Breast Augmentation FAQ
Women considering breast augmentation at the New Jersey practice of Dr. Evan Sorokin often have many questions. There are numerous considerations and decisions, and you can feel overwhelmed even if you've done your research. To help streamline the process, Dr. Sorokin has compiled a list of answers to the questions he hears most frequently about breast augmentation.
To find out how breast augmentation can enhance your look, request a consultation with Dr. Sorokin, a board-certified plastic surgeon and breast specialist, at our office in Cherry Hill, or you can call (856) 797-0202.
Are silicone or saline implants better?
Silicone and saline are the 2 implant materials approved for use in the United States today. Dr. Sorokin tells patients that neither saline nor silicone implants are better, but that they each have different advantages. Though some doctors and patients may express a preference for one or the other, they each come with their own set of pros and cons. At his practice in New Jersey, Dr. Sorokin's breast augmentation patients can choose from both materials.
Silicone implants are approved for patients age 22 and older. Today's cohesive gel implants are not liquid silicone, but rather a thick gel and require routine MRIs to monitor for rupture. The FDA tells patients to get an MRI 3 years after augmentation and then every 2 years as the most reliable way to detect rupture. Since silicone implants were once taken off the market in the U.S., they continue to have what Dr. Sorokin calls a "safety stigma" despite their approval by the FDA and all of the research that has proven them to be safe. Silicone breast implants carry a diminished risk of complications such as rippling, and most people believe that silicone implants feel and look more natural than saline. Dr. Sorokin uses a device called the Keller Funnel to place silicone implants, which he believes reduces the risk of capsular contracture and allows for a smaller incision.
Saline implants are filled with a sterile saltwater solution. In the event of a rupture, the saline is naturally absorbed by the body. This is why safety has never been a concern with saline breast implants. They are approved for patients age 18 and older. Saline implants are empty when inserted into the body and filled once they're in place, enabling the surgeon to use a smaller incision than would be needed for silicone. Since they are filled with saline after insertion rather than coming in standard prefilled sizes, this also allows more flexibility to adjust for small asymmetries from one side to the other.
Learn more about the differences between these implant materials.
What can I expect during recovery from breast augmentation?
Individual recovery experiences can vary depending on the patient, the implant placement, what type of implant is used, and a number of other factors. Rapid recovery techniques allow a very quick return to normal activities. Dr. Sorokin does not want patients to stay in bed after breast augmentation. Rather, light activity is encouraged immediately. Arm exercises are prescribed to start on the day of surgery. Dr. Sorokin encourages patients to be up and about the very next day. A prescription for pain medication will be provided, but most patients are able to switch to over-the-counter drugs within a few days. Women who work office jobs usually feel well enough to return to work after 3 or 4 days. For jobs such as hair stylist or nurse he recommends taking off about a week. Light exercise at the gym is allowed as early as 10 days after Dr. Sorokin clears each patient's healing progress.
Dr. Sorokin uses rapid recovery techniques for women receiving breast implants at his New Jersey practice. Using specialized equipment and techniques, he's able to reduce pain and downtime. Dr. Sorokin acknowledges that different people have different pain tolerances and while 95% of his patients recover this quickly some people take a little bit longer.
We give clear written instructions to all of our patients and it's a good idea to plan ahead and review these instructions. Stocking your refrigerator with some ready-to-eat meals and arranging for help with kids, chores, and pets is a great idea! Specialized bras, implant positioning straps, special breast implant pillows and other ideas described on various websites on the Internet are not advised and in fact can hurt recovery more than help. Before following recommendations of unknown websites, please discuss with our office.
Dr. Sorokin's breast augmentation patients consistently tell us how much easier their recovery was than they expected it to be.
What are the risks associated with breast augmentation?
All surgery carries some degree of risk. Though they are minimal, surgical risks include infection, bleeding, and excessive scarring. Risks that are specific to breast augmentation include:
- Capsular contracture: This occurs when scar tissue develops around the implant, causing the breasts to feel hard and uncomfortable.
- Deflation: No implant is a life-long device. These devices are manmade and may leak. If one lives long enough with the implant, the implant may need to be replaced.
- Rippling: More often seen in subglandular (over-the-muscle) placement, rippling occurs when the outline of the implant is visible through the breast skin, causing a rippled appearance.
