If you feel your breasts are too small, or if they have lost volume from pregnancy, weight loss or aging, breast augmentation can enlarge their shape and fullness. And when performed by a skilled plastic surgeon, such as Dr. Tenley Lawton in Newport Beach, the impact of breast augmentation can be more than simply aesthetic — data has shown that many patients enjoy substantial psychological benefits, including enhanced self-esteem, from breast augmentation.
Dr. Lawton, board-certified and highly experienced, routinely performs these procedures in her accredited surgical suite in Orange County, California. She also performs augmentations to balance breasts that are uneven or different sizes and as a reconstructive technique following surgery for breast cancer.
The Breast Augmentation Procedure
Breast augmentation, also known as augmentation mammoplasty, is generally used to add volume to small or underdeveloped breasts or to restore volume lost as a result of weight loss, childbirth or aging. During breast augmentation surgery, Dr. Lawton inserts implants through an incision, typically located either just above the breast crease (around the pigmented skin surrounding the nipple) or in the armpit. The implant is then placed into a “pocket” created behind the breast tissue or the chest muscle.
The surgery can be performed under general anesthesia, or with local anesthesia and intravenous sedation. Because the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, most patients are able to return home the same day and begin their recovery.
Implant and Incision Types
Together with Dr. Lawton, patients will have to make two very important decisions about their breast augmentation: implant type and incision type. To a certain degree, the patient’s preferred outcome might tip the scales toward one type or another. There are two basic implant types:
- Saline — These implants contain a solution of salt and water in a combination that closely replicates the fluids already in your body. They have several advantages (including less-invasive incision options).
- Silicone — The most popular breast implant type, silicone implants are widely used because many patients believe they look and feel more natural than saline implants. They have a remarkable safety and durability record.
There are advantages to each implant option. During your consultation, Dr. Lawton will help you decide which is best for your body and your individual outcome. Patients also will discuss the three primary incision methods used in modern breast-augmentation surgery:
- Periareolar incision — a small incision around the outer edge of the areola.
- Transaxillary incision — an incision around the underarm, from which the breast implant is maneuvered into the desired final position.
- Inframammary incision — perhaps the most common incision technique, along the lower fold of the breast.
The optimal incision technique for you will depend on your desired outcome as well as the size and type of implants you choose.
A breast augmentation can be a complex procedure, and there will be additional factors to consider as you move forward. For example, patients often are asked to consider options surrounding the size, shape, and placement of the implant. And to achieve optimal results, sometimes patients will require a breast lift as well as a breast augmentation. Dr. Lawton is an experienced and thoughtful surgeon, and as a woman, she is uniquely qualified to help guide you through these decisions. Beginning with your consultation, she will always take the time to answer all of your questions, because this is a choice that requires careful consideration. In the end, her goal is ensuring that you love the way you look.
Recovery and Results
For most patients, recovery from breast augmentation only takes a couple of weeks. Much will depend on the specifics of your case: your implant choice, incision type, and overall general health. Dr. Lawton gives all of her patients individualized recovery instructions, tailored to their specific situation and procedure. Recovery means giving your body the time to get back to normal. Usually, the smaller the incision is, the shorter your recovery will be. Generally, most patients can expect to be back to work one to two weeks after their procedure. However, patients typically are advised to avoid strenuous activity until Dr. Lawton advises those activities can resume (often after a month or so).
It may take several months for patients to see the final results of their breast-augmentation procedure. While the increase in volume will be immediately evident, implants can take some time to naturally “settle” into their final position. Any redness around the incision lines should also begin to fade at that point.
What are the Benefits of Breast Augmentation?
The benefits of breast-augmentation surgery can be substantial, especially when it addresses an area of concern for the patient. It’s common for patients to feel increased confidence and self-esteem following their procedure. For patients who feel their natural breasts do not live up to their body image, augmentation can mean a significant improvement. Most patients want to maintain realistic proportions — often the change they seek is more about how they feel than how they look to others. While the aesthetic changes from a breast augmentation certainly lead to physical benefits (including a more youthful overall appearance), the most potent benefit often is in the self-image of the patient.
Am I a Good Candidate?
Breast augmentation is not for everyone — and patients who aren’t sure what they want should never be rushed; they should wait until they are certain. But for those patients who are ready and have a clear vision of how they want to transform, breast augmentation is an excellent way to achieve their goals. Because breast augmentation is an incredibly popular procedure, there are some misconceptions about what it is designed to accomplish and who might be a good candidate. Dr. Lawton spends extra time with every patient in order to ensure they feel comfortable with the specifics of the procedure and the projection of their results. Most good candidates for breast augmentation will exhibit at least some of the following characteristics:
- A desire for larger breasts
- Uneven or asymmetrical breasts
- A desire to enhance the proportions between the hips, waist, and breasts
- Fully developed breasts
- Good physical health (women considering the procedure should not be pregnant or nursing, or planning to get pregnant in the near future)
- Dissatisfaction with the volume of the breasts
- Realistic expectations about what breast augmentation can accomplish
One important note: Patients considering a breast augmentation should be doing so for themselves — not because of outside pressure from a spouse or significant other. During your private consultation with Dr. Lawton, you will be able to discuss any specific concerns you might have about your medical history or about achieving the results you want. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get answers to your questions.
Can I “Preview” What I Will Look Like?
Before your consultation, it is helpful to review pictures of different breasts to get an idea of the size and look you desire. Dr. Lawton then will review the pictures with you and determine if that look is attainable with your natural breast shape. She also will provide breast implant sizers and discuss the type of implants that will work best for you. It may be difficult for some patients to know precisely what size or shape to opt for. That’s why most patients take advantage of modern 3D imaging software (called Vectra 3D) to generate a “preview.” This presents a 3D model of what the patient might look like with various sizes of breast implants.
Other Useful Information
History and Regulations
Breast augmentation has been available in the United States for over 40 years. According to statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), it is one of the most popular surgical aesthetic procedures performed today. The FDA requires that women be at least 18 years old to receive breast augmentation with saline implants and 22 years old for augmentation with silicone implants. As an ethical-minded medical practitioner, Dr. Lawton would never encourage someone who is underage to undergo a procedure.
Surveys of Augmentation Patients
An ASAPS survey of over 5,000 women who had breast augmentation generated the following findings:
- 89% of women surveyed said breast augmentation met their goals.
- 94% said they would recommend the procedure to others.
- Only 13% of women reported that they had second surgeries; of these, 92% chose implant replacement
- Of the 13% who had another surgery, 35% wanted larger implants, and 27% wanted to improve breast shape or position.
The result of a breast augmentation can range from subtle to bold. Most patients are simply looking to complement their proportions — searching for a way to finally feel more confident and assured. Dr. Tenley Lawton is committed to giving her Orange County patients a sophisticated, natural look that can help them feel great about themselves. To find out more about what breast augmentation might be able to do for you, contact Dr. Lawton’s office today to schedule a confidential consultation. Dr. Lawton will listen to your needs and what you want your procedure to accomplish — and then recommend the best way forward.
Would you like to learn more about a Breast Augmentation procedure? Fill out the “Request a Consultation” form on this page or call Tenley K. Lawton M.D. at 949-640-0999 to schedule your consultation with Board-Certified plastic surgeon Dr. Tenley Lawton serving Newport Beach and the greater Orange County, CA area.