Questions About Common Breast Surgery Procedures
February 13, 2014
With over 15 years under my belt as a NYC plastic surgeon I’ve been asked just about every question that someone might have about breast surgery.
As you can probably expect, some questions come up more often than others. I’d like to share those with you – especially if you’ve been reluctant to ask or still have not found a detailed answer to yet.
Read through our common breast surgery questions below. And, of course, if you have any further questions then contact our team as we will be happy to provide answers for you.
Breast Implant Questions
What is the difference between saline and silicone implants?
The question of saline versus silicone breast implants has raged for years in the medical community. At this time, silicone implants are only available under certain circumstances. A certified plastic surgeon can provide more information on whether your situation qualifies for silicone implants during your initial consultation.
Because of the controversy surrounding silicone implants, saline implants, which are filled with salt water rather than silicone gel, have become a more common choice. Saline implants come in different sizes and shapes and can be filled to meet more exact specifications. Though some feel that silicone implants provide a more “natural” feel to the breast, saline implants also provide very aesthetically pleasing results both in shape, appearance and texture.
How do I decide what size implant I should have?
The final size of your breast is largely determined by the breast implant size chosen for your surgery. An advanced three-dimensional modeling system, like the one we use, may be utilized to help decide the size of your implant. Ultimately, the size of the implant used for your breast augmentation will be determined based on your goals and your doctor’s recommendations.
What happens if an implant breaks?
Though implants are strong and sturdy enough to withstand everyday activity, under some circumstances they might break. If this happens, it is likely that you will see a rapid reduction in the size of the breast, particularly if you have a saline implant. Silicone implants can sometimes burst without causing immediate size reduction, since the gel is more viscous.
If you suspect your implant has broken, contact your doctor immediately in order to have the broken implant removed and replaced.
What if I’m not happy with the way my implant looks after surgery?
Your doctor will do everything they can to ensure that you are happy with the final results of your breast enhancement surgery. However, they also recognize that even the most skilled of surgeons can sometimes face a need for revision surgery. If you feel that your final results are not what you wanted, your doctor will work with you to ensure your long-term satisfaction.
In addition, it is important to be aware that your breasts will not look exactly like you will expect immediately after surgery. After some time has passed and your breasts have healed from surgery, you should see the results you expect.
How long do breast implants last?
Breast implants last an average of 16 years. Breast implant manufacturers such as Allergan and Mentor also offer conditional guarantees for their implants. In case an implant rupture occurs, these manufacturers will cover the replacement cost of the implant itself. Speak with your doctor about manufacturer guarantees.
Will breast implants affect my ability to breastfeed?
Although the incision and placement of breast implants varies, the milk ducts in the breasts are never disturbed. Breastfeeding should not be a problem if you choose to undergo breast augmentation. However, if you have concerns about this, your doctor can discuss incision options with you that are not near your areola.
Why might I need breast implant revision surgery?
The three most common reasons for breast implant revisions are to change the implant size, to improve the natural feel and appearance of the implants and to correct capsular contracture (the development of scar tissue around the implant). While implants are not designed to last forever, any doctor who specializes in breast procedures, will work diligently during your surgery to increase the lifespan of your implants.
Breast Lift Questions
How long does Breast Lift surgery take?
The length of time taken for breast lift surgery varies depending on the situation, but the average breast lift will take from ninety minutes to three and a half hours. Various elements of the surgery, such as how much excess skin must be removed and whether or not you have opted to have a breast implant placed in conjunction with the breast lift, will affect the amount of time the overall procedure will take.
If your breasts are smaller to begin with, and you have only a small amount of sagging, smaller incisions can be used and the procedure might take less time.
How long is the recovery time after a Breast Lift?
After your surgery, your breasts will probably be uncomfortable and swollen for a day or two. Your doctor will place an elastic band or special bra made specifically for post-surgical breasts to help with support and to reduce overall discomfort. You will be given medications for pain as well as antibiotics, as well as post-surgical instructions to follow to facilitate healing..
Within a week or two, discomfort will have eased, and your doctor will remove the stitches. At this time, you may use a sports bra to provide additional support. Within six weeks, swelling should have disappeared and your newly lifted breasts will be fully healed and pain-free.
What if a Breast Lift makes my breasts look smaller?
If you are concerned about a breast lift reducing the overall size of your breasts, be sure to discuss this with your doctor during your initial consultation. Your doctor might recommend that you have a breast implant in addition to the breast lift in order to ensure your breasts remain the size you would prefer.
How long will a Breast Lift last?
Though a breast lift can counteract many of the effects of aging, gravity and pregnancy, natural forces will still continue to take their toll after the operation. Your breasts will be restored to a more youthful profile, but age and gravity will continue to cause sagging over time, especially if you have larger breasts or if you experience significant weight gain.
If you have had breast implants as well as a breast lift, the overall effects might be longer-lasting.
Reconstructive Breast Surgery Questions
Will my breast look the same as it did before reconstruction?
Most reputable, experienced plastic surgeon is highly skilled in the area of reconstructive breast surgery and will do everything they can to ensure you are pleased with the results. This includes making sure your breast looks as much as possible like it did before your mastectomy. However, it is important that patients undergoingreconstructive breast surgery understand what can and cannot be expected from this procedure.
During your initial consultation with your doctor, they will share before and after pictures and testimonies from other patients to help you understand what to expect from reconstructive breast surgery. You will discuss your goals and expectations, and they will do everything possible to be sure you are pleased with your final results.
How long do I have to wait after my mastectomy for reconstructive breast surgery?
This depends upon your individual situation. In some cases, reconstructive breast surgery can be performed at the same time as your mastectomy. In other cases, reconstruction is performed at a later date. Consultation with your oncologist as well as your doctor can help determine what would be the best choice for you.
How long will my implants last?
In cases of breast reconstruction, silicone breast implants are often chosen as the best option because there is no breast tissue left to help support the implant. Saline implants require some support, and therefore are often not chosen for reconstructive breast surgery. In general, silicone breast implants last about seven years, but might need to be replaced earlier if they should rupture.
Can reconstructive breast surgery be done without using implants?
In some cases, reconstructive breast surgery is performed using transplanted tissue from another part of the body. For example, some women might opt to have a tummy tuck at the same time as their breast reconstruction, and then excess tissue and fat from the tummy tuck can be used to reconstruct the breast. To find out if this might be a viable option for you, schedule a free initial consultation with us.
Still Have Questions?
If you weren’t able to find an answer to one of your questions, then don’t hesitate to contact our team. We’re standing by to help however you need.