For decades, breast augmentation has been one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures throughout the country and with our patients in the Fairfax, Reston and Washington D.C. areas. This procedure can have a dramatic impact on your life, giving you a burst of self-confidence that comes from looking and feeling your best.
Breast augmentation surgery is a great way to improve the size and shape of your breasts and has a high rate of patient satisfaction—over 98% according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons—and few patients experience complications or side effects.
Please contact New Image Plastic Surgery Associates today through the form on this page or by calling 703-742-8004 to schedule your breast augmentation consultation. Dr. Roberta Gartside serves patients in Reston, Fairfax, and McLean, Virginia, and throughout Washington D.C.
- Benefits of Breast Augmentation
- Types of Breast Implants
- Breast Augmentation Candidates
- Breast Implant Incision and Placement Options
- Breast Augmentation Procedure and Recovery
- Breast Implant Replacement and Revision
- Breast Augmentation FAQ
Benefits of Breast Augmentation
Women who choose breast enhancement do so to rediscover their femininity, improve their appearance, and boost their self-confidence. Your new breasts will also impact your overall appearance by helping you achieve a more balanced and proportioned figure.
It is important to understand that breast implants can do much more than increase the size of your breasts. This procedure can also help you improve the shape of your breasts by:
- Correcting breast asymmetry
- Enhancing cleavage
- Improving breast projection
- Restoring lost volume due to weight loss, pregnancy, or aging
Correcting Breast Asymmetry
Having differently shaped or sized breasts is an aesthetic issue, can interfere with clothing options, and even cause emotional dissatisfaction. Dr. Gartside can use different sized implants to produce symmetrically sized and shaped breasts. In addition to augmentation, Dr. Gartside finds that breast lift surgery and breast reduction can be very beneficial for some women. There are certain cases in which a combination of procedures will produce the best results.
The presence or absence of cleavage is often a matter of bone structure and breast placement. If you have a prominent sternum or a ribcage that angles outward, you’ll have less natural cleavage than someone with a flat ribcage or a sternum that angles inwards, even if your breasts are larger. Breast augmentation may help improve cleavage, but it's best to discuss the possibility with Dr. Gartside during your consultation.
Restoring Lost Volume
Many women choose breast augmentation after losing weight. Breasts are naturally made up of fatty tissue and can lose fullness, shape, and elasticity following weight loss. Breast volume changes occur if you’ve lost a great amount of weight due to diet and exercise or bariatric surgery. In these cases, it’s best to forgo breast implants until after you have reached and maintained your desired weight.
Women’s breasts react differently following pregnancy. Some breasts are permanently enlarged, while others return to their original, or smaller, sizes. It’s recommended to postpone breast augmentation surgery until at least six months after giving birth. You need to complete breastfeeding and give your body time to return to its normal hormonal rhythm and weight. Breast augmentation, or a complete mommy makeover, can be an ideal way to achieve the shape you want and the confidence you desire.
Most age-related changes to the breasts occur during menopause, usually between the ages of 45 and 55. As you age, your breast tissue and structure begin to change, leading to decreased fullness and firmness, as well as the possible development of growths such as cysts and fibroids. During this time your breasts may suffer from a flattened appearance, lumpiness, nipple displacement, or a widened space between breasts.
Types of Breast Implants
Dr. Gartside offers different types of breast implants. During your initial consultation, she will help you determine which one is best for your needs. Available options include:
- Saline breast implants: Saline implants are filled after they are placed allowing for smaller incisions which may decrease recovery time. However, because saline solution has the consistency of water, they may feel and look less like natural breast tissue than silicone implants. These issues—along with potential aesthetic imperfections such as rippling and wrinkling—are decreased when saline implants are placed below the muscles in the chest.
- Silicone breast implants: These implants are pre-filled with silicone gel, requiring a larger incision than saline, which may increase recovery time. Silicone implants tend to look and feel more like natural breast tissue, even when placed above the muscles of the chest. They are less likely to produce aesthetic imperfections such as double bubble or surface wrinkling, making them a better option for some of our patients.
- Gummy Bear Breast Implants: Dr. Gartside is pleased to offer form-stable breast implants, also known as gummy bear breast implants, from Sientra. Gummy bear implants can produce more natural looking and feeling breasts than other options. They have a firm but giving feel, are shaped to match the natural contours of breasts, and will not leak, even in the rare event of rupture.
- Fat Grafting: Fat grafting is a procedure in which fat cells are removed from targeted areas of your body and injected into areas you’re hoping to augment or enlarge. For breast augmentation with this technique, excess deposits of fat are typically removed with liposuction from areas such as the abdomen, back, hips, or buttocks. This procedure can serve the dual purpose of trimming your frame and enhancing your bust, making it an attractive option for some patients. Fat grafting offers both pros and cons and Dr. Gartside is happy to meet with you for a consultation to discuss your preferences and explain your options.
