Breast Augmentation, Breast Implants
Birmingham, Alabama Breast Enlargement at Hedden & Gunn Plastic Surgery
Breast Augmentation is the surgical placement of breast implants to increase fullness and improve the symmetry of the breasts. Also known as Breast Enlargement, Breast Enhancement and Augmentation Mammaplasty, breast augmentation can increase the fullness and projection of your breasts and improve the balance of your figure, enhancing your self-image and self-confidence.
The skilled plastic surgeons at Hedden & Gunn Plastic Surgery offer unmatched experience and expertise in helping our patients realize a fuller, more shapely and more proportionate figure with breast augmentation. Our renowned surgeons and compassionate cosmetic surgery staff in Birmingham, Alabama can help you achieve excellent results with FDA-approved saline or silicone gel breast implants.
Dr. William Hedden and Dr. Stephen Gunn listen closely to each patient to understand what you are looking for to enhance your breasts and your self-image. They will also help you understand the types of breast implants and the sizes and other options that are available.
Dr. Hedden is a member of the prestigious Mentor LEAD Advisory Board, a select group of plastic surgeons chosen for their leadership and experience in breast augmentation and breast aesthetics.
Saline Breast Implants are FDA-approved for breast augmentation in women age 18 or older. Saline implants provide a uniform shape, firmness and feel. Should sterile salt water leak, saline implants will collapse and the saline will be absorbed and naturally expelled by the body.
Silicone Breast Implants are FDA-approved for breast augmentation in women age 22 or older. Silicone implants are filled with a silicone gel that feels a bit more like natural breast tissue. If the implant leaks, the gel may remain within the implant shell or escape into the breast implant pocket, but the implant will not collapse.
Gummy Bear Breast Implants are form-stable implants that maintain their shape even if the implant shell is broken. With a thicker consistency than traditional silicone gel implants, gummy bear implants are firmer and thought to be less likely to break. They are shaped rather than round, with more projection at the bottom. Implant rotation may lead to an unusual breast appearance.
Round Breast Implants have a tendency to make the breasts appear fuller than form-stable implants. Higher profile options can achieve even more projection. There is less concern about round breast implants rotating out of place.
Smooth Breast Implants are the softest-feeling. These implants can move with the breast implant pocket, which may give more natural movement. However, smooth implants may have some palpable or visible rippling.
Textured Breast Implants develop scar tissue that sticks to the implant, making them less likely to move around inside of the breast and get repositioned. Texturing offers some advantage in diminishing the risk of a tight scar capsule.
Breast implants may also be used for Breast Reconstruction after mastectomy or injury.
Breast Implant Safety
Breast implants do not impair breast health. Careful reviews of scientific research by independent groups such as the Institute of Medicine have found no link between breast implants and autoimmune or other systemic diseases.
Whether you choose saline or silicone breast implants, it is important for you to monitor your breast implants and follow up with your plastic surgeon for appropriate checkups.
Breast Implant Replacement
Breast implants are not designed to last a lifetime and your implants may need to be replaced. You should plan for an annual examination by your plastic surgeon to evaluate the health of your breasts and the integrity of your breast implants.
Breast Augmentation Candidates
You may be a candidate for breast augmentation if:
- You are physically healthy.
- You have realistic expectations.
- Your breasts are fully developed.
- You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too small.
- You are dissatisfied with your breasts losing shape and volume after pregnancy, after weight loss or with aging.
- You are unhappy with the upper part of your breast appearing "empty."
- Your breasts are asymmetrical.
- One or both breasts failed to develop normally or have an elongated shape.
If you want your breasts to look fuller and lifted due to sagging or severe drooping, a Breast Lift may be required in conjunction with breast augmentation. Breast lifting can often be done at the same time as your augmentation or may require a separate operation. Your plastic surgeon will assist you in making this decision.
The Rice Test is a way to begin to get a rough idea of how you might look with breast implants of various sizes prior to your consultation. With bags of rice worn inside a sports bra, you can quickly "try on" different sizes and become educated about fill volume measurements in cubic centimeters (cc's). Visit RiceTest.com for full Rice Test instructions.
Your Breast Augmentation Consultation
By choosing a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) for your breast augmentation procedure, you can be assured that you are choosing a highly-trained, board-certified plastic surgeon. ASPS Member Surgeons must meet rigorous standards for training, ethics, physician practice and research in plastic surgery.
Our Birmingham, Alabama plastic surgeons offer complimentary consultations for breast augmentation and other cosmetic surgery procedures. During your consultation, be prepared to discuss:
- Why you want breast augmentation, your expectations and the desired outcome.
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and previous medical treatments.
- Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
- Family history of breast cancer and results of any mammograms or previous biopsies.
Your breast augmentation surgeon will also:
- Evaluate your general health and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors.
- Examine and measure your breasts, including detailed measurements of their size and shape, skin quality and placement of your nipples and areolas.
- Take photographs.
- Discuss your breast enhancement options and recommend a course of treatment.
- Discuss the likely outcomes of breast augmentation and any risks or potential complications.
Be sure to ask questions at your consultation. It is very important to understand all aspects of your breast augmentation procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether preoperative stress or excitement about your anticipated new look. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.
Breast Augmentation Risks and Safety Information
The decision to have breast augmentation surgery is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits of breast augmentation will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.
The possible risks breast augmentation include:
- Anesthesia risks.
- Changes in nipple or breast sensation.
- Poor scarring of skin.
- Wrong or faulty position of the implant.
