What is Breast Augmentation?

Augmentation of the breast using breast implants has long been one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures, especially here in Santa Barbara.

As one of his particular specialties, Dr. Lowenstein feels that education is the mainstay of the pre-operative process. Dr. Lowenstein will spend significant time to ensure that you have a thorough understanding of your options and the decisions that go into producing an exceptional postoperative outcome.

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Types of Breast Implants

Types Of Breast Implants

What can Dr. Lowenstein do for you?

The Breast Implant Pocket

Dr. Lowenstein’s Breast Implant Warranty

All of Dr. Lowenstein’s primary (first time) silicone gel breast implant patients are now automatically enrolled in Dr. Lowenstein’s 10 year breast implant warranty against rupture. Dr. Lowenstein is so confident in his breast implants and his meticulous breast augmentation technique that he is willing to operate without professional charge to you in the rare case of implant rupture. This means that if you need your gel implants exchanged because of an implant rupture within the 10 years following your breast augmentation, Dr. Lowenstein will perform that procedure for you without charging any professional fee!

Dr. Lowenstein discusses Breast Augmentation

Conveniently located in Santa Barbara, Dr. Lowenstein commonly cares for many breast implant surgery patients from Santa Maria, Bakersfield, Ventura, and Thousand Oaks.

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FAQs: Breast Augmentation

  • Is it painful?

    Breast implant surgery is usually followed by some short-term discomfort that is usually easily controlled with medication or pain pump. Longer term anesthetic medications are routinely used by Dr. Lowenstein inside the breast to minimize postoperative discomfort.
  • When do breasts stop changing size?

    Breast size often stabilizes following puberty in the late teen years of a young woman’s life, however breasts will likely continue to change in size throughout a woman’s life with changes in weight, hormones, and age. Pregnancy, breast feeding, menopause, and even variations in a woman’s menstrual cycle can all cause short, medium, or long term changes in a woman’s breast size throughout her life. Surgical enhancement of the breast with or without breast implants can be performed in many different stages of life, but should be held off in a young woman until her initial breast growth is stable following puberty. Breast implants can be placed in any decade following puberty, and Dr. Lowenstein specializes in creating a natural appearing breast augmentation well suited for any stage of a woman’s life.
  • Can I work out after having breast implants?

    Dr. Lowenstein requests that patients don’t work out in any significant way for about a month following their breast augmentation surgery in Santa Barbara in order to maximize the appearance of the scar to a fine line while it is healing in the most acute phase. Following that initial month, there are no physical restrictions on our Santa Barbara breast implant patients. Dr. Lowenstein has performed breast enhancement using breast implants on professional athletes with no difficulties. Postoperative activity, following the initial month of recovery, does not have restrictions.
  • Why are my friend’s breasts hard?

    Hardening of the breast implants is called capsular contracture and is extensively studied. While national rates of this contracture can exceed 10%, Dr. Lowenstein’s techniques have resulted in rates below 3%. Use of meticulous technique, special incisions and new technology called the Keller Funnel have been keys to Dr. Lowenstein’s success.
  • Do breast implants rupture?

    Like any device in medicine, breast implants can fail after a period of time. This may be in the form of a rupture of the outer shell of the implant, causing the saline or silicone to leak out. If a saline breast implant ruptures in the years following surgery, the saline is absorbed by the body and the breast deflates relatively quickly. No ongoing tests are required with saline implants. With silicone gel implants, the body does not absorb the leaking silicone and there may not be any outward signs of rupture. The FDA has recommended that patients with silicone breast implants have an MRI periodically to check on their implants. In the case of rupture of either a saline or silicone breast implant, replacement is indicated and can be easily performed.
  • What is the risk of cancer with breast implants?

    We frequently get questions about breast implants and breast cancer. While there does not seem to be any increased risk of breast cancer after getting breast implants, there is a very small risk regarding a very rare lymphoma most often associated with textured breast implants- one of the reasons Dr. Lowenstein most often uses the safer smooth shelled breast implants. For more information about cancer risks associated with breast implants, see our page dedicated to this topic here.
  • How long is recovery from surgery?

    Normal day to day activity is resumed in the days to week or two following your surgery. You can shower the day after surgery, but Dr. Lowenstein insists that you hold off from swimming or vigorous working out for three weeks. Dr. Lowenstein will plan to see you the day after your surgery, and each of the next two weeks to help optimize your postoperative recovery.
  • What is the IDEAL IMPLANT® Structured Breast Implant?

