Breast implant surgery is one of the most popular and frequently performed cosmetic surgeries available. The procedure places implants to enhance the size, shape, and overall appearance of the breasts. Board-certified plastic surgeon Eric Payne, MD specializes in breast augmentation and has provided countless patients in Houston with outstanding breast enhancement results. Upon a discussion of your concerns and aesthetic goals, Dr. Payne can develop a personalized treatment plan to achieve your ideal breast contours.
What Is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation mammoplasty, or “breast enhancement,” is a surgical procedure designed to enlarge the breasts via placement of breast implants. This cosmetic procedure can create a fuller appearance, resolve asymmetries, and enhance the overall silhouette according to your goals. In addition to their aesthetic benefits, breast implants can also be utilized for breast reconstruction after cancer removal surgery known as a mastectomy. We encourage all women to perform regular screening mammograms for breast cancer after the age of 40 or younger if there is a family history.
Breast enlargement can be achieved with either breast implants or with fat transfer from another area of the body. Fat grafting to the breasts is not as reliable a method for cosmetic breast surgery. Dr. Payne will guide you through the process of deciding the best technique, type of implant, and implant location for your needs and goals.
What Can Breast Augmentation Do for Me?
Breast augmentation offers a variety of aesthetic improvements to the breast shape, particularly for patients who have experienced a loss in contours due to pregnancy, weight fluctuation, or the natural aging process. There are many reasons to pursue breast surgery, but most women undergo breast augmentation to:
- Enhance breast volume
- Increase fullness in the upper breasts
- Correct asymmetries
- Reshape the breast contours
- Recreate the appearance of natural breasts after cancer removal surgery
- Improve self-esteem
While breast augmentation can enlarge and reshape the breasts, implants cannot address a drooping or sagging appearance caused by a loss of skin tone. However, Dr. Payne offers breast lift surgery to correct breast sag and restore a “perkier,” more rejuvenated look. A combination breast augmentation plus breast lift procedure can also be a popular treatment plan to enhance the breast size and minimize breast sag simultaneously. This is typically necessary after significant weight loss has occurred. This can also be necessary after pregnancy when the breasts tend to sag after breast feeding. Combining a breast lift and breast enhancement using implants with a tummy tuck is commonly known as a Mommy Makeover.
What Types of Breast Implants are Available?
Breast implants are distinguished by the type of fill material inside the implant shell. While implants come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and degrees of projection, there are generally two different options for breast implants:
- Saline: Saline breast implants are one of the most commonly used options for breast augmentation. Approved for patients who are 18 and older, these implants involve filling a silicone shell with saline solution to the desired volume or bust size. Saline implants typically do not require an incision as large as the entry point necessary for silicone devices, and they are often less problematic in the rare event of rupture — the saline solution or salt water should absorb safely into the body. Saline implants are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or FDA.
- Silicone: Silicone breast implants consist of a cohesive silicone gel encased inside a silicone shell. A silicone gel implant often bears a closer resemblance to a natural breast than saline options, and newer models of silicone implants are typically less likely to cause issues when compared to their older counterparts. These FDA approved medical devices can also be a more natural-feeling option and many women enjoy the realistic results provided by silicone implants.
There are specific differences and benefits that each type of implant offers. These can be discussed in further detail during the consultation process.
Breast Implant Placement
The location of the implant pocket will also be determined during the breast augmentation process. In general, a breast implant can either be placed over or under the chest pectoral muscle. Each option offers its own benefits and limitations, which Dr. Payne will help you understand during your consultation. Placement over the chest muscle (subglandular) is usually ideal for patients who have enough natural breast tissue to cover and conceal the edges of an implant. For this reason, individuals who have thin breast skin, small breasts, or a petite body frame may be better-suited for an under-the-muscle or submuscular approach. Inserting implants under the chest muscle often provides a higher degree of support and coverage, as well as a more natural-looking outcome. However, the recovery period can be relatively longer when compared to placement over the chest muscles. Dr. Payne will help you decide the best placement technique for your needs, preferences, and anatomical indicators.
How is the Breast Augmentation Procedure Performed?
Breast augmentation is usually an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia. During your pre-operative appointments with Dr. Payne, you will both decide the best type of incision and placement location for your implants. Dr. Payne will then perform the procedure by placing your incisions in the pre-determined area, meticulously concealing them within the natural contours of the breasts whenever possible. He will then insert your implants and shape them until the desired outcome is achieved. With advancing breast augmentation techniques, patients can also further improve their enhancement by transferring excess fat to the breasts to mildly enlarge volume, resolve asymmetries, smooth contours, and more. Dr. Payne will recommend the best techniques to achieve your ideal look.
What is Recovery From Breast Augmentation Like?
After surgery, pain medications will be used on a scheduled basis with Ibuprofen and Tylenol alternating every 3 hours to control your pain. Stronger pain medication can be prescribed as needed. After the third day the pain will be significantly less to only need pain medication on an as needed basis.
We recommend avoiding strenuous activity and heavy lifting for the first two to three weeks. You will likely experience soreness and swelling for a few weeks. You will also be required to wear a post-surgical compression bra with bandages around the incisions for a few weeks. For most, it can take up to three months before you feel comfortable wearing a regular bra. We do not place any drainage tubes, so nothing to remove after surgery.
Showering can resume the day after your breast augmentation. We typically see patients in the clinic the day after surgery to remove dressings. You may return to work shortly after surgery, but some patients prefer to take a week off to rest and recuperate from the procedure. It will take some time for swelling to resolve. It also takes roughly three months for the implants to settle into the implant pocket. Dr. Payne recommends massaging the breasts at approximately 6 weeks post operatively to help with this. The massage should be done daily and consistently to help the implant settle. At three months post-operatively, most patients are able to see the complete results of their augmentation.
How Long Do Breast Implants Last?
Breast implants can often last for 10 to 20 years, if not longer. While they are not designed to be lifetime devices, many women enjoy their results for decades and never feel the need to remove or replace their implants. Unless a complication arises or a patient desires a different size, shape, or type of implant, the outcome of breast augmentation should be very long-lasting. To make the most out of the results, Dr. Payne recommends pursuing breast augmentation only after all plans for pregnancy and nursing have been completed. Breastfeeding and having children can often reduce skin elasticity and alter the breast contours, potentially shortening the lifespan of breast augmentation results.
How Much Does Breast Augmentation Cost?
The cost of breast augmentation is typically determined based on the type of implants chosen for your enhancement, the surgical technique necessary to achieve your goals, and other details unique to your treatment plan. That said, the price usually ranges from $5,000 to $7,000, which includes fees for anesthesia, the hospital facility, and other various expenses associated with cosmetic surgery. Fortunately, breast augmentation costs in Houston are generally more affordable when compared to other parts of the country.
After your consultation, our office will be able to provide you with a personalized quote and your various payment options. Dr. Payne accepts financing plans through trusted healthcare lenders like CareCredit® and Prosper® Healthcare Lending. Once approved by either financial institution, qualified patients can select from an array of short- and long-term payment plans to find an ideal arrangement for their budgetary concerns. If you have any questions, a member of our team would be happy to speak with you about the cost of breast augmentation.