Breast augmentation is the #1 procedure at MAS not only because it’s one of our specialties, but also because our patients are extremely happy with their results. We’re looking forward to meeting you for your consultation, and we wanted to provide you with a list of FAQ’s about breast augmentation surgery so you can familiarize yourself with the procedure before you arrive.
Our Signature Breast Augmentation Procedures
Continue reading below for some of the most common FAQ’s about breast augmentation, or select from one of our signature breast augmentation procedures below for more specific information.
- The Rapid Recovery Breast Augmentation™
- The Playmate Breast Augmentation™
- The Natural Breast Augmentation™
- The 24-Hour Breast Augmentation™
- Gummy Bear Breast Implants
We encourage you to View our Breast Augmentation Photo Gallery to see the incredible results that real patients have achieved in our practice with our exclusive and innovative approach to breast augmentation surgery.
What’s in this section?
Click any of the links below to jump to the section you are most interested in, or simply continue scrolling to learn more about breast augmentation surgery:
- Saline vs Silicone Breast Implants: Which Is Better?
- How Do I Choose the Right Implant Size?
- Breast Implants Under or Over the Muscle?
- Which incision is best for breast augmentation?
- What is the No-Touch Technique for Breast Augmentation?
- Smooth vs Textured Breast Implants: Which Is Better?
- How Long Do I Have to Take off Work after Breast Augmentation?
- How Long Does It Take Breast Implants to Settle?
- When Can I Take a Shower after My Procedure?
- Will I Have Drains after My Breast Augmentation?
- When Can I Wear a Regular Bra Again?
- When Can I Go Back to the Gym?
- When Is It Safe to Have Sex after Breast Augmentation?
- Can Breast Implants Improve Your Sex Life?
- How much does breast augmentation cost?
Saline vs Silicone Breast Implants: Which Is Better?
Those of us who are current with the latest research about breast implants know that highly-cohesive silicone gel implants (also known as gummy bear implants) are now the gold standard in breast implant technology. Saline breast implants still serve a purpose for a small percentage of women, most of whom simply don’t meet the minimum age requirement of 22 years of age to have silicone. Silicone implants have a number of key advantages, which is why fewer and fewer women are electing to use saline.
- Silicone implants look more natural. Silicone breast implants come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they are made with very soft natural feeling silicone shells that cause less wrinkling and rippling than saline. The majority of saline implants in use today tend to be high profile devices with a very round, unnatural look to them, and their shells are made from harder plastic that wrinkles more easily under the skin and feels much less natural.
- Silicone implants feel more natural. The biggest difference between saline and silicone is how they feel. While neither of them feels exactly like a natural breast, silicone is definitely a closer match. It’s much more supple, and moves in a more natural way. The best way to experience this difference for yourself is to talk to other women with breast implants, so don’t be afraid to ask your friends for their advice or ask your plastic surgeon if any of his patients have offered to communicate with other prospective patients. Another great way to compare is to ask your surgeon to see some sample implants in the office, or you can order Breast Implant Starter Kit from Allergan. The kits include a few sample sizes and some very useful brochures. You can even put the implants in your bra at home to get an idea of how they would look.
- Silicone implants are safer and last longer. After decades of internal review of the science behind the safety of silicone breast implants, the FDA fully approved their use for cosmetic breast augmentation surgery, and noted that there has never been any hard evidence to support the dangers that were heavily scrutinized by the media in the very remote past. It also noteworthy that silicone breast implants are the most common implant used for breast reconstruction surgery, which undoubtedly speaks to their safety profile. Current generation silicone implants are produced with with a soft, stable silicone shell filled with solid silicone gel which not only means that ruptures and leaks are no longer possible (because there is no longer any liquid silicone inside the implant), but also that silicone implants last much longer than the plastic shelled saline implants.
How Do I Choose the Right Implant Size?