    The IDEAL IMPLANT® Structured Breast Implant gives you the natural feel you want, but without silicone gel. Although it is filled with only saline for your peace of mind, the implant has a natural feel because of its internal supporting structure that controls movement of the saline.

    If the IDEAL IMPLANT ruptures, the saline inside is harmlessly absorbed by the body. In addition, you have the confidence of knowing that your implants are intact just by looking in the mirror. In contrast, the FDA requests that patients with silicone gel implants get an MRI after 3 years and another MRI every other year after that to detect ruptures that would otherwise be undetected. Women have wanted a new type of breast implant – one that would combine the natural feel of a silicone gel implant with only saline inside for safety and peace of mind. After years of research, engineering, product development and a large US clinical trial, the IDEAL IMPLANT was approved by FDA and Health Canada, and is now available through a limited network of board certified or eligible plastic surgeons. The IDEAL IMPLANT has been in clinical use since February 2009, at the start of the clinical trial. By February 2010, 502 women received the IDEAL IMPLANT from 45 board certified plastic surgeon investigators nationwide. In clinical follow-up over five years, patient and surgeon satisfaction with the outcome has been high and the capsule contracture rate has been low.

  • What is a saline breast implant?

    Siple saline breast implants are composed of an outer shell and a filler of saline- the same type of fluid utilized in IV infusions. This means that if a saline breast implant ruptures the saline is harmlessly absorbed by your body and the implant itself collapses, allowing you to know that your implant needs to be replaced. Because of the simple structure of these implants, they can feel less natural than silicone gel implants or the IDEAL IMPLANT®. Patients may notice some rippling with simple saline implants that can sometimes be felt or seen beneath the skin.

  • What is a silicone gel breast implant?

    The most popular breast implant is the smooth round silicone gel implant. This implant feels the most like natural tissue, and for that reason is the breast implant most often chosen by breast enhancement patients. The soft silicone gel feeling is most similar to natural breast tissue, and the smooth surface of this breast implant allows the breast implant to move within the breast pocket. These implants are easily “pushed up” in a bra to provide cleavage because of their mobility, but their natural feel provides an attractive appearance and texture in all positions. Because this implant is filled with a silicone gel, this material is not absorbed by your body if this breast implant ruptures. Patients may not be able to tell if their silicone gel breast implant is ruptured by look or feel, and this is why the FDA requests that all silicone gel breast implant patients get an MRI after 3 years and then every other year after that to make sure that the implants have not had a “silent” rupture. While no scientific studies have ever shown that even a ruptured silicone implant causes systemic disease, such a ruptured implant can increase the likelihood of excessive scarring, lumps, and capsular contracture.

  • What is a shaped silicone breast implant?

    The newest silicone gel breast implant is the “shaped”, “gummy bear”, or “form stable” breast implant- all of these terms mean the same thing. These implants retain their shape in all positions, and have more fullness toward the bottom of the breast implant structure than at the top. This shape can allow for a very pretty appearance in the right patient, creating a natural and youthful shape. Some patients with a small amount of drooping can also benefit from this implant because it can provide some elevation of the lower breast tissue because of it’s shape. Additionally, the Shaped breast implant has a rupture rate that is significantly lower than smooth round silicone gel implants, as well as a very low capsular contracture rate. The shaped breast implant is rough on its surface, which prevents it from moving once it is placed into the breast. Because of it’s shape, it is important that the orientation of the breast implant remains stable and that rough surface prevents the implant from rotating into a poor position. Because of this texture and the form stable gel, these implants tend to be a bit more firm than standard silicone gel implants- a feature that some patients prefer, while others look for the softer feel of classic smooth round implants. Like the smooth round silicone gel implant, this “gummy bear” implant is filled with a silicone gel, this material is not absorbed by your body if this breast implant ruptures. Patients may not be able to tell if their silicone gel breast implant is ruptured by look or feel, and this is why the FDA requests that all silicone gel breast implant patients get an MRI after 3 years and then every other year after that to make sure that the implants have not had a “silent” rupture. While no scientific studies have ever shown that even a ruptured silicone implant causes systemic disease, such a ruptured implant can increase the likelihood of excessive scarring, lumps, and capsular contracture.