Breast Augmentation Candidates
Dr. Gartside evaluates and considers your candidacy in light of your particular situation. She’ll assess your medical history and you’ll need to disclose any medications or supplements you’re taking. This allows Dr. Gartside to make personalized recommendations to ensure that aesthetic goals are met while also respecting your general health.
Candidates for breast augmentation should be at least 18 years old to receive saline breast implants and over the age of 22 for silicone implants. These minimum ages are established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Ideal candidates for breast augmentation procedure should:
- Be in good physical and emotional health
- Be free of cancer or be receiving appropriate treatment
- Have no autoimmune disorders like lupus or scleroderma
- Not currently be pregnant or breastfeeding
- Not smoke, or be willing to quit
- Understand that you may require a revision procedure down the road
- Have realistic expectations and attainable cosmetic goals
- Have enough natural breast tissue to adequately cover the implant
Breast Implant Incision and Placement Options
The type of incision and the placement of your breast implants will play a decisive role in the final appearance of your breast augmentation procedure. During your consultation, Dr. Gartside will discuss breast implant placement along with other surgical options, allowing her to customize your procedure to meet your exact aesthetic specifications.
Breast augmentation incisions include:
- Periareolar: This incision is made around the circumference of the areola. Scars from this option are well-hidden in the naturally dark skin around the nipple.
- Inframammary: This incision is made underneath your breast, in the crease where breast and chest meet. Scars from this incision are hidden in the natural folds of your breasts.
- Transaxillary: This incision is made in the armpit, completely eliminating scars from the breast area.
Periareolar and inframammary incisions may provide Dr. Gartside with greater control over the creation of cleavage and ideal symmetry, but each incision option offers specific benefits and limitations.
Breast Implant Placement Options
Breast implant placement options offered include:
- Subglandular: This placement is below breast tissue, but above the muscles in your chest and is best for women with sufficient breast tissue to cover an implant. Subglandular placement allows for a shorter surgical and recovery period, but may not look or feel as natural as other placement options.
- Submuscular: This placement is below both breast tissue and the muscles in your chest and is best for women who don’t have sufficient breast tissue to cover an implant. While submuscular placement can increase surgical and recovery time, many women find this option produces more natural looking and feeling results.
Before your procedure, you’ll be placed under a general anesthetic that will put you to sleep for approximately two hours. Once you’re under the anesthetic, Dr. Gartside makes the incision and then creates a pocket in the breast, in which she will place the implant. Once in place, she’ll close the incisions with sutures or surgical tape and you’ll be taken to a recovery room while the anesthetic wears off.
After the procedure, it's important to schedule a follow-up appointment to see how the recovery is progressing and catch any possible complications before they occur. Also, remember to schedule annual examinations to evaluate the health of your breasts and the condition of the implants.
Although each procedure is unique and requires its own set of post-procedure care, there are a few general guidelines to follow for proper aftercare and recovery, including:
- Having your breasts wrapped in gauze and an elastic bandage or support bra to minimize swelling and support the breasts as they heal
- Keeping all incisions dry and clean
- Using an ice pack or compress to deal with any swelling
- Taking any prescribed pain medications as directed by your doctor
- Limiting strenuous activity after your surgery
Your recovery is dependent on factors unique to your procedure, though bruising, swelling, and moderate pain are all common. Dr. Gartside will discuss options for pain management including prescription medications prior to your surgery.
Dr. Gartside recommends taking one to two days to rest following breast augmentation. After this initial resting period, you can resume light work, though you may wish to put off returning to work for one to two weeks. During this time, frequent walks are recommended to help reduce swelling and general discomfort.
Most normal activities can be resumed within two to four weeks. However, strenuous exercise and more demanding work may need to be avoided for up to six weeks. These things can be different for each woman, making it important that you carefully follow the postoperative instructions Dr. Gartside provides for you.
Breast Implant Replacement and Revision
Breast implants are considered a prosthetic body part and may eventually need to be removed, replaced, or upgraded. Reasons you may wish to consider these options include:
- Capsular contracture
- Wrinkling or rippling
- Implant rotation
- Changes to implant size and shape
- Implant placement
Your revision options depend on the complexity of your case and the type of procedure you choose. Depending on the work needed, your breast implant revision surgery may be quick. On the other hand, the more complex the problem, the longer the process and recovery may take. Dr. Gartside will discuss this with you in more detail during your revision and replacement consultation.
Contact Our Experienced Breast Augmentation Specialist Today
Dr. Gartside is an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon who takes great pride in helping women look and feel amazing. During your consultation, she’ll be happy to answer any questions you have, detail your options, and help you choose which breast augmentation method will best meet your specific needs.
Please contact us online or by phone at 703-742-8004 to schedule your initial consultation today. Dr. Gartside provides breast augmentation for women living in and around Reston, Fairfax, and McLean, Virginia, as well as in the Washington, D.C. area.