Many people assume that when it comes to breast implants, there’s not much to consider. You pick a material (silicone or saline), you choose a size, and you’re good to go.
In reality, choosing the right implants is a bit more complicated. There’s more to the perfect fit than size and materials. Where a surgeon positions the implant during breast augmentation, how big the incision is and where it’s located, and the shape of the implant all influence your final results.
The Implant Incision
During breast augmentation, surgeons typically make one of three common incision types. The incisions determine how much scarring you’ll have, how the surgeon is able to position the implant and in some cases, how well the incision heals.
One of the more popular incisions is the inframammary incision, which is made in the crease on the underside of the breasts. Since the incisions are made under the breast, any scars that form as they heal tend to be less visible in this location. A considerable benefit of the inframammary incision is that it makes it easier for a surgeon to position the implants properly in the breast. Usually, surgeons have an easier time making the breasts even and symmetrical when they use this type of incision.
Other incision options include periareolar, or around the nipple. Generally speaking, the incisions made around the nipple are very small and heal well. They aren’t right for everyone, though. Women with smaller nipples might not be good candidates for periareolar incisions. If you are planning on breastfeeding after breast augmentation, this might not be the right incision for you either, as there is a risk that the milk ducts will be affected by the surgery.
The third incision type a surgeon might make is axillary (through the armpit). Any scars that result from this incision type are well-concealed by the arm and aren’t visible on the breasts, which makes the incision a popular choice for some. The drawback of the axillary incision is that it can make it more challenging for the surgeon to position the implants in the breasts.
The Implant Placement
Another implant choice you and your surgeon need to make is whether to position the implants under or over the chest muscle. Often, the preferred placement for implants is under the muscle. When implants are positioned beneath the muscles of the chest, they are less visible and are often better able to support the breasts. Under-the-muscle implants are also less likely to interfere with mammograms.
The second placement option is over the muscle. Over-the-muscle placement can mean a quicker recovery time, as less of the breast tissue is disturbed. But, since the implants are closer to the surface of the breast, they tend to be more visible when placed on top of the muscle. For women who don’t have a lot of breast tissue to start with, over-the-muscle implants are more likely to be visible.
The Implant Shape
No two breasts are shaped exactly the same. That’s one reason why there are a few shape options to choose from when picking implants. Implant shape also determines how much they project or stick out from the chest. Round implants tend to project more and also produce a fuller look at the top of the breasts.
Teardrop-shaped implants usually create a more natural shape but are only available in limited sizes. There’s also a chance that a teardrop implant will turn after placement. This creates a lopsided or irregularly-shaped breast.
The Shelf Life of Implants
When you’re considering breast augmentation, it’s important to think about how long your implants are likely to last. While you’re likely to get many years of use from your implants, they probably won’t last for the rest of your life.
Caring for Implants
After your surgery, how you care for your implants matters. Usually, you’ll be advised to massage the breasts and implants several times a day. The massage will help the implants settle into place. It will also help you avoid capsular contracture. This complication occurs when excess scar tissue forms around the implants, squeezing and distorting them. It’s important to closely follow any instructions your surgeon gives you after surgery to prevent complications.
A plastic surgeon who specializes in breast surgeries can help you choose the right implant type. He or she can offer guidance and advice about placement, incision types, and other considerations. Dr. Paul Vitenas is a Houston-based plastic surgeon with nearly 30 years of experience. He is frequently rated as one of the area’s top breast surgeons. To learn more about your implant options, call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas today.