Breast augmentation is a curve-enhancing plastic surgery that is custom-performed for each patient. Many women choose to undergo breast implant surgery to either restore the look of their breasts, which can change with age, motherhood, weight fluctuations, and certain diseases, or to add feminine curves to their body that they are lacking. The surgeons of Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery in Michigan specializes in breast augmentation performed with implants.
Variations in Breast Augmentation – The Procedure and Results
There are numerous ways to create an individualized treatment plan that will best suit a woman’s needs, based on anatomy and ideal aesthetics, as well as other surgical preferences that cater to the patient’s lifestyle.
Though the procedure employed to insert breast implants is essentially the same from one woman to the next, many technical variables can impact the surgery itself, its immediate results, and the long term look and viability of the implants used. Many women considering breast augmentation question how long breast implants will last, but various factors can impact patients in different ways and affect their longevity. The surgeons perform each breast augmentation surgery with precision and skill, tailored to the unique anatomy and cosmetic requests of each patient, therefore creating the best possible chances for long-lasting breast implants.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved both saline-filled and silicone gel-filled implants for sale in the United States. The government body also notes that implants are not “lifetime devices.” This does not mean that implants are guaranteed to expire, but women who choose to undergo breast augmentation should know they will be best served if they commit to monitoring their implants with frequent check-ups to ensure that no aesthetic or medical issues have developed.
Gummy Bear Implants
Women who choose to undergo breast augmentation in Michigan (and elsewhere) have traditionally been able to choose from two implant-filler materials: saline and silicone. Saline is a technical name for salt water, and shells filled with this sterile liquid are commonly used to add volume to a woman’s breasts. Silicone is a gel, which is thicker than water, so it does not flow freely. Many women who choose this material for their breast implants agree that it feels more like a natural breast than saline implants.
A more recent development in the field of breast enhancement is a modified silicone gel, which is thicker, firmer, and more stable than either of the two other choices. Referred to as the gummy bear implant, implant shells filled with this gel maintain their shape, even if punctured or cut. A gummy bear candy is similar in consistency to these breast implants. The candy is a solid whole, but still feels pliant to the touch and does not leak if punctured or cut. It has give while maintaining its firmness. These same properties apply to the breast implants, which are semisoft and hold their shape well. These new breast implants are known in the cosmetic medicine community as “form stable” or “highly cohesive” silicone gel implants.
What are the Benefits of Gummy Bear Implants?
Gummy bear breast implants are frequently manufactured in a teardrop shape, which is intended to more closely imitate a woman’s anatomy than a typical round implant. Because the silicone in a gummy bear implant is particularly firm, it holds that teardrop shape, emphasizing roundness and firmness toward the bottom of the breast. Some women seeking breast augmentation choose gummy bear implants because they like how firm the implants feel, believing the gel most closely approximates the consistency of natural breast tissue. The manufacturers of gummy bear breast implants report that the material leads to less chance of implant wrinkling. Several companies, including Mentor, Sientra, and Allergan manufacture gummy bear breast implants, which the FDA has approved for use in breast augmentation in the United States.
Gummy bear implants are inserted similar to saline and silicone implants, but due to their thickness and firmness, the surgical incisions for placement may be slightly longer. This prepares the recipient site for their lack of pliability during insertion. As with all patients seeking breast augmentation, the surgeons works to hide the incisions in inconspicuous areas where they are less likely to be noticed. He also thoroughly consults with each patient to be sure that the breast implants used are the best choices based on her anatomy, health, and desired post-surgery size.
For the best surgical results, patients are urged to clearly convey their aesthetic likes and dislikes during the consultation. Good, open communication is a key for a successful outcome. The doctor will ask about each patient’s goals, work, family environment, and athletic and beach activities, including running and frequent sun bathing. He will also inquire about the views of your friends and family members regarding breast augmentation surgery.
This information will help the doctor to design an individualized surgical plan. In addition to helping patients select the right size saline, silicone, or gummy bear breast implants, this information will help him to determine the best placement and incision type to fit a patient’s needs and lifestyle. He may make small alterations in size recommendations to fit a woman’s specific needs, and in some cases may suggest a breast lift surgery to complement breast augmentation surgery.
