April is Breast Month at Providence. We’re having our “Stop the Stuff” breast event on April 4, where Dr. Gear provides free consultations and we have special pricing for some breast augmentation procedures. He’ll also talk about your options, from silicone and saline implant choices to the possibilities for augmentation without implants by using fat transfer.
The decision to have augmentation is a big decision, and it will be life changing. Our patients from Charlotte and the surrounding areas have lots of questions about augmentation, but here are a few of the common questions Dr. Gear hears.
How long will my implants last?
Breast implants are a manufactured product. And, as with any product, they have a lifespan. At some point the implants will rupture or begin leaking and will need to be replaced. How long will that be? The implant manufacturers warranty their implants for 10 years and will generally reimburse patients for implant replacement costs if the implants fail prior to that timeframe. But the lifespan of different patients and their implants can vary wildly.
You should expect to have at least one replacement surgery in your lifetime, probably more than one. You should expect to need to replace your implants every 10 to 15 years. Implant durability is increasing, so lifespans could lengthen. Regardless, if you’re in your 30s, you’ll need to replace your implants at least twice in your life, probably more than that. Replacement surgery is much easier than the originally augmentation surgery, as Dr. Gear can enter through the original incisions.
How will I know what size to choose for my implants?
There is a common misperception that breast implant sizes are sized like bra sizes. That’s not the case. Implants are sized by the amount of material filling the implant shell, measured in cubic centimeters (ccs). For instance, an implant could be 300 ccs.
Dr. Gear has various tools to help you decide the implant size that you feel is right for you.
When can I return to normal activities after my augmentation surgery?
Most patients are surprised when Dr. Gear tells them they can return to work approximately 3-5 days after surgery. Sutures will be removed after one week. Probably the most important facet of your recovery is to be diligent about wearing your surgical bra, then transitioning to a support bra, and finally a strong sports bra. These need to be worn 24 hours a day for at least one full month after your augmentation procedure. This can seem tedious, but there’s a reason to it — you don’t want to place any stress on your incisions. Otherwise, normal activities can resume in 1-2 weeks, but any impact exercise will need to wait for one month. Upper body exercise, such as lifting weights, will need to wait for six weeks.
If I’m having a breast lift, can I add implants as well?
Many women opt to add augmentation to their breast lift procedure for two reasons. First, a breast lift doesn’t decrease breast size, but it does return the breasts to a higher position on the chest. Breast lifts don’t add volume or replace volume that may have been lost through breastfeeding or weight loss. Augmentation is the way to add volume in addition to returning the breasts to a higher position on the chest. Second, it’s relatively easy for Dr. Gear to add implants during a breast lift because the incisions needed for the breast lift can be used to place the implants, as well. Plus, there is just a single recovery period.