What Is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation is a popular form of cosmetic surgery for women who would like to alter and enhance the size and shape and the symmetry of their breasts. If you opt for a breast augmentation, Dr. Ver Halen will enlarge your breasts using either implants or a technique called fat transfer, helping you achieve the look you desire and feel more confident too.
If you’re interested in learning more about a breast augmentation, check out our before-and-after gallery here.
Who's Eligible for Breast Augmentation?
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), you’re a good candidate for breast augmentation if:
- You are physically healthy.
- Your breasts are fully developed.
- You aren’t actively pregnant or breastfeeding.
- You have realistic expectations.
- You feel that your breasts are too small or have lost volume.
- You are dissatisfied with their shape and volume – Perhaps you have sagging breasts after pregnancy or weight loss, or with aging.
- You’re unhappy with the upper part of your breast appearing “empty.”
- Your breasts are asymmetrical.
- One or both of your breasts failed to develop normally.
Age and health both play important roles in whether you’re eligible for breast augmentation. For saline implants, you need to be healthy and at least 18 years old. For silicone gel implants, you need to be 22 or older.
You may not be able to get a breast augmentation if you have an active infection anywhere on your body or if you currently have cancer or pre-cancer without having received treatment.
There are two types of breast augmentation, and we offer them both at Ver Halen Aesthetics. During your consultation, Dr. Ver Halen will work with you to decide which is right for you.
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There are various types of breast implant options, each with their own benefits. You can also choose for your implants to be either round or teardrop-shaped and either smooth or textured:
- Round implants – These can make breasts appear fuller than other types. Because they are the same shape all over, there is less risk of rotating out of the original implant placement.
- Teardrop ( or “anatomic”) implants – Designed to mimic the shape of many women’s breasts, these implants are shaped like their name, with less material at the top and a fuller base.
- Smooth breast – The implants themselves are smooth. They can move with the implant pocket, which can look more natural. Smooth breast implants may have some visible rippling under the skin.
- Textured – Textured implants help to form scar tissue that sticks to the implant, preventing the implant from moving around and becoming re-positioned.
18- to 24-year-old woman treated with breast implant revision
She underwent removal of 500 cc Sientra textured implants with high implant profile and replacement with 350 cc high-profile smooth round Mentor implants with extensive capsular revision.
Saline Breast Implants
During breast augmentation surgery with saline implants, an implant shell made of thin silicone is inserted into your breast. Then Dr. Ver Halen fills the shell to your desired volume with sterile saltwater (saline).
Why do some women choose saline implants?
- Only a small incision – This is because the implant is filled with saline solution after it is inserted.
- Slightly firmer than silicone gel implants
- Flexible volume that can be adjusted after surgery
If you have very thin skin, you may experience ‘rippling’ or ‘wrinkling,' when the folds of the implant may sometimes be seen or felt.
Structured Saline Breast Implants
These types of implants are filled with sterile saltwater, but what makes them different than standard saline implants is their added inner structure, which gives your implant more of a natural feel.
Silicone Breast Implants
If you opt for a silicone gel implant, it will be pre-filled. Dr. Ver Halen will make an incision under your breast and insert the implant either above or below your chest muscle.
Silicone gel is more viscous than saline, so it flows differently in the implant shell, often creating a look and feel more like natural breast tissue.
Silicone gel has not been linked to any human allergies, sensitivities, or reactions. These implants do require a larger incision than saline implants, so your scar will take slightly longer to heal.
Gummy Bear Implants
Gummy bear implants are a type of silicone implant. They got their name from the consistency of the silicone inside, which is thicker than standard silicone implants.
These implants are the most newly developed and tend to look and feel more natural than traditional silicone implants. They are also most customizable, making them adaptable to a wide range of body types and desired breast sizes.
Fat transfer is a minimally invasive procedure that involves removing pockets of fat from other areas of your body, like your legs or abdomen, via liposuction. When you have a breast augmentation with fat transfer, the fat that was removed from your body with liposuction is transferred to your breasts, increasing their volume and achieving a natural look.
Breast augmentation with fat transfer typically requires only local anesthesia, so it could be the right choice for you if don’t want the general anesthesia associated with implant surgery. While artificial implants carry the risk of rupture or leakage, these don’t apply to fat transfer.
Fat transfer is not recommended if:
- You want a significant increase in breast size.
- You don’t have enough fat to transfer.
- You require breast lift surgery.
- You are considering having children within the next year.
- You are only looking for breast augmentation, without liposuction to another area of your body.
Breast Augmentation Incisions
There are four different ways a surgeon can make incisions when he or she is placing implants:
- Axillary (in the armpit)
- Periareolar (around the areola)
- Periumbilical (in the belly button)
- Inframammary fold (in the breast crease)
Most plastic surgeons avoid incisions made through the armpit and belly button, as they are associated with a higher rate of malposition. This makes sense, as these incisions are made further away from the breasts, so the plastic surgeon has less control when inserting the implant.
The majority of plastic surgeons, including Dr. Ver Halen, consider the inframammary fold as the best area to make a breast augmentation incision, as this has the lowest risk of complications and results in the least visible scar.
Each patient is unique, so the type of incision that suits someone else may not be best for you. In every case, a plastic surgeon uses a scalpel to make one small incision. After the implant is placed, it’s sealed using sutures or stitches.
