Kevin Bridge, MD
Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

(325) 670-5320
950 North 19th St., Suite 200 | Abilene, Texas

Kevin Bridge, MD
Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

Breast Augmentation

What is Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure that uses implants to increase the size of the natural breasts. Women have many different reasons why they desire augmentation – some have always wanted fuller breasts while other wish to restore volume lost thru pregnancy and weight loss. Below is a general overview, but the ultimate treatment plan will be determined based on your individual exam and goals prior to proceeding with surgery.

Women undergoing breast augmentation surgery may benefit from the following:

  • Improved breast size, shape, projection and symmetry
  • Improved confidence and self-esteem
  • Balanced body proportion
  • Improved clothing fit and options

Who is a good candidate for breast augmentation surgery?

Breast augmentation may be the procedure of choice for you if:

  • You are physically healthy
  • You have realistic expectations
  • Your breasts are fully developed
  • You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too small
  • You are dissatisfied with your breasts losing shape and volume after pregnancy, weight loss or with aging
  • Your breasts vary in size or shape
  • One or both breasts failed to develop normally

Key Points

Breast Implants. A variety of breast implants are now available and they come in many different sizes and certain shapes. Both silicone and saline breast implants are FDA-approved in the United States. Women must be at least 18 years of age to receive saline breast implants and 22 years of age to receive silicone breast implants. By matching the implant to a patient’s individual preference and anatomy, Dr. Bridge can moderately or significantly increase your breast size, shape and projection.

Saline breast implants. These implants consist of a silicone elastomer shell that gets filled with saline (the same fluid that goes into your IV). Saline implants can be placed through a smaller incision than silicone implants, and they are also less expensive than silicone implants. These implants have a range of final volume and can be differentially filled to correct for natural size asymmetries. Implant ruptures are easily detected, resulting in complete deflation over a couple days. The drawbacks of saline implants include a higher risk of visible rippling of the implant, a less natural feel, and a risk of deflation due to damage to the shell or failure of the valve.

Silicone gel filled breast implants. Silicone gel filled implants have improved significantly and today’s silicone gel implants are cohesive rather than liquid, and improved shells minimize the leaking of silicone into the pocket where the implant is placed. They have a more natural feel and less wrinkling than saline implants. The drawbacks include needing a slightly longer incision and being more costly than saline implants. Rupture may also be silent and more difficult to correct.

Form stable (tear drop shaped implants). These implants have been referred to by the public as “Gummy Bear” implants. They provide a more natural shape to the breast which consists of a gentler transition from the chest wall to the implant in the upper pole of the breast. Some drawbacks are that it can feel more firm, provides less fullness in the upper pole, require a longer incision, has a risk of rotation or malposition, and is the most costly of the implants available.

Incisions. The majority of the time, the incision is placed in the inframmary crease at the bottom of the breast where it meets the chest wall. This incision allows direct visualization and control of the surgical pocket, does not pass through breast tissue, and is placed at the point of least tension on the closure. An alternative to the crease incision is the periareaolar incision, which is placed along the junction between the areola and the breast skin. The ultimate decision would depend on various factors which include implant choice and natural anatomy.

Implant Location. For breast augmentation surgery performed for cosmetic reasons, the breast implant can be placed above or below the pectoralis major muscle. Placing it above the muscle may slightly decrease initial postoperative pain, but can result in a more visible and palpable implant. Placing it behind the muscle will allow for more soft tissue coverage over the implant and decrease the risk of capsular contracture.

Before Your Surgery


  • Get lab testing and medical evaluation from your primary care as needed to undergo general anesthesia.
  • Get a baseline mammogram before surgery, and another six months after surgery to help detect future breast changes
  • Stop smoking at least 4 weeks prior to your surgery (and four weeks after)
  • Avoid taking anything that can cause thinning of the blood if okay with prescribing physician (if you are unable to, please inform your surgeon). These may include aspirin, anti-inflammatories, certain herbal supplements, fish oil, and prescription blood thinners.
  • Review your handout for postoperative expectations and instructions which will be provided during your consultation.

Surgery Day

Breast augmentation is performed as an outpatient surgery and you will be able to go home the same day. Do not eat or drink anything or chew gum starting at midnight the night before surgery.

The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. An incision is made either at the inframammary fold or around the areola. A pocket is then created for the implant, either by elevating just the breast tissue, or by identifying the lower border of the pectoralis major muscle and elevating the muscle. The implants are then carefully placed, and the results are evaluated both while the patient is lying down and sitting upright. Once optimal results are achieved, the incisions are then closed and the dressings applied.

After Your Surgery

You will spend a couple of hours in the recovery room after surgery before you go home. You will need someone to pick you up and stay with you at home to assist around the house the first 24 hours. You may feel up to going for a walk later that evening and this will help decrease the risk of blood clots. Throughout the next week to two weeks, the bruising and swelling will improve and you will feel better and better and slowly resume your usual activities. However, it could be a full six weeks before you feel completely recovered from your surgery. Please refer to the handout provided to you during your consultation for specific post-operative instructions and activity limitations.

Things to Consider

This surgery is not a replacement for a breast lift, except in the cases where only a minimal lift is required. This surgery does not address differences within the breasts such as nipple position or rib/chest wall differences. This surgery does not halt the aging process of the breasts, and in fact can accelerate it. Over time, the weight of the implant can cause the skin of the breast to stretch, leading to the need/desire to undergo a breast lift. Larger implants accelerate these changes.

Breast augmentation surgery is considered cosmetic and not covered by your health insurance. Some insurance policies will not cover breast augmentation related complications or revision surgeries (such as in the case of implant rupture). Please carefully review your individual health insurance policy.

Risks

As with any surgery, there is a possibility of experiencing a complication. These include bleeding after the surgery (hematoma), decreased sensation in the breast or nipple, infection, asymmetry of the breasts, implant malposition, capsular contracture, re-operation and others. It is important to discuss these in detail with your surgeon prior to undergoing surgery.


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