Our plastic surgeons Doctors Diane Alexander and Bernadette Wang-Ashraf specialize in aesthetic and reconstructive breast surgery, and have performed thousands of breast augmentations and breast implant placements.  In fact, breast augmentation is one of the most commonly performed procedures at Artisan Plastic Surgery.  Here, Doctors Alexander and Wang-Ashraf answer some of your most commonly asked questions about breast augmentation.

Where does the incision go for breast augmentation surgery?

Many incision sites have been used in the past, including those in the armpit, inside the belly button, and around the areola (colored patch of skin around the nipple). Doctors Alexander and Wang-Ashraf most commonly place a small, inconspicuous incision in the natural crease just underneath the breast for best result and scar camouflage. This incision is normally well-covered by a bra or bikini top.  Our doctors discuss incision placement and surgical planning with you as part of your consultation.

Young patient of Dr. Alexander’s, shown before and 3 months after breast augmentation with implants (front view)
Young patient of Dr. Alexander’s, shown before and 3 months after breast augmentation with implants (side view)

Should my implant go over or under the muscle?

While this is best answered by your surgeon after a thorough exam and consultation, most commonly, Doctors Wang-Ashraf and Alexander recommend the under-the-muscle approach for the most natural-appearing and best outcome. The type and size of implant, the amount of your own breast tissue, and previous history of surgery all play into surgical planning.

What is the recovery like after breast augmentation surgery?

Patients who undergo breast augmentation are generally able to return home the same day. Most patients are able to return to work and normal activities 5-7 days after surgery. You may do well to have surgery on a Thursday or Friday, and take the next week off work. This way, you can return early if you feel great, but can also take more time off if you need it. The side effects of breast augmentation surgery include temporary soreness, swelling, and bruising, all of which subside gradually over 10 to 14 days.

Most patients can drive as long as they are off strong pain medications. Our doctors recommend against heavy lifting for the first week after surgery, and advise that you arrange for extra help if you care for small children or if your work involves heavy lifting. Our doctors allow patients to resume strenuous activities (such as running) 6-8 weeks after surgery.

First-time breast augmentation patients typically feel a tightness in their chest, and are advised to limit their range of motion in the immediate post-surgery period.

It may take several weeks to months for the implants to settle. This process can happen naturally or with the assistance of a breast band/strap. The breasts will have a more natural appearance after settling. Patients with tight chest muscles (such as athletes) or those with very large implants may experience a longer wait.

How often do breast implants need to be replaced?

It is incorrect to assume that breast implants need regular replacement; they do not need a change every 5 or even 10 years. If you are not having problems with your breast implants, there is no need to replace them. In case you’re wondering, the most common reason implants are replaced is when a woman wants to change her breast size.

Are breast implants safe?

All the implants used at Artisan Plastic Surgery are FDA-approved and rigorously tested and monitored.  There are certain complications associated with surgery and breast implants, and our doctors can discuss them during your consultation.  Furthermore, there is a very rare lymphoma associated with certain types of breast implants called Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL).  Our doctors answer your questions about ALCL.

Contact our office with any additional questions. Call us at 404.851.1998.