I’ve always felt uncomfortable about my boobs.
Whether going bigger or smaller, there’s bound to be a few shocks along the way…
With the demand for cosmetic surgery in Australia at an all-time high and growing at a rate of 30 per cent year-on-year, it is estimated that more than 12,000 breast augmentations take place nationwide each year. Yet according to The Cosmetic Institute, Australia’s largest provider of cosmetic surgery, a number of misconceptions about the procedure still exist.
“Breast implants are by far our most commonly requested procedure,” says David Segal, co-founder and Managing Director of The Cosmetic Institute and author of the book Skin – The Essential Australian Guide. ”Over the past 18 months, we have performed more than 3,000 breast augmentations and they make up more than 90 per cent of the surgeries we perform, yet we find that there is still a lot of mixed information out there,” he said.
Here, David outlines and corrects the 10 most common myths and misconceptions that exist around breast implants and breast augmentation:
While the media will often showcase celebrities like Pamela Anderson and Brynne Edelstein as examples of breast augmentation, in the “real world” many clients just want to go from an A to a B or C cup. “Most of the patients we see are women who simply want to fill out their clothing and feel more confident and feminine. Others wish to “replenish” what breast feeding has taken away or correct asymmetry, where one breast is smaller than the other,” says David. “The size of the implant is determined in consultation with the patient, taking into account their height, weight and frame, but for the most part, we don’t see women who are looking to go really big,” he said.
2. Breast implants will cause you to lose all feeling in your breasts
While the impact implants can have on sensation and sensitivity in the breast tissue will always vary from patient to patient. “The vast majority of patients experience no permanent sensory changes after undergoing a breast augmentation,” David said.
3. You can’t breastfeed after breast implants
Many people still believe that having breast augmentation can prevent a woman from breast feeding, however this is usually not the case. “Providing they are inserted correctly, there is no medical evidence to suggest that implants interfere with breastfeeding,” says David. “At The Cosmetic Institute we insert the implant under the muscle, meaning the implant does not affect the milk ducts,” David says.
4. Breast augmentation is painful surgery that requires a lot of time off work
Everybody has their unique pain tolerance level and will require differing amounts of post-operative pain relief, and while the length of time it takes to recover from surgery differs from person to person, most patients are able to return to work within five to seven days following surgery, says David. “Most of our patients are pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of the procedure and the time it takes to recover. The procedure itself takes just 45 minutes on average and does not require an overnight hospital stay. Patients are able to recuperate at home once discharged from recovery,” he says.
5. Heading overseas to places like Thailand for surgery is a cost-effective way to have your surgery whilst enjoying a holiday at the same time
According to David, there is a lot of romanticism surrounding cosmetic surgery holidays, when in reality, it can be near impossible to enjoy a tropical holiday while recovering from something like a breast augmentation. “In addition to not being able to swim, patients may be in pain and must keep movement to a minimum. Additionally, people are often travelling to very hot, humid climates, where the risk of infection is high, and most importantly, should something go wrong, a patient has no access to their surgeon once they have returned home,” David warns.
And, in terms of costs savings, once flights, accommodation, travel insurance and other expenses have been factored in, the costs can quickly escalate, resulting in no savings at all in the end.
6. Silicone implants are not safe
As one of the most thoroughly studied medical devices in the world, decades of research have gone into the safety and effectiveness of silicone implants. “Silicone is actually the most biocompatible material known to man and silicone-filled implants are supported by extensive pre-clinical testing, US clinical studies and European rupture prevalence data,” David says.
7. Breast implants can rupture and harm you
“These days, the chances of an implant rupturing are extremely low,” says David. “However, in the rare case that an implant did rupture, most likely due to some form of severe trauma, there would be no harm to the patient in terms of toxicity,” David said. As implants are made of a gel substance that remains within a solid membrane and does not “leak” into the body, the implant would merely be removed and replaced.
8. Breast implants make it hard to detect breast cancer
“While radiologists are well practised in administering breast screens to women with implants, it is believed that it’s actually easier to detect changes in your breasts if you have implants as they tend to push the natural breast tissue closer to the surface, making a lump easier to feel,” David says. Regardless, it’s recommended that all women (with or without implants) monitor their breasts and have a regular examination by a doctor.
9. Implants make breasts sag earlier
Gravity, weight and the breakdown of collagen and elastin tissue within the skin are all factors that affect the likelihood for breast to sag, regardless of whether the woman has an implant, says David. “Natural breasts are just as likely to sag as breasts with implants are, which is why it is important for all women to wear a good quality, supportive and well-fitted bra,” he says.
10. Breast implants need to be changed every 10 years
According to David, implants today don’t have a set lifetime. “Unless your breasts change shape or there’s impairment to the implant, then there’s no reason to replace them, regardless of how long they’ve been in your breast.”
The Cosmetic Institute operates two clinics, in Sydney’s Parramatta and Bondi Junction, and offers exceptional surgical outcomes, patient care and support at a fair price.
Have you considered having cosmetic plastic surgery? You’re not alone, because more than eight million procedures are done every year, all over the world! Can you guess which five types of plastic surgery are the most popular?
Over the last few years, “lipo” has overtaken breast augmentation as the most-performed plastic surgery procedure. Worldwide, liposuction represents almost 20% of all surgical procedures.
Liposuction is one of the newer cosmetic procedures, being invented in 1974 and exploding in popularity in the eighties. In 1985, California dermatologist Dr. Jeffrey A. Klein revolutionised liposuction surgery by inventing a new technique that allowed patients to have the procedure under local anaesthesia by using much smaller cannulas. This “Tumescent Technique” produced fewer skin depressions and less bleeding.
