The Natural Plastic Surgeon Blog
Bigger is better when it comes to diamonds and paychecks, but not necessarily when it comes to our breasts. Everyone is different, but it seems more and more women these days are foregoing the Jessica Rabbit physique in favor of a more natural, “everywoman” silhouette instead.
This means the search for the best breast augmentation techniques goes far beyond just the implants of yesteryear. In fact, getting results that look like the real thing is easier than ever due to a variety of procedures designed to achieve the exact aesthetic goals you have in mind. Here’s a handy guide to each of these modalities to help you decide which one is right for you.
Nobody understands how bigger is not always better quite like these ladies. Breasts that are disproportionately large and heavy can be both embarrassing and physically challenging, preventing many women from participating in a variety of activities.
If this is you, you may have difficulty finding clothing that fits correctly or avoid wearing certain garments altogether because you don’t want to draw attention to your chest. Overly large breasts can create discomfort and strain in the neck, back and shoulders. Painful irritation caused by friction underneath the breasts is another common problem, as is grooving in some women’s shoulders from their bra straps.
Breast reduction is designed to bring a more manageable size and shape to the breasts. Whether your breasts have always been larger than you’d like, or you’ve seen an increase in size due to pregnancy and breastfeeding, Dr. Barrett can help you achieve the curves that make you more comfortable with your body.
“My breast reduction patients are my happiest patients.”
Dr. Barrett is one of the few breast reduction specialists who use a vertical incision (lollipop pattern) technique which reduces the amount of noticeable scarring after surgery, compared to the anchor pattern used by most surgeons. Each incision is closed in five precise layers–without using reactive sutures that can cause scarring. In addition, Dr. Barrett often uses a SAFE liposuction technique to reduce additional fat around the stubborn axilla area and bra line.
The lollipop incision also creates more of a natural looking breast vs the flat and boxy appearance of the traditional anchor incision. While many are able to return to work within a week, strenuous exercise must be restricted for two weeks to give the breasts ample opportunity to heal.
If your breasts droop or sag significantly, Dr. Barrett may recommend that you combine your breast reduction with a surgical lift.
The breasts fall victim to sagginess as pregnancy, nursing and age begin to take their toll. Gravity and loss of elasticity cause your once-perky breasts to droop, giving your décolletage an appearance that’s much older than you feel. A lift can restore firmness to the breast while raising its position to create a fuller, more youthful appearance. During a breast lift, Dr. Barrett can also reduce the size of the areola and nipple or relocate them to create a more proportionate form.
Dr. Barrett offers a breast lift both as a stand-alone procedure and in conjunction with the other breast augmentation modalities, depending on the desired outcome. Because the incisions used for these operations are similar, patients can reap the benefits of multiple procedures without additional scarring or recovery time.
“Recent techniques have allowed us to combine multiple procedures in one operation, but mastery of so many moving parts comes from experience, dedication and a bit of artistry.”
Most patients can resume working after about one week unless their job is particularly strenuous. It is not unusual to experience mild bruising and swelling for a few weeks, but this should not impede your daily tasks. Upper body workouts and heavy lifting (anything eight pounds and over) will be restricted for six weeks.
Dr. Barrett utilizes a 12-week silicone gel program to help heal the incision and minimize scars. During the first few months, it is critical to avoid direct sun exposure, since UV rays can make scars more prominent.
Fat Transfer to Breasts
“Fat transfer to the breast has recently become a very popular option for women who wish to avoid an implant and its associated risks and maintenance.”
Fat transfer is the process of taking excess, unwanted fat from one region of the body and injecting it into the breasts to achieve the desired size and shape. This procedure is safe, long-lasting and well-tolerated which is why every year, thousands of patients undergo fat grafting and are pleased with their natural-looking results.
The process involves two operations in one. The first step is procuring the fat from the body using liposuction. The next step is carefully grafting the fat drop by drop to sculpt and enlarge the breasts in a natural-looking manner. More fat is grafted at the time of surgery because there is some degree of fat reabsorption that occurs after surgery. Grafting the fat quickly after it is harvested is key to fat survivability.
This technique is commonly used during the reconstruction of the breasts after a mastectomy or lumpectomy since it often produces superior results compared to using implants or flap procedures alone. It is also an effective correction for breasts that are misshapen or underdeveloped due to genetic problems such as tuberous breast or Poland Syndrome.
To qualify for this procedure, you will need to be in good health and have sufficient fat in another area that can be used to augment the breasts. A single fat transfer procedure can usually increase breasts by approximately one-half cup size. Women that want to go larger may need an additional fat transfer treatment or a combination of implants and fat transfer to achieve the desired result.
You might consider fat transfer over implants if you want to sculpt two or more areas of your body at once, avoid scarring altogether and circumvent the potential complications of implants. Most activities can be resumed within about four days, although strenuous exercise should be avoided for at least two weeks. Do not sleep on your stomach during this time to avoid placing excess pressure on the breasts, as this could impact the ability of the fat to “take.”
Breast augmentation is the most common type of surgical enhancement so we saved it for last. The popularity of this procedure has to do with achieving dramatic results that are highly predictable. Silicone or saline implants yield a well-proportioned body profile while enhancing cleavage and correcting breast unevenness.
Even when it comes to implants, Dr. Barrett is passionate about providing the most natural-looking results around.
“I don’t want anyone to know you’ve had surgery.”
With many options in implant types and size, as well as surgical techniques, this procedure offers customization to produce a look that is balanced and beautiful. Breast augmentation is often about more than simply enlarging the breasts. The procedure can create much-needed fullness and restore breasts that have become deflated after pregnancy and breastfeeding. It can correct asymmetries, reverse deformities–including tubular breasts–and add a subtle amount of lift.
The recovery time for most breast augmentation surgeries is usually three days before a patient is ready to return to regular activities, including work. Breast implants are designed to be long-lasting, making them an excellent investment of time and money. The FDA and implant manufacturers recommend replacing implants after 10 years, and regular monitoring of breast implants after breast augmentation is also recommended.
Taking the Next Step
No matter which of these procedures resonates with you, the critical next step is finding a surgeon you connect with. Do your research to ensure your plastic surgeon is a breast expert and board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Finally, come to the office prepared with questions and photos of your desired results.
Are you interested in a breast procedure? Call us at (310) 398-2648 or fill out this virtual consultation form and we will reach out to you as soon as possible. We’re excited for you to take this next step!