Breast Augmentation FAQs
1. What is your experience in performing breast augmentations?
I am a consultant plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgeon, and I have been performing cosmetic breast operations since the early nineties. I have witnessed the many developments and advances in technique for this procedure over the years and I can say that I have seen many, many patients who have achieved a really worthwhile improvement in the profile of the bust, gaining in self confidence. It can really help to enhance or for some to restore a sense of femininity.
In years past all we had to do was decide on the size of the implant but today there are so many more choices to consider and I will guide you through these. The options that need to be discussed include the approach and, therefore, the scar and also the pocket into which the implant is placed; will it be under the breast gland, under the muscle or a combination?
The choices depend to a degree on the patient’s age, body frame and the shape of the bust, but I will discuss what is best for you depending on what you are trying to achieve.
I prefer to use textured cohesive gel implants; I also like to use the relatively newer polyurethane foam implants which are thought to remain softer for much longer.
2. How do you and the patient decide on a breast implant size?
For any woman considering a breast augmentation, I like to undertake a thorough, in-depth consultation; this is essential so that the surgeon and the patient are singing from the same hymn sheet and that what the surgeon thinks the patient wants, actually is what she wants.
Nowadays, it is not just about size, but also shape. And not just shape but the profile; does the patient wish to look natural, what about upper pole fullness, breast width, height and so on.
I will usually discuss with you the types of implant gels; will the implants be smooth, textured, or, most the most recent development, foam covered?
I will undertake a detailed assessment with measurements that are invaluable in guiding us together to the best type and shape of implant individualised for you. I will help to guide you through this but normally, by the end of our consult we have usually agreed on the broad outline of size and shape.
I do provide documentation to take home, including a practical guide to allow you to come to an informed decision regarding implant volume and shape; usually I will meet you for a second time at which point we should be ready to finalise implant decisions.
3. Are breast implants safe?
There are risks to any procedure and I always undertake a thorough discussion regarding the pros and cons of the procedure and also the implants themselves.
Breast implants have been used since the early sixties and they have a long history of safe use, but since their first introduction they have gone through a number of changes, modifications and improvements.
The major risks of implants include rotation, rupture, and contracture. Contracture is the firming up of the shell the body weaves around the implant as part of the healing process. I will discuss with you why I choose the range of implants that I do, to help avoid those very risks. I only use the highest quality implants with a long, tried and tested history.
Nowadays, I use thicker-walled, more resilient implants. I prefer to use textured cohesive gel implants; I also like to use the relatively newer polyurethane foam implants which are thought to remain softer for much longer.
4. What is the recovery like after a breast augmentation?
The operation is normally performed with the patient asleep, and takes about one to two hours with a single overnight stay. You will be reviewed by one of our specialist nurses at a week, and by myself normally at two, six and twelve weeks or until we are satisfied with respect to the outcome.
Activity will need to be restricted early on and I will guide you on what you should and should not do. It is important however that you allow yourself the time and space to heal; you will then often heal and get back to normality quicker.
5. Will a breast augmentation patient need their implants replaced regularly?
When I place breast implants, I place them with a view to them lasting a lifetime but an implant is a mechanical device placed inside the body just like other devices like, for example, a hip replacement and so, of course, depending on age, lifestyle and health, this may not happen. A number of authorities suggest implants should be replaced every 10 years but I do not replace implants unless there is a specific problem. Some implant manufacturers now provide implants with guarantees of longevity or against rupture and even contracture.