What Every Woman Considering Breast Augmentation Should Know


Breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures worldwide. In the United States, it is second to liposuction in popularity with approximately 300,000 women undergoing breast enlargement each year. The results of breast augmentation are immediately apparent and the patient satisfaction rates are very high. However, as with any cosmetic procedure, there can be problems. I have pulled together a list of information every woman should know when considering breast augmentation. This will help prepare you when making the decision, as well as help to avoid any surprises along the away.

  • Breast implants are not permanent. All implants will eventually leak and have to be replaced. The typical lifespan is 15 to 20 years, although I have seen many last beyond 25 years.
  • The procedure is not maintenance free. There is a risk of “capsular contracture” or hardening of the breast if scar tissue builds up around the implant. This may necessitate further surgery to soften the breast.
  • There are differences between saline filled and gel filled implants. Although the outer shells are similar, saline implants are filled with saline after they are placed under the breast. Gel implants are filled with silicone gel by the manufacturer. Saline implants cost less and may have a less “natural” feel. In general, gel implants result in a more natural feel and appearance, especially in thinner women. Leaks are easier to detect with saline than with gel.
  • The current “5th generation” of gel implants, some of which are known as “Cohesive Gel”, “Gummy Bear” or “Form Stable”, are superior to previous gel implants.
  • Beyond saline or gel there are other options to include when choosing an implant – a smooth or textured surface implant, a shaped or round implant. Each one actually has a purpose. Your surgeon will be able to discuss the differences with you, and make a recommendation based on your individual anatomy, breast shape and size.
  • Scarring will result. There are four “scar” options for placement of the implant – these include incisions in the armpit, around the nipple, in the crease below the breast and even through the belly button. Your surgeon will be able to suggest which incision is best suited to your breast.
  • Breast implants can be placed over or under the chest muscle (pectoralis major). Generally in thin women the placement under the muscle is best, as it adds a layer of the muscle as cover over the implant. Your surgeon will be able to discuss placement with you as recommendations for location are best made on an individual basis.
  • Breast implants will not affect your ability to breastfeed.
  • Breast implants may obscure small parts of the breast on mammography. This is less so when the implants are placed under the muscle.
  • After age 40, a mammogram is advisable prior to breast augmentation.

If you are considering breast surgery, come in for a complimentary consultation with one of the board certified cosmetic surgeons of the Emory Aesthetic Center. We can help you define your goals and determine what would be best for you and your desires.

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About Dr. Nahai

Foad Nahai, MDFoad Nahai, MD, FACS is internationally recognized as an innovator in the field of plastic surgery where he has developed and refined many procedures. He has co-authored ten books and published over 190 scientific articles on all aspects of plastic surgery. The latest book he authored and edited, published in 2011, is the second edition of his three volume text entitled The Art of Aesthetic Surgery.

He has been invited to lecture and demonstrate plastic surgical procedures all over the world. In addition to numerous professional honors and awards, he is listed in the “Best Doctors in America”, the “Best Doctors in the U.S.”, Town & Country Magazine, Good Housekeeping, More Magazine and Atlanta Magazine as one of the country’s top plastic surgeons. He has been listed in W Magazine as one of the top plastic surgeons in the world. Dr. Nahai is in demand internationally to speak at plastic surgery meetings and to demonstrate surgical procedures.

Dr. Nahai served as the 2008-2010 president of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), he is a past president of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), a former director of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and is currently Editor-in-Chief of Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

His primary area of expertise is in Face, Neck and Eyelid surgery where he has made significant contributions to the advancement of the art and science of Facial Rejuvenation.

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