Breast Augmentation FAQ
Breast Augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures performed in the US today. Making the choice to enhance your body through breast augmentation is your first step to achieving the shapely, feminine form you've always dreamed of. Dr. Brent Birely is committed to ensuring your comfort through each stage of the process. To set your mind at ease, he's compiled answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about breast augmentation.
How Old do I Have to be to Have Breast Augmentation?
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that patients be at least 22 years of age to receive breast implants. While it is not “illegal” to have breast augmentation performed at a younger age, you must be at least 22 years of age to receive silicone implants, and a minimum of 18 years of age to receive saline implants.
Dr. Birely discusses the long-term care required with breast implants with each of his patients. Your new implants will require care and monitoring as you progress through your life. They are a life-long commitment that you are making to your body.
How Long Will It Take Me to Recover?
While recovery times vary from patient to patient, the average amount of time you will need to be out of work is one week. For the first two to three days following surgery, you may experience pain, swelling, and bruising, which your surgeon will help you manage with prescription pain medication. Your pain level will largely be determined by the placement of your breast implants. Placement of implants below the muscle is generally more painful and will require a bit more downtime.
Following those initial few days, it is necessary for you to avoid strenuous activity for the remainder of the week. You will need to refrain from lifting, pushing, or pulling heavy objects for a period of two weeks. During the initial few weeks following your surgery, do your best to not raise your breasts to look at your scars. This can cause incisions to reopen and require another surgery to re-close the incisions. Dr. Birely will provide you with a complete list of post-operative care procedures to ensure your recovery goes as smoothly as possible.
When Can I Get Back to My Exercise Routine?
You can resume light exercise with an appropriately supportive bra around four weeks post-surgery. These exercises should be gentle, and you should avoid any exercises specifically targeting the muscles of the chest, as well as any high impact routines.
One of the key concerns regarding exercise following breast augmentation exercises that specifically target the pectoralis major muscle. Since many implants are placed under this muscle, an incision must be made, and the muscle must then be repaired with sutures. This incision needs time to heal and form scar tissue before you can begin to exercise the muscle again. It is imperative that you give this incision a chance to heal before you begin rigorous exercise of any kind.
How do I know if my Implants Should be Placed Over or Under the Muscle?
Each breast augmentation surgery is as unique as each patient on which we perform it. Deciding whether to have your implants placed over or under the pectoralis major muscle will largely be determined by:
- Your implant type (saline or silicone)
- The shape of your implant (round or teardrop)
- The size of your implant
- The amount of tissue your body has to cover the implant
- Your individual body type
There are benefits to each type of placement, whether you and Dr. Bierly decide to place the implant over or under the muscle. Placing the implant under the muscle can provide a more natural shape to the breast. The thickness of your skin is also a factor in considering where to place your implant. Women with thinner skin may have better a better outcome when the implants are placed under the muscle.
Implants which are placed over the muscle will move with the contraction of the muscle itself. This placement can allow for a lift in patients whose breasts have begun to sag or droop. As your breasts begin to age, implants placed over the muscle will naturally move into place with the rest of your body. And recovery is generally quicker and less painful when they are placed over the muscle.
What About Cup Size?
When it comes to size, the difference between cup size and CCs is one of the most confusing factors of a conversation around breast augmentation. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well, the same is true of cup size. There is no standard measurement between bra manufacturers, so one manufacturer's D cup could be another manufacturer's DD. For this reason, your board certified plastic surgeon will discuss the size of your implants with you in CCs, not cup size.
The most important part of determining what size is best for you is your overall body type and the characteristics of your frame. The shape of your ribcage, the distance between your natural breasts, and the amount of breast tissue you have to work with will all be determining factors in making the final decision about how large your augmented breasts will be. Dr. Bierly does not buy into a “one-size-fits-all” mentality when it comes to breast augmentation. Your augmentation will be as unique as you are and should be addressed with a great deal of care.
Will I be able to Breastfeed?
