with a heavy tape to protect the incision site, and patients wear a supportive bra throughout the healing period. Breast augmentation surgery takes about 2.5 hours, although can take longer if combined with a breast lift.
Time to recover, time back to work
Most breast augmentation procedures are considered outpatient or day surgery and do not require an overnight stay in the hospital. Patients are given time to recover in the PACU (Post-Anesthesia Care Unit), and then can be taken home after a couple hours. It is important for patients to have someone they trust be with them during the surgery process as they will be groggy, and unable to drive or completely care for themselves after surgery for a few days. Patients are given medication for pain and nausea, as well as antibiotics.
The implants can seem a little high when they are first placed, but they come down over a period of time. Patients are instructed when to start massaging the implants to help keep them soft and reduce the chances of scar tissue forming around them. We ask patients to wear a bra day and night for five weeks to protect the infra-mammary fold, and keep the breasts’ shape. We advise patients not to lift or push anything over 15 pounds for five weeks. This also includes playing sports and vigorous exercise. Most patients return to work within 4-5 days, though it is important to remember that patients still taking prescription pain medicine cannot drive or work so the amount of medicine required can dictate when work can be resumed.
Post-operative follow up
We see patients 3-5 days after surgery to remove the surgical dressings. The stiches will be removed between 2-4 weeks following surgery. Typically, there is a weekly appointment during the first five weeks to make sure everything is progressing well. For long term follow-up, there are appointments at six months and one year. Obviously, care is tailored to the needs of the patient so appointment frequency might vary slightly. Lastly, a mammogram is recommended one year after the surgery, no matter the age of the patient. With breast implants, the patient will need special-view mammograms for the rest of her life.
Who shouldn't have breast augmentation?
Some women are not good candidates for breast implant surgery. Some mastectomy patients who have received radiation therapy will have very thin tissue that doesn't allow for breast reconstruction with implants. Women who have failed previously with implant reconstruction are usually not good candidates for the procedure. These women need breast reconstruction using tissue from other sites on their own bodies (tissue transfers), which is a different and more complicated surgery. See information on breast reconstruction.
Risks and complications
As with any surgery, there are certain risks that go along with breast augmentation. You can lose sensation in your breasts or the ability to breastfeed, but such problems occur in only a very small percentage of patients. Dr. Rodgers has not had anyone say she couldn't breastfeed following surgery, and she has performed breast augmentation surgery on over 1,300 patients. Sometimes breast hardening can occur, but the incidence is less than 5% in cosmetic breast augmentation patients. Post-op massage can help keep this from occurring. Bleeding can occur, but Dr. Rodgers works very hard during the procedure to minimize the risk of this. Infection can occur as well, but the incidence reported in the literature is 1.5%, and it happens very infrequently in her experience.
Breast Augmentation costs vary depending on the procedure required to provide the best results. Dr. Rodgers performs all of her breast procedures in the safest environment possible, the operating room in the hospital. She also uses board certified anesthesiologists to provide anesthesia for each procedure. She uses a certified surgical assistant to be an extra set of skilled hands to help make the surgery a success. Implant selection can also be another factor in determining costs as silicone gel is more than saline. At the time of the consultation Dr. Rodgers will recommend the best procedure for your desired results, and our patient coordinator will estimate the costs involved as they are customized for each surgery. Please call our patient coordinator at 303-320-8618 for more information.
Breast Augmentation - Before And After Photos
To learn more about saline breast implants and other augmentation options, contact a patient coordinator at 303-320-8618, or click here to schedule a consultation.