If you are considering a breast augmentation procedure, you are not alone. In 2016 alone, surgeons performed over 290,000 breast augmentations. Breast augmentation has been the number one cosmetic surgery for more than a decade in the United States and beyond, and over five million women in the U.S. have had a breast augmentation.
- 1 What is Breast Augmentation?
- 2 Before & After Photos
- 3 Candidates for Breast Augmentation
- 4 Choosing the Right Implants
- 5 Breast Implant Composition
- 6 Breast Implant Size and Profile
- 7 Breast Implant Shape
- 8 Breast Augmentation vs. Fat Transfer
- 9 The Surgery
- 10 Recovery
- 11 Breast Augmentation Results
- 12 Breast Augmentation Frequently Asked Questions
What is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation surgery is a cosmetic procedure in which patient’s breasts are surgically enhanced to compliment the body’s frame and natural silhouette. Breast augmentation may also be performed to correct a breast malformity, whether due to natural causes or a mastectomy. Implants are inserted into the breasts to increase size, enhance physical projection, and create symmetry within the figure.
Breast augmentation can intensify your personal attractiveness and boost your self-confidence. However, the procedure should be performed within your own comfort—the results of a breast augmentation should be both comfortable and suitable for your frame.
Before & After Photos
Candidates for Breast Augmentation
Women seeking breast augmentation are typically looking for:
- An increase the breast volume or size
- An increase breast projection (how much the breasts “stick out” from the body)
- The creation of a physical symmetry of the silhouette
- A correction of the breast shape
- A correction of a deflated appearance due to age, weight-loss, or pregnancy
Great candidates for breast augmentation procedures are in good health and maintain realistic expectations for their results. The ideal candidate also:
- Is not currently pregnant
- Is not currently breastfeeding
- Has breasts that have developed fully
Choosing the Right Implants
Choosing the correct implants is vital to patient satisfaction. Dr. Murphy will assist in choosing the perfect implant for you.
However, an understanding of the distinct types of implants is important in finding your body’s best fit. The right implants will enhance the silhouette of your natural body while maintaining a physical balance and providing a newfound comfort.
While implants may be composed of either saline or a form or silicone, all implants are encased in a silicone shell—specifically designed to help prevent instances of puncture or tear. There are also various shapes—round or “anatomical”—and numerous sizes available. Each type of implant has its own advantages and disadvantages in use.
Breast Implant Composition
Saline implants are created with sterile saline (salt water) solution. Their size is measured in cc’s—a volume measurement that can allow Dr. Murphy to create the perfect implant size that is suited for your body. Saline implants are cheaper to manufacture than silicone implants. However, saline implants are more prone to a “rippling” effect which may become visible or palpable. Saline implants must be replaced in cases of implant puncture or tear as there will be a loss of volume. Many patients who initially use saline implants will eventually replace them with a silicone variation.
Silicone implants are filled with a silicone gel. These implants maintain a feel that is much more natural than that of saline implants. Silicone implants are also less prone to rippling as they are firmer in consistency. However, there are also a few disadvantages in the use of silicone implants. These can be discussed during your consultation.
“Gummy Bear” Silicone Implants
Form stable silicone implants—or “gummy bear” implants—are anatomically shaped and filled with a more thick, cohesive form of silicone than in the average silicone implant. Due to this consistency, gummy bear implants are much less prone to rippling. These implants also provide a very natural feel and appearance. However, these implants require an incision larger than that of the average silicone implant due to its shape.
Mentor “Memory Gel” Shaped Silicone Implants
Mentor Memory Gel Shaped silicone gel implants are firmer and more form-stable than gummy bear, silicone, and saline implants without compromising a natural feel. These are Dr. Murphy’s recommended implants of choice, and they are also a favorite among most women. They have a silicone case, filled with a thick silicone gel. These shaped, cohesive implants are like gummy bear implants; however, they are more cohesive and are therefore more likely to keep their shape and are nearly completely resistant to rippling. These new shaped implants from Mentor gradually slope with a fuller lower pole, mimicking the natural breast shape. They are also specially designed to reduce the risk of capsular contracture. Mentor Memory Gel Shaped implants have over a 97% satisfaction rate.
Breast Implant Size and Profile
Breast implants are created in a variety of sizes and profiles. These sizes are commonly referred to as low profile, moderate plus profile, high profile, extra high profile, and shaped. The ideal profile will be based on your frame and chest width. Low profile implants, sometimes referred to as moderate profile, create the most rounded breast without a high amount of projection. Moderate plus implants achieve a result that is round, with a nice amount of projection. These are the most common implants used in breast augmentation procedures. They are frequently considered to create a result that looks the most natural. High profile implants may be used to obtain the greatest amount of size, projection, and roundness. They may appeal to those seeking the “augmented appearance”. Extra high profile implants create a result that may be considered larger-than-life. Due to their weight and its consequential pressure on the rib cage, these implants may cause effects on health and are not frequently recommended for use.
