Breast Augmentation Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the different incisions that can be made with breast implants?

Three incisions are commonly used: the infra-mammary incision, which is located at the crease beneath the breast; the peri-areolar incision, located at the border between the breast skin and the pigmented skin of the nipple-areolar complex; and the axillary incision, which is located within the armpit.

2. What can I do to minimize scarring?

I like to provide patients with one set of silicone gel strips after surgery, which are worn over the incisions for 4-6 weeks.  Silicone gel and vitamin E oil are also very effective in helping the scar to remain soft and flat.

3. Is it best to have the implant placed above or below the muscle?

In most cases, it is preferable to have the implant placed beneath the muscle.  This provides a more natural result, decreases the risk of capsular contracture, and makes future mammograms easier.

4. How long do breast implants last?

Implants tend to weaken after 10 years of use, but the newer generation of implants may last 20 years or longer.

5. What are the risks of breast implant?

The risks of any surgery include bleeding, infection, and scarring. With breast augmentation in particular, additional risks include capsular contracture, rippling of the implants, implant rupture, and persistent numbness or pain.

6. What is capsular contracture?

Capsular contracture occurs secondary to thickened scar tissue around an implant.  This may be associated with pain and distortion of the breasts.  Significant capsular contracture appears to occur in 5-10% of patients.

7. Do breast implants need to be replaced every 10-15 years?

No, implants can be kept in place if they are functioning well.  Yearly exams with your surgeon are recommended to evaluate for any changes.

8. Can I have breast implants if I’m planning to have kids in the future?

Yes, during pregnancy your breasts will become larger, but they should revert to their pre-pregnancy size following delivery and the cessation of breastfeeding.

9. Can I breast feed if I have breast implants?

Yes, many patient are able to breastfeed after breast augmentation, as the ducts to the nipple are not disrupted during surgery. Breastfeeding with implants is safe for your baby.

10. How will breast implants affect having a Mammogram?

You should let your mammography center know that you have implants in place prior to your exam. The technician will employ a method called the Eklund technique, in which the implant is manually displaced prior to applying the mammography plates.  Implants do limit the sensitivity of mammograms to some extent, as not all of the breast tissue can be clearly seen.