A woman’s breasts are a defining feature of her body and her femininity. If you are bothered by the shape or size of your breasts, it can have an adverse effect on your self-esteem – in fact, nearly 70 percent of women report being unhappy with the appearance of their breasts. In 2017, over three hundred thousand women in the U.S. chose breast augmentation, putting at the number one spot in the list of the most requested plastic surgery procedures, so you can rest assured you’re not alone in choosing breast augmentation.
If you’re thinking about undergoing breast augmentation surgery, you’ve probably researched the pros and cons of the procedure, as well as what other factors you may need to consider along the way. The list of decisions to be made and available options can be extensive – first, how much do you want to enhance your size? The answer to this will help determine if you’re going to choose implants or fat grafting. What is fat grafting? How does it differ from implants? What are my options for implant material?
At Marotta Plastic Surgery Specialists, we offer breast augmentation procedures using either implants, fat grafting or both. Dr. Sheridan has performed over 1,500 breast procedures, so his vast expertise and experience will be invaluable as he guides you through the breast augmentation process. No matter what you choose, our goal is for you to leave our care with the beautiful, shapely breasts you desire.
What is Breast Augmentation?
A breast augmentation, also known as a mammaplasty, is a procedure performed to accentuate the size and shape of a woman’s breasts. A breast augmentation can:
- Enhance body shape by making smaller breasts larger
- Equalize any difference in breast size (cup size) for improved symmetry
- Increase breast volume after pregnancy and nursing
- Reconstruct breasts following a mastectomy or injury
Dr. Sheridan has a wealth of experience in a range of surgical procedures for the body, including novel breast reconstruction techniques. He specializes in cosmetic breast surgery and breast reconstruction, so you can be sure that you are in skilled and experienced hands with Dr. Sheridan as your breast augmentation surgeon.
Breast Augmentation Using Implants
When you decide to undergo breast augmentation using implants, there are a number of choices to make before your surgery. Even though breast augmentation has been one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures for many years, there are near-constant advancements in techniques, as well as the implants themselves. Some of the decisions you’ll need to make regarding breast implants include:
- Size – Breast implants are used to enhance your overall body contour, bringing balance and proportion to your figure, so choosing the correct size is essential.
- Shape – Traditionally, round implants have been the most common choice to give breasts more volume in the upper pole and create cleavage, however, breast implants are now also made in an “anatomical” or teardrop shape, to provide a look more similar to a natural breast.
- Profile – Implants now come in varying “profiles” – meaning that you can choose how far the breast implant will project from your chest wall.
- Material – Saline or silicone? Each material has a long history of use, and its own advantages, so your choice will depend on your desired results.
- Placement – Breast implants are either placed under your breast tissue (sub-glandular) or under your pectoral muscles (sub-muscular). Placement of the implants usually depends on how you want your breasts to look (sub-muscular tends to offer a more natural feel and appearance) and can also depend on how much existing breast tissue you have.
Dr. Sheridan will guide you through the entire decision-making process, answering your questions and providing information so that you are absolutely comfortable with the implants you choose. Once you’ve chosen your implants, you will schedule your surgery. Breast augmentation is an outpatient surgery performed using general anesthesia. Dr. Sheridan will make an incision in one of two places – in your armpit (transaxillary) or in the fold where your breast meets your chest (inframammary). He will then divide the tissues to create a pocket for the implant. An implant is inserted underneath the chest wall muscle either under the skin or under the pectoral muscle, and once the implants are properly placed, he will close the incisions with small sutures. The entire process usually takes one to two hours, and then you are ready for recovery.
Breast Augmentation Using Fat Grafting
If you want to add just a little bit of size to your breasts, or are looking to address minor asymmetries, breast augmentation using fat grafting (also called fat transfer) may be the right choice for you. Fat grafting uses fat taken from your own body to add volume and shape to your breasts. With fat grafting the added benefit is not only an increase in breast size, but the fat utilized in the procedure is collected from areas of your body with unwanted pockets of excess fat – usually your abdomen, hips or thighs – and then transferred to your breasts.
The grafted fat receives its blood supply from the tissues that surround it, and stays in its new place in the breast as natural fatty tissue. Fat grafting offers several benefits, including breasts that look and feel completely natural (because they are), and it is also a less invasive way to balance out minor breast asymmetries. However, it can only add a cup size or less to your breasts, and depending on how well the fat takes to its new environment, you may not see the exact results you want. If you want larger or more “perfect” results, those can only be achieved using implants.
Breast augmentation using fat grafting is done in two stages: first, the fat is harvested and processed, with special care given to keeping the conditions sterile and preserving as much viable fat as possible. The second step is the meticulous injection of the harvested fat in small volumes to best achieve precise results. During the first step, the areas from which the fat will be collected are marked and then numbed, and the fat is harvested very carefully, using a specialized liposuction technique that is designed to prevent damage to the fat cells.
The fat cells are then cleaned and processed, with all of the extraneous tissue and fluids removed, leaving only pure fat cells ready to be transferred. Dr. Sheridan will then inject the fat into the areas of your breasts marked for transfer, sculpting and shaping your breasts as he goes, so that the end result is the natural contour you desire. Because fat grafting is an intricate procedure, it takes longer to perform, but your results are beautifully shaped breasts that are entirely your own.
Breast Augmentation Recovery and Results
After your breast augmentation surgery, you will probably be required to wear a special bra at all times while you heal. Depending on which procedure you chose, the length of time may differ, but you may wear the bra for up to six weeks. This provides you with extra support and will help alleviate post-surgical swelling. The swelling will subside gradually, and while you might see some immediate results, it may take a few weeks for any changes to be visible. You may also experience some minor pain, but this can be addressed with oral pain medication.
Plan for at least one to two weeks of recovery time, which is time you should use to rest and keep your activity to a minimum. Most patients can return to work and their other daily activities after a week or two, but this will depend on how physically demanding your job is, and how well you are healing. Strenuous physical activity, including exercise and heavy lifting needs to be avoided for at least four to six weeks. If you chose breast augmentation using fat grafting, you may also wear a compression garment for the first few weeks to help shape and lessen swelling in the areas that underwent liposuction.
The results of your breast augmentation, whether using implants or fat grafting are considered permanent, though longevity is also contingent on which procedure you chose. Breasts augmented using fat grafting rely on maintaining a healthy, stable weight, as fluctuations will affect the fat in your breasts.
It is also important to keep in mind that your breasts will continue to age naturally, so you may experience a bit of volume loss or change in contour over time. Breasts augmented using implants may require a touch-up down the line due to the aging process, but most implants are made to last ten years or longer.
If breast augmentation is something you are considering, but the amount of information seemed overwhelming, call Marotta Plastic Surgery Specialists today at 631-419-3164 to schedule a consultation. Dr. Sheridan can talk with you about your expectations and goals, and with his guidance, expertise and skill, you will soon have the beautiful, more shapely figure you’ve always wanted.