The breast augmentation process is rich in details that can help you reach your aesthetic goals. During your initial consultation, these goals will be established, and you will be presented with numerous implant options, including the type, size, and placement of the implants. Hankins & Sohn Plastic Surgery Associates is one of the largest users of implants in the US, which results in our board certified plastic surgeons’ extensive knowledge and experience with the implant procedure.
Before selecting your implants, Dr. Hankins or Dr. Sohn will perform a physical examination to determine which options are best suited for your unique body type. Depending on your goals, breast augmentation can be combined with other procedures, such as a breast lift, to better achieve your desired results. Each of our breast enhancement patients receives a solution that is completely tailored to their personal preference to provide the best possible outcome.
For more information about breast implants, or to schedule a complimentary consultation, please contact our office today.
Saline vs. Silicone Implants
Both types of implants can provide great results – it all just depends on your unique needs and your individual goals. In your consultation, you will receive a thorough explanation of how each type can enhance your breast volume and appearance. There are several differences between saline and silicone implants, and understanding the pros and cons of each can help you decide on the best type for you.
One advantage of saline implants is the smaller incision that is typically required for insertion. Since the implants are deflated before placement, our surgeons are able to fill them with the saltwater (saline) solution after they are under the breast tissue. In order to avoid the rippling that can potentially occur with saline implants, our surgeons may fill the silicone shells to their maximum volume. In the rare event an implant ruptures, the harmless saline solution will leak out, making it easy to detect the problem and correct it with a breast revision.
Drs. Hankins and Sohn use the most advanced type of form-stable gel in their silicone implants, also known as “gummy bear” implants, which provides a more natural feel. They are the type of implants most of our patients prefer. However, they are more expensive than saline implants, and breast augmentation patients must be 22 years of age or older to be eligible. Breast reconstruction patients can be of any age. Although they have a lower rupture rate than saline implants, the silicone gel makes it difficult if not impossible to detect a problem should it occur. Since the gel doesn’t leak from its shell, the FDA recommends patients get frequent MRIs, with the first one at three years post-surgery and thereafter every two years. Both saline and silicone implants have an average lifespan of approximately 15 years.
Selecting an Implant Size
The volume of your implants will be established during your initial consultation. Although it is helpful when patients come with a cup size in mind, the implant size must be translated into milliliters (CCs) for a more accurate measurement. Since there is no standard measurement for bra cup sizes, this assessment tends to be somewhat inaccurate, as it will vary among manufacturers. Our plastic surgeons find it most helpful when patients try the different implant sizes on during the consultation. By seeing the implants under a form-fitting shirt, patients are able to visualize how many CCs they desire in their final result.
Most women tend to choose what equates to a C or D cup, but we are comfortable using a wide range of implant sizes. To get a general idea of how CCs translate to cups, an average woman with an A or B cup will typically see a 1 cup size increase for every 200 CCs. Depending on your build, the cup size to CCs ratio will change. A natural-looking result often can be achieved through several sizes, and the final decision depends upon how you feel about the volume levels as you try them on. It’s important for you to be confident in your treatment plan, and we are committed to helping you select a size with which you will be happy.
Techniques for Implant Placement
Breast implants can be surgically placed in the chest in a few different ways. Depending on your unique build, our surgeons may recommend one method over another. If there is more than one technique that can help you reach your cosmetic enhancement goals, then the decision will ultimately be up to your personal preference. Our surgeons are more than happy to extend their knowledge about the various pros and cons of each.
With the subglandular approach, the implant is placed on top of the pectoralis muscle. As a result, recovery tends to be easier. However, since there is less tissue covering the implant, there is more of a chance that you can see and feel the implant. If you have a lower nipple position, and are concerned about the appearance after an implant is placed, this approach may be warranted. The subglandular approach can lift the nipple, possibly eliminating the need for an additional breast lift surgery. The results tend to be a full, round lower breast area. A downside to this approach, however, is that there is an increased risk of scar tissue forming around the implant, also known as capsular contracture, creating a hardened feel or distorted appearance of the implant.
More often the submuscular approach will be recommended, which places the implant under the chest (pectoralis) muscle. With the extra tissue covering the implant, the breast tends to look more natural and have a gentler slope. This approach is especially beneficial to thinner patients who have less tissue available to cover an implant. The addition of muscle covering the implant lessens the risk of feeling the implant, also known as palpability, as well as the occurrence of capsular contracture and of implant malposition.
With the dual plane approach, the implant is placed partially under both the pectoralis muscle and the breast tissue. Generally, the upper half of the implant is covered by muscle, and the lower is only under the breast tissue. Like the submuscular approach, this technique has lower risks and can give a more natural-looking slope to the breast. In the end, a consultation with one of our knowledgeable plastic surgeons is the best way to learn if the dual plane approach is right for you.
If you would like to learn more about the breast implant options we offer, please contact our medical team. We can provide additional information and help you schedule a consultation.