Breast augmentation is consistently among the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures, with 364,753 procedures performed in 2020-21, according to The Aesthetic Society.
We often get questions about breast augmentation during our breast surgery consultations—and at cocktail parties after a few drinks. While exact answers vary based on an individual’s anatomy and situation, here are some of the most common questions we hear and our answers.
1. How long is breast augmentation recovery?
With our rapid recovery breast augmentation procedure, most patients are able to return to work or school and other normal activities after 24 or 48 hours—or a long weekend. No strenuous exercise is allowed for 2 weeks. After that time, you may resume all cardio activities as well as upper and lower body weights. At 6 weeks, you have zero limitations and can resume all exercises, including those involving your chest muscles.
2. When will I be able to go on my beach vacation after breast surgery?
I typically tell patients to plan to have their procedure a minimum of 3 to 4 weeks prior to their trip. Patients are not cleared for water activities until 3 weeks after surgery. Waiting 4 weeks allows time to recover further so you can be 100% during your vacation.
3. What is capsular contracture?
Capsular contracture, or encapsulation, is a process whereby the capsule that naturally forms around a foreign body inside the human body becomes calcified and firm to the touch. While the exact etiology is uncertain, the most commonly accepted theory is that it is bacterial colonization of the implant. Your body cannot deliver white blood cells to the implant to eradicate the bacteria, so it forms a firm calcified shell around the implant. Researchers continue exploring the causes and best treatments for capsular contracture, as summarized in a recent study.
To reduce your risk, I use several steps, including:
- Bloodless dissection
- Pocket irrigation with three separate solutions with different antibiotic properties (normal line, triple antibiotic solution, half-strength betadine)
- No touch technique. We change our gloves prior to opening the implant. Then I use the Keller funnel, which allows me to insert the implant without anyone touching the implant, including your own skin!
- Minimal narcotics
- Early range of motion exercises are encouraged!
4. I want to be a full C or D cup; how many cc will I need?
This question is one of the more challenging ones to answer. Typically, we tell patients that we do not guarantee a cup size but rather work to find an implant that will fit their body type and ideal aesthetic. The rule of thumb is that for a 36″ chest, each 150cc will add one cup size. This, however, can vary based on skin laxity, skin quality, and implant firmness. Be sure to discuss your aesthetic goals with your board-certified plastic surgeon, and read our related blog post to learn about choosing the right implant for your lifestyle.
Before and After Breast Augmentation
5. What is the best option for implant placement?
When it comes to placement of the breast implants, there are two general positions: on top of or below your chest muscle. I typically do a combination of the two, called dual-plane breast augmentation.
Nothing in life is perfect, and the same can be said for implant position.
On top of the muscle
- Advantage: More natural lift of the breast, better control to improve cleavage
- Disadvantage: Implant visibility and palpability, increased risk of implant rippling
Below the muscle
- Advantage: More implant coverage, so less likelihood of implant rippling. More ‘natural result’
- Disadvantage: Animation deformity in which the implant moves with muscle contraction
I generally do a dual-plane placement in which the lower border of the chest muscle is released. This allows muscle coverage at the top of the implant and lets the implant settle in a natural position behind the breast gland. In my opinion, it allows for the best of both worlds.
6. How long will I have to sleep on my back after breast augmentation?
I recommend that patients sleep on their backs for 3 weeks. This position gives the breast pocket time to heal around the implant, ensuring the implants settle in their ideal position.
7. Will my nipples still have a normal sensation?
Yes, sensation after breast surgery recovery should return to normal. In the immediate postoperative period, it is not unusual to have hypo or hypersensitivity.
8. Can I breastfeed after getting breast implants?
The short answer is yes. Across the scientific literature, 5 to 10% of women are unable to breastfeed, which is similar to the data on women with breast implants. Be sure to communicate with your plastic surgeon, as certain incisions may be more problematic to others.
9. Should I wait until I am done having children to have breast augmentation?
I always tell patients that this is a personal question. Being pregnant, having children, and breastfeeding can impact the aesthetic appearance of the breasts, whether a woman has implants or not. That being said, if you are 22 years old with no immediate plans for children, why wait 15 to 20 years to have the breast surgery you have been wanting? This topic is an excellent one to discuss with your board-certified plastic surgeon.
10. Will breast implants affect my future mammogram results?
After breast surgery, mammograms are equally diagnostic, especially if implants are placed in the submuscular position. The radiologist will often use the Eklund view in order to displace the implant and be able to perform the study.
If you are thinking about breast augmentation surgery, do your homework. Make sure your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons, specializes in aesthetic surgery, and is selected by their peers to The Aesthetic Society.
View our before and after gallery to see our breast augmentation patients’ results. You can request a consultation using our online form or call (214) 937-4879 now to schedule your consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Hill.