I tell my patients considering breast augmentation in suburban Chicago that the procedure involves many choices. Three of the most important are:
1. Type of implant: If you are over the age of 22, you will have the option of silicone or saline breast implants for your breast augmentation. Both implant types are FDA-approved and have a long history of use in millions of women worldwide. There are advantages and tradeoffs for both, including:
- generally thought to look and feel more like natural breast tissue
- the latest silicone implants, including the Natrelle® 410, contain a cohesive gel that will not leak
- come in round or anatomical shapes
- can be placed through smaller incisions, allowing for inconspicuous scarring
- the solution can be absorbed by the body without negative side effects if the implant ruptures
2. Size of implant: Your implant size should be based on your body type and cosmetic goals. Generally, I take into account the ratio of breast tissue to fat, chest width, breast diameter, and overall body proportions. Combining this information with a patient’s expectations enables me to recommend an appropriate size that will satisfy her needs and flatter her body frame.
3. Implant placement. Implants can be placed above or below the pectoral muscle. Women who are very fit or who have very little breast tissue usually benefit from submuscular placement (under the muscle). This provides more soft tissue coverage and may reduce visible rippling around the implant edges. Women with a good amount of existing breast tissue may have implants placed over the muscle, which requires less recovery time.
I find that combining a breast lift with breast augmentation for Chicago area women often produces the best results. However, some women may be entirely content with a breast lift alone.
In order to help breast enhancement patients make informed decisions, consider the following aesthetic improvements that can be achieved as part of a breast lift (mastopexy):
- Lifted breasts: Based on the name of the procedure, this is one of the obvious results. Time, childbearing, breastfeeding or significant weight fluctuations can alter breast tissue. Breasts lose their elasticity and become stretched, resulting in a droopy appearance. During a breast lift, excess skin and tissue is removed, and the breasts are repositioned higher on the chest wall.
- Firmer breasts: Because excess breast tissue is removed and remaining tissue is re-shaped, the breasts will feel firmer and more youthful.
- Improved shape: As breasts lose their elasticity and sag, they lose their round, youthful shape. A natural-looking, youthful breast typically slopes gradually from the upper chest down to the nipple, with a full, rounded lower pole (below the nipple). A breast lift will improve the curve of the upper pole and the roundness of the lower pole of the breast, restoring a perkier, more desirable shape.
- Reduced areola size: Occasionally, when breasts stretch, the areola (the dark area surrounding the nipple) stretches as well. For women who do not like the appearance of enlarged areolas, a skilled cosmetic surgeon can reduce their size.
A breast lift does not enhance volume or increase size. Increasing the size of the breasts requires a breast augmentation procedure, which is usually done with saline or silicone-gel breast implants. Reducing the size and volume requires a breast reduction. In many cases, women will choose both a breast lift and breast augmentation, which can be performed during a single operative procedure.
If you are considering breast augmentation in Chicago, having accurate and reliable information about the procedure is essential. Although a personal consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to get your questions answered, there are also some good online resources. Here are 3 that I recommend for your research:
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons®: This website provides information on a wide range of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery procedures. You can search for well-trained plastic surgeons who are certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada®. There’s also a photo gallery, so you can see before-and-after pictures of the procedures you are interested in.
- The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery: In addition to providing information about plastic surgery procedures, this website includes news on new developments in cosmetic enhancement. You can find answers to common questions under “Ask a Surgeon,” or you can submit your own question, which will be answered by a board-certified plastic surgeon.
- Natrelle®: Women who are considering breast augmentation or breast reconstruction should visit this site. You can learn about the various implant types available from Natrelle and see answers to frequently asked questions about breast implants and breast surgery. There’s also a 3-D Breast Planning Tool that allows you to see a virtual simulation of your possible results.
Dr. Sandeep Jejurikar
- You are healthy.
- You are not planning on losing significant amounts of weight.
- You want larger, shapely breasts.
- You have realistic expectations for your results.
In some cases, women ask me if breast augmentation can correct sagging. I often combine breast augmentation with a breast lift to achieve this goal. A breast lift can help improve the shape and position of the breasts and is often beneficial for women who have moderate to severe sagging or asymmetry in addition to diminished volume.
To determine if breast surgery is right for you, I recommend consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Your surgeon should discuss your options in detail to help you determine if breast augmentation can meet your goals for cosmetic enhancement.
Dr. Sandeep Jejurikar