Breast Implant Shape
Breast implants are manufactured in two different shapes: round and anatomical. Round implants are, as they sound, completely round. This shape is typically desired by women who would like noticeable enlargement in size. Anatomical implants are intended to create the most natural appearance possible. They result in a graceful sloping of the breast. Anatomically shaped implants may be tilted when placed, allowing for an adjustment to best suit the contours of the body. Therefore, shaped implants may be the best option to correct problems of symmetry.
Shaped implants are thinner at the top and fuller at the bottom, resembling a teardrop. Because of this, if rotation occurs, it is physically apparent. That is why Dr. Murphy takes the necessary steps to create pocket control to help ensure implant security. Rotation of a round implant within the pocket will not cause a change in breast shape.
Breast Augmentation vs. Fat Transfer
Fat transfer is a cosmetic procedure that is less invasive than breast augmentation surgery. It uses the body’s natural augmenting material to increase the size, shape, and projection of the breast. Fat is liposuctioned from a store within the body, then purified, and is then transferred to the breast and shaped into a suiting contour. Its results are a gentle increase in volume and projection.
While fat transfer can maintain an all-natural feel in the breast, the amount of fat available for donation limits its results. Fat transfer can typically obtain results equating to one or two cup sizes, while breast augmentation with implants is a much more customizable procedure. A second disadvantage that can be apparent in fat transfer is that the body may reabsorb some of the relocated fat, and therefore a bit of initial volume may be lost.
Breast augmentation is performed under general anesthesia or regional block with long-acting local anesthetic on an outpatient basis. The surgery, when not performed with additional procedures, takes between one to two hours to complete. Dr. Murphy will make one of 3 incision patterns which will be previously decided upon during the consultation.
Dr. Murphy’s preferred incision is the inframammary fold, the natural crease under the breast. This incision allows him the closest access to create the pocket which the implant will be inserted into. Dr. Murphy can use a periareolar incision (around the nipple), but this requires him to go through a number of glands which may interfere with breastfeeding.
The scars may also be more noticeable on those with darker areolas. The doctor can also use an axillary incision (in the armpit), but this does not grant him much control over pocket placement. Once the incision has been made and the pocket is created, Dr. Murphy will insert the previously decided upon implant. He will make sure it is in optimal placement before then closing the incisions with sutures.
The length of your recovery is based on several factors—such as age, skin elasticity, and breast size—although a return to light normal activity can be expected in one week. Upon completion of the procedure and a period of observance in a recovery room, Dr. Murphy will release you under the expectation that you are not to drive. You may feel groggy and foggy from the anesthesia. Rest is recommended. You should also plan to have somebody assist you for the first evening you return home.
You will be required to wear a medical compression bra throughout your period of recovery to resist pressure on the surgery sites. Most women may return to work in a week in light-duty environments. Within three weeks, you may be allowed to perform light exercise. However, you should avoid strenuous activity or lifting anything above (or over) your head for six weeks following surgery. Dr. Murphy can address any questions or concerns regarding healing, activity, or side effects throughout your recovery.
Breast Augmentation Results
The results of a breast augmentation surgery are immediate and improve with time as the implants settle nicely into their pockets. Some patients may return for second augmentation to achieve a larger result, to use a different type of implant, or to address a loss of volume due to pregnancy or weight loss. A mastopexy—or breast lift—may be required in the future to address problems with sagging associated with age.
Breast Augmentation Frequently Asked Questions
Are saline implants safer than silicone implants?
Silicone implants and saline implants are equally safe for insertion. The only differences between the two are in their individual advantages and disadvantages. The idea that saline implants are safer than their silicone counterparts results from prior media coverage of breast augmentation. Silicone implants used to be filled with a liquid form of silicone, rather than the gel silicone that is currently used, and ruptures were much more physically damaging than with the implants that are now in place.
Do I have to get an MRI to monitor my implants?
The FDA recommends patients with silicone breast implants to have an MRI completed every two years because if the silicone implants were to rupture, while rare, it would be difficult for the patient to know. This is because the breast would not change shape, and you would likely not feel any difference in firmness, as the silicone gel stays in place within the shell. Therefore, the only way to know if a patient’s silicone implant has punctured or ruptured is to obtain an MRI of their breasts. However, this is only an FDA recommendation, and it is not mandatory for all patients.
Do I have to replace my implants after 10 years?
This is another misunderstanding perpetuated by prior media coverage. In fact, you will only need to change the implants if you develop a medical complication, or if you wish to change the implant for a personal reason. This misconception began after a study was performed on hundreds of patients of breast augmentation, who were followed and surveyed for ten years following their augmentation procedures. It showed that many women who received implants had them changed. However, many of these women had obtained a second augmentation for reasons like their first: some women wanted larger implants, for example. Other women may have wanted to change their saline implants to silicone. Some of the women in the study did have to change their implants due to complications, most women changed their implants voluntarily, due to personal choices.