Your Most Common Breast Augmentation Questions, Answered

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This article is sponsored by Lone Star Plastic Surgery.

Have you dreamed of having a “va-va-voom” body with shapely breasts and a sculpted waistline? When you look in the mirror, however, you see breasts that lack volume, and thighs that have seen tighter days. Believe me, as a forty-something mother of three, I can relate.

Although I try to take care of my body with healthy eating and exercise, I still don’t feel confident in a sexy cocktail dress. No amount of kale or yoga is going to change the shape or volume of my breasts. Like many women, I would love to enhance and restore my body to a more youthful state, but I have a million questions about what that entails.

sean hill headshotThis led me to Double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Sean Hill of Lone Star Plastic Surgery in Frisco. There’s no one better to ask than Dr. Hill because breast augmentation is the most common aesthetic surgery that he performs. (Because, as I suggested earlier, you’re not the only woman who’s been wishing for a little enhancement.)

Breast augmentations are ranked as one of the top procedures in the U.S. with nearly 300,000 performed annually. Despite being relatively common, breast augmentation is not a “one size fits all” procedure and has to be tailored to each individual’s unique anatomy and aesthetic ideals.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s allow Dr. Hill to break it down:

Lifestyle Frisco: Dr. Hill, I’m a newbie to the world of plastic surgery. My first question out of the gate is, do I need a breast lift or an augmentation? What’s the difference?

Dr. Sean Hill: Breast augmentation can improve breast shape by adding volume. It can fill out slightly stretched skin but is typically performed on non-sagging breasts to increase size. If you have lax skin and want larger breasts, I recommend combining breast implants with your breast lift.

LsF: Hmm…it sounds like most middle-aged women would need both to rectify the toll of aging. Tell us more about the lift. Do breast lifts have to be re-lifted after awhile or are they good for a lifetime? I’m going to take a wild guess you’ll say “no” because nothing lasts forever…

Dr. SH: Father time conquers all, so you’re right, nothing is permanent. The timeline will vary according to a patient’s age and weight, etc.

LsF: Can you explain to me a little more about what a breast lift accomplishes?

Dr. SH: A lift restores breasts to an uplifted position to re-create a round, perky shape. It also helps to balance the breasts; women often have one breast that is larger than the other. In the case of the nipple region, it restores the nipple to its ideal aesthetic position. Nursing babies and a loss of elasticity can cause the nipple to settle lower.

LsF: Okay, so now let’s talk about implants. Saline versus silicone gel — which is better? As I understand it, saline implants have been utilized since the 1960s. It would seem that the saline product has stood the test of time. Plus the material is natural. On the flip side, I hear silicone implants tend to be popular. Rumor has it they’re firmer and offer the appearance of a Victoria Secret’s Runway model.

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Dr. SH: The decision comes down to the patient’s personal preference. Both types of material achieve a similar appearance but have advantages and disadvantages. Saline implants are more affordable and ruptures are immediately noticeable. In the event, a rupture occurs the body will reabsorb most of the saline water.

Saline implants also can be placed with a smaller incision. Silicone gel implants (gummy bears) are lighter than saline, and look and feel natural. They tend to be less prone to rippling (visible folds seen through the skin). They’re also more cohesive, meaning the implant holds its shape, which facilitates more fullness at the top of the breast.

LsF: The shape! I didn’t realize there was a difference in shape. When I think of breast shape it brings to mind cup sizes A, B, C, D… But I’ve recently learned there’s more to it and comes down to round versus anatomic. How does a woman know what shape is right for her?

Dr. SH: Anatomic implants are shaped like a breast with a teardrop-type shape, slim at the top and round at the base. They’re most commonly used in breast reconstruction patients following cancer surgery. Round implants are typically used in aesthetic patients. They offer volume and fullness directly behind the central portion of the breast mound. It’s the “push up bra” look.

When it comes to breast implant sizes, I utilize three different variables: Implant size (number of cc’s), implant profile (how far it is off the chest wall for a given volume), and the base diameter (diameter of the circle). I typically match the diameter of the implant with the width of a patient’s chest to find the optimal fit. This process allows proper cleavage and upper pole fullness of the breast mound without having too wide of an implant resulting in excess implant off the chest wall.

LsF: That’s helpful information! In past decades, it seemed like implants were hyper-extended off the chest wall making women appear top-heavy.

Dr. SH: I can tweak the profile of the implant to match a patient’s ideal aesthetic to give the perfect look.

LsF: I’ve read a bit about the optimal location to place implants, either behind the muscle or on top? Can you help me understand this better?

Dr. SH: Implants can be placed in one of two places. On top of the muscle, below the muscle, or a combination called dual plane in which the implant is below the muscle. Here’s the difference between them:

Lone Star Plastic Surgery Dr. HillOn top of the muscle: You can better adjust cleavage and can narrow a wide gap between the breasts. It also offers more of a natural lift. A disadvantage is that the implants are more prone to rippling (able to see folds of the implant through skin especially with more petite patients). Another disadvantage is they sometimes appear augmented, as you can see the outline of the implant in smaller patients.

Dual plane (partially submuscular): The implant tends to look more natural and is less prone to rippling. The disadvantages? They’re more challenging to adjust the cleavage gap or the shape of the breast. In some cases animation deformity can occur, in which you see the implant move with the chest muscle flexion.

LsF: Thanks for explaining all of this so well. Naturally, a patient is likely to have other personal questions or concerns about breast augmentation, breast lifts, or other kinds of plastic surgery. How can they connect with you to talk about it?

lone star plastic surgery 2Dr. SH: Whether you’re considering plastic surgery for a subtle refinement or for a more noticeable transformation, or nonsurgical options for enhancing your look, Lone Star Plastic Surgery welcomes you. We know there’s no substitute for feeling at ease and confident about the way you look. Schedule a consultation. We’ll discuss your unique anatomy and cosmetic goals and provide the natural-looking improvements that matter most to you.

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