Since breast augmentation is our #1 procedure, we have a tremendous amount of experience in helping our patients choose the proper size. Choosing the right size isn’t only about the volume. It’s also about the shape of that volume, about the proportions of the rest of your chest and body, and about the overall look that you feel is attractive. Here is what our breast augmentation specialist Dr. Nicholas Vendemia has to say about how he helps his patients choose the perfect size breast implants:
- Spend Time With Your Plastic Surgeon. “I think this is the most important part of choosing breast implants. The best way to pick the perfect size is to be on the same page with your plastic surgeon, and you can’t possibly be on the same page unless you get to know each other. It’s almost impossible for your surgeon to get a feel for your personality during a short, rushed consultation spent mostly filling out paperwork with the surgeon’s assistants. I routinely spend 60-90 minutes with all of my prospective breast augmentation patients during the first visit, and then another 30-60 minutes during a second preoperative consultation. I think spending this amount of time really helps us both feel confident in the ultimate size choice.”
- Look at Sample Breast Implants. “I always show my patients sample breast implants with several different shapes and sizes, and I arrange for plenty of time after the initial consultation for patients to place samples of the sizes that I recommend for them in their bra. Although this is not a highly accurate way of choosing a size, it can certainly point us in the right direction and help narrow down the range of implants that you might like.”
- Look at Before & After Photos. “I spend a significant amount of time looking through Before & After photos with my patients, and I encourage them to spend lots of time on their own looking at our photo gallery before and after their consultation. It is tremendously helpful for me to know which photos you like and which you don’t. We talk about the various shapes, sizes, spacing, roundness, fullness, etc etc etc, until we have your favorite 2-3 photos nailed down. Since I know exactly what size breast implants I used in all of my Before and After photos, this definitely helps us pin down a size.”
- Look at Magazine Photos. “I always ask my patients to bring in magazine photos that they like. This isn’t so much about the size as it is about the look… I want to know how my patients want to LOOK after surgery… sexy, natural, defined cleavage, close together, big, small, round, flat.. all of these things are part of “the look” you want. Similar size breast implants can look very different on different body types, so looking at pictures that my patients find attractive is really important in helping me choose an implant that will give them the look they’re after. And believe it or not, it is actually more helpful for you to bring in photos don’t include clothing like bras and bathing suits, so don’t be embarrassed to flip through the pages of Playboy as you’re trying to find something you like. Most experienced plastic surgeons will not be surprised if you bring in photos from magazines like this, so don’t worry about it.”
- Meet With Your Plastic Surgeon More Than Once. “Let’s face it… sometimes things change. That’s why I always meet with my breast augmentation patients at least twice before surgery. The vast majority of the time, we don’t make any major changes to what we decided during our first consultation because the visit is so thorough, but every once in a while a patient will say that they want to go slightly larger or smaller than we initially planned. Even though this happens infrequently, I still believe that meeting more than once helps us both feel 100% confident that we’re choosing the perfect size and that we’re on exactly the same page before we step into the operating room.”
Breast Implants Under or Over the Muscle?
