Q&A: Breast Implants

Q: Is breast augmentation surgery safe? Does it hurt very much?

A: Breast augmentation is considered a very short, safe surgical procedure. All surgeries have certain risks, so have a thorough discussion with your surgeon on the possible risks. There are several different factors, which may affect how much pain you experience following your breast augmentation. Placement of the implant is one of the key influences in how much pain a patient may experience. Placing an implant under the muscles can be more uncomfortable initially, but it may give a superior result with less chances of capsular contracture. If you rest and take the pain medication prescribed after surgery, the pain should be very tolerable.

Q: Will pregnancy ruin my breast implants?

A: While pregnancy will not alter your actual breast implants, it may affect the results of your breast augmentation. During pregnancy, the breasts become larger. Following pregnancy and breastfeeding, this breast tissue shrinks. Depending on the fluctuation in your weight and breast size, the skin and tissue may sag off the breast implant. Typically, the implant will stay in position. If this occurs, revision may be performed to change the size of the implant and/or tighten and lift the breast.

Q: I am confused by all the options for breast augmentation. What type of implant gives the most natural look and feel?

A: How a breast implant feels depends on many factors. One of the most important factors is the quality, thickness and tightness of your breast tissue and skin beforehand. The more tissue and thicker skin you have covering the implant, the less risk of feeling the implant or experiencing visible contour irregularities known as rippling. Other considerations are:

1. Silicone Vs. Saline

Generally, silicone implants feel more “real” than saline implants because the properties of silicone tend to be more “flesh-like”. Saline, while still soft, tends to feel more like a “water-balloon” if it is easily felt through your skin.

2. Type of silicone implant

There are different types of silicone implants. The newest silicone implants are all made from a cohesive silicone gel. The type known as “gummy-bear” implants, are even more firm. They still can feel very natural, but they do require a larger incision underneath the breast than regular implants. Your choice of a more traditional or highly cohesive silicone implant can determine how soft and “real” your breasts feel.

3. Implant placement

Implants can be placed under or over the muscle. Typically patients find that their breasts feel more real when they are placed under the muscles because there is more natural tissue covering the implant.

4. Amount of natural breast tissue

The more natural breast tissue covering the implant, the more natural your implants will look and feel. If you have more natural breast tissue, your breasts are likely to feel more natural.

5. Breast implant size

Choosing an implant size that is proportionate to your body is important. Not only does it look more natural, it also reduces complication rates and allows your natural breast tissue to adequately cover the implant so that it feels more natural.

6. Textured Vs. Smooth Breast Implant

Implants can be either smooth or textured. Typically, an implant that is textured will move less and therefore may feel more “real” than a smooth implant. However, textured implants have a thicker shell, so in thin skinned women, the bag may be more easily felt, especially in the lower part of the breast.

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