Breast Augmentation at Tampa Bay Plastic Surgery
Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure that improves the volume, symmetry and firmness of a woman’s breast. A breast augmentation can also restore volume after weight loss or pregnancy. Breast augmentation surgery or breast implants are not to be confused with a “breast lift” – which is an entirely different procedure, although it may be done alongside breast augmentation. Breast implants alone will not combat age-related sagging following childbearing. The lift procedure tightens the surrounding tissues to position the breasts higher, whereas the augmentation procedure will restore lost volume or increase cup size.
The implants may be round or teardrop shaped. Round implants are the type most commonly featured in fashion magazines and Victoria’s Secret catalogues. The soft, smooth shells are less likely to be felt and they are less likely to rotate. Teardrop implants are ideal for women with asymmetry or the need for filling a certain area of the breast. They provide additional contour where there is none and greater projection at the bottom of the breast.
Dr. David E. Halpern of Tampa, Florida is a triple board certified plastic surgeon who has performed thousands of successful breast augmentations over the past 15 years. Dr. Halpern is trained in various types of breast augmentation to offer a full suite of options for his patients, but like most plastic surgeons, he prefers to work with silicone for a natural look and feel. He is also trained to perform fat grafting, which has become an increasingly common choice for mastectomy patients.
Are You a Candidate for Breast Augmentation Surgery?
The ideal candidate for a breast augmentation procedure meets the following criteria:
- You are over 18 years-old
- Your overall health is good
- You do not have any unmanaged medical conditions
- You’re unhappy with your breast after weight loss or pregnancy
- You’re dissatisfied with the size, shape or asymmetry of your breast
- You have realistic expectations for for what is possible
- You have a flexible schedule that allows for some time off work
You may want silicone implants if:
- You have very little breast tissue or lost volume after childbearing
- You have had a mastectomy
You may be a good candidate for breast augmentation with fat grafting if:
- You have a good skin tone, but wish for a modest increase in size or fullness
- You want to fix contour irregularities or restore lost volume related to pregnancy or aging
Preparing for Breast Augmentation Surgery
Choosing the right size implant is one of the things people agonize over. They may ask “What size do I need to be a full C?” or request to look like a particular celebrity. Generally speaking, the volumes range from 120 to 850 cubic centimeters. The right size implant very much depends on your anatomy – the amount of existing tissue, height, weight, rib cage circumference, and body type.
It can be helpful to fill a knee sock with rice, measuring 10 ounces for every 300 ccs of saline. You can also order a $40 pre-consultation kit from Allergan with sample implants and a bra. It’s also wise to look at before-and-after photos of women who share your size and stature.
What to Expect
There are many different breast surgery techniques, but the general steps of breast augmentation at Tampa Bay Plastic Surgery are as follows:
1. The patient attends a no-obligation, pre-surgical consultation.During this appointment, the surgeon will discuss the procedure in greater detail, answer any questions you may have, ask you about your medical history and expectations, and take photographs for planning purposes.
2. The day of your surgery, you will arrive to the surgical suite with a chaperone and receive anesthesia. Anesthesia is administered by a certified anesthesiologist through IV.
3. The surgeon makes an incision. Options may include: the periareolar incision around the areola, the inframammary incision on the underside of the breast, or the transaxillary incision through the armpit.
4. The implant is positioned. The surgeon places the implant either under or over the pectoral muscle, depending on the desired result. The method used to insert and position the implant depends upon the type of implant used, the desired size, and surgeon preference. If fat grafting is necessary, fat will be harvested using liposuction prior to injection into the breast area. A lift procedure may be needed to pull the breasts into optimal alignment.
5. The incisions are closed. The incisions are closed with layered sutures, skin adhesive and/or surgical tape. You will receive detailed instructions regarding incision care and ways to minimize the risk of scarring. Over time, the incision lines fade from red to silver.
6. Recovery begins. Most patients go home the same day of their surgery. We ask that your chaperone stay with you to ensure you are as comfortable as possible. The first week of recovery is the hardest. Most people go back to work the following week. Results will be visible in two to three months, once the swelling goes down.
Dr. David E. Halpern uses Exparel to provide up to 48 hours of localized pain relief, in addition to prescribing pain medication to get you through the first week. Some patients who undergo general anesthesia may not feel quite like themselves for up to a week, so it’s recommended that you take at least that long off work.