Choosing to place your implants over the muscle, also known as subglandular breast augmentation, has several advantages, but these advantages need to be weighed carefully against the downsides of a higher rate of capsular contracture, implant palpability (being able to feel the edges of the implant), and implant visibility (being able to see the edges of implant under the skin), especially if you are very thin:
Advantages of Subglandular Breast Augmentation
- Subglandular implants can produce more lift than sub muscular implants
- Subglandular implants will not move or change position with muscle contractions
- Subglandular breast augmentation preserves normal muscle strength
- Subgladular breast augmentation patients can return to high-level physical exercise more quickly (important for athletes, fitness competitors, etc)
Disadvantages of Subglandular Breast Augmentation
- Subglandular breast augmentation carries a higher risk of capsular contracture
- Subglandular breast implants have a higher risk of producing visible rippling or wrinkling in the upper part of the breast
- Subglandular breast implants may have a more prominent, defined look that may be perceived as less natural by some women
Placing the implants under the muscle, also known as submuscular breast augmentation or “dual plane approach”, is usually the best choice because the upper portion of the implant is covered with the pectoralis muscle which leads to a lower chance of implant palpability or visibility in the upper part of the breast, and to a lower risk of capsular contracture. Here are the most common advantages and disadvantages of submusuclar breast augmentation (under the muscle):
Advantages of Submuscular Breast Augmentation
- Submusular breast augmentation carries a lower risk of capsular contracture
- Submusclar breast implants tend to have a more natural slope and more attractive shape in the upper portion of the breast
- Submusclar breast implants lead to less rippling and wrinkling in the upper part of the breast
Disadvantages of Submuscular Breast Augmentation
- Submuscular breast implants may lead to a slight loss in strength of your pectoralis muscle (this is usually only noticeable to high-level amateur and professional athletes)
- Submusular breast implants can lead to a phenomenon called banding in which the pec muscle can be seen contracting across the breast implant during vigorous physical activity (most often noticed only if you are very thin or lean)
- Submusclar breast augmentation can lead to slightly more discomfort after surgery, and a longer period of recovery before returning to exercises involving the pec muscle, but the Rapid Recovery Breast Augmentation is continuing to alleviate this concern.
As with any major medical decision, you should arrive at a choice only after consulting closely with your plastic surgeon. Be honest and open, tell exactly what you want and what your concerns are. Have a thorough, two-way conversation so that you can find the combination of advantages and disadvantages that makes you most comfortable with the procedure.
Which incision is best for breast augmentation?
Based on the newest research presented at the 2013 American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) meeting, we now recommend the inframammary incision (under the breast in the fold) to the vast majority of our patients because it carries the lowest risk of capsular contracture. The periareolar incision (around the areola) is still a good cosmetic option, but the additional risk of capsular contracture is a concern that needs to be recognized with this approach. The transaxillary incision (in the armpit) is also a reasonable choice, but only for saline breast implants (reasonably sized silicone implants cannot be placed through a transaxillary incision). The transumbiilcal incision (through the belly button) is not used by our surgeons because it rarely produces a satisfactory result and frequently requires revisional surgery to correct a variety of problems than can arise with this approach.
What is the No-Touch Technique for Breast Augmentation?
The No-Touch Technique utilizes a specialized polymer sleeve called the Keller Funnel to insert breast implants without having to touch the implant or expose it to potential contaminants on the skin surface, the operative field, or from the air. The sleeve allows the implant to be transferred directly from it’s sterile container through the incision with minimal exposure to it’s surroundings, and also allows for a near-frictionless insertion that minimizes stress on the implant and the incision. The No-Touch Technique using the Keller Funnel for breast augmentation is quickly becoming the gold standard for sterility and safety, and we are proud to offer this technique to our exclusive breast augmentation clientele. Learn more about the Keller Funnel No-Touch Breast Augmentation by clicking here.
Smooth vs Textured Breast Implants: Which Is Better?
The decision of whether to use a smooth surface vs a textured surface implant can be a difficult one to make, but it’s an important option to consider. Smooth surface implants are the most common breast implants used in the United States, but textured devices are the most common implants used in Europe and South America. The reason for this dramatic difference in philosophy is not entirely clear, which points to the likelihood that this choice has a great deal of subjectivity, and not much actual science, behind it.
This is in fact our opinion here at MAS where we believe the textured vs smooth decision is mostly about the firmer feel of the textured implants, which some women perceive as more natural and youthful, while others perceive the softer “squishier” feel of the smooth surface implants as the more natural choice. Rest assured that this is not a decision of right vs wrong… it is an almost entirely a subjective choice. Both smooth and textured implants produce outstanding results that most women are exceedingly happy with.
