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As one of the points of focus on a woman’s body, the breasts can be a source of discontent for some women if they are too small, misshapen or asymmetrical. Women that are self-conscious about their breasts may find that surgical enhancement is the best way to improve their upper body profile and boost their confidence. With many options to choose from, procedures can be tailored to your unique concerns and aesthetic goals.

Breast augmentation can be the perfect way to improve the size, shape and appearance of your breasts. At Plastic Surgery Austin, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Sharma has helped many women achieve a boost in self-confidence after this life-changing procedure. In addition, the surgery can also balance asymmetries in size or shape or correct post-pregnancy (involutional) volume and size loss. Whether you want your clothing to fit better or you desire to look stunning in a bathing suit, your dreams can become a reality with breast augmentation.

What Does Breast Augmentation Do?

Breast augmentation provides dramatic, long-lasting results that can significantly boost a woman’s confidence in her appearance. The process is often quicker and more comfortable than women expect, and the outcome extends for many years. Once the healing process is complete, you can expect to notice several benefits, including:

  • Breasts that are proportionate to your body profile – creating a more confident you
  • Enhanced cleavage and fullness of breasts
  • Restoration of breasts that were affected by pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Better fitting clothing

Committing to breast augmentation can be a difficult decision for some and we don’t want you to feel as though you made the wrong one. While there are many factors to consider, we are here to help gauge which implant will be best for you, how long you can expect to recover, and what to expect post-surgery.

Who Is It For?

Breast augmentation is appropriate for adult women of any age who would like to enhance the appearance of their breasts and their upper body contour. Concerns that can be addressed through this procedure include:

  • Breasts that are disproportionately small
  • Breasts that are different sizes or shapes
  • Breasts that have lost shape or volume after pregnancy
  • Breast changes as a result of the aging process
  • Clothing that doesn’t fit correctly due to small breasts
  • Women that are self-conscious about their breasts

Dr. Sharma and his nurse will meet with you at your initial consultation to discuss your concerns and goals for breast augmentation. He will also collect a full medical history and perform an examination to ensure breast surgery will be safe for you. Through this process, he will be able to determine whether breast augmentation is the right choice for you and the best surgical plan to meet your needs and expectations. Before committing to breast augmentation, several factors will be considered. This includes:

  • Current physical health – underlying medical conditions must be considered to ensure a safe procedure
  • Determining if a lift is needed, in addition to the augmentation, if there is too much skin laxity
  • Having realistic expectations – Dr. Sharma will help you envision your breast goals
  • Receiving an augmentation for healthy reasons – at your own will, not the will of others or partners
  • The ability to set time aside for recovery

Options in Breast Augmentation

No two women are exactly the same, and no two breast augmentations will be performed in precisely the same way. Numerous decisions will go into creating your surgical plan, which Dr. Sharma will walk you through to ensure the outcome of your procedure is just right for you. Your options will include:

Breast Implant Types

Today, women can choose between saline and silicone-filled breast implants. Depending on your preference and your overlying breast tissue thickness, Dr. Sharma can help you select the best implant for your body. Saline implants are composed of a silicone shell that is filled with a sterile fluid once it is placed into the breast pocket. Silicone implants are pre-filled and now constructed with a cohesive gel and are often referred to as gummy bear implants. If this implant ruptures or breaks down, no leakage of the implant occurs. Silicone implants give breasts a natural, soft feel that is hardly detectable as the material best mimics the feel of natural breast tissue. Learn more about the various implant types below.

Saline Breast Implants

Saline breast implants consist of an empty outer shell that is filled with a sterile saltwater solution after insertion to achieve a desired breast size or volume. These types of implants are FDA-approved for women over the age of 18 and have long been considered a mainstay in breast augmentation procedures. Saline implants are suitable for patients who prefer a rounder look and more dramatic results, but can produce a natural appearance with the right sizing and dimensions. They can also be individually adjusted, making them ideal for correcting uneven or asymmetrical breasts. Another advantage is that saline implants can be placed with smaller incisions. However, due to its water-like consistency, the saline implant runs the risk of being seen or felt through the skin if you possess thin breast tissue — a phenomenon known as implant rippling or wrinkling. In the event of a leak or tear, the saline solution is safely absorbed by the body and doesn’t harm the surrounding breast tissue.

