Choosing to undergo breast augmentation is a serious decision. Every potential patient will want to consider her options carefully. But given the broad range of options, figuring out what is best for you can be an overwhelming process. This article compares the different types of breast procedures, so you can make an informed choice on what’s best for you and your body.
1. Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation refers to a surgical procedure to increase breast size and enhance breast shape by placement of silicone or saline implants. While there is no cookie-cutter checklist we could provide to determine whether breast implants are right for you, typically this options is best for patients who feel their breasts are too small. You may be a good candidate for breast augmentation if:
- You are physically healthy and not pregnant or breastfeeding.
- You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too small.
- You have loss of volume in your breasts after pregnancy or breastfeeding.
- You have good relative breast symmetry and minimal sagging.
Quick general facts about breast augmentation:
- 150cc of implant volume is equal to approximately one bra cup size.
- There are more sizes and shapes of breast implants on the market than ever before.
- Breast implants can improve proportion, symmetry, size, and shape of breasts.
- Typically, patients return to work and their normal routines within one to two weeks of surgery.
2. Breast Lift (Mastopexy)
Due to facts of life like age, fluctuations in weight, pregnancy, and breastfeeding, gravity can take its toll and cause breasts to sag and be depleted of volume. One option for restoring a more youthful shape and “perky” bust is a breast lift or mastopexy. This procedure can rejuvenate your figure, improving the profile of your breasts for a more youthful and lifted appearance.
The best candidates for breast lifts are those who are happy with the size of their breasts and how they look in a bra, but not the droopy shape of the breast and/or nipples out of the bra. During a normal two-hour breast lift surgery, your surgeon will remove excess tissue and skin to lift and tighten your bust line.
The type of incision used will depend on your goals and other personal characteristics - the three most common are:
- Anchor Incisions: Final scar goes around the nipple, down the front of the breast, and around the bottom, up on both sides. This is what most breast lift patients choose because it achieves the maximum lift.
- Lollipop Incisions: Around the areola and down the front of the breast This is a less powerful lift but still a powerful surgery for women with less droop.
- Circumareolar Incisions: Scar around the nipple and useful in cases to reduce the size of the nipple for the smallest lift cases This is most often seen in conjunction with an implant and seldom used for breast lift alone.
A breast lift is typically less painful than a breast augmentation and most women are back to work within a week.
3. Breast Augmentation with Lift
Many patients choose breast augmentation in combination with a lift for a complete overall transformation. It’s important to keep in mind that a breast lift alone will not significantly increase the size or round out the top of your breasts. So, it can be combined with an augmentation with the use of implants to provide that rounded look and added volume. In this case, the augmentation gives the breast more size and contour, while the breast lift restores youthful breast anatomy and tightens the skin envelope of the breast.
How to decide whether you want breast implants, a lift, or both, is a complex question. One consideration is the look of the final scar. Some women who choose lifts ultimately decide to get modest implants as well to hide the scar a bit better. These options will be discussed with you in detail during your consultation. During your consultation, a board-certified surgeon will explain all the pros and cons of the different breast procedure options. The primary goal is to help you determine which surgery is best based upon your body and your goals.
4. Breast Reduction
Commonly, women consider breast reduction because they experience physical discomfort due to the size of large and heavy breasts. Such discomfort includes back pain, neck strain, rashes under the breasts, and unwanted attention due to their large bust. These problems can also lead to further problems such as weight gain, depression, and decreased physical activity.
What can you expect if you opt for breast reduction surgery? At first, the breast tissue and skin around the incisions will feel tight. This is intentional because the tissues will relax during the first couple of months after surgery. Around the three-month mark, the breasts soften and scars begin to mature. Scars typically continue to fade with time and become less noticeable each year.
Recovery times can vary after breast reduction surgery. However, most patients feel well enough to resume normal daily activities within one week and vigorous exercise by week three.
As with all surgical procedures, breast reduction surgery involves certain risks including bleeding, infection, and an increase or decrease of nipple sensitivity. Following your surgeon’s recommendations provided during your pre-operative visit will minimize risk. Breast reduction patients are often some of our happiest patients. Most have wanted surgery to relieve back and neck pain for years and the relief they experience is immediate.
There is a reason Austin-Weston has been voted “best of” Northern Virginia and Washington DC each year. Our board-certified plastic surgeons are great listeners and highly skilled, earning a reputation across the DC Metro area for creating life-changing patient results. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation by calling our office at (703) 584-9841.