Breast Implants (Breast Augmentation)
Operative Time: 1 hour
Incisions: Inframammary Fold (IMF) or Axillary (armpit)
- 1 week – Suture removal; Typical time off work
- 3 weeks – Resume low-impact exercise
- 6 weeks – Resume all exercise without restrictions
- 3 months – Majority of swelling gone and wounds 90% strong
- 1 year – Final healing
*Please note that each patient and case is unique. Nothing in surgery is a guarantee. Please talk with Dr. Street more in person about your individualized surgical plan. All general anesthesia is performed by a board-certified anesthesiologist.
Are saline implants safer than silicone implants?
In short, No. Both implant types have silicone shells but are filled with different material. Saline implants are filled with salt water and if they rupture, this salt water will safely get absorbed by the body. If a silicone implant ruptures, the material stays inside the shell and has not been shown to cause any issues.
Do breast implants interfere with cancer screening?
No. Radiologists who read mammograms have experience judging the breast tissue around implants. Various papers have shown that implants don’t impact a radiologist’s ability to detect breast cancer with a mammogram. When implants are under the muscle, they are even farther away from the breast tissue. Sometimes special displacement techniques are necessary when taking the mammogram.
Can I get an augmentation without an implant using just my own fat?
Yes but we typically can’t safely get enough fat in the breast at one time to cause a large size increase. Fat grafting into the breast is safe and widely used, mostly in breast reconstruction for cancer. But, for the typical volume increases desired with cosmetic augmentation patients, the small amount of fat that can safely be injected in one surgery usually isn’t enough.
What is ALCL?
Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma is a type of cancer that can be associated with breast implants. Fortunately it is exceedingly rare, and is only definitively linked to textured implants. For this reason, Dr. Street only uses smooth implants. The treatment for ALCL usually involves removing the implant and could involve more conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy. Patients that have a large fluid collection gather around their implant over 1 year out of surgery should have this worked up for ALCL.
Do breast implants have to be removed in 10 years?
No. Implant approval studies for the FDA were tested with 10 year intervals but that does not mean that implants cannot last longer than 10 years. Frequently we see implants last a lifetime. As long as the implant isn’t causing problems, and the patient still wants it, the implant can stay in place.
How can I tell if an implant has ruptured?
When saline implants rupture, the salt water leaks out and the implant deflates. Typically this can be seen on physical exam and often the patient diagnoses it themselves. Silicone implants usually rupture silently, meaning there is no outward sign. To confirm a rupture in a silicone implant, we need to order an MRI.
What is capsular contracture?
The body surrounds all implants with a capsule. This is normal. However, if the implant gets exposed to bacteria on the skin during the insertion process, the immune response from the body can cause the capsule walls to close in. This makes the implant higher and tighter and can even cause pain. We take many steps to prevent this process in the OR. This is also why we do not offer the Nipple incision for primary breast augmentation, because it has been shown to have higher capsular contracture rates.