Although there is research that states women who have breast implants have a bit more difficulty breastfeeding than those without, the odds that you'll be able to nurse your new baby are in your favor. Some of the determining factors are:
- The location of your incision. If your incisions were made near your armpits or underneath your breasts, the chances are good that your nerves are still intact, and your breasts will be able to produce milk.
- Nipple sensation. If you have not lost any nipple sensation, this means your nerves are working as they should be and that you will very likely be able to nurse your baby.
- The location of your implants. If your implants are under the pectoralis major muscle, then the placement of the implant will most likely not interfere with milk production. If your implant is over the muscle, there is a chance that it will put pressure on the glands in your breast which produce milk, therefore interfering with milk production.
- Your reasons for breast augmentation. If you chose to have breast augmentation to enhance your appearance cosmetically, you are in luck. You will most likely be able to breastfeed your next baby. If you chose to have your breasts augmented because your breast tissue never fully developed, you should discuss your concerns with your board-certified plastic surgeon, so he can give you a full understanding of all your options.
Breast Implants: It’s a Personal Decision
No matter your reasons for breast augmentation, we want you to be as comfortable with your choice for augmentation as possible. If you have additional questions, please discuss these with Dr. Bierly prior to your surgery. Our goal is to make breast augmentation one of the most beautiful journeys of your life.
Who is a Good Candidate for Breast Augmentation?
We know that the way you perceive your body affects how you feel about yourself. You deserve to have the curves you have always dreamed of – but breast augmentation is better suited to some women than it is to others.
Women who are good candidates for breast augmentation surgery are in good physical, and emotional health and maintain a healthy overall body weight. Your desire to enhance your body’s curves through breast augmentation should be your own, rather than a desire to comply with someone else’s wishes. Ideally, candidates should be non-smokers or willing to stop smoking for a period of time both before and after the surgical procedure. You should have a support system of family and friends who will help you in the days following your surgery and encourage you through your recovery.
Will I Need to Replace My Breast Implants?
There are many misconceptions when it comes to breast augmentation. One of the most common is that your breast implants have an expiration date. Unless you develop complications, there is no need to remove and replace your breast implants once your augmentation is complete.
Will Breast Implants Increase My Cleavage?
The answer to the question depends solely on your anatomy. The distance between your breasts will not change as a result of breast augmentation, and the amount of cleavage you have depends on this distance. If your breasts are currently more widely set, breast implants will give your breasts a more voluptuous profile but will usually not affect your cleavage.
Will I Lose the Sensation in my Nipples?
It is not uncommon to have changes in nipple sensation following breast augmentation. Many women report that they either lose sensation or have heightened nipple sensation immediately following surgery. In most cases, however, any changes in sensation are usually temporary. As your body heals from breast augmentation surgery and the nerve pathways are repaired, sensation will gradually begin to return to normal. The timeline for this process is about three to six months.
Will I Have Noticeable Scars Following Breast Augmentation?
As with any surgery, scarring is inevitable following breast augmentation surgery. Choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon who is skilled in breast augmentation, such as Dr. Brent Bierly, is the best way to ensure that any scarring you experience will be minimal.
Should I Select Round or Teardrop-Shaped Implants for my Breast Augmentation?
Another misconception surrounding breast augmentation is that round implants produce round breasts and teardrop-shaped implants create a more natural-looking breast. Both shapes of implants can produce attractive, natural-looking breasts. The type of implant selected for you is largely determined by your anatomy.
Round implants most often come to mind when thinking of breast augmentation surgery. They can offer a very natural shape and are may be softer to the touch than teardrop-shaped implants. Teardrop-shaped implants may have a greater chance of holding their original shape over time, but there is a very slight risk that they will rotate causing a deformation in the appearance of the breast. Teardrop-shaped implants are generally firmer to the touch than round implants due to the custom silicone gel filling.
The key to achieving beautiful breasts is selecting a surgeon who is skilled and experienced in breast augmentation surgery. Showing your doctor photographs of what you would like your breasts to look like following surgery will help him to understand your vision for your new curves. Dr. Bierly understands how the different types of implants will appear on a variety of body types, and he will recommend the most appropriate type of implant for your frame.