Breast Implant Size
When choosing the ideal size for breast augmentation implants, women can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the numerous options they are presented at the practice’s Ann Arbor and Jackson, MI locations. In an effort to narrow their choices, many collect photographs of celebrities’ or models’ breasts and sift through these readily available visuals. Others ask their close friends what bra sizes they wear. After selecting a surgeon who specializes in breast augmentation, patients must then decide on the size of their breast implants. Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery patients seek an enhanced-but-natural look, concerned about appearing “too big” after surgery. Some, however, actually prefer a more extreme profile. No matter what a patient decides, the surgeons have the ability to help each woman achieve amazing results.
Breast Implant Profiles
The desired look achieved through breast augmentation is significantly affected by the type of implant profile a patient chooses, which refers to the degree of forward projection of the breast following breast enlargement. The profile of breast implants, along with the size, or cubic centimeters (cc) amount, affects how the breasts will look following your surgery. The higher the profile, the more forward the projection of the breasts will be. There are four profiles:
- Moderate Profile – most natural looking, widest in diameter, lowest projection
- Moderate Plus Profile – slightly higher projection than the moderate profile
- High Profile – provides a “bubbly-” looking breast
- Ultra-High Profile – highest projection, the look of a push-up bra at all times
The surgeons will discuss the different profile options with each patient during the breast augmentation consultation. A woman’s frame and body size, as well as the quantity of her breast tissue, will play a role in determining the ideal breast implant profile.
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary.
The first step in choosing a profile will be to measure the width of the breasts. Patients will then try on breast sizers to help them choose the implant size. The most common profile used at Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery is the Moderate Plus Profile, which provides a natural look with ample cleavage. A High Profile implant placement is typically reserved for patients who want an implant size greater than 450 ccs and whose chest width is less than 11 cm.
Ultra-High Profile implants are newer to the market for patients seeking a particular aesthetic. These implants can have a fake “boob job” look that many patients wish to avoid. However, there are some patients who want a less natural look and these implants can achieve that goal.
Breast Implant Placement
During augmentation surgery, the breast prostheses may be implanted in select positions depending on a number of factors, including the intended aesthetic outcome and the patient’s natural anatomy. The doctors can place implants over the pectoral muscle, or over the pectoral muscle and under the fascia (muscle covering), both of which allow for a larger implant size. The doctors can also insert the implants under the muscle, or in the dual plane so more natural tissues covers the front of the implant. The doctors may use the “dual plane” technique, placing implants both over and under the pectoral muscles for internal maximal lifting. Patients are restricted in the implant size they choose during these surgical methods, but the results are often a more natural-looking chest.
The placement of the breast implants must accommodate the type of each patient’s body, chosen surgical incision, breast implants, and degree of enlargement a patient seeks from breast augmentation. After these factors are considered, the surgeons will make a recommendation. Patients can discuss these options and help to develop a plan designed specifically for their surgery during the initial consultation with the surgeons.
How Will the Positioning of My Breast Implants Affect My Look?
Breast implant placement is an important part of developing a breast augmentation plan. The type of implants a patient chooses – saline or silicone – may appear differently under the breast tissue. With some slight modifications, breast implants are situated either over or under the breast muscle.
Saline implants may develop rippling when placed directly behind the breast tissue, or over the muscle. Some women and their surgeons prefer to place saline implants behind the muscle to minimize the likelihood of rippling. In other patients, placement over the muscle will fill in loose skin and a more natural look can be achieved. Silicone implants tend to look more similar to the natural breast and are less prone to rippling. The majority of silicone implants are placed under the muscle to help maintain the implant position. The degree of scar formation varies among women who undergo breast augmentation, though implant placement under the muscle can lessen the risk of scarring. Capsular contracture, scar formation, and hardening of the tissue around the implant, are more common with silicone-based implants. Scar formation may increase over time as the body responds to the presence of the implant. Silicone implants are used approximately 70% of the time at Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery. If a patient’s own breasts have begun to sag or appear pendulous, breast lift is a great addition to breast augmentation.
