Top Things To Know About Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation FAQ's
Phillip Chang, MD

Phillip Chang, MD

Board Certified By The American Board of Plastic Surgeons.
Voted Top Plastic Surgeon in Loudoun, Virginia
Offices in Leesburg, Virginia.

Best of Loudoun 2019
real self top doctor virginia

Breast augmentation using breast implants is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in the U.S. and around the world. About 400,000 women a year get breast implants in the United States. Of those, 75% get breast implants for cosmetic reasons.  The remaining 25% get breast implants for reconstruction after breast cancer.

Having breast augmentation surgery is a big decision to make. The decision will be based on cost, finding the right surgeon and knowing what will happen before, during and after the surgery. Many people read personal blog posts written by celebrities and everyday women who have had the procedure. Others spend hours on google researching the facts. What all these women have are questions, lots of questions!

Here are the most common questions about breast augmentation surgery and – most importantly – the answers.

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What Are The Costs?

Probably the most common question! But not so simple to answer. Breast augmentation costs can vary widely. The cost will be determined by many factors: anesthesia, operating room facilities, surgeon’s fee, implant costs, and what type of procedure is used.

What Kind Of Breast Implants Should I Have?

Women have the choice of various breast implants options during their consultation.  In addition to the size of the breast implant, a woman has the choice of saline or silicone implants, shaped or round implants, and textured or round breast implants.  For example, going into surgery, a woman might choose a 350cc smooth round silicone filled breast implant.  

A Saline implant is a silicone outer shell filled with a sterile saltwater (saline) solution. Some are pre-filled and others are filled during the implant operation. Saline-filled implants come in different sizes and have either smooth or textured shells.

A silicone implant is filled with silicone gel. The gel feels a bit more like natural breast tissue. If the implant leaks, the gel may remain within the implant shell, or may escape into the breast implant pocket.

Will I Be Able To Breastfeed?

Most women are able to breastfeed just fine after breast augmentation surgery. The surgery doesn’t usually affect the ducts or other areas that produce milk. When you have a consultation with a surgeon, make sure you let them know that you intend to breastfeed after pregnancy. This will ensure they take the appropriate actions when making the incision and help them advise you on which is the best surgery to have.

Is It Possible To Lose Nipple Sensation?

You may experience some nipple sensation loss just after your surgery. This is more common when you have larger implants. Most of the time, sensation does return, but it could be 3-6 months after the surgery. If it has not returned after 6 months, go back to your surgeon. Very rarely do you lose the sensation permanently.

Can You Show Me What I Will Look Like With Different Sized Breasts?

The first thing to discuss with your surgeon is what you would like to have. They will advise you based on what you currently have and your size and body shape. Many times they will have breast implants available for you to put under your clothes to get a sense of how you will look.

Aesthetica can go one step further by using the Vectra 3D Imaging System!  This 3-D high tech camera and software system allows you to see how implants might look on your own body.  For the first time, you might be able to visualize how an implant fits your body.  You can manipulate your 3D image to see how you might look from the side, from the top, or even from the bottom. When you are happy with the results, your surgeon can see exactly what size to use.

Vectra 3D imaging

Is There An Increased Risk Of Getting Cancer?

In 2011, the FDA first reported about the risk of developing a rare form of lymphoma called anaplastic large cell lymphoma ( BIA-ALCL ) in women who have had breast augmentation.  The identified cases were a form of lymphoma: that is not breast cancer. Further studies have defined that the risk seems to be isolated ONLY to women who have had TEXTURED breast implants

Textured breast implants are commonly used in women who require breast reconstruction after mastectomies or in the past by some surgeons hoping to use the implant type to prevent capsular contractures.  (For the record, I have NEVER used a textured breast implant for my patients.)

There has never been a report of the development of BIA-ALCL in a patient who has a smooth-shelled breast implant.  Further, several major published studies from various countries that have formally investigated the risk of breast cancer among breast augmentation patients, have NOT shown any evidence of increased risk. In fact, most find lower than expected risk.
Aside from the use of textured, breast implants are not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer incidence or death, and these patients do not experience delayed detection or poorer post-breast cancer survival.

There has never been a report of the development of BIA-ALCL in a patient who has a smooth-shelled breast implant. Further, several major published studies from various countries that have formally investigated the risk of breast cancer among breast augmentation patients, have NOT shown any evidence of increased risk. In fact, most find lower than expected risk.

What Are The Possible Complications?

As with any surgery, there are associated risks.  Only you can decide whether a breast augmentation can achieve your goals and whether the recovery and risk profile are acceptable to you.  Fortunately, significant complications from breast augmentation surgeries are relatively infrequent.  

Although infrequent, the risks and complications of breast augmentation can include

  • Hematoma or bruising
  • Infection
  • Loss of sensation of the nipple
  • Widened or thickened scar
  • Asymmetry (unevenness between two sides)
  • Delayed wound healing with skin or tissue necrosis
  • Under-correction or Over-correction
  • Capsular contracture
  • Unsatisfactory results that may require additional procedures.  Patients will generally be responsible for any associated facility fees.  Revisions are not safe prior to 6 months to a year

How Long Will The Procedure Take?

The surgery will usually take place at a hospital local to your surgeon. The actual surgery will take between 1 to 2 hours. Factor in your pre-op and post-op and schedule in a whole day for your procedure. Ensure you have someone available to collect you from the hospital when you are ready to go home.

How painful will it be?

During the breast augmentation procedure, you will not feel any pain because the procedure is performed while you are under general anesthesia. When you check out of the hospital you will be given narcotics for a short period of time. When the anesthesia begins to wear off, you will likely feel soreness under your armpits and around your chest area. Most women don’t need the narcotics after 3-5 days and then you will experience slight discomfort for a few more weeks.

Most women will tell you that the pain they experienced is minimal compared to the delight they experience in their new breasts.

Breast Reduction

How Long Will It Take To 'Get Back To Normal'?

You will need to wear a compression bra for several days after surgery. When the bruising and swelling has gone down you will start to see what your new breasts will look like.

Take it easy after the surgery, head back to work around 5 days after, leave your exercising until around 21 days after. Don’t drive while taking your narcotics for pain and wait 48 hours after taking your last dose.

Expect to have some swelling for up to 3 months and after 6 months you should be completely healed and enjoying your new shape.

Do you have more questions about breast augmentation?

For those wondering whether breast augmentation might be the best cosmetic solution for you, we invite you to simply come in for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chang or one of the cosmetic laser and injection nurses to explore whether you would make a good candidate. To find out more whether Aesthetica can help you, contact us online or at 703-729-5553 to arrange an appointment. Dr. Phillip Chang is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Northern Virginia near Leesburg, Virginia and an expert in a wide variety of cosmetic treatments.

Let Us Help You!

Our office can provide you will helpful information, schedule a free consultation, and answer any further questions you might have.

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