As one of the few plastic surgeons on the East Coast to participate in clinical trials for the new generation of breast implants, along with specializing in breast reconstruction surgery, I’ve dedicated much of my career to enhancement procedures, including breast augmentation, at my New Jersey practice.
The decision to have any type of cosmetic or reconstructive breast surgery is deeply personal and something my patients often consider for months or even years before I meet them. They’ve usually done a lot of research about the procedure they want by the time they come in for a consultation. What many patients don’t realize until an appointment is that combining procedures is often the best way to get the cosmetic results they want.
For example, some patients who come in for breast implants choose to also get a breast lift to get the more youthful, perky appearance they envision. To help understand what each procedure is designed to accomplish, here’s a brief summary of the 5 types of breast enhancement surgery:
- Breast augmentation: Women who want fuller breasts or who want breasts that are proportionate to the rest of their body are good candidates for breast augmentation with implants.
- Breast lift: Sagging breasts are elevated with a breast lift, which removes excess skin and tissue. Sagging is common as women age and particularly after pregnancy and nursing. Having overly large breasts is also a common reason for breasts to sag, so patients may choose to combine breast reduction surgery with a lift.
- Breast reduction: Patients who want breast reduction surgery often suffer physical symptoms such as neck and shoulder pain caused by their large breasts. Some women are self-conscious about the size of their breasts and feel uncomfortable in certain clothing and situations. A lift is often a good partner procedure because the patients’ breast skin has been stretched.
- Breast reconstruction: Women diagnosed with breast cancer who undergo a mastectomy can choose to have breast reconstruction using implants or their own muscle and tissue. If a patient has a unilateral mastectomy, cosmetic breast surgery may be necessary for the other breast to maintain symmetry.
- Implant revision: There are a number of reasons patients might seek breast implant revision surgery. The original implants may need to be replaced because they are worn out, or there may have been a medical or aesthetic complication following the initial breast augmentation procedure. Other patients may want to replace existing saline implants with the latest generation of silicone devices. Whatever the reason, it’s important for women to find a specialist experienced with implant revision surgery because it’s typically more involved than the original augmentation.
Patients who have a combination of needs — such as sagging and volume loss — benefit from a combination of techniques. A breast surgeon who specializes in all the above methods can guide patients to find the right procedure or procedures for them.