No one wants to undergo breast augmentation and afterwards find themselves saying, “These implants are too large!” Selecting an implant that is “just right” for your body and the look you desire is a process that should be done with the help of an experienced board certified plastic surgeon.
Breast augmentation is the most popular plastic surgery procedure in the United States, and it has been for years. What has not remained constant over the years is the look women want to achieve. Patients are no longer asking plastic surgeons for voluptuous Pamela Anderson cleavage. Instead, they want smaller, less dramatic changes. Women across the country are having breast augmentation done in order to fill out their B or C cup, rather to transform it drastically to an overflowing DD.
“My patients are very concerned about wanting to have a natural looking breast,” says Boston-based, board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Sean Doherty. “A natural looking breast is a full breast that is harmonious with the rest of the body. You have a nice curve and a nice shape to your upper chest – one that you feel good with. Your breasts don’t enter the room before you do.”
So Many Choices, So Much Time
Today’s breast augmentation patient has more implant choices than ever before. Because there are so many implant options, it is important for patients to spend plenty of time with their surgeon carefully selecting the ideal implant for their body.
“A good outcome with breast implants requires a few visits with your plastic surgeon,” says Doherty. “Once you can decide which implants are on the table as an option for you, you can then talk about how to achieve the best outcome.”
Part of the consultation process for breast augmentation surgery involves a breast examination. During the examination, Dr. Doherty takes several different measurements of the patient’s unique anatomy. These measurements provide Doherty with a range of implants that would “fit” within the patient’s proportions. Once a range of implants has been established, the patient and Doherty will together decide whether the implant should fall within the smaller end or the larger end of implants that fit.
A Breast Augmentation Decision Checklist
There are many decisions that go into proper implant selection. The diameter of the implant is usually determined based on the measurement of the current breast diameter. This is to ensure an implant will fill out the breast. Other decisions during the planning process can be customized based on the patient’s desired outcome. These include deciding between saline and silicone implants, choosing round or shaped implants, selecting an implant with a smooth or textured shell, and deciding on the height, or projection, of the implant.
Once an implant has been selected, additional surgery planning decisions remain. The implant could be placed above or below the muscle and there are several places where the incision used to insert the implants could be placed.
- Breast Implant Planning Decisions:
- Saline vs. Silicone Implants
- Round vs. Shaped Implants
- Smooth vs. Textured Shell
- Projection: Low, Medium or High
- Diameter of Implant
- Placement Above or Below the Muscle
- Incision Placement
“Most of my patients have silicone breast implants,” shares Doherty. “Down that pathway there are so many options. All of which are safe. We’re really able to fine tune the right implant for the right patient and achieve the best outcome.”
Stay Within Your Measurements
There is no standard “too big” size when it comes to breast implants. An implant that is too large for a short or small framed woman may be just right for a taller or larger framed woman. This is why the breast examination and the taking of careful measurements are so vital to the decision making process. When patients or surgeons ignore the patient’s proportions and choose implants that fall outside of the range that will fit their frame, the result will be an unnatural look.
“Patients who don’t have the best outcomes and don’t have a natural look, have implants that are too big for their body,” emphasizes Doherty. “They are asking too much from implants, and are really quite dissatisfied with the results.”
Implants that are too big pose other potential problems as well. The weight of large implants can trigger back pain, neck pain and may cause increased drooping and sagging of the breasts over time. The key is to select implants that will give you the improvement you desire without going so large that you create problems down the road.