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Breast Augmentation Frequently Asked Questions


                                         Breast Augmentation FAQ's

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  • What is the minimum age to get breast augmentation?

Breast augmentation can be performed on a patient who is 18 years of age, with using saline implants only. If the patient wants to have silicone implants, the age is 22.

The exception to the age limit of silicone implants are the following:




  • How are breast implants placed?

A breast implant is usually inserted either under the breast tissue (over the muscle) or under the pectoral muscle. Subfascia placement is a newer placement that some plastic surgeons feel is beneficial to some of their patients.

The incisions for insertion are the following:

  • Most often made in the fold of skin under the breast – which is called inframammary (crease incision)

  • The incision around the areola (the area around the nipple)

  • Trans-axillary (in the armpit)

  • Trans-umbilical (TUBA)

  • Trans-abdominal breast augmentation or TABA




    • Can a woman breastfeed after a breast augmentation?

    Women who have had breast augmentation for the most part do not have any harder of a time breast-feeding than a woman who does not have implants.

    To lower the risks associated with breast implants and breast-feeding is to avoid the peri-areolar incision. This is because of the risk of interfering with nipple sensation. Having breast augmentation surgery normally does not cause disruption of the breast gland itself. This includes if the implants are placed sub-glandularly (over the muscle), because the dissection usually doesn’t disconnect the gland from the nipple.

    Women with breast implants do not risk exposing their breastfed children to excessive amount of silicone. The Institute of Medicine concluded, “No evidence of elevated silicone in breast milk or any other substance that would be harmful to infants was found in women with silicone gel-filled breast implants."

    Breast-feeding can be difficult for many women, even those that never had breast surgery before. The Le Lache League is a great support group for information about breastfeeding.




    • How long can breast implants last?

    Breast implants are a man made device. Like anything that is man made have the potential for failure. Breast implants are not intended to be lifetime devices, however; most plastic surgeons will agree that the only time to exchange your breast implants is when you are having a complication from the devices, or if you wanted to change your breast size.

    The complications that can arise with breast implants include:

  • capsular contracture

  • bottoming out

  • symmastia

  • deflation

  • rupture


    Implants on a routine basis do not necessarily need to be changed out at any interval. The most often cited number is every 10 – 15 years, women will need additional surgery for breast augmentation. This number is based on surgeries for all reasons, including complications and or having the implants removed, or for the mere fact that the patient might want to increase or decrease their size.

    The time frame number is also based on the older implant shells. Because of the new formulations, implants are less often to rupture. The implant replacement issue use to be very prevalent during the early years of breast augmentation. However, this was done before the newer and stronger breast implant were redesigned which was after the 10 year moratorium by the FDA.

    Both breast implant manufacturers have a lifetime warranty on their implant, as well as a 10 year warranty on the replacement cost if they should deflate. Technically the implants are good forever, however; according to the FDA the average time span for women changing their implants are within 18 – 20 years.

    If you are happy with your breast implants and the size you have achieved, then you do not need to do anything.

    Read all the Risks and Complications with Breast Implants




    • What are the risks of "rippling"?

    If the breast implants are above the muscle the chances of rippling being visible is greater. Having the implants below the muscle minimizes rippling, but still may be noticeable between the breast and under the breast. The more natural tissue you start out with, the less chance of rippling. Also, silicone implant do not ripple as often as saline.




    • Which implant gives a more “natural” appearance?

    Each patient is unique with their body characteristics. And the word “natural” is in the eye of the beholder. The plastic surgeon formulates an individualized approach that takes into consideration your anatomy and the necessary limitations and compromises of each technique and implant, in order to arrive at a result that you will hopefully find to be both pleasing and natural.

    Some of the important aspects that are taken into consideration with finding the right implant for your body type are the following:

  • Implant size

  • Implant shape (high profile, moderate plus profile, moderate profile, low profile)

  • Implant position (over the muscle, under, complete under or sub-fasicia)

  • Implant material (saline or silicone)

  • Incision placement (peri-areolar, inframammory, trans-axillary, TUBA)


    The plastic surgeon will assess these factors when choosing the right implant:

  • Breast volume

  • Skin excess

  • Breast diameter

  • Skin quality

  • Chest wall asymmetries




    • What are adjustable breast implants?

    Expandable, or "adjustable" breast implants have a small removable port which is implanted under the skin at the time of the surgery. By accessing this port through the skin with a small needle, saline can be added to or removed from the implant. After the desired size is achieved the port is later removed surgically, as a small office procedure.




