Breast Augmentation

Many women are unhappy with the size and projection of their breasts as they change over the course of their lives. This can be due to things like pregnancy, aging, weight loss, or genetics. Well-proportioned breasts are often a sign of youth and femininity, and a breast augmentation can help women achieve their desired profile.

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What is a Breast Augmentation?

This breast enhancement procedure is one of the most well-known cosmetic procedures available. It uses incisions to place implants within the existing breast, which create the desired shape and size. A breast augmentation can be performed along with other cosmetic procedures, including a breast lift or breast reconstruction. Different implants are available and can achieve different results. Two common types are:

  • Saline implants, which contain sterilized salt water. These require a smaller incision, as the shell of the implant can be placed and then filled with saline. Should a rupture occur, the saline is harmlessly absorbed by the body and is immediately noticeable.
  • Silicone implants, which are filled with silicone gel. These are often noted to feel more like natural breast tissue and, should a rupture occur, the silicone material will stay in place. These may require regular checkups to assess that the shell has not ruptured, even minorly.

These implants can come in different shapes, whether rounded or tear-shaped. Your plastic surgeon in Gulfport can help you determine what option is best for you and your desired results.

Who should consider a Breast Augmentation?

Any woman who has fully-developed breasts and is unhappy with their size and projection can consider a breast augmentation. Pregnancy and weight gain or loss can greatly affect the results, so candidates should be participating in a healthy, active lifestyle and able to undergo invasive surgery. Candidates may not be pregnant or breastfeeding.

What happens during a Breast Augmentation?

During your consultation, your surgeon will help you determine which implant is best, as well as which kind of incision will be used. Some include:

  • The Periareolar incision, which is cut along the edge of the areolae in order to hide scarring within the areolar pigmentation.
  • The Inframammary incision, which curves along the bottom of the breast and within the fold, where the scarring is hidden.

These various incisions will aid in different techniques and offer better access for different implants. After the anesthesia is administered and the incision is cut, the implant is placed either on top of or underneath the pectoral muscle. This choice offers additional options for breast augmentation results— placing the implant on top of the pectoral muscle gives greater projection and is less painful, while placing it underneath the muscle gives a more natural look and feel. All options will be discussed during your initial consultation.

What are the results and recovery like?

It’s very important that the new breasts are supported during the healing process by a compression garment, much like a bra. This will support the new implant and keep it in place until the breast structure can heal and accommodate it, and it will also aid in healing by suppressing swelling. Your surgeon will determine how long the garment will need to be worn throughout the healing process, and it may be a few weeks before swelling and pain subside, which can be managed with prescribed medications. It’s also important to limit movement and strain on the chest during this time, especially if the pectoral muscles have been manipulated to accommodate the implant.

While the results are long-term, the implants need to be maintained for as long as they are in place. This includes checking for ruptures and having them surgically replaced if needed. You may also require additional procedures, especially as the breasts age and sag over time or due to other factors. Your surgeon can direct you in how to get the best results out of your breast augmentation.

If you are considering a breast augmentation and would like to ask questions, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Richardson

Breast Augmentation FAQs


How long to recover from breast augmentation


The exact length of your recovery from breast augmentation will depend on the placement of your implants and other techniques used during the procedure. You can expect your complete recovery process to take about 4-6 weeks. However, you will likely start to feel well enough to return to work and most normal activities after the first week. After 6 weeks, most of your swelling will have diminished and you can resume regular exercise with the okay from your surgeon. Your board certified plastic surgeon will provide you with an exact timeline of your breast augmentation recovery during your consultation.


What to expect after breast augmentation


After breast augmentation surgery, your incisions will be bandaged, and you will be given a support bra to ensure proper healing and control swelling. You can expect some discomfort, swelling, and bruising that is most significant in the first week after your procedure. Pain can be managed with prescription pain medication or an over-the-counter pain reliever. You will be provided with post-op care instructions and restrictions that you will need to follow closely in order to ensure sucessful healing and results. This will include no lifting or movements that could strain the incision sites. If you have small children, you will want to arrange for a caregiver to help out for at least the first few days.


What not to do after breast augmentation


After your breast augmentation procedure, you will be given instructions on what not to do during recovery. This will include physical restrictions such as no heavy lifting or lifting the arms above the shoulder and no movements that involve the chest muscles. You should also avoid sleeping on your stomach for the first six weeks. Avoid getting your incisions wet for the first several days and no bathing for at least two weeks after your procedure. Don’t make any guesses when it comes to what you can or can’t do after your breast augmentation procedure. If you have any questions, consult your board certified plastic surgeon.


How long does breast augmentation surgery take?


A breast augmentation is a relatively simple and short procedure. The procedure typically takes one to two hours to complete depending on the techniques being used. Factors that can affect the length of your surgery include the type of implants you chose, incisions and placement type, and the type of anesthesia used. If you chose to combine another procedure like the breast lift, your procedure will take longer. You can get a better estimate of how long your specific breast augmentation procedure will take during your consultation. Choosing a board certified plastic surgeon with the adequate experience is more important than the length of the procedure process.