In summary, some benefits of placing breast implants behind the pectoral muscle include:
- Patients tend to have less rippling
- There is less risk for firmness or capsular contracture
- More natural tissue covers the implant
Would I Ever Want to Make a Change to My Breast Implants?
Breast implants serve a single purpose: to add volume to the breasts. Implants do not change form with a woman’s body, which might undergo shifts in height and weight after a breast enlargement, nor will they be dramatically different with breasts that begin to droop and sag with time. The prosthetic breast maintains its size and shape within the changing surrounding tissues.
The main reason a woman might want to alter the results of her breast augmentation surgery involves aesthetics. Women who notice changes to their breasts as they age may want to have their implants removed or replaced by implants of a different size, whether larger or smaller. A secondary breast augmentation can maintain the appearance of balanced breasts that are in proportion with the rest of a woman’s body. In addition to breast augmentation, women may also consider a breast lift, which addresses drooping and sagging breast tissue by repositioning them on the chest wall to make breasts perkier.
*Patient results may vary.
Are There Other Reasons to Undergo a Second Breast Augmentation?
As with any surgery, breast augmentation complications are possible.
If a saline implant leaks after breast augmentation, the resulting deflation will likely be noticeable and can be corrected by the removal of that implant and the insertion of a new one, if the patient so chooses.
The FDA recommends that women with silicone gel-filled implants schedule a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination three years after the breast implants are inserted during a breast augmentation procedure and again every two years afterward for as long as the implant stays intact and in place. This is because silicone gel-filled implants have a chance of undergoing what is known as a “silent rupture.” Gel does not flow in the same way as saline, which is essentially sterile salt water, so a silicone leak may not cause any noticeable symptoms.
A key factor in implant longevity is selecting a professional plastic surgeon with the talent and experience necessary to provide the best results possible. The surgeons of Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery are experts at breast augmentation in Michigan.
There is a short recovery period following breast enlargement surgery when implants are placed under the muscle if quick recovery techniques are used. Women who are very active such as runners, body builders, and fitness instructors should discuss their physical activity plans with the plastic surgeon. If exercise is routine to the patient, it should be taken into account in developing the breast augmentation plan.
Breast Augmentation FAQs
Is it painful to undergo breast implant surgery?
Different factors will contribute to pain levels, like how the surgery was performed and the placement of the implants. Patients also have varying levels of pain tolerance. Women will experience some discomfort following breast augmentation, but there are many ways to minimize pain. Postsurgical guided movement, doctor-prescribed pain medications, and intermittent icing as well as remaining in a slightly elevated position are important following the procedure.
Is breast augmentation safe?
As with any surgery, medical or cosmetic, breast augmentation carries some risks. Patients should select a plastic surgeon with expertise in the procedure and board certification. Breast implants are FDA-approved for the use of cosmetic enhancement.
Can I breastfeed after augmentation?
While studies have shown some complications with breastfeeding may be associated with breast implants, the majority of women studied have not had issues with their milk production or delivery. When the implants are intact, safety is not typically a concern. The doctor should be notified if breast augmentations plan to get pregnant following their surgery.
How will I know if I would benefit from breast lift?
During the consultation, the surgeons will examine your breasts and explain the best placement for your figure. When examining your own breasts at home, a good point of reference is to look in the mirror at your nipples. If they are positioned below your breast crease, adding implants will exacerbate this issue. If a patient is interested in a perkier chest, a lift is a great addition to augmentation surgery.
Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery
Our practice specializes in breast augmentation for women from Ann Arbor, Jackson, and throughout Michigan. We make customized alterations in the surgical plan for each patient.
Ready to get started? Contact us today to learn more about breast augmentation at one of our Michigan offices. Request a consultation online, or call our Jackson office at (517) 789-9800 or our Ann Arbor office at (734) 913-5100 to schedule your appointment.