- Implant leakage or rupture.
- Formation of tight scar tissue around the implant (capsular contracture).
- Fluid accumulation (seroma).
- Wrinkling of the skin over the implant.
- Pain, which may persist.
- Possibility of revisional surgery.
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all of your questions directly with your plastic surgeon. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications.
Preparing for Breast Augmentation Surgery
In preparing for breast augmentation surgery, you may be asked to:
- Get a blood test.
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid taking aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs, as they can increase bleeding.
Breast augmentation may be performed in an accredited outpatient or ambulatory surgical center or a hospital. If your breast enlargement is performed as an outpatient procedure, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and stay with you for at least the first night.
Breast Augmentation Procedure
Anesthesia choices for breast augmentation surgery include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
Breast Augmentation Incision
Incisions are made in inconspicuous areas to minimize visible scarring. You and your plastic surgeon will discuss the incision options that are appropriate for your desired outcome. Incision options include:
Incisions vary based on the type of breast implant, degree of enlargement desired, your particular anatomy and patient-surgeon preference.
The Transaxillary Breast Augmentation incision and the Transumbilical Breast Augmentation incision do not leave scars in the breast area. The transaxillary technique uses small incisions within the natural folds of the armpit. The transumbilical technique uses a small incision and at the upper rim of the belly button.
Breast Implant Insertion and Placement
After the incision is made, a breast implant is inserted into a pocket either under the pectoral muscle (submuscular placement) or directly behind the breast tissue, over the pectoral muscle (submammary/subglandular placement).
The method for inserting and positioning breast implants depends on the type of implant, the degree of enlargement, your body type and your surgeon's recommendations.
Incisions are closed with layered sutures in the breast tissue and with sutures, skin adhesive or surgical tape to close the skin.
Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation
Fat transfer breast augmentation uses Liposuction to take fat from other parts of the body and inject it into the breasts. This is an option for women who are looking for a relatively small increase in breast size and would prefer natural results. Your plastic surgeon may have you use a Tissue Expansion system during the weeks before your surgery to improve results. You may require touch-up injections to retain your improved shape. Certain risks are associated with this breast augmentation technique.
Breast Augmentation Recovery
After surgery, you will be taken into a recovery area to be closely monitored. You may be permitted to go home after a few hours. Before leaving, you will be given specific instructions. Be sure to carefully follow all instructions, which may include the following:
- How to care for your breasts following surgery.
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection.
- When to follow-up with your plastic surgeon.
Your breasts will be wrapped in gauze dressings. An elastic bandage or support bra will minimize swelling and support the breasts as they heal. You may be instructed to wear a support bra around the clock for the first week or two. It is important to cleanse the incision sites and apply ointment as directed.
After a post-surgical breast augmentation recovery period of 24 to 48 hours and an additional reduced-activity period of a few days, you will likely experience soreness and swelling for a few weeks. Exercise and normal activity can resume at the direction of your plastic surgeon.
To help prevent complications and promote natural results, use these Breast Implant Mobility Exercises starting 3 to 4 weeks after breast augmentation surgery
Breast Augmentation Results
Breast augmentation results are immediately visible. Over time, post-surgical swelling will subside and incision lines will fade. Satisfaction with your new image should continue to grow as you fully recover from surgery.
In order to achieve optimal breast augmentation results, it is important that you follow your surgeon's post-operative instructions and return for follow-up visits.
Women who choose silicone implants may need to visit their plastic surgeon regularly for an ultrasound or MRI screening to make sure the implants are functioning properly.
Pregnancy, weight loss, menopause aging and gravity may influence the appearance of augmented breasts over the course of your lifetime. If you become dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts after a period of years, you may choose to undergo a Breast Lift or Breast Implant Exchange to restore a more youthful contour.
Breast Augmentation Words to Know
- Areola: Pigmented skin surrounding the nipple.
- Augmentation mammaplasty: Breast enlargement or breast enhancement by surgery.
- Breast Augmentation: Also known as augmentation mammaplasty, breast enlargement or breast enhancement by surgery.
- Breast Implants: Medical devices placed in your body to enhance your existing breast size or to reconstruct your breast. Breast implants fall into two categories: saline breast implants and silicone breast implants.
- Capsular contracture: A complication that occurs when scar tissue that normally forms around the implant tightens and squeezes the implant and becomes firm.
- General anesthesia: Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.
- Hematoma: Blood pooling beneath the skin.
- Inframammary incision: An incision made in the fold under the breast.
- Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection to help you relax.
- Local anesthesia: A drug injected directly to the site of an incision to relieve pain during an operation.
- Mammogram: An x-ray image of the breast.
- Mastectomy: The removal of breast tissue, typically to rid the body of cancer.
- MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging, a painless test to view tissue similar to an x-ray.
- Periareolar incision: An incision made at the edge of the areola.
- Saline implants: Breast implants filled with salt water.
- Silicone implants: Breast implants filled with an elastic gel.
- Submammary or subglandular placement: Breast implants placed directly behind the breast tissue, over the pectoral muscle.
- Submuscular or subpectoral placement: Breast implants placed under the pectoral muscle, which is located between the breast tissue and chest wall.
- Sutures: Stitches used to hold skin and tissue together.
- Transaxillary incision: An incision made in the underarm area.
- Transumbilical incision: An incision made in the belly button area.
- Ultrasound: A diagnostic procedure that projects high frequency sound waves into the body and records the echoes as pictures.
Procedure Information © American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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