The Surgeon Minute

What An Implant Can’t Fix

What An Implant Can’t Fix

Women seek out breast augmentation with an implant for a variety of reasons. Maybe they don’t like the size of their breasts and are done with padded bras, or perhaps their breasts are noticeably asymmetrical. Sometimes the shape or projection just isn’t ideal.

There is a veritable world of implants that can solve for all these issues. Dr. Clifford Clark is a board certified plastic surgeon in Florida who meets often with patients looking for a solution. Breast augmentations are an important part of this, but he emphasizes implants have their limitations. “Often, it takes more than an implant to achieve the look the patient desires,” says Dr. Clark. “I don’t want to disappoint anyone during the consultation, but sometimes it requires just one additional step.” 

A Difficult Conversation

According to Clark, often a woman will come in for a consultation and declare, All I want is an implant. This, he says, can be a difficult conversation if their breasts are not in an optimal position. Some feel ambushed when they are told they need a breast lift along with an implant. The problem is, if a breast is sagging or if the nipples are pointing downward, an implant will only exacerbate the situation.

Augmenting the breast without an implant.

“An implant creates form and volume and much of the beauty, but if we don’t bring the breast tissue up to match the implant, you’ll have a bigger, droopy breast and that is the worst possible result; an implant doesn’t fix a droopy breast.” – Cliff Clark, MD

What You Need vs. What You Want

Clark believes the most important thing about a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is being educated to appreciate what it takes to achieve a particular aesthetic goal. He sees patients who have had unfortunate results elsewhere because they were given what they requested, not necessarily what they needed. “They’ve had a bigger implant fill that large skin envelope which creates a large breast that overwhelms their body,” he describes. “The breast is sitting very low. It reduces the overall length of the woman’s torso and over time that stretched tissue is unable to support the implant. Now, they need even more of a lift.”

 

New Technology that Does the Talking

Dr. Clark has invested in a new “show and tell” technology called Sculpt My Dream which take a 3D picture of a woman’s actual breasts. The tool allows them to try on different sized implants with and without clothes, and see the results from all angles. “With this virtual imager the conversation is simplified,” Clark explains. “We show the patient what their sagging breast looks like with an implant. They get it right away. It used to be a very difficult conversation and I wasn’t certain patients really left understanding what the issues were. Now I show them and they say, ‘Oh my goodness…that is not what I want at all.’ Then you show how lifting the tissues around the implant makes all the difference. They see it right away.”

The Best Result

Once patients see the simulation of their actual result they are much more confident in a different surgical plan than they anticipated and are confident going forward. Virtual imaging can demonstrate the possibilities, but it cannot substitute for an experienced, well-trained surgeon. Experienced plastic surgeons uses the newest techniques in conjunction with this new technology. “Fortunately, the techniques I use for a breast lift are much improved today than days gone by,” says Clark. “I can limit the scars and most patients heal beautifully. When the implant fits the patient and the droopy tissue is recontoured, the patient enjoys perky, lovely, youthful breasts – exactly like they imagined.”

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