PATIENT RESOURCES / DR’s Blog
Common Myths About Breast Augmentation Surgery
For such a common procedure, there are several myths about breast augmentation that you really need to understand before you can make an informed choice. Through my experience as a plastic surgeon speaking to patients over the years, these are some of the key things people wonder about:
Myth #1: Breast implants will look unnatural
Truth: There is no doubt that everyone has noticed a bad breast augmentation surgery – whether at the beach or in celebrity images. The reality is, the outcome of this surgery does not have to be that way, and really shouldn’t be that way. Breast augmentation should give a fuller, perkier, youthful, beautiful and natural looking breast. If you don’t want a stranger to know you have had a breast augmentation, then it is very important to make the right choice about implant size, shape and position. Some people want a little more fullness in the upper breast, which can still look great and give a youthful shape to the breast. However, no one needs to fear looking “fake”, so long as they choose their surgeon wisely; poor decisions and bad advice are the reason for “fake” looking results.
Myth #2: There will be a lot of scars
Truth: The scars are almost imperceptible in most cases, over time. The incisions can be hidden under the breast, at the edge of the areola, and in the armpit. Each incision choice has pros and cons, which I review with my patients during their consultation.
Myth #3: Implants only last 10 years
Truth: Implants today are manufactured better than they have ever been before. In the past, implants were made of liquid silicone. When the shell of the old-style implants ruptured, the silicone would get into the capsule that surrounded the implant. However, that all came to an end in 1992. Since being reintroduced in 2002, silicone implants are made of cohesive gel and even if cut, they do not leak. They are very durable. You can actually see videos of plastic surgeons driving over them with their cars. I communicate with my patients that although any device can get wear and tear, we have no idea how long that will take. I routinely remove implants placed 35+ years ago by my predecessors. If those ones lasted that long, who knows how long today’s breast implants will last.
Myth #4: Most people wish they had gone bigger
Truth: I couldn’t disagree more! I think that a beautiful breast augmentation, (and for that matter any plastic surgery) looks its best when it still looks natural. My goal as a plastic surgeon is to create perfect, fuller, perkier breasts that look so great it may leave people wondering whether you had surgery, but they should never know for sure. I never want it to be obvious to strangers that someone has had breast augmentation surgery. I regularly see patients that have had surgery elsewhere coming to me to revise their breasts, and usually downsize their implants because they want a more natural appearance. The other thing about large implants…the bigger they are, the harder they fall. In addition to downsizing implants, I am starting to see a lot of patients to repair the “droopiness “ they have developed from going too big. In cases where patients want a large implant, I make sure to advise them about the expected result in the near and long term.
Myth #5: My surgeon will choose the best implant
Truth: Although some surgeons will pick the implant size for their patients, I think this is a recipe for unhappiness. It is really a joint decision. My goal is to give my patients perfect breasts, (perfect breasts are all in the eye of the beholder), and to do that I really need to know what it is that they want. At the time of surgery I am awake, and they are asleep, so I don’t have the luxury of asking them which implants they think look the best. That is why… the more I can understand about what my patients are looking for, the better able I am to give them the result they want. I have at least four different techniques that I use to help patients pick the perfect implants. This is done at the consultation stage and during surgery.
Myth #6: It is a simple surgery
Truth: The concept sounds simple… make a pocket and place an implant, however making perfect breasts is far from simple. Most plastic surgeons that do cosmetic surgery, do breast augmentations. If it is so simple, why are there so many people coming to me seeking revisions? Why are there so many international conferences that focus on breast augmentation? The reality is, a lot of surgeons get themselves into problems because they don’t do all the little things right. They over-dissect the pocket. They weaken the support structures. They choose implants poorly. They don’t respect the heightened need for sterility for an implant surgery. They leave excess blood in the pocket. These problems can be avoided the majority of the time, with careful and meticulous technique; all of which will minimize the need for a revision surgery or other complications. My area of expertise is breast surgery, including creating breasts from nothing, in the setting of mastectomy patients. In doing so, I have learned a lot of tricks and techniques. By doing the very complicated procedures, it makes the breast augmentation easier, but by no means do I ever underestimate the need for precision.
Myth #7: I should know what to expect after one consultation
Truth: I think it takes time to really figure out what patients want in their breast augmentation surgery. This is not something that can be rushed. Hopefully the breasts that I create for my patients will be beautiful for years to come. I think it takes some time to discuss their goals, to go over implant sizing, and to review photos of their ideal breasts so that I can best know what my patients want. Although I use my expertise to help guide my patients, I see my role in the consultation process as helping them to figure out exactly what they want. Sometimes what they say they want… and words they use… simply do not match-up with the implants they are asking for. I take time to help sort that out. It is not a process to be done hastily. These are hopefully going to be your breasts for the rest of your life. In general, I see patients on two occasions, but I am always happy to see them as much as needed, to make sure that they are going to get what they want in the end.
Myth #8: It is a 25 minute procedure
Truth: This surgery needs to be customized every bit as much as any other surgery. It can be a quick procedure. In fact some surgeons take a lot of pride in how fast they can do it, as a boasting point. However, I would prefer to boast about beautiful results and happy patients. I will usually take measurements ahead of time, have patients try different implant sizes, have them bring me photos of breasts that are “ideal”, as well as breasts that are slightly too big and slightly too small. All of this gives me the information to create a beautiful breast that matches their goals. I also bring several implant options to the surgery and several trial sizers so that I can see exactly how things will look. I sit the patient up to make sure they look as nice upright as lying down, and then compare to other implant sizers that are close in size but may have a slightly different shape. It never ceases to amaze me how two implants similar in size, but differing in dimensions, can have such a different result. In virtually every case, there is a perfect implant that the whole surgical team looks at and agrees that it is the best choice. That is a very different (and a slightly longer) surgery than the 25 minute procedure, where the implant is chosen in the office ahead of time and hopefully is good enough.
I hope this blog relieves some concerns and sheds light on common myths about breast augmentation surgery. Breast augmentation surgery can produce beautiful and natural looking results. Some of my very happiest patients are those who I have done breast augmentation surgery for.
When the appropriate amount of time is taken to go over your goals and to really choose the best implant, both during your consultation and during the surgery itself, patients are generally extremely happy.
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