Breast augmentation is one of the most commonly requested cosmetic surgery procedures in the world and has an extraordinarily high rate of patient satisfaction. Even though breast enhancement is so popular, there are aspects of the procedure you may not understand or questions you may feel embarrassed to ask an acquaintance who has breast implants.
Dr. Christopher Verbin and staff of SB Aesthetics are committed to educating and supporting patients as they navigate their options for breast augmentation. Below you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about breast implants and breast augmentation surgery. If you don’t see what you’re looking for or want additional information, please contact our office to schedule a consultation and bring all questions and concerns to that appointment.
Are there different options for breast implants? Do my choices really matter?
Yes and yes! While it’s tempting to fast-forward in your mind and focus on your results, there are numerous decisions that have to be made before you get there. Breast implants come in different shapes (round or teardrop) with different fillings (saline or silicone), outer shells (smooth or textured), profiles and volumes. All of these options can produce excellent results for the right person, but each one has pros and cons that must be weighed. Your plastic surgeon will help ensure you make the best choices for your body and your goals. What you choose will significantly impact the final results of your breast augmentation.
How old do I have to be to get breast implants?
You should wait until your breasts are done developing before having breast augmentation surgery. Under FDA regulations, you must be at least 18 years old to receive saline breast implants. For augmentation with silicone breast implants, you must be 22 or older. Everyone’s body is different, so it’s possible for two women of the same age to be at different stages of breast development. A board-certified surgeon should evaluate you in a consultation to determine whether you are a good candidate for breast augmentation at this time.
How should I choose my new size?
Look at the breast augmentations of earlier years, and you may think everyone believes bigger is always better. While that was the trend at the time, and there’s nothing wrong with prioritizing volume if that aligns with your aesthetic goals, it’s not the only option. Breast implants can also be very subtle and natural-looking. It’s entirely up to you. As you consider your preferences, don’t focus too much on bra size. Breast implants are measured in volume, not bra cup size, because bra sizing is not consistent between manufacturers. The ideal size for you is also dependent on the size and shape of your chest and the amount of breast skin and tissue you have naturally. Your surgeon will help you choose a size that meets your goals and is appropriate for your body.
Will augmentation work for me if my breasts are sagging?
Breast implants may provide a boost when minor sagging (ptosis) is present, but the benefits are limited. Some women find that the weight of an implant makes their sagging worse. A better option for breasts that lack volume and also have moderate to severe ptosis is augmentation mastopexy — a breast augmentation combined with a breast lift. Both procedures can be done into a single surgery, limiting the number of times you need to be put under anesthesia and reducing your downtime.
How long of a recovery period can I expect?
Your breast augmentation recovery will be unique to you and your body. In general, most women return to work and light activity within a week after surgery. Gentle exercises can be resumed in the third week. Intense physical exercise should be avoided for six weeks following the operation. Increase your level of activity gradually and listen to your body. If something causes pain or doesn’t feel right, stop. You will be given complete instructions for postoperative care so your recovery goes smoothly.
Will breast implants affect my ability to breastfeed a baby?
Most women can breastfeed successfully after receiving breast implants. Breastfeeding after augmentation should not be any more challenging than it is for mothers who have not had breast enhancement. Breast implants should not affect the ability of your breasts to produce milk nor should they affect the quality of the milk. If you are concerned that breast augmentation will interfere with nursing, you may want to postpone surgery until after you have weaned your last child.
Will insurance pay for my breast augmentation?
In general, no. Breast augmentation is considered an elective cosmetic procedure that is not eligible for insurance coverage in most cases. Breast implants are covered by insurance when they are part of breast reconstruction for someone who has had a mastectomy. In rare cases, insurance may cover breast implants if they are used to correct severe asymmetry due to a developmental deformity or traumatic injury.
How will my augmented breasts look over time?
You can expect to enjoy the results of your breast augmentation for many years to come. As time passes, your breasts will change due to the natural effects of aging and gravity. Future pregnancies, breastfeeding and weight fluctuations can also affect your results. All of these factors can change the size and shape of a woman’s breasts whether or not she has implants. Some patients decide to address these changes by exchanging their implants or having breast lift surgery to restore a more youthful contour to their bust.
Are the scars from breast augmentation noticeable?
Scars are unavoidable in any surgery, but they are well-hidden for breast procedures. There are several different incision techniques that can be used for breast augmentation. While some involve larger incisions than others, the incisions are placed so that they can be covered up by most bras and bathing suits. Your incision lines will fade with time until they become white or skin-colored.
How long do breast implants last?
You may have heard that breast implants need to be replaced after 10 years, but that is a myth. While it’s true that they are not considered lifetime devices, you do not need to have them replaced or removed at any specific point. There is no need to replace them unless an issue arises or you decide to have revision surgery for cosmetic reasons.
How do I decide whether breast augmentation is right for me?
Undergoing any cosmetic surgery is a personal decision. Be sure you are making the choice to have breast augmentation because it’s what you want, not because you think it will make someone else happy. It’s also important to maintain realistic expectations. Breast augmentation may make you feel sexier and more confident, but it’s not a solution to body image issues and will not give you a wildly different appearance. Be open and honest with your surgeon during your consultation and carefully consider their professional assessment of your goals. Because every woman is unique, the decision to pursue breast augmentation should be made collaboratively between you and your doctor.
If you have questions regarding breast augmentation in Torrance or the surrounding areas of California, please contact our patient care coordinator or call 310-539-6500. Dr. Verbin and the team at SB Aesthetics look forward to helping you make your aesthetic goals a reality.