Breasts in Show

Thinking of enhancing your natural assets? Here’s what you need to know about breast augmentation.

Implants can be placed in front of or behind the chest muscle.

Hey, buddy—eyes up here, please. If you’re considering breast enhancement, get ready to say that phrase a lot. And if implants are in your future, you’ll have plenty of company in the Sunshine State, says Orlando plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher D. Prevel. “The number of breast implants sold per year per capita is higher in the Sun Belt states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona and California compared to the northern tier of states, according to the breast implant manufacturers,” he says, adding that warmer temperatures and abbreviated clothing no doubt contribute to those numbers.

But before going under the knife—and after choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in breast procedures—you have a lot of decisions to make, including choosing the size, shape, material and placement of the implants.

Despite what Heidi Montag might say, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Talk with a cosmetic surgeon about choosing an implant size that’s appropriate for your height, weight and build. And just as important is the implant’s shape; some women like the circular, high-profile look of traditional round implants, but others think the look is too Barbie-esque.

The alternative is a teardrop-shaped implant, which yields a more natural and anatomically correct appearance. Today’s implant shapes also are available in a variety of profiles, which come in different widths and projections (the degree to which the implant projects forward).

Material World
The two basic filling materials for breast implants are silicone and saline. Silicone implants were pulled off the market in 1992 due to potential health concerns, but the FDA rescinded the ban four years ago.

Women who want to play it safe by opting for saline implants should be aware that this type has greater potential to cause rippling of the breast tissue. Silicone implants are less likely to produce that effect but do require a follow-up MRI scan to check for possible tears or ruptures, which isn’t needed for the saline variety.

The cost for surgery with saline implants ranges from $4,000 to $8,000; add about $1,200 to that range for silicone. The life expectancy of both types of implants is 10 to 20 years, so women should be prepared to undergo replacement or removal surgery in the future.

Above & Beyond
Another decision to make is the positioning of the implant. They can be placed in front of or behind the chest muscle, and there are pros and cons for each position, says Prevel, who is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a clinical associate professor of plastic surgery at the University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine. If the implant is placed in front of the muscle, there’s no potential for muscle distortion, but rippling can occur. Placing an implant behind the muscle reduces the possibility of rippling, but the muscle can cause distortion of the implant. An experienced surgeon can recommend the best placement for your body and type of implant chosen.

 So, is breast enhancement right for you? It’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, says Prevel. “If your eyes are open, you’re aware of all the risks and know that the device isn’t permanent.”

Find a qualified surgeon, educate yourself on the risks and rewards of breast implants, choose ones that are appropriate for your body, and chances are good that you’ll love your new, shapelier silhouette.

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