What Is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation, or enlargement, is an outpatient surgical procedure that utilizes the placement of cohesive silicone gel (or saline) breast implants to help women add volume and fullness, as well as enhanced shape, to the breasts. It is a very popular and common procedure that many women desire for a variety of reasons. Some individuals have congenital differences and breast asymmetries they wish to address, while others may simply be unhappy with their breast size and desire to have more fullness to fit their frame. In addition, many women seek breast augmentation to rejuvenate their breasts following pregnancy. The breasts are stretched and expanded during pregnancy and lactation, and afterwards, the glandular tissue inside the breasts often atrophies. This leaves most moms with varying degrees of “tissue deflation.” Breast augmentation is a wonderful way to restore this lost volume.
Houston plastic surgeon James F. Boynton, MD is highly experienced in breast augmentation, and he has the artistic eye and surgical skill to achieve exceptionally natural-looking results that align with each patient’s unique needs and goals. Overall, this procedure has an extremely high rate of satisfaction, and it can be an incredibly empowering treatment that exudes youthfulness and vivaciousness.
- Breast Augmentation Benefits
- Breast Implants
- Choosing the Right Breast Implants
- Breast Augmentation Procedure
- Breast Augmentation Recovery
- Breast Augmentation Scars
- Breastfeeding After Breast Augmentation
- How Long Do Breast Implants Last?
- Breast Augmentation with Lift
- Breast Augmentation Cost
- Choosing a Breast Augmentation Surgeon
- Additional Breast Augmentation FAQs
Did You Know?
Dr. Boynton also commonly deals with challenging breast revision surgery that can involve “downsizing” large implants; correcting implant malposition, rippling, or wrinkling; treating symmastia; and/or placing Strattice™ or GalaFLEX® for added tissue cover.
What Are the Benefits of Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation offers a range of benefits for women who would like to renew the appearance of their breasts, including:
- Enhanced size, volume, and fullness
- Improved shape and symmetry
- Enhanced balance and proportion between the breasts and the body
- Restoration of lost breast volume
Dr. Boynton’s advanced breast augmentation techniques combined with his extensive experience with this procedure can create results that look beautiful and natural. Breast augmentation surgery can be an effective treatment on its own or in combination with other body contouring and skin enhancement procedures for a more comprehensive rejuvenation. In fact, breast augmentation is a frequent addition to customized Mommy Makeovers.
What Are My Breast Implant Options?
Breast implants are available in a variety of types, shapes, sizes, profiles, and textures (namely smooth and round). At our practice, Dr. Boynton offers saline and silicone gel breast implants, form-stable anatomic gel implants, as well as highly-cohesive silicone gel breast implants (“gummy bear” implants), from the well-respected manufacturers Mentor® and Sientra®, and the Natrelle Inspira® series from Allergan. Mentor has also just launched the XTRA line of silicone gel breast implants, which increases the “gel to shell” ratio and adds even more fullness for those that want a fuller look and still have the softness of a Mentor implant. Dr. Boynton has found these are particularly useful in patients who have saline implants and want a softer, better feel but want the “look” of a saline implant. Each of these options is highlighted below.
The following information covers the many advanced breast implant options available at our practice:
Breast Implant Types
Saline Breast Implants
Saline breast implants are FDA-approved for women aged 18 years and older. This historically popular implant option is composed of a saltwater-based solution encased in a silicone outer shell. Saline implants have proved to provide excellent, natural-looking results for a diverse range of patients.
Silicone Breast Implants
Silicone breast implants are widely believed to achieve a more natural look and feel in comparison to saline implants, and they last longer. FDA-approved for breast augmentation patients 22 and over, these conventional implants are composed of thick silicone gel enclosed by a durable outer silicone shell. They are generally considered to be more resistant to issues such as rippling and leakage, and they are typically regarded as an excellent option for patients with a thinner body frame. Since the FDA re-approved the use of the silicone gel implants in 2006, the pendulum has swung greatly in favor of silicone gel due to their natural feel and long-lasting integrity.
