The Most Frequently Asked Questions about Breast Augmentation

Board-Certified Cosmetic Surgeon Serving Ann Arbor, Plymouth, Canton, Brighton, Detroit & Nearby Michigan areas

Posted: July 8, 2020
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A young woman smiles wearing green cropped sports bra and leggingsDr. Jessica West is personally committed to providing her patients with clear, honest and straightforward information about breast augmentation. Below are several of the questions she receives routinely.

What’s the difference between saline and silicone? Saline and silicone refer to the fill material of implants. All breast implants have an outer silicone shell, but the breast tissue-like material housed within the shell can be:

  • Saline, which is a sterile saltwater solution.
  • Silicone, which is a cohesive gel that feels very much like natural breast tissue.

How do I choose between silicone and saline implants? Both implants have an outer silicone shell. The most important advantages to silicone implants are a more natural feel and less risk of rippling. An advantage to saline implants is that if you had a rupture of an implant, you would know right away because the implant would deflate. With a silicone implant, you would need an MRI to determine whether a rupture had occurred.

What is a gummy bear implant? Gummy bear implant is another term for cohesive silicone gel implants. They got this nickname because – like a gummy bear candy – if you were to slice the implant right down the middle, the gel maintains its shape and doesn’t spill out of the implant shell. These implants are an improved and safer implant compared to older silicone implants that contained liquid silicone gel. “Gummy bear implant” is also a term used to refer to older tear-drop shaped textured implants. Many textured implants have now been taken off the market for cosmetic breast augmentation due to association with BIA-ALCL (breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma). Dr. West does not use textured implants.

What are the incision options? During breast augmentation, the breast implant is placed into the breast pocket through an incision in the skin. There are two options for incisions:

  • The inframammary incision, which is made in the crease under the breast, where the breast meets the chest wall.
  • Peri-areolar, which is a semi- circular incision made at the lower portion of the areola.

Both types of incisions are well hidden. Your surgeon will discuss the best option for you.

Do I need a breast lift and a breast augmentation? How can I tell? An augmentation combined with a breast lift is not an uncommon approach. Aging, pregnancy, breast feeding, and weight loss can change the support structures inside the breasts and cause drooping. This dual technique makes it possible to lift sagging breasts while also increasing breast size and fullness in the upper portion of the breast. A breast lift alone does not make the breasts larger. The amount of droopiness will determine if this combined approach fits your goals.

How long does it take to recover from breast augmentation? We generally recommend taking 1 week off from work, but it is possible to return to work after 4-6 days depending on your occupation and recovery. Driving is allowed after 3 days if no longer taking narcotics for pain, and able to check blind spots without any issues. Patients should avoid heavy lifting (over 10-15 lbs), and no strenuous activity that increases your heart rate for 3 weeks. After 3 weeks, light weights and light cardio are allowed if healing well. You must wear good support and avoid excessive bouncing during this 3-6 week time period. After 6 weeks you can return to regular activity.

When can I go swimming after breast augmentation? You can go in the pool approximately 3-4 weeks after breast augmentation. Wherever you take a dip is likely to contain microbes. Our skin protects us from germs, but the incisions created during breast augmentation need a few weeks to completely heal so they can keep those germs out. We recommend waiting 4-6 weeks before submerging in potentially “unclean” water like lakes, rivers, or even hot tubs.

How long do implants last? There is a common misconception that implants need to be replaced at 10 years. There is no medical necessity to replace your implants after 10 years if you are happy with the appearance and have no complications. However, most breast implant warranties do end at 10 years, and will not cover replacement of the implant if it ruptures or deflates. The risk of rupture or deflation of the implant does increase with time.

More Answers to Your Questions in a One-on-One Consultation

To arrange a breast augmentation consultation with Dr. Jessica West in Ann Arbor, please call Michigan Center for Cosmetic Surgery at 734-971-0262.

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