  • Is there anything I should do to prepare for my surgery?

    Preparing for your plastic surgery procedure is not too involved. You will see us for a pre-operative visit where your surgical plan is again reviewed and any tests that are required for surgery are also evaluated. The night before surgery you should not eat or drink after midnight, and you may be asked to shower with special antibiotic soap before your breast augmentation operation.
  • How do I choose which implants to get?

    The choice of which breast implant to use is a very personal one. Dr. Lowenstein will review the different types of implants as well as the different sizes and breast implant profiles- some implants are narrower than others, some implants protrude more and have more or less “projection”. Dr. Lowenstein and our staff at Montecito plastic surgery are experts in evaluating patient goals and matching you with the implant that suits you best.
  • Is it possible to lose nipple sensation?

    Nipple sensation can be effected by breast augmentation surgery, but Dr. Lowenstein has several techniques that he uses that help reduce the risk of loss of nipple sensation. One of the critical maneuvers is to avoid cutting around the areola, and avoid using sharp instruments in the lateral part of the breast implant pocket. Dr. Lowenstein will often identify the nerves that supply the nipple region during surgery, and these nerves are protected in order to allow for a low risk breast augmentation procedure.
  • Will I be able to breast feed with breast implants?

    Breast implants should not have any effect on your ability to breast feed. While not all women can breast feed to begin with, if you are able to breast feed before surgery you should be able to breast feed after your breast augmentation.
  • How long will it take to recover?

    Recovery after breast surgery can be somewhat varied depending on your lifestyle, your job, and your tolerance for discomfort. While breast augmentation is not the most painful surgery, it usually does create some postoperative discomfort. You should not plan on lifting more than five to ten lbs. for a few weeks, and Dr. Lowenstein usually recommends that you don’t do vigorous activity that makes you sweat for a month following any plastic surgery. While you can shower the day after surgery, Dr. Lowenstein will not want you to submerge in water (no swimming or baths or hot tubbing) until your incisions are completely healed.
  • Can I have other procedures done at the same time as my breast augmentation?

    Dr. Lowenstein often performs other plastic surgery procedures at the same time as breast implant surgery. The combination of a tummy tuck and breast augmentation is called a mommy makeover (also performed on non-mothers) and is a frequently performed operation at Montecito Plastic Surgery in Santa Barbara. A breast lift can also be added to a breast augmentation or mommy makeover as well when needed. Sometimes women request a facial procedure done at the same time as a breast augmentation, and liposuction and breast augmentation is another plastic surgery combination that is often performed by Dr. Lowenstein. As long as you are healthy and the combination of procedures does not take too long, multiple plastic surgery operations can be performed at the same surgery. Your safety, of course, is the most important thing and Dr. Lowenstein will let you know if you are asking for too much to be done at one time. In those cases, Dr. Lowenstein may recommend staging the operations to keep your health and safety at the forefront of the decision.
  • How long does breast augmentation surgery take?

    Dr. Lowenstein routinely performs breast augmentation in 45 to 60 minutes, though the process of your arrival, going to sleep, waking up, and recovering usually takes three hours or so all together.
  • What can I expect right after my procedure?

    Breast augmentation operations are performed as an outpatient in Dr. Lowenstein’s state of the art plastic surgery center. If you live out of town, Dr. Lowenstein will request that you stay overnight as he sees all of his postoperative patients the day after surgery to make sure all of your questions are answered and confirm that you are happy with your outcome.
  • Do I need to have my breast implants replaced every 10 years?

    Breast implants only need to be replaced when there is a problem with them. To make certain that your implants are intact, patients with silicone gel implants shoule get MRI studies in accordance with the FDA recommendations at years 3, 5, 7,9, 11, etc… Patients who have saline implants should recognize a rupture by deflation of the saline implant. If there is no evidence of leaking or rupture of your implants, and you are happy with the look and feel of your current breast augmentation, then there is no need to have any implant replacement. That said, if you DO have a leak or a rupture, before or after 10 years, you should have your breast implants replaced. Similarly, if your implants are hard, or if you have found that you would prefer a larger or smaller breast after a period of time, or your breasts have sagged over time and you would like a change to your breast enhancement, then you should be evaluated for a new set of implants no matter what the period of time it is following your original surgery.

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