Mentor® Breast Implants
Manufactured and distributed by Mentor®, MemoryShape® breast implants are highly-cohesive, silicone-gel filled implants constructed to more closely resemble the look and firmness of natural breasts. MemoryShape® implants are exclusively designed with a SILTEX® Microtexture imprinting process to hold the implant in place. Unlike traditional round breast implants, MemoryShape® implants are designed with more of a teardrop shape, meaning they are thinner at the top and slope gradually into a fuller projection. In addition to MemoryShape® implants, Mentor® also produces MemoryGel® smooth, round implants. The company also now produces the XTRA line of silicone gel implants, which have a higher “gel to shell” ratio. This basically provides a soft silicone gel implant that does not compromise the feel of the implant while “filling the shell” with more, which can further reduce the risk of rippling/wrinkling in patients with very thin tissues. These implants are really ideal for the kind of patient that is looking for a more “saline look” and wants more fullness, but with the better feel of the gel. This implant option comes in a variety of profiles, including the “Ultra High Profile,” which can often provide exceptional results for patients who want their implants to be maximally full without being too wide. Overall, highly cohesive, silicone-gel filled implants from Mentor® are considered to be some of the softest gel implants available, helping them to create an incredibly natural look and feel for a wide variety of patients.
OPUS® Breast Implants from Sientra® – High-Strength Cohesive (HSC) Implants
Approved by the FDA and available only to board-certified or board-eligible plastic surgeons, OPUS® High-Strength Cohesive (HSC) gel breast implants are considered to be some of the most natural-looking and natural-feeling breast implants on the market. The newest line is a 5th generation silicone gel that is very cohesive and has very little chance of any rippling/wrinkling. Composed of durable silicone gel, these form-stable implants come in a variety of shapes (round, oval or “classic”) and sizes, with the option of either a smooth or textured outer shell. Depending on their particular size and shape, OPUS® implants can add volume while also producing a proportionate, seamless blend between the chest and the breasts. Additionally, the unique design of these cohesive gel implants has been known to reduce the risk of rippling as well as the probability of gel leakage in the unlikely event of a rupture. Ultimately, OPUS® breast implants may be an excellent option for patients seeking to achieve the most natural look and feel for their breast enhancement results.
Natrelle INSPIRA® Round Gel Breast Implants
Developed by Allergan, Natrelle INSPIRA® Round Gel Breast Implants are the newest line in cohesive silicone gel breast implants. They have three cohesions. The Response is the standard cohesive, the Soft Touch Inspira is more cohesive, which can be an excellent choice in revision breast augmentation patients and patients with thinner tissues. Finally, the Cohesive Inspira is the most cohesive gel in the lineup. Natrelle INSPIRA® implants can be an exceptional option for many women seeking to achieve improved fullness and a soft feel. These round, silicone-filled implants have a smooth outer texture and are available in 100 different sizes. In addition, they come in five projection styles to produce a customized fit for every patient. These include extra-full, full, moderate, low-plus, and low profiles. Throughout clinical studies, Natrelle INSPIRA® Round Gel Breast Implants have boasted an extremely high patient satisfaction rating for primary breast augmentation, revision breast augmentation, and breast reconstruction patients. Ultimately, Natrelle INSPIRA® implants can be ideal for helping many individuals attain the increased upper pole fullness they desire without sacrificing natural-looking and feeling results.
Breast Implant Shapes
While there are several different breast implant shapes available, the most prominent are round and “teardrop-” or anatomic-shaped implants. Round breast implants are often beneficial for patients who desire a higher level of projection and a fuller appearance in the upper regions of the breasts. These kinds of breast implants are also known to minimize the potential for “rippling.”
Teardrop-shaped implants, which are sometimes referred to as “anatomic-shaped” breast implants, are rather thin at the top and gradually slope downward to create a more round bottom. The teardrop-shaped implant is typically only available in “gummy bear” implant types.
You can find more information on the specific shapes available for each type of implant in the Breast Implant Types section above.
Breast Implant Surface Textures
The surface of breast implants come in either smooth or textured varieties. The smooth-surface option typically provides a softer feel, and can reduce the possibility of developing a “rippled” appearance. Smooth-surface implants also frequently have a thinner outer shell than other kinds of breast implants, and tend to produce a more natural motion.
Breast Implant Sizes
While it is natural to place an emphasis on the size of breast implants you are considering, it is also important to understand that “bigger” is not necessarily better for many patients. Breast implants are available in numerous sizes that can successfully enlarge the breasts and create a larger “cup” size; however, it’s often advisable to focus less on what the new cup size will be and more on how particular sizes of breast implants will enhance and accentuate the body frame in general. We take a number of different steps to help patients choose the breast implant size that will both satisfy their expectations and produce beautiful aesthetic results.
Dr. Boynton utilizes his own “biodimensional planning” with each patient that involves taking specific measurements. Once gathered, the measurements are converted into the best implant size for the individual based on their measurements. The patient then gets to try on the implants in a special “sizer” bra that simulates the final result. This way, Dr. Boynton incorporates the science of the measurements with each patient’s goals and wishes to arrive at the best result for each particular patient. Dr. Boynton also utilizes a special sizer at the time of surgery to confirm and ensure the best size and goals for each individual based on their tissues.
