The breasts are one of a woman’s power centers. Not only do they feed your children, but they help define and shape the feminine physique. However, many women are not satisfied with the size and shape of their breasts. They are either too small or not the same size (asymmetric). This dissatisfaction may adversely affect your sense of self, ability to wear the clothes that you’d like and even your confidence level. In addition, breasts that are out of proportion can throw off your entire body contour, making you look bottom heavy when you actually are not.
A breast augmentation is a surgical procedure to enhance the size and shape of a woman’s breasts. This can be achieved with breast implants (saline or silicone), fat or a combination of the two. The right choice for you is going to depend on your anatomy, skin laxity and goals. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Sean Doherty has extensive experience in breast surgery. His aim for his Boston area patients is to deliver a completely natural and refined looking breast.
With the proliferation of information on the web and in the media these days, many patients come into the office thinking that they need a specific implant. But it is important to remember that no one implant looks the same on any two patients. So, it is imperative to be assessed in person. During your initial consultation, Dr. Doherty will perform a physical exam, listen closely to what bothers you about your breasts and go through before & after pictures to get a clear idea of your desired outcome.
Since cup size varies by bra manufacturer, it is vital to focus more on the “look” that you want than the bra size. Dr. Doherty spends considerable time walking you though the implant options that will work best with your unique anatomy. For him, a successful breast augmentation is one that increases the size of your breasts, improving your body contour, while still maintaining your desired form and firmness.
Are You a Candidate for Breast Implants?
If you are considering breast implants, your reasons and goals may be very different than someone else’s. Women seek a breast augmentation because:
- they are dissatisfied with the size of their breasts and would like to enlarge them
- their breasts are different sizes (asymmetric) and they would like to restore balance
- pregnancy and/or breast feeding has caused their breasts to lose volume
- weight loss and/or aging has deflated the size and shape of their breasts
- having breasts that are a disproportionate size to the rest of the body makes it difficult for them to find flattering clothes.
While women of all ages seek breast implants, Dr. Doherty does require that his younger patients wait until their breasts are fully developed before considering a breast augmentation.
Choosing the Right Implant
There are any number of things to consider beyond size when choosing a breast implant. The first is what type of implant you’d like: saline or silicone. While each has its pros and cons, Dr. Doherty typically prefers silicone. The new generation silicone gel breast implants are the most tested medical device in the world and are completely safe. They also look and feel more natural than saline.
The second consideration is shape. There are certain instances where a teardrop or “gummy bear” implant may be more appropriate, but, in general, Dr. Doherty uses a round implant in most of his breast augmentation patients. Again, he feels that it delivers a more natural look.
Fat grafting, which is a procedure in which fat is removed from one part of the body and placed in another such as the breasts, can be an option for patients who only want a small bump in size. Dr. Doherty will often combine fat grafting to the breasts with an implant to smooth out transitions and deliver a superior look and feel to your breast augmentation. All of this will be discussed with you in detail during your initial consultation.
Breast Augmentation Procedure
Dr. Doherty performs all of his breast augmentation surgeries under general anesthesia in the operating room at a Boston area hospital or surgical center. Depending on your body type, native breast size and desired implant, he will make an incision in one of three locations:
- just inside the armpit (axillary)
- within the crease underneath the breast (inframammary fold)
- around the edge of the areola (peri-areolar)
The right one for you will be discussed during your initial consultation.
After making the incision, Dr. Doherty will insert the breast implants either above or beneath the pectoral muscle. The right choice will be based on your body type and activity level. He uses the Keller Funnel to place the implants via a “no-touch” technique. This greatly decreases the risk of capsular contracture as well as other complications that can occur after breast surgery with implants.
Breast Augmentation Recovery
Once your breast augmentation is complete, your chest will be wrapped with gauze and/or a support bra. You can expect to feel more discomfort than pain for the first few days following surgery. This can be controlled with over the counter or prescribed medications. There will be some swelling for the first couple of weeks after surgery, but patients are typically able to resume many of their normal activities such driving and working at a computer within 2-3 weeks. Patients may start exercising at 3 weeks, and resume upper body work outs at 4-6 weeks after surgery.
It may take anywhere from 3-6 months for your swelling to fully subside and for your implants to drop into their final position. So, patience is a must. However, before you know it, your new silhouette will emerge and you can begin to enjoy your new body shape.
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.
Since you will be under general anesthesia, you will not feel a thing during the surgery. When you wake up, there will be some discomfort and tightness in the chest. Furthermore, your movements will be limited. This is especially true if the implants are placed below the muscle (which is more typical). However, most patients find this discomfort completely tolerable. If you are worried and/or have a low pain threshold, Dr. Doherty is happy to prescribe pain meds.
Any time that the skin is cut, which is necessary to insert the breast implant, there will be a scar. However, the incisions are placed in areas where these incision scars are easily hidden. Dr. Doherty also practices meticulous surgical techniques which help minimize any scarring. And scars on the breast heal incredibly well. If you have skin that scars easily, however, there are a number of excellent scar treatments that Dr. Doherty can discuss with you such as topical silicone treatments like Silagen or Biocorneum, laser skin resurfacing and microneedling treatments.
In general, if your nipple is above the inframammary fold, which is the crease underneath your breast, then you can typically get away with an implant alone. However, if it drops below that crease and you want more volume, you will probably need a breast lift with an implant. To find out more about a breast lift with Dr. Sean Doherty in Boston, click here.
There is still much that plastic surgeons don’t understand about capsular contracture so there is always a chance that you could develop it. However, there are steps that you can take to lower your risk. One is finding a surgeon like Dr. Doherty who practices the “no touch” technique when inserting your breast implant. Another is placing your implants through an inframammary incision. Dr. Doherty also performs precise surgery and breast pocket manipulation which greatly decreases your risk of capsular contracture. Furthermore, since smokers are at a higher risk, he requires his patients to be nicotine free for at least 3 weeks prior to surgery.
Silicone gel breast implants are the most tested medical device in the world. Their safety has been proven in numerous studies over the years. Furthermore, this latest generation has a strong, durable shell with a very low risk of implant injury. They are, quite honestly, one of the safest things that you can put in your body.