Silicone Breast Implants

Silicone breast implants are pre-filled with a gel material that’s more viscous than saline to mimic the look and feel of natural breasts. Because of this, they’re less likely to fold or ripple, making them ideal for women with less natural breast tissue available to cover the implant. Silicone implants are available in various sizes and profiles, so patients still have the option to customize their look. The main downside to silicone implants is that leaks are harder to detect, but this is rare, and most women have no problems with tears or ruptures. They also require a larger incision, so it’s important to choose a skilled surgeon like Dr. Sharma to minimize the appearance of scars. Silicone implants are known for producing highly realistic results and have become widely popular since receiving FDA approval in 2006. Today, they remain a top choice among both patients and providers.

Which is Right for Me?

While Dr. Sharma may recommend either saline or silicone implants depending on your unique needs, goals and anatomy, the decision is ultimately up to you. Some women prefer the look and feel of saline implants, while others prefer the natural appearance of silicone. However, in order to be offered a silicone gel implant, patients must be at least 22 years of age, as per FDA regulations. Women 18 and older can choose a saline implant.

Breast Implant Shapes

Implants are made in two shapes: round and teardrop (also called “shaped” or “anatomical”). For a variety of reasons, Dr. Sharma uses only round implants in his practice.

Round breast implants are symmetrical from all angles and tend to give a fuller appearance to the breasts. They are especially good for women who desire more cleavage or more fullness in the upper pole of the breast. Due to their even shape, there is no concern about the breasts becoming distorted if round implants rotate within the breast pocket.

Many patients believe round implants will look less natural since they do not follow the natural curves of the breasts. However, round implants can look and feel quite natural in the hands of an experienced surgeon. Additionally, because of the way the filler material moves inside the implant, the volume distributes in a similar way to natural breast tissue when standing upright or lying down.

One significant drawback to teardrop-shaped implants is that if they rotate or flip within the breast pocket, it can compromise the shape and symmetry of the breasts. This requires corrective surgery to fix. The textured outer shell of teardrop implants is also associated with an increased risk of wrinkling and capsular contracture, and has been linked to BIA-ALCL (breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma).

Dr. Sharma will discuss the available shapes and textures of breast implants, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each option, during your in-person consultation.

Breast Implant Texture

Breast implants are available with both smooth or textured outer shells, but Dr. Sharma prefers to use smooth-walled implants for his Austin patients. In addition to increasing the risk of complications such as wrinkling and BIA-ALCL, textured implants also tend to look and feel firmer with less natural movement. That’s because the rough surface adheres to the breast tissue by promoting friction between the implant shell and the fibrous capsule that forms. In contrast, smooth implants remain mobile within the breast pocket, giving them an advantage of better replicating the feel and behavior of natural breasts.

Breast Implant Size and Profile

There is a broad spectrum of sizes in breast implants that allow for full customization of your new look. The most common sizes range from 200 to 850 cubic centimeters. Larger implants tend to be more than 400cc. If it is larger breasts that you want, there’s no reason to believe you need a large implant. A recommendation for implant size is typically gauged by a patient’s frame. For example, if a patient is taller, a larger implant is recommended to achieve a fuller breast while retaining a natural look. For shorter patients, a smaller implant is recommended, but an equally fuller look will still be attained. Dr. Sharma will help you choose a size based on what will give you naturally beautiful curves while fulfilling your aesthetic goals.

Profile describes the amount of projection the breast will have from the chest wall. The correct profile for you may be determined by the width of your chest, as well as the result you want to achieve. Like implant size, a profile recommendation will be based on a patient’s current figure. The same size and profile of an implant will appear completely different on two different women. Your choice in size and profile will also depend on whether you desire a more natural look or a full, round appearance.

Breast Implant Placement

The implants may be placed on top of your chest muscle and under the breast tissue, which is known as subglandular placement. Another option is to put the implant behind a portion of the chest muscle, referred to as subpectoral placement. Both options feature pros and cons and will depend in large part on how much natural breast tissue you have.

Subpectoral Placement

If it’s agreed upon to choose a subpectoral placement for the implant, the healing process tends to be slightly less comfortable because it is placed on or behind the pectoral muscle and you can expect to experience a longer recovery time. Despite this, a major pro for the subpectoral procedure is a longer-lasting result and less interference during a mammogram. Women with minimal natural breast tissue may opt for subpectoral placement to reduce rippling and implant visibility.

