Every woman seeking breast augmentation has a unique and individual reason for wanting to enhance the shape or size of their breasts. The decision is often a major step and extremely personal. One of the most popular and frequently performed cosmetic surgery procedures, breast augmentation has a long track record in helping women achieve a better proportioned and more appealing figure. The goal of board certified plastic surgeon Jonathan Lee, MD, FRCSC is to help you achieve the best results and make your experience as safe and comfortable as possible.
What are my breast implant options?
There are many different choices for breast augmentation and Dr. Lee will perform a thorough evaluation of your breast shape, size, and symmetry to guide you towards the ideal choice for your specific aesthetic goals.
Augmentation options include:
Cohesive Gel Silicone Implants
Frequently referred to as “gummy bear” or “form stable”, these implants are made from crosslinked molecules of silicone, making them thicker and firmer than traditional silicone implants. As a result, they are able to hold their shape better and may have less rippling. They also have a more natural feel compared to saline implants and they are Dr. Lee’s preferred implant of choice.
Saline-filled Breast Implants
These implants are filled with sterile salt water housed in a silicone shell. They tend to have a less natural feel than silicone and rippling may also be more noticeable. Also, if the implant ruptures, the volume loss will be apparent immediately.
Autologous fat is removed with liposuction from areas of the body that have abundant fat (eg. abdomen, flanks, thighs, hips). After being placed through a refinement process, the fat is injected into the breast. This procedure is less common and reserved for very select patients. Fat transfer to the breasts is still undergoing clinical investigation and will not provide the level of projection or fullness to the breast that can be achieved with breast implants.
What is breast augmentation?
Breast augmentation is an aesthetic enhancement procedure designed to increase breast volume and fullness through the addition of implants. The surgery can improve the size, shape, and proportions of the breasts to provide a more attractive body contour based on your unique figure and cosmetic goals. Many women pursue breast augmentation to feel more comfortable in their own body, increase their self-confidence, or simply achieve their desired physique. The procedure is also utilized to rejuvenate the breasts after pregnancy, as well as to reconstruct the breasts following mastectomy or tumor removal. Whatever your reasons for surgery are, Dr. Lee personalizes the procedure according to your needs and treatment goals to obtain your ideal silhouette.
Where are breast augmentation incisions placed?
Multiple options are possible for incision location. The two most common approaches are:
A small incision is placed underneath the breast at the level of the crease. This is the most common type of incision used and it is often recommended for its safety and accuracy of implant placement.
The incision is made along the lower edge of the areola where the darker skin meets the lighter skin.
All incisions are closed with dissolvable stitches and the scars will mature and fade with time to the point of being very fine lines.
Who is a Good Candidate For Breast Augmentation?
- Women who are self conscious about having smaller breasts
- Women who wish to fill out clothes and swimsuits better
- Women who have lost the size and shape of their breasts following pregnancy, weight loss, or aging
- Women who want to improve symmetry if one breast is larger or smaller than the other
- Women who want a better proportioned and more appealing figure
How To Choose A Breast Implant Size
Breast implants are not a one-size-fits-all product. Just as women come in all different shapes and sizes, breast implants come in all different shapes and sizes. Your surgeon, Dr. Lee, will perform an accurate examination to measure the broadness of your chest, the base width of your breasts, the symmetry, and even the distance between your breasts. The natural elasticity of your skin is also an important consideration. Knowing how your natural breasts sit on your body will affect your options for implant sizes.
Once Dr. Lee knows what will work for your body, you will discuss with him your preferences and goals as far as breast augmentation goes. If you can bring in examples of breasts that you prefer, Dr. Lee will help you find out what you like about them to get a good idea of what you would like. Together, you and the surgeon will figure out how to reach your goals while keeping your natural shape in mind.
What can breast augmentation do for me?
Each patient will achieve different benefits from a breast augmentation according to their aesthetic goals, but Dr. Lee’s meticulous surgical technique usually provides a remarkably natural-looking final outcome. Generally speaking, a breast augmentation can:
- Enhance breast volume and fullness
- Improve proportions for a more noticeable breast contour
- Correct breast asymmetry
- Reconstruct a natural breast appearance following mastectomy
- Revise a previous breast surgery
What factors determine the size and type of implant to choose?
