Myths and frequently asked questions about breast augmentation

By Dr. Douglas Robertson, Surgeon at Plastic Surgery Associates of Montgomery

I meet with many different patients every day with varying levels of understanding about breast augmentation.  Most of my patients have the same types of questions, and unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation on the internet about this wonderfully successful procedure.  Women who want to look their best are seeking out the very best options for breast augmentation, and they want to know what to expect, and how it all works.

So I’ve written this blog post to answer some of the more common questions I get about breast augmentation, and also to dispel some myths I still hear from some of my patients.

MYTH:  Bigger is better

No reputable plastic surgeon is going to recommend a breast augmentation that is larger than what works with your natural body size and type!  The truth is, sometimes “Bigger” means more problems down the road! What I like to do is to match the patient’s goals wherever they might be. Sometimes those goals are achievable, and sometimes they’re unrealistic.  Extremely large breasts on a smaller frame could result in some complications, such as the implants bottoming out or can be seen through the skin, which no one is going to be satisfied with in the long run. So it’s definitely important to determine together as doctor and patient what’s going to be appropriate for that individual patient’s particular body frame and breast shape.

What’s best:  saline or silicone gel?

The truth is, this really depends upon the patient and their breast tissue characteristics, and their ultimate goals.  Best for somebody might happen to be the cheapest! Saline is less expensive than silicone for example. However, there’s always a chance that saline implants might show rippling.  It can also really depend upon the operation plan – meaning, is the implant going on top of or under the muscle.

How long will my breast implants last?

How long do they stay in?  Well, if the patient is not having any problems, we don’t recommend you change them out!  Fortunately, there are no wear and tear issues, so there’s no need for interval exchange. So then you might ask:  how will I know if I’m having a problem with my implant? In general terms, problems can show up in the form of a firmer or displaced displaced implant, or a rupture (not as scary as it sounds, as saline implants are simply filled with IV fluid.  The body would simply absorb the fluid, and it would deflate – you’ll definitely know!)

When silicone gel implants rupture, you might not necessarily recognize it right away.  Sometimes patients will notice firmer or softer with a rupture. And if there’s ANY question at all about a potential rupture, we’d do a mammogram to assess the integrity of the implant.

Do breast implants cause breast cancer?  

Rest assured that there is very good data to show that breast implants do NOT cause breast cancer.  Annual mammograms are done easily using a displacement view mammography. Patients with and without breast implants get breast cancer at the same rate.  In short, having breast implants doesn’t delay the detection of breast cancer.

How does a breast augmentation actually work?  

So we begin with a consultation first – we evaluate your goals and objectives, and determine a plan.  The day of surgery arrives, and you can expect for the operation takes an hour and 20 minutes. This is an outpatient procedure with full anesthesia performed right here in one of our operating suites.  Some other practices do their breast augmentations under local with sedation. WE find it’s a lot easier to have patient under full anesthesia. First of all, it’s more comfortable for the patient. Secondly, it’s a more controlled setting, and for most patients, extremely safe.  You can expect to spend around one hour in recovery, and then you go home. We see you back a few days post-op for a dressing change. After a few more days, you can finally shower. I have my patients wear a support bra 4-6 weeks day and night. Pain? Yes, you’ll be sore for a few days but most of my patients are off all pain meds by a week.  We recommend no strenuous activity for 4-6 weeks, but within a few days of the operation, our patients resume normal daily activity.

My breasts aren’t the same size.  Is that a problem with a breast augmentation?

Rest assured that almost every woman has some kind of minor breast asymmetry.  During our consultation, we take that into account by identifying all the asymmetries when planning the operation so we get the best result as possible.  Sometimes it’s not possible to get exact perfect symmetry but we try to improve upon it.

Hopefully, I’ve given you some information that makes you more enthusiastic about getting the breast augmentation that you’ve always wanted.  Feeling great about your appearance, loving the way your clothes fit afterward, and feeling like you now have the body you’ve always dreamed of are the glorious benefits of breast augmentation – and nothing makes me happier than seeing a happy patient post-op!

Plastic Surgery Associates of Montgomery is the largest aesthetic, cosmetic and reconstructive surgery practice in Central Alabama.  You can feel comforted by our highly-credentialed, board certified surgeons who take great pride in helping men and women achieve their goals and increase their self-confidence and pride in appearance.   Reach out to us today for a consultation to get the look you’ve always dreamed of!

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