Breast augmentation surgery has the ability to transform a woman both physically and emotionally. It’s one of the reasons why I love this procedure so much. By adding an appropriate amount of volume to the breasts, I can make your waist look smaller, your stomach look flatter and your thighs look slimmer. It’s all about creating proportion so that your top and bottom halves are in balance. But even more important than the aesthetic benefits, breast implants can make a patient feel more confident and comfortable in her skin. It’s a fantastic procedure… as long as you choose the right size implant.
The Instagram Effect
Social Media has had a radical effect on plastic surgery. In my practice, it’s mostly been positive. When a patient comes in for a breast augmentation consultation today, she is typically more educated about the procedure than at any other time in my career. This allows for a deeper and more complex conversation right out of the gate which is great. The place where social media, and Instagram in particular, can get dicey is when it comes to photos.
I love that Instagram allows patients to bring in “dream” photos of real people instead of celebrities. It makes for a wider and more nuanced breast database. However, even real people on Instagram use filters and tools like photoshop to alter their images so what you see is not always the real deal. While this is important to keep in mind, the really big thing with social media photos of your ideal breasts is that what works on one person’s body may not work on yours.
Breast Implants Must Fit Your Anatomy
I always tell patients that a photo’s job is to give me an idea of your desired look. It is not, however, a blueprint. The reason for this is that every breast implant must be fitted to a patient’s individual anatomy. Literally. When you come in to talk with me about breast implants, I will ask you about your goals. We’ll look at photos and discuss what, exactly, you like about these women’s breasts. Then, I will take some very detailed measurements of your chest.
The reason for these measurements is simple: the width of any breast implant must fit within the width of your actual breast. This is typically measured from your cleavage area to the side of your breast. If the implant doesn’t fit within your chest wall, it is going to result in problems. Think of it like trying on shoes. If your foot is too wide, it will spill over the edges of the shoe, and if your foot is too narrow, things are going to flop around. Matching implant width to breast width is one of the best ways to ensure a natural looking, long lasting result.
Choosing the Right Sized Implant is Where Art Meets Science
While I typically use smooth, round silicone gel implants, there is a huge range of options within this category, many of which will work with your anatomy. Some of my patients choose saline implants and they have the same variety of choices.
After reviewing photos, I now have an idea of the look that you want to achieve so it’s time to play around with some numbers. This is actually the cool part of my job — finding that sweet spot between “art” and “science”.
First, we need to gather some more data. In addition to implant diameter or width, we must also consider:
- implant projection or profile (high, medium, low)
The profile of an implant is the distance that the implant projects outward from the chest wall. Oftentimes, a patient will come in telling me that she wants a high-profile implant because she thinks that it’s going to give her that desired push in the upper portion or pole of the breast. But the opposite is actually true. Since a high-profile implant sticks out the most, it pushes out more on the central and lower portion of the breast, creating a pointy, round breast. In a patient with narrow breasts, this may be ideal. But for the average women who wants more upper pole fullness, not necessarily. I typically use a medium-profile implant although a lower profile can be great for women with wider breasts who want a bit more cleavage.
Volume is Just a Number
Volume is where patients can really get tripped up particularly when they come in wanting a specific cup size. The first thing to know about cup size is it is a horrible measurement of actual breast volume as it differs vastly by bra manufacturer. So, really, let go of the cup size and focus on the look that you want. Again, this is where photos are a game changer. The other thing to keep in mind about volume is that it works in conjunction with profile. A 300cc high-profile breast implant will look different than a 300cc medium or low-profile implant.
My goal is to give you a range of breast implant choices that will deliver on your desires and which will be long lasting. The old rule of needing to change your breast implants every 10 years is just that — old. Assuming that you aren’t having any problems, you could have your implant for 10, 15, 20 years or more. But one of the ways to make certain that your implants last is to not place an implant that is too big and/or heavy for your body to maintain.
To find out more about a breast augmentation with Dr. Sean Doherty at his Boston or Brookline office, contact us today or call (617) 450-0070 to schedule a consultation.