Subglandular Placement

Subglandular placement requires a less complicated surgery and shorter recovery but is often recommended for women with a sufficient amount of natural breast tissue to reduce visibility. Athletic women may also opt for a subglandular procedure to reduce interference during movement and activity. Subglandular placement can also provide more lift but may be more prone to sagging in the future. Dr. Sharma will help you decide which placement is best based on your unique anatomy and aesthetic goals.

Incision Placement

As with any surgical procedure, breast augmentation involves incisions in the treatment area. This allows Dr. Sharma to access the underlying breast tissue and insert the implants into the chest. Incision placement is important because it determines where the resulting scar will be following surgery, with some locations being more visible than others. While Dr. Sharma uses his surgical expertise to minimize visible scarring and ensure an optimal result, strategic incision placement can help patients feel more comfortable with their final results. Incision locations for breast augmentation include the following options.

Inframammary

This incision is placed underneath the breast, in the crease. An advantage of an inframammary incision is that the area is naturally concealed, reducing the likelihood of visible scarring. It is also well-hidden in clothing, undergarments and swimwear. The length of this incision will vary depending on the specifics of your procedure.

Periareolar

This incision encircles the lower half of the areola. Although this incision is made directly on the breast, the scar often blends in with the darker, textured skin of the areola and is barely visible once healed. If further surgery is required or you’ve had a previous breast augmentation, one advantage of this incision is that it can be reused. A periareolar might be recommended depending on the size, type or placement of your implants.

Transaxillary

This incision is made within the underarm area. Although less commonly used than other incisions, some patients prefer to avoid any scarring on the breasts. However, due to its location, a transaxillary incision gives the surgeon less control over implant placement and can be more visible in clothing such as tank tops or swimwear. Dr. Sharma does not typically recommend the use of this type of incision.

How to Prepare for Breast Augmentation Surgery

Breast augmentation is a major surgical procedure, and careful planning is crucial to achieving the best possible results. Throughout the consultation process, Dr. Sharma will ensure that patients clearly understand what surgery entails and review the risks and limitations before proceeding. He will also help patients make important decisions regarding implant size and type to create a personalized surgical plan tailored to their aesthetic goals. In addition to these preparations, there are a few things patients can do on their end to ensure that everything goes smoothly each step of the way, such as:

  • Addressing any questions, concerns or doubts before committing to surgery
  • Being aware of the potential risks or complications involved in breast augmentation
  • Participating in the consultation and decision-making process
  • Sharing photos or examples of the desired result
  • Knowing which type of implant will be used and discussing any changes ahead of time
  • Filling any prescriptions before surgery and taking enough time off to recover
  • Arranging for transportation home from the hospital or surgery center
  • Asking friends or family members for help during the recovery process
  • Closely following all pre and postoperative instructions for an optimal outcome

What to Expect During Your Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation is done on an outpatient basis and generally lasts between one and three hours. If your surgical plan also includes a breast lift, liposuction or other cosmetic procedure, it can take longer to complete. Depending on your needs and preferences, Dr. Sharma may recommend local or general anesthesia. Either option will keep you comfortable throughout the entire operation. Incisions will be placed within the pigmented area of the areola or underneath the breast in the natural crease. Incisions are small and strategically placed in order to reduce any noticeable scarring. Anesthesia and incision location will be discussed at your consultation, so you’ll know what to expect.

Once the incision is made, Dr. Sharma will then cut a path through the breast tissue and, depending on your decision for placement, will separate the tissue or muscle to create a pocket for the implant. He will then place the implants into the breast pocket, using specialized techniques that reduce trauma to the surrounding tissue and ensure a more comfortable recovery process. After placing the implants, Dr. Sharma will use a meticulous suturing protocol to close the incisions and minimize postoperative scarring. Following your procedure, you will remain in our recovery area for a few hours for monitoring by our staff before you can head home to recover in familiar surroundings.

View Breast Augmentation Gallery

Understanding the Recovery Process

During the first two or three days of your recovery process, you are likely to experience swelling, bruising and a degree of discomfort. We will provide pain medication for you during that time, as well as instructions to help you reduce swelling and increase your comfort level. Dr. Sharma also recommends a post-surgical recovery kit that includes vitamins, minerals and supplements shown to help with the healing process. Most of our patients are ready to move back to their daily routine within a week. Strenuous exercise will be restricted for up to four weeks to give the breasts sufficient time to heal fully.