With Fat Transfer
In the case of a breast augmentation with fat transfer, a small incision is made in the area targeted for fat removal. Your plastic surgeon removes the necessary amount of fat using a needle connected to a cannula; this is called liposuction.
Next, he or she uses a needle filled with your own fatty tissue parcels and inserts them into the natural breast tissue. This process is repeated until the desired results are achieved. The result is smaller scars than those following the longer incisions necessary for inserting pre-filled implants.
The results from breast augmentation surgery are long-lasting. Many women believe breast implants need to be replaced or lifted every few years, which stops them from considering the procedure. But breast implants last much longer than just a few years.
On average, most implants last 10 to 20 years without any complications. Some last a lifetime. Rarely, some women require a follow-up surgery within seven years. Silicone implants tend to last longer than saline implants, so implant type can play a role in how many (if any) follow-up surgeries you need.
Differences in these time periods depend on a variety of factors, including how diligent you are with after-care. It’s important to follow your plastic surgeon’s recommendations about what activities you can do post-surgery.
It is possible that as you gain or lose weight and age, a follow-up breast augmentation can help you maintain your ideal breast shape and size.
Breast Augmentation at Ver Halen Aesthetics
During your breast augmentation consultation, you will meet Dr. Ver Halen at his office in the Dallas Fort Worth area and spend time talking about:
- The reasons you want plastic surgery
- Your expectations
- Your desired results
- Any medical conditions you have, as well as allergies and previous medical treatments
- Medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you’re currently taking
- Your alcohol, tobacco, and drug use
- Your family history of breast cancer
During your consultation with Dr. Ver Halen, he will also:
- Assess your general health and pre-existing risk factors
- Examine your breasts and take measurements relating to size, shape, skin quality, and nipple placement
- Take photographs
- Talk about what treatment options are available and recommend the best course of action
- Discuss the outcomes and any potential risks of the procedure
Speaking openly with Dr. Ver Halen will help him understand the result you’d like from your breast augmentation. And he can help you make the best decision about the type of procedure that’s best for you!
Preparation for Surgery
To ensure that your breast augmentation goes smoothly, it’s important to take the necessary steps to prepare for surgery. Dr. Ver Halen is likely to ask you to:
- Adjust the medication you are currently taking
- Avoid smoking for some time before the surgery
- Avoid anti-inflammatory drugs and certain herbal supplements, as they have the potential to increase bleeding
- Avoid applying moisturizer or body lotions on the day of surgery, as the areas targeted by the treatment need to be free from chemicals. Shampooing your hair is fine.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing, as this will ensure you feel comfortable before and after your surgery
- Ensure you get adequate sleep the night before surgery, as you want to be as rested as possible This will help you better handle any physical and emotional stress associated with the surgery.
- Arrange transportation to and from the clinic
- Make sure you have ample food, medication, and entertainment at home when you return to rest and recover
Length of Surgery
Your breast augmentation procedure will be done at our office in Colleyville or our surgery center in Plano. This plastic surgery procedure lasts between one and two hours, depending on where the breast augmentation incision is made and the position of the implants.
Our team will schedule check-ups after your breast augmentation procedure. They usually take place at four to six weeks, three months, and six months after surgery. It’s important to come to these follow-ups, so we can make sure you’re healing properly.
Having your implants checked every few years after surgery is also a good idea. We’ll address any issues or questions you have.
Recovery from Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation recovery takes about three months. From about six weeks to three months after surgery, the tissue surrounding your implants will heal, and swelling will subside. You shouldn’t do any heavy lifting for six weeks after breast surgery. You may also need to take a week or two off work and should avoid driving for the first week.
There will be some mild to moderate pain after surgery, but it is manageable. Over-the-counter pain medication can be used, although your plastic surgeon may recommend the use of a pain pump to help with your pain in the first few days after surgery. A pain pump is a small device that looks like a balloon. It carries numbing medications, which slowly drip through a catheter and into the affected area.
Breast augmentation is an outpatient plastic surgery procedure, so you will be able to return home on the same day that the surgery takes place.
The Risks of Breast Augmentation
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons notes that some of the risks of breast augmentation surgery include:
- Risks associated with anesthesia
- Changes in breast or nipple sensation
- Poor scarring
- Faulty position of the implant
- Implant leakage or rupture
- Tight scar tissue forming around the implant (capsular contracture)
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
- Wrinkling skin over the implant
- Persistent pain
- Possibility of revision surgery
There are some risks associated with breast augmentation, as with any body surgery. The FDA underlines that some form of complication or adverse reaction occurs in only 1% of surgical procedures. Since some of the complications listed relate to implants specifically, those won’t apply to the fat transfer procedure.
Paying for Breast Augmentation
There are multiple ways that you can finance your breast augmentation. You can use credit cards that cover plastic surgery, such as those provided by Comenity® Capital Bank (Alphaeon Credit®) and Synchrony Bank (CareCredit®). Other options include using a specialized, easy-to-use, and efficient loan company like Enhance Patient Finance or United Medical Credit, or:
- Credit card
- Cashier’s check
- In-house financing
- Other types of loans
We want you to get the look and confidence you want, so don’t hesitate to talk to us about our financing options!