Once you’ve decided you want breast implants, choosing a surgeon for your breast augmentation is the most important decision to make. You want to feel confident that the doctor will listen to what you want and give you a beautiful result, while also treating you with the utmost respect and care.
Dr. Clinton gives all of his patients a great deal of one-on-one attention. He’s a great listener and is empathetic to your concerns. Most importantly, he has the training and experience to evaluate your case carefully and create a unique surgical plan for you.
He studied biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt and medicine at UAB and received his plastic surgery training at Duke – some of the country’s most prestigious universities – and he spent years in trauma care before going into the field of aesthetics. He also performs many reconstructive surgeries every year. As a result, he has the experience to work on even the most complex of cases.
Breast Augmentation (also called Breast Enhancement or Breast Enlargement) can increase the size of your breasts and also reshape them. If you feel that your breasts are sagging, a Breast Lift can be combined with your Breast Augmentation so that the breasts are lifted to a higher place on the chest, as well as increased in size.
How Do I Choose a Breast Implant Type and Size?
Besides the size of your implants, you also must choose the type, shape, and projection. Dr. Clinton will help you understand all of the options so that you can make informed choices that will lead to your desired result.
When choosing size, it is vital to take several measurements and think about how different sizes will actually look on your body. The width of your shoulders and the width of your current breasts are especially important to consider.
Implants come in silicone or saline types. The main difference is the substance inserted into the implant shell, and each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Silicone implants are FDA-approved for women age 22 and up, and they are filled prior to insertion. For this reason, a slightly larger incision is required, but the difference is small. They tend to feel more natural than saline and are not as prone to rippling. Ruptures, which are rare, can be difficult to detect. For this reason, the FDA recommends women with silicone implants have an MRI every few years to make sure a rupture has not occurred. In our experience, few patients follow this recommendation unless an issue is suspected. Silicone implants come round or shaped, and smooth or textured. Shaped implants come only textured.
Saline implants are FDA-approved for women age 18 and up, and they are filled after the shell has been inserted in the body. This allows for a slightly more customized size and a smaller incision. Saline implants are firmer and do not feel as natural as silicone, and they are more prone to rippling. In the rare case of a rupture, the implant deflates, so the issue is more obvious and can be addressed sooner.
You might have also heard of gummy bear implants, which are a type of silicone that is a bit more solid than a liquid. These are considered “cohesive” because they hold their shape no matter how you move your body. They are available in both round and teardrop shapes.
Implant Shape and Projection
Implants are available in round and shaped appearance. Shaped implants, which have less volume on the top, are considered closer to a natural anatomical shape. They may provide less cleavage, however.
Projection refers to how much the breast extends from the chest in profile. Volume and shape can affect this feature. Dr. Clinton will discuss all of these considerations with you so that you can determine your preferences.
Textured or Smooth?
Implant shells also come in both smooth and textured versions. It’s important to note that the texturing cannot be felt through your skin. The texture simply provides a surface that adheres to the breast tissue. While textured implants can be more prone to rippling, they may have benefits over smooth. Again, Dr. Clinton will discuss the options in detail with you.
Breast Implant Incisions and Placement
There are basically four incisions used for breast enlargement.
- Periareolar – An incision around the areolas (the dark circle surrounding the nipples).
- Axillary – An incision placed under the armpits.
- Transumbilical – An incision through the belly button.
- Inframammary – An incision in the crease of the breasts.
The most common incision, by far, is the inframammary in the fold under the breast. The scar that results from this incision cannot be seen when wearing a bra, bathing suit, or the most revealing of tops.
Placement means that the implant can be placed under (submuscular) or over (subglandular) the pectoralis major muscle of the chest. Dr. Clinton will discuss these options with you and make recommendations based on your anatomy, lifestyle, implement choice, and preferences.
What Happens During Breast Augmentation?
Breast Augmentation is usually performed as an outpatient procedure under a light general anesthetic. There can be flexibility in anesthetic choices depending on what you prefer.
After the chosen incision is made, a pocket is created within the breast tissue, and the implant is placed either under or over the pectoral muscle. If a saline implant is used, the shell is inserted first, and the implant is then filled with the saline solution and closed. When the implant is in its proper place, the incision is closed, usually using stitches that dissolve on their own.
After the appropriate time in our recovery room, you can go home with the help of a friend or family member. You should not drive for 24 hours, due to the effects of the anesthesia.
What Can I Expect During Recovery from Breast Augmentation?
We will send you home with written instructions for how to take care of yourself after your surgery. This will be a reinforcement of verbal instructions you will receive on several occasions. You will also be evaluated no later than the day after your procedure and monitored during your recovery period. We encourage you to call us if you have any questions at all.
Some bruising, swelling, and discomfort is expected after surgery, but these effects are generally minimal after breast augmentation. Swelling is usually the last side effect to go completely away. The scar will improve over time, and we will give you instructions to speed its healing.
If you experience pain, you can take oral medications. Non-prescription meds are usually sufficient, but if you need something stronger, use the prescription provided.
A soft sports bra or a camisole top with a shelf bra is best to wear until Dr. Clinton recommends a change, and you will be more comfortable sleeping on your back for approximately four weeks. You must avoid heavy lifting and any strenuous activity or “straining” for two weeks.
Most women return to office work within a week, but we will discuss this with you based on your individual case. We will provide you with a post-operative plan to help you return to all normal day-to-day activities as soon as possible.
Results from breast augmentation can be long-term, but they are certainly impacted by weight loss/gain, environmental factors, and the natural aging process. Mammograms should be performed as recommended after nine months. Self-exam is an important part of maintaining your best breast health.