Breast Augmentation Frequently Asked Questions


1. Breast Lift vs Breast Augmentation: How to tell which is needed?

A Breast Augmentation is done to enhance or enlarge the breast. A Breast Lift is performed to raise the breast back into the “normal” position. The procedures may be performed alone or in combination to not only lift, but enlarge the breast. If the breast has a normal position, with most of the breast tissue above the base/inframammary crease and if the nipple is not below the base, then a Breast Augmentation would be the best choice. If however, the breast skin has significant laxity and the nipple sits low on the breast, a Breast Lift is the correct option.

2. How to choose the right breast implant size?

When choosing the right implant shape and size, it is important to discuss your desire for size with the Plastic Surgeon. Your physician should discuss the different style, shapes, and sizes, and how they relate to your specific breast and chest shape. Commonly the dimensions of the implant may be more important than just the size/volume. Make sure you have the opportunity to try on sizers with a bra, and we recommend bringing a shirt that will help you visualize the true shape in clothes after augmentation.

3. Do breast implants lift slightly sagging breasts?

Breast Augmentaion can often help with slightly sagging breast skin. If the nipple position is normal and sagging skin has occurred due to volume loss, then an Augmentation alone may provide the minor lift necessary.

4. Can I have breast implants under local anesthesia?

It is not recommended that Breast Augmentation be done under local anesthesia. At a very minimum, some sedation is necessary to make the procedure tolerable. Most commonly, it is performed under general anesthesia, at an accredited surgery center.

5. Can I have breast implants if I’m planning to have kids in the future?

Breast implants before children/pregnancy is very common. It is unusual to perform an Augmentation before the age of 18, but after is quite common. Pregnancy does affect the shape and size of the breast, but Breast Augmentation prior to children does not alter the pregnancy.

6. Can I breast feed if I have breast implants?

We have hundreds of patients who have had Breast Augmentation prior to pregnancy and nursing. There have not been any issues. While no one is guaranteed that they have the ability to breast feed after pregnancy, Breast Augmentation should not alter that option.

7. What is the best shape of implants to achieve more natural looking results?

The best shape to achieve to achieve a natural looking breast is dependent on the individual’s chest and breast shape. Round implants in a submuscular or or subglandular pocket can have a very natural look. Newer style implants, such as the “form stable” contoured implants can produce a very natural shape. Make sure that your Plastic Surgeon discusses all the different options with you at the time of the consultation.

8. Do silicone implants harden over time?

Implants do not harden over time, either saline or silicone gel. In a small percentage of patients, the scar tissue around the implants can “contract” and make the breast feel hard. Depending upon the severity of the tightening, the scar tissue may need to be surgically removed and revised.

9. Do breast implants need to be replaced overtime?

Implants are mechanical devices, and on occasion, they do fail. If a rupture or leakage occurs, the implants should be replaced. If a saline implant leaks, it would be obvious with the breast quickly becoming smaller. However, if silicone gel implants leaks, it may not be obvious. As the current gel implants are not liquid, but more “gummy” material, they will not actually leak and travel. It is currently recommended by both the manufacturers and the FDA, between 3 and 5 years after a silicone gel implant is placed, that an MRI of the breast be performed to evaluate the integrity of the implants. If a rupture is identified, it is recommended that they be replaced. The current rupture rates for implant vary from 1-10% over 10 years. If the breast remains soft, normal and shows no evidence of rupture, there is no reason to have them replaced.

10. How long is the downtime for breast augmentation surgery?

Cosmetic breast surgery is almost always performed as an outpatient procedure. We usually have patients take between 2 and 4 days off of work post operatively. In a larger procedure, patients may take a week off to recover. A supportive bra is worn for 4-5 weeks after surgery and limited lifting and exercise is also required during that time.

11. Silicone vs. Saline: Which breast implant is safer?

A common question about breast augmentation is, which is safer: Silicone or Saline? In our experience, neither implant has significant risks. The vast majority of our patients now choose Silicone Gel implants. Gel implants have a more natural feel, less rippling, and a reduced rate of rupture versus Saline implants.

12. What are the risks of breast implant?

Risks of Breast Augmentation surgery are quite similar to any surgery. We inform our patients about the risk of: bleeding, infection, poor healing, and sensitivity changes to the breast and/or nipple. Specific complications to breast implants also include: hardness/capsular contracture, rippling of the implant, and implant rupture/failure. Overall it is a very safe procedure with low complication rates near 1-2%.