How to sleep after breast augmentation


After your breast augmentation procedure, avoid sleeping on your stomach for at least the first two weeks. If you’re having a hard time sleeping on your back or are worried about rolling over in your sleep, place pillows by your sides. You might also try sleeping slightly inclined or with a pillow under your back to keep the pressure of your implants. You should still wear your support bra while you sleep for the first several weeks. After the first two weeks, you can try switching to sleeping on your side and stomach once fully healed.


What type of bra to wear after breast augmentation


During recovery from your breast augmentation, you will be provided with a support bra to wear at all times. This minimizes swelling, helps with discomfort, and ensures proper healing and settling of your implants. You might also wear a sports bra or other soft bra that easily opens in the front to avoid straining your incision sites. During recovery, your new implants will need to drop and settle into place. Wearing a push up bra could affect the final shape and position of your breasts. You should not wear a regular underwire bra until at least six weeks after your procedure.


How long does pain last after breast augmentation?


The amount of discomfort you experience after breast augmentation will depend on your pain tolerance, the placement of your implants, and the techniques used. You can expect the most amount of discomfort in the first few days after your procedure. You can manage pain during this time with a prescription pain medication from your surgeon. Many women feel well enough after the first few days with just an over-the-counter pain reliever. After the first week, you should feel well enough to return to work and other activities that don’t put a strain on the incision sites.


How long does a breast augmentation take?


The actual breast augmentation procedure can take about one to two hours to complete, depending on the incision types and other techniques being used. The procedure will also be longer if you’ve decided to combine another procedure like liposuction or a breast lift. After your procedure, you will be sent to the recovery center where you can be monitored for a few hours while your medication wears off. You should then have a close friend or family member there to drive you home and you will be given after care instructions to follow during recovery. Your plastic surgeon can go over how long your specific breast augmentation procedure will take during your consultation.


How to prepare for breast augmentation


To prepare for your breast augmentation procedure, avoid smoking for at least two weeks. However, the sooner you can quit, the better. Smoking thins the blood and can lead to excess bleeding and bruising, making for a longer recovery. You should also avoid blood thinning medications and herbal supplements in the week leading up to your procedure. In the day before your surgery day, you’ll want to fill your prescription medication, have your home stocked with easy to make, healthy meals, and have a comfortable place ready where you will be able to relax and recover. You might also want movies, books, and anything else to keep you relaxed and entertained. You should also arrange for someone to drive you home from your procedure and to care for you for the first day or longer if you have small children that need to be cared for.


How long after breast augmentation can I swim?


Following your breast augmentation procedure, your breasts should not be fully submerged until your incisions have completely healed and show no scabbing. This can take about 4 weeks. This means showering only after the first few days and no bathing or swimming during this time. When swimming, you must also be aware of your exercise restrictions. It is recommended to avoid strenuous exercise for the first six weeks of your recovery. Only swim when you feel well enough and when your surgeon has given you the okay. If you have any questions about what you can and can’t do, make sure you ask your surgeon before performing them.


What to wear after breast augmentation


After your breast augmentation procedure, you will be given a surgical bra that should be worn as often as possible to minimize swelling and assist the healing process. You will want to wear a loose fitting shirt over your bra that can easily be put on and taken off. Be careful when lifting your shirt off as over-the-head motions could strain your new incisions. After several weeks, you will be able to switch to wearing a sports bra and whatever outer clothing you’d like. It is recommended to avoid underwire or push up bras until at least 6 weeks after your procedure.


How to get breast augmentation covered by insurance


Because breast augmentation is a cosmetic procedure, it is not usually covered by insurance. Typically, the only cases that are covered by insurance are those performed following a mastectomy from breast cancer. Talk with your surgeon about your payment options and how much you can expect to pay out of pocket for your procedure. Breast augmentation typically costs around $3,700, but this number varies depending on the techniques being used. You will also want to talk with your insurance company to determine if they do cover any of your procedure and other important questions regarding future breast conditions and procedures.


How to avoid capsular contracture in breast augmentation


After your breast augmentation, your body will begin to develop collagen fibers and scar tissue around your implant. In some cases, this collagen builds up and begins to tighten, squeezing the implant and resulting in a hardened feeling. There are some things you can do to prevent the chances of this happening such as breast massage. Your surgeon can provide you with instructions on how you can properly massage your breasts at home. However, there is no way to completely prevent a capsular contracture from occurring. If it does occur, you will need to meet with your surgeon about a revision procedure to remove the hardened scar tissue.


What to expect 2 weeks post op breast augmentation


At two weeks after your breast augmentation, you will have gotten past the majority of your discomforts and swelling. You will be able to return to work and get back to most of your daily activities. You will still be experiencing some swelling that can linger for several more months, and your incisions will still be healing. Although you might not need to wear your surgical bra anymore, you’ll want to avoid wearing an underwire bra for another four weeks. You will also still have exercise restrictions and will want to continue to take it easy, avoiding strenuous activity.