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Breast augmentation has been one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the United States for decades because many women are unhappy with the size and contour of their breasts.

Breast augmentation is an effective procedure to improve not only the cup size of the breast, but the shape and overall appearance.

Some women have always wanted larger breasts and the augmentation process, in this case, is a straightforward increase in the breast size using implants. However, other women experience a loss of volume in the breasts after pregnancy and breastfeeding, and are more interested in restoring the lost volume with implants. Women who are restoring and enhancing the breasts in this way may also want to consider a breast lift along with implants for a more youthful appearance to the bust.

Breast augmentation and enhancement is a custom process that takes many factors into account—

age, desired cup size, additional need for rejuvenation, etc.—to tailor the procedure to suit each patient’s needs. Women who choose breast augmentation typically experience great gains in confidence and self-esteem following the surgery.

Breast Augmentation Consultation

A breast enhancement consultation with our expert Emory plastic surgeons at our surgical center in Atlanta, Georgia, is a key step in getting the results you want. You will meet with one of our doctors, who will ask you a series of questions about what you’re looking for to help narrow down your goals for your procedure. For safety reasons, we will also go over your medical history and determine whether or not you are a good candidate for the procedure. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions you have and get to know more about us and the procedure we will design for you. Your consultation is an extremely valuable opportunity for you to make sure breast enhancement is right for you. During the meeting, you will also get the opportunity to see a digital preview of your expected results.

Breast Augmentation Candidates

Breast augmentation is a fairly invasive elective surgery, so there are several requirements patients should meet before receiving approval to undergo the procedure. Ideal candidates are healthy, non-smoking women with good skin elasticity and realistic expectations about the results of the procedure. Patients must be dedicated to pre- and post-operative care in order to optimize healing and promote good results.

Breast Augmentation Procedure

Breast augmentation with implants is an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia and takes about an hour or two on average. Once you have discussed augmentation options with your surgeon and chosen the implant type and size that are best for you, your surgeon will determine the proper incision and implant placement. There are three different incision locations that can be used to insert the implant: through the armpit, the areola (tissue surrounding the nipple), or in the crease under the breast. All incisions are placed to be as invisible as possible.

After the incisions are made, the implants will be inserted above or below the chest wall muscle. The body will keep the implant in place and prevent it from shifting too much underneath the skin. Once the implant has been positioned, the incisions will be closed.

Breast Augmentation Recovery

Initial breast augmentation recovery time takes about one to two weeks. The stitches used to close the incisions will dissolve on their own, but the incision site will be taped up for the first week following surgery. While the first week is the most difficult and uncomfortable part of the breast enhancement recovery period, there will be activity restrictions for the first few weeks following surgery, particularly on strenuous activity such as exercise. Most women are able to return to work by one week after surgery.

Swelling is a normal side effect of breast augmentation, so patients should expect swelling to persist to some degree for about six months after surgery. However, results should be mostly apparent following the initial healing period of the incisions and once the worst of the swelling has gone away.

Breast Augmentation FAQs

  • What kinds of implants are available, and which should I choose?

    Breast implants come in two major types: saline-filled, and silicone gel-filled. Both options offer patients safe and customizable augmentation, but there are a few differences between the two. Saline implants are usually firmer and rounder than silicone implants, while silicone gel has a somewhat more natural look and feel. Saline will be reabsorbed by the body in case of rupture, while silicone will remain suspended in the body unless attended to. Talk to our surgeons about your options to decide which implant type is appropriate for your needs. With large amounts of data now available proving the safety and efficacy of silicone breast implants, the majority of women are choosing this option.

  • How do I pick the right cup size?

    Bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to choosing your breast augmentation size. Remember, overly large breasts can come with their own difficulties, including back and neck pain and difficulty finding clothing that fits. An overly large implant can also stretch out and deform your tissues, causing the implant to drop and sag over time. Your frame size will also determine how big the implants look on you. A D cup on a small frame woman will look larger than the same implant size on a taller woman. You should discuss several different options with your surgeon and make use of all available tools, such as digital imaging, before you make a decision.

  • Will I need help around the house after my breast enhancement?

    For a few days bending and lifting following breast augmentation will be uncomfortable, and you should be prepared to have someone take care of tasks that require strenuous effort during your recovery. This will help ensure that you heal properly. Women are encouraged to gradually resume normal activities and exercise after breast augmentation as comfort allows, but activities that are more strenuous on the chest area, such as push-ups, heavy lifting, or tennis, may not be possible for a couple of months after surgery.

  • Will I be able to breastfeed after breast surgery?

    While many patients are able to breastfeed successfully with implants, there is a small risk that the surgery will affect the ability to breastfeed. If you are considering breast augmentation surgery, you will need to accept this risk, or wait until after you are done having children to undergo breast enhancement. If augmentation is performed after pregnancy and breastfeeding, many women opt to combine the augmentation procedure with a breast lift.

  • Will there be scarring after my breast surgery?

    All surgery produces some scarring, but incisions from plastic surgery are located in discreet areas to minimize visible scarring as much as possible. In addition, if incisions are well-cared for, scarring should fade over time to be less noticeable. Depending on your procedure, incisions will be located in the crease under the breast, on the nipple, or in the armpit. Before and after photos of breast augmentation can give you an idea of what these potential scars will look like.

  • Will I be able to get a mammogram after breast augmentation?

    Absolutely. Mammograms are an important diagnostic tool for women. Since the implant will somewhat inhibit the view of the breast tissue obtained in a mammogram, special implant views and an ultrasound can be used to make sure a good examination of the breast is obtained. It is also important to note that having breast implants does not increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

  • Are breast implants permanent?

    Although breast implants don't have to be replaced in a scheduled way, in reality, most women will need periodic "maintenance" of their breast augmentation to maintain the look and feel that they want. How long or how often a patient will need repeat surgery will vary significantly, although typically replacement or removal of implants in 10-15 years is normal, and should be expected.

  • Will the implants feel natural?

    The feel of the implants will vary depending on the type of implant used. Implants will never feel quite the same as natural breast tissue, but silicone gel implants do a good job of mimicking the feel of natural breast tissue. You should be able to feel some actual implants before your surgery so you can get an idea of how the breasts will feel after the augmentation process.

  • What are the possible complications of breast enhancement?

    Breast augmentation is a safe procedure when performed by a board certified plastic surgeon in a top-notch facility, like our Emory Aesthetic Center in Atlanta, but there are some inherent risks in surgery, as well as some risks that are specific to the procedure itself. Complications can be minimized by choosing the right surgeon and paying attention to surgeon instructions before and after surgery, but patients should also be aware of potential complications so that any signs of trouble can be dealt with immediately.

    Over the long term, the most common complication of breast augmentation is the development of capsular contracture, which is scarring around the implant which can make the implant feel firm or can change the appearance of the breast. Other risks and complications of breast augmentation can include bleeding, infection, scarring, anesthesia complications, breast pain or numbness, poor aesthetic results, implant shifting, and implant rupture. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your surgeon prior to surgery.

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