You will also be instructed not to perform any strenuous activity or lifting that may compromise your results. Three weeks after surgery, you should be able to do lower body exercises and ride a stationary bike. By six weeks, most women are able to perform chest and arm exercises again.
Many patients wonder “How long do breast implants last?” and “Will I need to replace my implants in 10 years?” Some patients have had their implants for decades without incident. The typical shelf life of implants is rumored to be 10-15 years, but that is by no means an “expiration date.” You may keep your implants as long as they feel comfortable.
Dr. David E. Halpern regularly meets with former patients to see how they are doing. About 20-40 percent of breast surgery patients will opt for additional lifts, implants, or reductions down the road. Genetics, sun exposure, smoking, weight loss/gain, pregnancy and aging may all affect your long-term results and satisfaction.
Breast Implants FAQ
- Who gets breast implants?
Dr. David E. Halpern has done breast implants on all walks of life. The biggest demographic for breast augmentation procedures are married women who have a few children and are around 34 years of age. Most women seeking breast implants are not looking to go too big – but rather, would like replace lost volume or get a fuller cup.
- Are implants safe?
The media loves a sensational implant rupture story. But it is important to understand that these cases are the exception, rather than the rule. FDA studies have found the rupture rate to be 10.1% after a decade, with 75% of these cases discovered by physicians before an actual rupture occurred. Silicone gel implants are among the most well-studied medical devices and there is extensive medical literature validating their safety.
- When should I get implants?
Clinical studies of newer silicone implants did not include patients under age 22, so you must be at least 22 to receive that type of implant. Patients as young as 18 are still able to get saline implants, however. Other than that, implants are a very personal decision.
- Should I wait until I'm done having children to have breast augmentation done?
It makes sense to postpone your breast augmentation if you plan to have a baby within the next year or so. However, you can still safely, effectively breastfeed with implants, so if you feel really self-conscious about your breasts now, you may still have the procedure done. You may just need an additional lift later on if your tissue stretches or shrinks considerably due to the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and breastfeeding. If you do plan to have a family, be sure to discuss your intentions with the surgeon, as this may affect choice of the placement for your implants.
- How much does breast augmentation cost?
There is no easy answer when it comes to cost, but factors may include: your geographic location, the skill of the surgeon, where the surgery is performed, the anesthesia fee, and the type of implant used. You should save at least $6,000, but also look into alternate financing options like low-interest medical loans.
There are risks with any surgery, such as infection, uncontrolled bleeding, and adverse reaction to anesthesia. Risks particular to breast augmentation surgery may include: tissue/fat/muscle thinning, pressure atrophy, rippling, wrinkling, ridges, stretch marks, and residual pain. Risks are greater for patients with oversized implants, so it is important to choose a size that is appropriate for your frame and physical stature. Choosing an experienced surgeon like Dr. David E. Halpern will also ensure optimal results and safety.
Things You Should Tell Your Breast Augmentation Surgeon
- If you are taking any medications or supplements
- If you plan to have more children
- If you have had previous plastic surgery work done
- If you have a history of bleeding or clotting complications
- If you have any major medical conditions or unmanaged diseases
It helps to bring in pictures of breasts shapes and sizes you find attractive to make sure you and the surgeon are on the same page. If possible, find nude photos of women with similar builds to your own.
Choosing a Tampa Plastic Surgeon For Your Breast Enhancement Procedure
When choosing the right Tampa breast implant surgeon, it’s important to understand what constitutes “the gold standard” in plastic surgery. It may surprise you, but there are many physicians today who have received formal training in another specialty, but have started offering breast implants because they are so popular. These physicians may not have ANY plastic surgery training at all, but can still say they are “cosmetic surgeons” – which is not one of the specialties recognized by the American Medical Board of Medical Specialties. In other words, anyone with a medical licensed can say they are a surgeon, even without surgery training.
Dr. David E. Halpern is certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery that is recognized by the American Medical Board. He is also a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) — the largest plastic surgery specialty organization in the world.
That means he has over six years of surgical training, including competency in human anatomy and emergency medical care, in addition to at least three years of specialized plastic surgery residency work. It also means he operates in accredited medical facilities — like Tampa General Hospital, where he is Chief of the Plastic Surgery Department or his own office, which is approved by the State of Florida. He holds a valid license to practice medicine and adheres to a strict code of ethics. He also teaches plastic surgery at the University of South Florida.