Another consideration in the textured vs smooth debate is the slightly increased chance of requiring a revisional procedure in order to adjust the position of a textured implant if it should happen to heal in the wrong spot. Textured implants physically stick to your natural tissue over the initial 3-6 weeks after the procedure, whereas smooth surface implants do not stick and are more freely movable within the breast implant pockets. If a textured implant should happen to stick in a spot that is slightly different than the opposite side, it will probably not “drop” or “settle” over time like smooth implants will. If this happens, you might need a small revisional procedure to adjust the position of the implant. This is not likely or common, but it is a possibility with textured devices that doesn’t happen as often with smooth devices.
The benefit of the textured surface, that makes it worth the small risk of having to reposition the implant to some women, is that textured implants theoretically resist gravity more than smooth implants because they are supported by their attachment to your natural tissue. This means that textured implants may resist gravity-related changes like sagging better than smooth implants in the long term, but this benefit has not been scientifically proven. Another gravity-related change may occur if you have a particularly sloped rib cage that allows smooth surface implants to gradually slide off to the side within the implant pocket. In cases like this, a textured device would resist that lateral sliding better than a smooth device, and would keep your implants closer together. If you have this concern, make sure to bring it up to your surgeon so he can tell you whether or not he feels that a textured implant would benefit you in this way.
During your consultation, be sure to ask to see and hold some sample implants so you can get a sense of which feel you prefer.
Here is a short short summary the major decision points of textured vs smooth breast implants:
- Smooth Surface Implants
- Smooth implants are the most common implants used in the United States.
- Smooth implants have a slightly softer feel that some women perceive as more natural.
- Smooth implants move about more freely in the breast implant pocket, which some women perceive as more natural.
- Smooth implants have a slightly lower chance of implant asymmetry due to spontaneous rotation or malpositioning because of their free movement within the pocket.
- Smooth implants heal and stretch more quickly because of their responsiveness to the downward pull of gravity.
- Smooth implants may separate a bit over time if you have a particularly sloped rib cage that allows them to gradually slide off to the side.
- Smooth implants may age more quickly than textured implants because they have no built-in resistance to the long-term sagging effects of gravity. This has not been scientifically proven however, and remains theoretical in nature.
- Textured Surface Implants
- Textured implants are the most common implants used in Europe.
- Textured implants have a firmer feel that some women perceive as a more natural, and more youthful.
- Textured implants move about less freely in the implant pocket because the micro textured surface encourages ingrowth of your own tissue into the surface of the implant, making it effectively “stick” to you. This is also perceived as a more natural feeling by some women, and is sometimes referred to as the “one breast feel”.
- Textured implants have a slightly higher chance of spontaneous implant rotation or malposition if the device should shift in it’s position and then re-stick in a different location. This is rare, but may require an additional small surgical procedure to readjust the implant position if it occurs.
- Textured implants take a bit longer to stretch and settle than smooth implants because they are resistant to the downward pull of gravity.
- Textured implants will resist the tendency to separate as they heal, even if you have a sloped rib cage that would allow a smooth implant to gradually slide off to the side within the implant pocket.
- Textured implants may resist the gravity-induced process of aging and sagging better than smooth implants, but this benefit is only theoretical and not scientifically proven.
How Long Do I Have to Take off Work after Breast Augmentation?
Many of our Rapid Recovery Breast Augmentation patients are able to work from home the same day of their procedure, and can return to the office within 3-4 days. This is not true for every patient though, so we recommend planning about a week off to ensure a stress-free and enjoyable recovery period.
How Long Does It Take Breast Implants to Settle?
It is very common for new breast implants to sit a high on the chest, but this shouldn’t worry you. There are a few reasons why implants sit high right after surgery, but the most common reason is that your surgeon put them there on purpose to compensate for the fact that your skin will stretch over the first 2-3 months. As the skin stretches, the implants will descend into their final position.
- 1 Month: The implants are sitting fairly high on the chest, and they are quite swollen. The nipples are pointing down just ever so slightly because of the high position of the implants, and this gives the illusion that the breasts are sagging a bit. This is entirely normal and expected at only one month after surgery.