How Do I Choose the Right Breast Implants?
Choosing the right implant for you will be based on a number of different factors, including your specific needs and desired outcome. During your consultation, Dr. Boynton will discuss all of your options in thorough detail, highlighting the various advantages and disadvantages of each choice. In addition, measurements of the breasts and chest wall will be taken to devise a “biodimensional plan” and identify which implants can be safely accommodated by your breast tissues. Once all possible options have been discussed, Dr. Boynton will assist you in the selection of breast implants that can most effectively help you achieve your breast augmentation goals.
What Does the Breast Augmentation Procedure Involve?
The breast augmentation procedure is best approached using a tiny “inframammary” (IMF) incision along the crease under the breast. It is about the width of a quarter and heals extremely well, and it is well-disguised. Dr. Boynton has vast experience with patients of all demographics and types of skin pigmentation, and the incision tends to fade away for the majority of individuals. There are other incisions that can be made, but none of them give the accuracy of implant placement that the IMF incision affords. There is also a decreased chance of nipple sensitivity changes and capsular contracture with this incision (as compared to the periareolar incision). Once the incision is made, implants are typically placed in the subpectoral pocket (under the chest wall or pectoralis muscle). Dr. Boynton utilizes a minimal touch or no-touch technique with silicone gel implants that minimizes any risk of contamination, implant shell integrity loss, and even capsular contraction. Dr. Boynton is an expert with the dual-plane technique, which involves differentially releasing the anterior surface of the pectoralis muscle to variable degrees in order to get some degree of internal lift. This can be especially helpful in patients that have early signs of sagginess and may not be ready for a breast lift yet.
In some cases, Dr. Boynton performs a dual plane subpectoral breast augmentation when indicated, especially in patients that have some “early” changes of breast ptosis or “droopiness” to the breast. This allows some degree of “internal lift” to be accomplished in conjunction with the breast augmentation. Sometimes this is not enough, and patients require both breast augmentation and mastopexy together—also known as breast augmentation with mastopexy. Dr. Boynton has advanced training in this highly complex procedure and can help determine the best plan for each patient.
You're not just a patient, he asks you how are your kids, how's your mom... The way he treats you during the procedure, the before and after care... I wouldn't go to anybody else.
Breast augmentation is an outpatient surgical procedure that typically takes a little over an hour to perform, and patients are generally able to return home the same day under the care and supervision of a close friend or family member. Risks of surgery—such as hematoma—are nationally quoted as about 1% of all patients in the U.S. Currently, Dr. Boynton’s risk of hematoma is well below that. In the event of a post-operative hematoma, early recognition and treatment are essential to remedy the problem.
What About Recovery from Breast Augmentation?
Following breast augmentation, 85–90% of patients are pain-free in three days. This is called “flash recovery” by some doctors—it is based on the principles of careful and precise dissection, smaller incisions, and using biodimensional planning in selecting implant size. Most individuals feel well enough to go out to dinner the evening after surgery, if they desire. The day after the procedure, patients are seen by Dr. Boynton in the office, their ACE bandage that was placed after surgery is removed, and they are fitted into a comfortable zip-in-front sports bra. All patients are given a prescription for antibiotics, pain medicine, and a muscle relaxer. Most women take a mild muscle relaxer for several days, though many elect not to take their pain medicine because they do not need it.
Showering is acceptable the day after surgery, and the majority of patients are able to resume normal activities of daily living very quickly. That said, heaving lifting (anything over 10 pounds), overhead reaching, and any kind of aerobic exercise is restricted for two weeks to ensure safety and minimize any risk of complications.
Where will the scar be placed?
Typically, Dr. Boynton uses a small inframammary incision hidden under the breast, just over an inch in length. This incision heals better and has the highest success of well-placed implants, less hardening (capsular contraction), and less nipple sensitivity problems
Can I breastfeed after the procedure if I choose to get pregnant?
This is a concern that many women considering breast augmentation share. Breast implants do not typically interfere with breastfeeding. The vast majority of patients are able to breastfeed after breast augmentation; however, this is also based on the assumption that the patient would have been able to breastfeed prior to breast augmentation. There should not be any “interference” of the milk ducts from the breast implant. Dr. Boynton typically performs breast augmentation utilizing an IMF (crease under the breast incision) and also places the implant behind the muscle in almost all cases. Anecdotally, Dr. Boynton cannot ever recall a patient in 14 years that attempted breastfeeding after augmentation that wasn’t able to. During the initial consultation, please talk with Dr. Boynton about your wishes regarding future breastfeeding.