Shortly after surgery, your breast will start to develop scar tissue. The development of this tissue is a natural process. Essentially, your body has been introduced to a foreign object (the implant) and, as a response, produces scar tissue to protect itself. This is a crucial period of recovery because this tissue must properly form and contour to the new implant.

During the first two to three days of recovery, you will be encouraged to do light cardio in order to promote blood flow and prevent blood clots. Any high-intensity and upper-body workouts must be avoided for several weeks. Because the breast augmentation is performed near or on the pectoralis muscle, it’s crucial not to participate in any exercises involving the pecs. If you’re a patient who leads a physically active lifestyle, picking up a new hobby will be beneficial to keep your mind occupied as you recover.

By the ninth week of your recovery, you will be nearly fully healed and can perform a number of exercises. No pectoral workouts are still recommended until the twelfth week. However, even though there is a week-by-week recommendation, keep in mind that you know your body better than anyone else. If you are experiencing any pain during workouts, or in general, it’s important that you stop and allow yourself more time to recover. If pain persists, feel free to contact Dr. Sharma and his staff for support.

Breast Revision Surgery

Sometimes things don’t go as planned and patients want to revise the results of a previous breast augmentation. This could be due to a rupture or leakage, placement issues, certain complications, or simply feeling dissatisfied with the outcome of the procedure. Whatever the reason, Dr. Sharma understands the importance of beautiful, natural-looking breasts and has the skills and experience to correct any physical or aesthetic problems. He works closely with each patient to remove incompatible or defective breast implants and replace them with new ones, resolving any concerns to ensure a pleasing, proportionate and satisfactory outcome.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about your choices for breast augmentation or find out if this procedure is right for you, contact Dr. Sharma at Plastic Surgery Austin at 512-838-3658.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is BIA-ALCL?

Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma is a rare but highly treatable type of cancer. It is a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a cancer of the immune system. BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer. It is typically found in the scar tissue or fluids surrounding the breast implant. Symptoms can occur years after the initial procedure and may include pain, swelling or a mass in the breasts. An individual’s risk of developing BIA-ALCL is extremely low, but it has been linked to the use of textured breast implants. If treated promptly, patients can expect a good prognosis.

Are there any risks associated with breast augmentation?

As with any surgery, there are risks that must be considered. The risks for breast augmentation include infection, breast pain, changes in nipple sensation and the possibility for an implant leakage or rupture. However, Dr. Sharma will do his absolute best so that you receive the safest surgery possible with long-lasting results that don’t impose any complications.

What is capsular contracture?

After breast augmentation, your body recognizes the implant as a foreign object. In response, it naturally creates a capsule of scar tissue around the implant to prevent it from moving or wandering around. This is a normal part of the healing process and to be expected. But sometimes, the capsule can contract or thicken and essentially squeeze the implant, causing pain, hardness and distortion of the breasts. Known as capsular contracture, this can happen with any breast implant, but the risk can be reduced by choosing an experienced surgeon. The right size, shape and placement of your implants can also help minimize the occurrence of this complication.

Can I still breastfeed after surgery?

In most cases, patients are able to breastfeed normally after getting implants. Breast augmentation doesn’t involve the ducts or other areas involved in milk production. The implants themselves will also not affect the breast milk. However, if you have concerns about breastfeeding, Dr. Sharma can review your options for incision placement and more during your consultation to ensure the best possible outcome.

Can breast augmentation be combined with other procedures?

Breast augmentation is a great option for improving the size and shape of the breasts, but some patients choose to incorporate additional procedures into their surgical plan for more comprehensive results. Breast augmentation is often combined with other breast surgeries like a breast lift for a perkier appearance, while others may include inverted nipple correction to achieve their aesthetic goals. Breast augmentation is also a part of many mommy makeovers and combined with a tummy tuck or liposuction. During the consultation process, Dr. Sharma can recommend the right procedures for achieving your aesthetic goals.

How long will my results last?

Both saline and silicone implants are highly durable. You can expect to enjoy the results of your breast augmentation for a decade or more. However, breast implants are not meant to last forever, and you may need to have them removed or replaced after 10 to 15 years. This can vary from patient to patient, so it’s best to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon if you think it might be time for a revision or replacement surgery.

HELP IS AVAILABLE

Contact our office to schedule a private consultation with Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Sanjay K. Sharma, M.D., F.A.C.S.