- Your aesthetic goals for breast augmentation
- The amount of existing breast tissue that you have
- Your body’s proportions, including weight and frame shape
- Your personal preference for implant type, size, and incision placement
Dr. Jonathan Lee (MD, FRCSC) is an experienced, Canadian and New York fellowship-trained Plastic Surgeon based in Calgary. Well-established, he is board certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and specializes in both cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.
Where are the breast implants placed?
Submuscular (dual-plane): The implants are placed under the pectoralis muscle with the muscle covering the upper portion of the breast implant and the breast tissue covering the lower portion. This allows for a very natural appearing breast and minimizes the risks of capsular contracture.
Subglandular: The implants are placed in front of the pectoralis muscle but behind the breast tissue. Dr. Lee reserves this type of placement for women who have sufficient breast tissue to be able to adequately camouflage the implant.
Before the Surgery
During your initial consultation, Dr. Lee will perform a thorough evaluation of your breast and body shape. He will determine if you are a good candidate for breast augmentation and make a recommendation tailored to your specific goals. He may also advise combining your augmentation with a breast lift should you have any drooping or sagging of your breasts. Pre-treatment photos will be taken and any potential risks and complications will also be discussed.
This often helps in the discussion and visualization of the target goals.
Breast Augmentation Recovery
A breast augmentation is performed under a general anaesthetic and will take approximately 1.5 hours to complete. Most patients are able to return home two hours following the surgery.
Patients may experience some pain along the breasts and chest wall that usually settles within a few days. Dr. Lee will prescribe you a pain reliever. After the first week, Tylenol is usually sufficient for any discomfort and most patients are able to resume regular activities after 2 weeks.
Following the surgery, you may have some mild bruising and swelling. Initially, the implants may also appear high on the chest and feel firm to touch. They will gradually soften and start to settle, becoming more natural looking within several weeks to months.
During the first 2 weeks after the surgery, you should avoid any strenuous activities. For the first 6 weeks, sleeping on the stomach or sides should also be avoided.
Dr. Lee will typically see you within one week after the surgery At this time, he will also provide you with detailed scar care instructions. The next visits will be after 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 1 year.
Can I Breastfeed After Breast Augmentation
Most women can successfully breastfeed following a breast augmentation, though it does depend on the type of surgery that you had. Most modern approaches do work for breastfeeding, with incisions under the fold of the breast or armpit. There are potential complications for breastfeeding following an augmentation procedure, including exaggerated engorgement. Following childbirth, when the milk comes in, there is a period of breast engorgement which can be more uncomfortable and greater than with unaltered breasts. Your nipples are more likely to be sensitive as well and there is an increased risk of mastitis, which is an infection of the breast tissue, which can be treated with antibiotics.
Ultimately, your ability to produce breast milk should not be affected by a breast augmentation, but you might experience more pain and complications than someone with natural breasts. It is an individual experience, however, so you might not suffer any complications at all.
How Long Do Breast Implants Last
A common question that patients ask is how long their breast implants will last. The answer is: it varies. Most implants will not need to be replaced for at least 10 to 20 years, but there is no solid answer. The life expectancy of breast implants can depend greatly on the patient’s body as well as her lifestyle as well as the implant type. There is no hard and fast rule for all of them. Some patients never need to have another surgery and can keep the same set of implants for the rest of their lives. There are complications that can arise that require an implant to be replaced, but it is not common and does not happen to everyone. Another reason that you might have them redone is if you would like to change the type or size of the implants to give yourself a different appearance.
How Do I Decide What Size Bra I Will Need Following The Procedure?
Immediately following your breast augmentation procedure, you will need to wear a surgical bra as per Dr. Lee’s recommendation. Once he has given you permission to move back to a regular bra, he might recommend that you hold off on wearing an underwire for some time.
It is not a good idea to guess a bra size and purchase it before the procedure or even immediately following the procedure. Instead, once you have been given the go-ahead, go into a boutique or lingerie store and have a professional fitting. The professional at the store will know how to appropriately measure your new breasts as well as what the right style of bra is for your individual body type. Remember that with your implants, you cannot rely on the type of bra that you had previously. You may need to purchase new bras again several months later after your implants have settled into their final position.