How long do the breast implants last, and when would they need to be replaced?
Many plastic surgeons tell their patients that saline implants need to be replaced every 10 years. Dr. Boynton thinks that if there are no concerns or problems, they only need to be changed if the patient desires a change. Saline deflation rates are typically about 1% per year. If a patient has a saline implant deflation, she will wake up one day and notice changes. It is usually spontaneous and not related to trauma. Silicone gel implants have been used since the early 1960s, and we know from history that even with the older generation of implants, they often would last 20 to 30 years. The current 4th or 5th generation silicone gel implants have better implant shell designs as well as a more cohesive gel that will be less susceptible to leakage or rupture. The current silicone gel implants have been used since 2006, and we have every reason to believe they will endure at least as well as the older silicone implants.
Breast Augmentation with Lift
Breast augmentation is an ideal way to enhance the size and shape of the breasts; however, it typically cannot successfully address significant levels of breast ptosis (sagginess). With that in mind, patients who would like to add fullness to the breasts in addition to improving a “drooping” appearance in the breasts may benefit from a breast augmentation with lift procedure. Also known as augmentation-mastopexy or “breast lift with implants,” this treatment combines a breast lift with breast enlargement to help individuals increase the size of their breasts while eliminating excess skin and moving the breasts higher on the chest, ultimately creating a firmer, more youthful, and “perky” aesthetic.
Learn more about breast augmentation with lift.
How Much Does Breast Augmentation Cost?
There are many factors that go into the total cost of breast augmentation, including the complexity of the operation, the type of breast implants that will be placed, the surgeon’s fee, anesthesia and facility fees, and other components. Here at Boynton Plastic Surgery, the total cost of breast augmentation typically falls between $6500 to $8000, which includes the surgeon’s fee, cost of anesthesia, cost of implants (depending on silicone gel or saline breast implants), and surgicenter or hospital costs; however, the price can vary based on each patient’s unique treatment plan. Our plastic surgery team is committed to providing you with an upfront cost estimate of breast augmentation surgery comprised of all aspects of the procedure so that you’ll know what to expect before your treatment begins. Once your customized treatment plan is created during the initial consultation, a member of our staff will go over the total cost estimate with you and discuss the many payment options available at our practice. These options include CareCredit®, a plastic surgery financing company that offers qualified applicants a range of low- and no-interest monthly payment plans that can make paying for your surgery as financially convenient as possible.
How to Choose Your Breast Augmentation Surgeon
The selection of the plastic surgeon who will perform your breast augmentation procedure is one of the most important aspects of the treatment process. The doctor you choose will essentially be your partner throughout, and you will want to make sure from the outset that you feel comfortable, confident, and assured in your prospective plastic surgeon’s ability to deliver excellent results and the best possible experience.
Here are some of the criteria that can help you know what to look for when researching the breast augmentation surgeon who is right for your needs and goals:
Credentials, Experience, and Background
For starters, it is important that you search for surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, such as Dr. Boynton. Board-certification indicates that the surgeon has met strict requirements in the field of plastic surgery and is experienced with an array of procedures. In addition to board certification, it can be helpful to find out how many years the surgeon has been in practice and how many breast augmentation procedures the doctor has performed. Membership in respected medical organizations and societies such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), the doctor’s overall approach to care and practice philosophy, and the honors and awards he or she has received can also be helpful in getting a fuller picture of the surgeon’s background and credentials.
Patient Reviews and Testimonials
By reading reviews of the plastic surgeon and viewing testimonials by previous patients, you can get an idea as to the experiences of others who were in the doctor’s care. This can help you gain insight into the surgeon’s approach and the results obtained by patients at the practice.
Before-and-After Breast Augmentation Photos
One of the best ways to fully visualize the plastic surgeon’s ability to produce successful outcomes is by viewing breast augmentation before-and-after photos featuring the doctor’s previous patients. These photo galleries can give you a specific idea of what your prospective surgeon is capable of. If the photos are not available on the surgeon’s website, it can be useful to ask the practice to see before-and-after photos upon your first visit.
Meeting With the Surgeon
Once you have narrowed down the choices when it comes to prospective breast augmentation surgeons, it is important to schedule an initial consultation with the doctor to determine your level of confidence and comfort. This meeting is a good opportunity to ask questions, evaluate your rapport, and make your final decision as to whether this particular plastic surgeon is the right fit for your needs. Any kind of plastic surgery is a major decision, and you should always feel that the doctor you have chosen is well-qualified, communicative, attentive, and committed to offering you the absolute best in care.
