Plastic Surgery

Cosmetic Breast Procedures — Frequently Asked Questions


How do I know I'm seeing a qualified plastic surgeon?

Finding a well-trained, experienced plastic surgeon is one of the most important steps in ensuring you get the results you want. Here's how to find the best physician for you:

Check for board certification. Does the American Board of Plastic Surgery certify him or her? This is the only board that certifies plastic surgeons.

Check professional memberships. Is she or he a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons? This professional society promotes education and standards among board certified plastic surgeons.

Check out the hospital. Is he or she on the staff of an accredited hospital? Hospitals can be accredited by any of several private and public organizations; the most common accrediting body is the Joint Commission.

Talk to your family physician for information about another physician's qualifications.

Ask your plastic surgeon about his or her education, training for a particular procedure and experience with the procedures you want.

Question the source, if you get information from friends. While they may be able to recommend a qualified plastic surgeon, friends may also base their opinions on second- or third-hand information.

Read up. Magazines or television programs may be reliable resources, but be cautious. Don't base your decision solely on them; check out the source and investigate further.

Is plastic surgery safe?

As with all surgical procedures, there is some risk of complications. You can reduce potential risks and complications by carefully following all pre- and post-surgery instructions provided to you by your surgeon. This will ensure that you and your plastic surgeon are prepared and that your body is appropriately cared for before, during and after surgery.

What about confidentiality?

Although many people are more open about their own cosmetic surgery now than they once were, not everyone is. We all want the privilege of telling family and friends about our surgery ourselves. Be assured that in most plastic surgery offices, your privacy is highly guarded. At Penn Medicine, all new staff members must attend training sessions in how to maintain patients' privacy. Following the training, each new employee signs an agreement to follow privacy and confidentiality principles. Our physicians and support staff use discretion with patient information.

About the Procedures

What is breast augmentation?

Breast augmentation is the surgical placement of implants to enhance the size and shape of the breasts. Clinically referred to as mammoplasty, the procedure is often used as part of breast reconstruction surgery following a mastectomy.

What are the different types of implants?

Breast implants come in a variety of shapes and sizes to create a natural-looking result. There are two types of implants:

  • Saline-filled implants
  • Silicone-filled implants

Saline and silicone breast implants both have an outer silicone shell. The difference is that one is filled with saline and the other silicone. The implant your plastic surgeon recommends will depend on your anatomy and desired results.

Do my implants last forever?

Implants are not lifetime devices and both saline and silicone implants can rupture and leak. If you have saline implants you will notice a slow deflation of the implant. The body is able to absorb the salt water leaking out of the implant and over a few days to weeks you will notice that your implant gets smaller. If you have silicone implants, there may be a change in the shape of the implant, however, oftentimes, there is no change at all. Many times, the only way to detect a leak in a silicone implant is through MRI. If you choose silicone implants you will be scheduled for periodic MRIs to ensure that your implants are still intact. Implant rupture rates, regardless of saline or silicone are approximately 1% per year; this means that your implant can rupture at anytime after being placed. Most implants will need to be replaced every 15-20 years.

What is the difference between a breast lift and breast augmentation?

Breast lift surgery, also called mastopexy, is a cosmetic surgery procedure that lifts and reshapes sagging breasts that can occur as part of the natural aging process, pregnancy or weight loss. Breast augmentation is the surgical placement of implants to enhance the size and shape of the breasts.

A breast lift may be performed in conjunction with breast augmentation to increase definition, volume and improve the overall contour of the breasts.

Will my surgery leave a scar?

While scars are part of any surgery, our surgeons use a variety of surgical techniques during breast augmentation to meet the unique needs of each client and minimize scarring as much as possible. Implant and incision placement is carefully considered and discussed during your initial consultation.

What is fat grafting?

Fat grafting, or fat transfer, is a method used to enlarge the breasts without the use of implants. In this procedure, excess fat cells from one part of the body are removed and then implanted into the breasts to create a natural look and feel.

While fat grafting is more likely to be used for breast reconstruction rather than cosmetic breast surgery, it provides an alternative for those patients wishing to avoid implants.

Next Steps

To schedule a consultation call 800-789-7366 or request an appointment online.