- 2 Months: You can see that the implants have descended a few centimeters, and the nipples are in the center of the implant. The illusion of sagging has disappeared, as has most of the swelling.
- 3 Months: The implants have dropped into their ideal position, and the swelling has completely resolved. The nipples are in the center of the implant, and they are now pointing just slightly skyward. This new position reflects the final few centimeters of implant descent, and the ideal position for breast implants in relation to the overlying breast.
When Can I Take a Shower after My Procedure?
We allow you to shower the following day after surgery. You’ll see your surgeon in the morning the day after your surgery for a check up, and as long as he feels that everything is healing on schedule, you will be able to go directly home and take a shower.
Will I Have Drains after My Breast Augmentation?
No, drains are not a routine part of our breast augmentation procedures and are rarely necessary after first-time breast augmentations.
When Can I Wear a Regular Bra Again?
You will likely be wearing a regular underwire bra from our custom-fit bra specialists the first week after surgery, and possibly sooner depending on how quickly your skin stretches.
When Can I Go Back to the Gym?
You can start back at the gym with light, low impact cardio workouts after about 2 weeks, and gradually advance your level of exertion over the following 2 weeks. If your breast implants are submusclar (under the muscle), you will have to wait about 6 weeks to restart exercises that directly involve the pec muscles (push ups, bench presses, planks, etc), but you will most likely be back to doing everything else somewhere between 2-4 weeks. If your implants are sub glandular (over the muscle), you will likely be back to doing everything, including direct chest exercises) in 2-3 weeks.
When Is It Safe to Have Sex after Breast Augmentation?
Immediately after breast implant surgery, there are millions of tiny blood vessels that are trying to their best to heal. These new vessel connections are extremely delicate, and even the smallest elevation in heart rate or blood pressure can cause them to break or leak.
In a recent article in Women’s Health Magazine, Amy Beal and Paige Greenfield say “Breasts are covered in a network of tiny blood vessels that become engorged with blood as heart rate and blood pressure rise during sex, literally causing your boobs to blush.”
More disrupted blood vessels means more bruising and swelling, and a longer recovery. If enough of these new blood vessels break, you could wind up back in the operating room with a hematoma, and more importantly, with a higher risk of developing a capsular contracture. It takes about two weeks for these delicate blood vessels to heal, so keep it PG until then!
Can Breast Implants Improve Your Sex Life?
A recent survey conducted among members of RealSelf.com found that women who have undergone cosmetic breast surgery are happy about having a better sex life!
- 61% reported having sex more frequently
- 70% reported having an overall more satisfying sex life
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon Dr. Nicholas Vendemia says, “I’ve seen so many women come into the office after having a breast augmentation carrying themselves differently. They stand up straighter, they smile more, they dress a little nicer, and the feel more confident about their appearance. There’s no doubt that feeling more attractive leads to better relationships in and out of the bedroom.”
Dr. Vendemia adds, “Sometimes couples are a little too anxious to get back to the bedroom after surgery, but it’s really important to wait a while before getting back into action. Strenuous activity of any kind, including sex, too soon after surgery can lead to serious problems like hematomas, seromas, and higher rates of capsular contracture, so be very careful for at least the first two weeks when it comes to sex and other strenuous physical activity.”
How much does breast augmentation cost?
Asking the right questions is the most important thing you can do during your consultation to get an accurate price. There are a variety of items that determine the final price of your surgery, and since every women is different, you should be cautious about price quotes that you get without having a consultation, or those that seem to be a “one-size-fits-all” kind of pricing strategy.
Questions to ask during the financial part of your consultation:
- How much does the surgery cost?
- Does that price include everything (implants, post op visits, special garments, etc)?
- Does that price include a fully trained anesthesiologist and use of an accredited operating facility?
- Is the entire amount due all at once?
- Are there any financing options available?
