With summer just around the corner and many outdoor activities resuming, we’ve been getting lots of questions and consultation requests for various breast procedures, including augmentations, lifts and revisions. This month I decided to share my responses to five frequently asked questions.
Q1: What is the difference between a breast augmentation and a breast lift?
This is an important question, and I think many people, including some surgeons, mix up the two. An implant makes you larger and a lift makes you higher. Oftentimes patients and some surgeons confuse this because they think an implant will provide lift. It will not. An implant makes you larger and restores volume. If your breast is deflated after kids, an implant can restore the volume and fill it back up. But if your breast is droopy, a lift is typically recommended.
Q2: Which implant is better, silicone or saline?
In my opinion, silicone implants are better. Virtually all my patients feel the same way. I think that smooth, round, silicone implants feel and look much more natural. I also strongly believe that breast implants belong under the muscle. When implants are placed under, the muscle acts as a support mechanism for the implant so they are much less likely to droop. When you put the implants on top of the muscle, the only thing holding it up against gravity is the breast. And we all know what gravity does to breasts over time.
Q3: What is the best age for breast augmentation?
There is no “best” age for breast augmentation. Typically the best time to do it is when you want it for a good reason and there are no medical counterindications. I certainly have patients of all ages (18 years and older) getting augmentations. Some women do them after their childbearing years or even after retirement. In younger patients, I spend time discussing why the patient wants an augment to make sure she is doing it for the right reasons, and to make sure it is a mature decision.
Q4: Can I lift my breasts without implants?
Yes, of course. This is called a breast lift. A droopy breast has a disproportion between the amount of skin and the amount of volume. There is too much skin for the given volume therefore it sags and takes a less desirable shape. Breast lift surgery removes excess skin and contours it to the shape of a natural breast. The result is a higher breast with a more pleasing shape.
Q5: How long does breast augmentation last?
Many breast augmentations last a lifetime. Sometimes, patients have kids, experience life changes or simply decide years later that they want to revise their breasts by going larger, smaller or even higher with a lift. The FDA recommends exchanging implants after 10 years. Most of us in the profession, don’t think that this needs to be done and recommend an intervention only when a problem arises or a patient wants to make a change in the size or shape.
Have other questions or want to determine if you are a good candidate for a breast augmentation, lift or revision? If so, please call us at 925.736.5757 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!
By Dr. Stephen J. Ronan, MD FACS, Blackhawk Plastic Surgery & MedSpa