    • What does the word “cohesive gel” mean?

    Cohesive describes a gel's elasticity or tendency to stick together. All silicone gel-filled breast implants available today are filled with cohesive gel, however; there are different levels of cohesiveness.




    • What are “gummy bear” gel breast implants?

    The “gummy bear” implants are more cohesive in their silicone gel-filled breast implants – which is a firmer silicone gel filler to help maintain the shape of the implant. At this time, these breast implants are available only through clinical studies being conducted by Mentor and Allergan (formerly Inamed). 




    • Do silicone gel filled breast implants cause cancer?

    There are published studies indicating that breast cancer is no more common in women with breast implants versus women without breast implants. The Institute of Medicine report – dated 1999, concluded that: “There is no increase in primary or recurrent breast cancer in implanted women.”




    • Are fat injections an option instead of breast implants for augmentation?

    Fat injections to the breasts are currently an area of controversy. Questions remain over whether injected areas can mimic x-ray findings of breast cancer in mammograms. This procedure is not frequently performed.




    • What happens if I have my implants removed?

    The appearance of the breasts after implant removal varies among women depending on the size of the implants and the quality of the soft tissues and skin. Some women's breasts look good after implant removal. However, some can experience unacceptable deflation, sagging, dimpling, puckering, wrinkling, or other cosmetic changes of the breasts after implant removal. More than likely, if you do elect to have your implant removed, you might have to have a small lift.




    • Do breast implants interfere with mammograms?

    Yes, regardless of their location in the sub-muscular or sub-glandular location, they can interfere with mammography. However, most breast screening centers are well accustomed to performing mammography on patients who have breast implants by taking additional views of the breast. Radiologists that are experienced in the evaluation of women with breast implants should be the one that interpret mammography exams.

    There are some newer diagnostic screenings available to help patients with breast implants:

  • Digital Mammograms

  • SonoCine

  • Halo Breast Pap Screening Test




    • What causes breast implants to rupture?

    There are a few instances that can cause an implant to rupture:

    • damage during implantation or during other surgical procedures

    • folding or wrinkling of the implant shell

    • trauma or other excessive force to the chest

    • compression of the breast during mammography




    • What is a breast implant “Device Card”?

    A device card is something that comes with breast implants. It tells the patient the following:

    • What manufacturer your received

    • What the catalog number

    • The lot number

    • The implant size

    Your plastic surgeon will give you the device card after your breast augmentation. It is important that you keep this card somewhere safe and sound.


                               Natrelle Gel Breast Implant Warranty Card

                                              Copyright 2010 -

                                        Image of Allergan - Natrelle Gel Breast Implant Card





    • Will the sensation in my breast or nipple change after augmentation?

    Feeling or sensation in the nipple and breasts can either increase or decrease after augmentation. The range of feeling from numbness to hypersensitivity varies from patient to patient. More than likely these changes are temporary and will go away after several week or months. Surgeons will tell their patients to wait up to one year to see if they are getting any feeling back into the breast area, as nerve fibers grow at a very slow rate.

    After surgery your might experience sharp intense pain sensations in the breast. This is considered nerve regeneration – which is a good sign that the nerves are trying to regenerate so you can get feeling back.




    • How long until I can exercise after breast augmentation surgery?

    It is important not to do any strenuous exercise for at least three to six weeks after a breast augmentation. This is because you can tear a small blood vessel and cause a hematoma or blood collection in the breast pocket. Most plastic surgeons will recommend no heavy lifting (nothing more than 10 lbs) during the first six weeks after surgery along with not doing any activity that would increase your blood pressure or raise your pulse.

    If your surgeon has given you instructions to massage, then you need to make sure you are doing this to their specifications. Only your plastic surgeon knows how big he has made your pocket for the implant to sit in. Always follow your own surgeon’s instructions.




    • How long until I can drive?

    Approximately a week or so, when you are off all narcotic pain medication. Each plastic surgeon has their own time line for their patient, so make sure you find out exactly what your own surgeon has requested.



    • Should I consider using Arnica and Bromelain?

    Arnica is a homeopathic remedy designed to reduce the bruising and swelling that comes with both invasive and non invasive surgical procedures. Bromelain is a nutritional supplement with anti-inflammatory properties. Please make sure it is okay with your own plastic surgeon to take these products.




    • How long does the swelling and bruising last after surgery? 

    The degree of swelling will differ on the two sides, some bruising and swelling may persist for 2-3 weeks postoperatively (likely areas are the armpits and collarbone to the waistline)







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