Additional Breast Augmentation FAQs
How long will the implants take to “drop” into place?
Everyone that has implants placed below the muscle will look a little different at first. The implants are usually high, firm, and tight. The implants will “drop” into place as the swelling recedes over the coming weeks. We have a comprehensive program for implant displacement/massage or exercises for each patient that help facilitate the implants falling into place.
When can I go swimming?
Patients can take a bath, resume swimming, or get in a hot tub, lake, or ocean (if going on a vacation) four weeks after the surgery. Research shows that submerging the breast in water before then can increase the risk of implant infection.
How do I decide between silicone gel implants and saline-filled breast implants?
Both are FDA-approved devices and patients do well with either. Dr. Boynton lets each patient decide what is best for them. Silicone gel implants often feel the most breast-like, they probably last or “hold up” the longest, and they have less visible wrinkling or rippling (as can be seen sometimes in patients that have very thin tissues). Either implant is placed below the muscle. There is a very informative website—www.breastimplantsafety.org—that has further good scientific information about both types of implants.
Will I have any changes to nipple sensitivity?
Most patients will experience some transient increase or decrease in nipple sensitivity due to the “expansion” of the breast, which resolves over several months. Most commonly, patients notice their nipples are more sensitive.
Are there any health concerns with using silicone gel implants?
Most of the “scare” with silicone gel breast implants stems from the 1980s and 1990s when many women had their ruptured silicone implants removed. The FDA took silicone gel implants “off the market” in 1992, and it then became the most studied medical device of all time. Lawsuits claiming illness and sickness in patients from silicone gel implants were rampant during this time. Claims of arthritis and a number of health conditions being caused by the silicone gel implants were subsequently shown to have no scientific bearing. Repeated studies have shown them to be very safe. All major countries in the world use silicone gel implants. Saline implants are rare outside the US. The website www.breastimplantsafety.org has more details on this topic.
How do I pick my size?
Dr. Boynton utilizes a system of “biodimensional planning” that basically involves a number of careful measurements about the breast and chest wall. This is a way to take into account the tissue characteristics and body measurements to help figure out what implant may be best-suited for that particular patient. This is analogous to having a tailor measure a patient for a custom outfit. Afterwards, the patient is able to try on sizer implants in a special bra that simulate the changes with breast enhancement. This way, each patient can get an idea of what size they like. Dr. Boynton is able to put together the science of the measurements with the patient’s desires and arrive at consistent, excellent results that patients are excited about.
How much do breast implants weigh?
The weight of breast implants is often directly relative to how many cc’s (cubic centimeters) of saline or gel have been placed inside the implant shell. The shell itself will contribute a small amount of weight; however, it is the volume inside the shell that will weigh more. In many cases, even with large breast implants, the implants themselves will only weigh about one to two pounds (if that). Although the weight of the implants is an issue that is sometimes considered by patients, there really shouldn’t be much of a difference in terms of weight gain after breast augmentation.
What do breast implants feel like?
The way your breast implants feel will depend on the specific type of breast implant you choose. You can find more detailed information on breast implant types in the sections above. With that in mind, you can be assured that our practice utilizes many of the most advanced types of breast implants available, along with state-of-the-art surgical techniques designed to provide patients with results that look <i>and feel </i>as natural as possible.
How should I sleep after breast augmentation?
Your sleeping position is very important in the weeks following breast augmentation. You will want to minimize any pressure or strain on the breasts while you recover, so we typically recommend that you sleep exclusively on your back for a few weeks following surgery. We may also advise you to elevate your back with pillows for a few nights, as well. Dr. Boynton will provide you with detailed post-operative instructions offering additional guidance for your unique needs.
What type of bra should I wear after breast augmentation?
Dr. Boynton will provide you with a special type of sports bra to wear during the recovery period. For most patients, this bra should be worn for several weeks after breast augmentation in order to aid the healing process and provide support for your enhanced breast contours.
Schedule a Consultation
Dr. Boynton can answer all of your questions about breast augmentation during an initial consultation. At this meeting, he will discuss all aspects of the procedure and show you examples of a variety of sizes, shapes, and types of breast implants. If desired, he will also help you determine if you are a good candidate to combine your breast augmentation with a tummy tuck and/or other cosmetic procedures for a more comprehensive enhancement. Please contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Boynton, or if you would like more information about breast augmentation.