Specific items that you should consider in calculating the cost of breast augmentation surgery:
- The BOTTOM LINE about the cost of breast augmentation surgery. The average total cost of breast augmentation surgery ranges from $6,000 – $10,000 depending on a variety of factors like your surgeon’s experience level and geographic location, your choice of implants (silicone vs saline, smooth vs textured, gummy bear vs regular, teardrop shaped vs round, etc), your choice of surgical technique (Rapid Recovery, Playmate, Natural, etc), and any anatomic issues that make your case more difficult than the average person (uneven breasts, sagging breasts, tuberous breasts, etc). Prices that seem too good to be true usually are, so be suspicious and cautious if you see figures that are much lower than this ballpark range. Prices quoted over the phone or by email without an in-person consultation are notoriously inaccurate, and usually do not include many of the fees listed below in the price breakdown for breast augmentation, so make sure you’re educated on the following basics before you inquire…
- Surgeon’s Fee. The fee for your surgeon’s work runs between $3,000 – $8,000 depending on his or her assessment of how difficult your procedure will be, and how much time it will take. This fee may also be higher with surgeons who have a great deal of experience with breast augmentation.
- Implant Fees. A pair of silicone breast implants from a reputable manufacturer costs about $2,000, and a pair of saline implants ranges from $1,200 – $1,400. Please note that this is NOT the cost of the surgery, this is ONLY the cost of the implants themselves in their sterile packaging shipped directly from the company who makes them. We get asked quite frequently about “the $2000 breast implants”, so please read this section carefully so that are understanding this price breakdown properly.
- Anesthesia Fees. Fees for an anesthesia team and use of an accredited operating facility generally add up to $2,000 – $3,500 depending on the amount of time your surgeon needs to perform the procedure. Some surgeon’s recommend surgery that doesn’t require an anesthesiologist, and while this is another obvious way to save money, it’s not the safest, or the most comfortable, way to have the operation. An anesthesiologist not only makes sure that your experience is pain-free and enjoyable, but also watches you like a hawk during the procedure, and makes sure that your safety is the #1 priority for the entire team.
- Financing Options. Most plastic surgeons offer at least one financing plan through organizations like Care Credit. If you have a reasonable credit score, chances are that you’ll qualify for a great financing plan, some of which even offer a 6-12 month period of 0% interest!
- Additional Fees to Ask About
- Special garments: Some surgeons require you to purchase special bras or garments before surgery. Make sure you ask whether or not the garments are necessary, how much they cost, and if there are any less expensive alternatives.
- Labwork: Some surgeons require a basic set of blood work before the procedure. Most of the time your insurance company will cover these tests, but not always.
- Mammogram: If you haven’t had a mammogram within 12 months of your surgery date, you’ll need to get one. Mammograms will usually be covered by your insurance company, but sometimes they aren’t.
- Revision Procedures: It is important to ask about the cost of any revision procedures that might be necessary after surgery. Surgical revisions after breast augmentation should be relatively uncommon in experienced hands, but it is sometimes necessary to adjust the implant position, change a size, or revise the implant pocket if things to not heal as expected. Always ask about the office policy for situations like this so that you can plan ahead.
- Post-op Complications: Complications like bleeding and infection are rare with breast augmentation surgery, but they do happen. If you experience one of these complications and need to be seen in an emergency room (or hospitalized), you may be responsible for the bill. Likewise, if you wind up needing a revisional surgery, you may also be responsible for any fees associated with that procedure(s). Every practice has a different policy related to these concerns, so make sure you address this with the appropriate staff during your visit. Some insurance companies will cover incidents like these even though the procedure is classified as “cosmetic”, but many won’t, so you need to be comfortable with the possibility of unanticipated costs before proceeding.
- Late Cancelation Fees: It is extremely important to make note of any cancelation fees that apply to your surgery, and put these deadlines on your calendar. Most offices have very reasonable cancelation policies that are no different from airlines or hotel reservations, but you should know what these policies are, and what you stand to lose if you violate them.