- "Bottoming out": This term refers to what happens when the implant migrates lower than its original placement, gradually falling beneath the breast crease.
- Asymmetry: No woman has 2 identical breasts. Dr. Sorokin tells patients that they are "more like sisters than twins." During different times of the month and throughout the years, breasts change size and shape. Dr. Sorokin guarantees all patients that some degree of asymmetry will exist and that a small amount of asymmetry is normal and expected. Larger degrees of asymmetry occasionally do occur during the healing process and could require revision.
These complications are not common, and the risks can be diminished when breast augmentation is performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon.
Should I wait until I have children before having a breast augmentation?
Not necessarily. Though it's no secret that pregnancy and childbirth can alter a woman's body, the results of a breast augmentation are not usually affected by the process. If you're considering breast enlargement in New Jersey and you'd like to breastfeed in the future, be sure to discuss your plans with Dr. Sorokin prior to your surgery. He will customize your procedure to maximize the possibility of future breastfeeding. The presence of implants will not affect the safety or quality of the milk you produce.
Can I combine a breast augmentation with another cosmetic procedure?
Yes. If you're considering a breast augmentation and another procedure, such as a tummy tuck, it might be prudent to combine the procedures into a single surgery. Combining surgeries saves you time in the long run and maximizes results. Consult with Dr. Sorokin to decide whether a combinational procedure is right for you. Also, you can learn more about your options by visiting Dr. Sorokin's main site or liposuction specialty site.
What will my scars look like?
This is an impossible question to answer. Scarring is a normal result of injury to the skin. Dr. Sorokin uses the techniques of plastic surgery to minimize scarring. In addition, he recommends scar-care products in order to optimize the results of the scar as it matures during the year after surgery. Unfortunately every person scars differently and some people scar worse than others. The scar is a tradeoff for the improvement in size and shape of the breast. Following aftercare instructions and keeping the incision clean and dry during recovery will also help to minimize scarring. Read more about incisions on our surgical technique page.
Can breast augmentation correct breasts that are asymmetrical?
Yes. Most women have breasts that are naturally asymmetrical, although the degree can vary. Severe cases of asymmetry can be improved with breast implants. Some breasts are not only asymmetrical in size but also asymmetrical in shape and will require a breast lift in order to obtain better symmetry. Depending on the patient's needs and wishes, Dr. Sorokin can insert different sizes of implants and possibly combine this with a breast lift to ensure that both the size and shape of the breasts match up after surgery.
How do I decide on size?
Size can be a difficult thing to decide upon. Many women know they want to be "larger" but are unsure as to how large they want to be. Dr. Sorokin is often told to "make me proportional" or "just a little bigger," however these are vague descriptions and more precise understanding is essential prior to surgery. Throughout the U.S. one of the most common regrets is "I wish I had gone bigger." Dr. Sorokin suggests several methods to determine what size implant you will get:
- Vectra 3-D imaging: This is a 3-D surgical simulation system. The computer is able to simulate different sized implants on a 3-D photo of each woman's body.
- Sizers: We have a system of sizer implants which simulates in a bra what different sized implants will look like.
- Photos: Dr. Sorokin recommends that patients find some photographs of breasts that they love. This can come from our photo gallery or it can come from a magazine such as Playboy™. The adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" is true here as showing Dr. Sorokin a photo of breasts you like helps him understand your goals. He can never replicate any given photograph in terms of size or shape, but it certainly helps guide him through the implant selection process.
How much does it cost?
Cost is an important consideration and we like to present a clear explanation of all costs and fees to our patients. Costs included in the package price that we will give each patient include:
- Surgeon's fee (based on what needs to be done and how long it will take)
- Anesthesia fee (based on amount of time)
- Facility fee (operating room, nurses, sterile and non-sterile supplies)
- Implants (price varies for saline versus silicone)
- Preoperative labs and testing
- Postoperative bras and dressings
Additional costs include the cost of postoperative prescriptions, medical clearance if needed, mammograms if needed, and pathology testing of any breast tissue sent to an outside pathologist for testing if needed.
While we can give you an estimation on the telephone of what average procedure costs are, it is much better to meet with you so that after consultation and examination exact costs can be determined. We can then discuss options including financing and answer any questions that you may have.