The “boob job” placed a close second to liposuction as the most-performed plastic surgery procedure, with about 17% of total surgeries. Although for decades doctors had tried unsuccessfully to enlarge women’s breasts with a variety of substances, the modern age of augmentation surgery began in the 1960s, with the invention of silicone and saline breast implants.
The blepharoplasty, which can be done on upper or lower eyelids, comes in at third place and accounts for approximately 14% of surgeries. The word “blepharoplasty” was created by Karl Ferdinand Von Grafe to describe the surgical technique used to repair damage done to a patient’s eyelids caused by cancer. The modern version of the surgery was perfected on wounded soldiers during World War II.
Rhinoplasty comes in at number four with nearly 10% of surgeries. The use of surgery to reshape the nose goes back to ancient Egypt and has undergone many refinements since then. This procedure was also refined during World War II and by the 1950s, the procedure was common among the rich and famous.
The abdominoplasty is fifth with about 7% of all surgeries. The first tummy tuck was performed in France 1890, but early versions of the surgery required removal of the belly button. A German doctor solved this problem in 1909, and the popularity of the tummy tuck has been growing since the 1970s.
Other favourite surgeries
Among the other most-performed cosmetic surgery procedures are the facelift, lower body lift, upper arm lift, breast reduction and breast lift. Among the fastest-growing procedures are male breast reduction, eyelid surgery amongst Asians, non-surgical body contouring, vaginal modification and the Brazilian butt lift.
Are there any plastic surgery procedures you would consider having done?
Considering plastic surgery but don’t know where to start? Our new Plastic Surgery Guide will cover common procedures as well as the latest methods, starting with breast implants.
What is the procedure?
Breast implants, also known as breast augmentation and breast enlargement involves placing an implant into a pocket formed beneath the breast tissue or muscle which helps increase the size and volume of the breast. This is one of the most commonly performed procedures that Dr Barnouti at Sydney Plastic Surgery is well-known for which helps women achieve natural looking breasts that are in harmony with her figure. For women who are suffering from droopy or saggy breasts then the breast lift also known as Mastopexy is a good option. This procedure is especially good for women who’s breasts have lost their youthful shape or for women who have seen their breasts sag as a result of pregnancy, weight fluctuations, ageing, gravity and heredity.
The breast lift procedure can only be described as a fine art as precise millimetric measurements are taken of the breast. Through this meticulous process Dr Barnouti is able to produce natural looking breasts by implementing exact measurements to create a more predictable outcome…i.e. perky breasts that are positioned perfectly. Once these measurements are taken Dr Barnouti can then advise if a breast lift is performed alone or in combination with augmentation to further improve the breast shape. The breast lift is designed to raise and firm the breast by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue to reshape and support the new breast contour. The augmentation can be performed using your own fatty tissue, also known as fat injection, or by using an implant.
Different type of breast implants
There are many decisions to make when considering breast implants including the implant type and size, the pocket and the incision placement – this is where Dr Barnouti will help you make the right decision. Breast implants come in two different shapes – round and tear drop and can contain saline or silicone.
1. Teardrop implants are contoured and are considered the most anatomical. They are shaped like a natural breast and create a sloped shape when placed over the chest muscles. While these are the most natural looking breast implants, it takes a skilled plastic surgeon to ensure they are placed properly. For this reason it is important to ask your surgeon to see photos of other patients that have received this type of implant.
2. Round Implants are the most common implants as they generally give women the most lift, fullness and cleavage. Certain types of round implants can also enhance the forward projection of the breasts. Some women however, feel that round implants are too artificial looking. Again its best to discuss these options with your surgeon and choose the right shape and size that works with your body frame and the look you are aiming to achieve.
Saline or silicone?
You can also choose between saline and silicone breast implants although saline implants are running out of fashion in Australia. Silicone breast implants are made of rubber shell and filled with highly cohesive silicone gel and are far superior to saline implants in terms of feel, shape and longevity. Where the breast implant is placed is something else to think about with the option of placing it under the muscle or above the muscle. While many options are available it is very important for women to sit down with their surgeon after a thorough examination and discuss which option makes the most sense for your body and the outcome you want to achieve.
The Brazilian implants are another excellent choice to enhance the breast and are covered in a layer of polyurethane-foam that creates a ‘furry’ feel to the outer shell in terms of feel. If you were to hold a Brazilian implant it would feel like fur or a suede material. Once inside your body they start off by feeling firmer than a regular silicone implant and can last longer than the normal ‘softening’ process of a regular implant – the idea is that they start out firmer but end up being softer than other implants in the end.
Other things to consider…
Another consideration you will need to make with your breast augmentation is the location of the incision – there are three common incisions or entry points for the implant used to augment the breast. The most common incision is placed directly under the breast with other choices including an incision around the areola (where your nipple is) or the armpit. Again this decision can be discussed with your surgeon to determine which option is best for you.
Consulting a plastic surgeon
To discuss your breast augmentation surgery, it will be helpful to bring along your partner and a list of questions that you have so you will not forget to ask any of them. An information sheet and breast augmentation after care sheet should be provided for you during the breast consultation.
You should pay between $10,000 -$12,500 this is inclusive of the surgeon’s fee, assistant surgeons fee, anesthetist’s fee, operating theatre, GST and all follow-up visits cost. Cost should also cover your choice of teardrop breast implants, round breast implants, Brazilian breast implants or any other breast implants you wish.
Considerations for breast enlargement surgery
– You will need between 8-14 days off work. For light duties or office work you can return after 8 days for heavier duties it is best to return to work after 14 days.
– Sport bra need to be worn for 4 weeks after breast augmentation surgery.
– You cannot do any vigorous exercise or go to the gym for 6 weeks.
– You cannot drive, drink or sign any important documents in the first 48 hours after your breast implants surgery.
– You must have realistic expectations – breast implants average size is 250-400ml.