Breast Procedure Frequently Asked Questions:

Are breast implants permanent?

Breast implants are not considered lifetime devices.  Removal, replacement and visits to the physician are commonly required.

Can I choose to have the implant removed?

Implants are removable, but keep in mind that you may experience dimpling, puckering, wrinkling or other cosmetic changes after the implant is taken out.

Can I breast-feed after receiving an implant?

Implants may affect your ability to produce milk for breast feeding.

Will insurance cover the implant procedure?

Insurance companies do not usually cover implant surgery performed for cosmetic reasons.  Most companies cover the first breast reconstruction operation.

Am I eligible for implants?

You are not eligible if you have untreated breast cancer or infection, are under 18 years of age, or are pregnant or nursing.

What are the major risks?

The major risks of implant surgery are deflation or rupture of the implant, capsular contracture (tightening of the scar, causing the breast to feel hard), pain, dissatisfaction with results, additional surgery, infection, hematoma/seroma, changes in nipple and/or breast sensation, inability to breast feed, calcium deposit formation, delayed healing, extrusion (implant breaks the surface of the skin) and necrosis (formation of dead tissue around the implant).

What are breast implants made of, and where are they placed?

Implants are silicone shells filled with either saline (salt water) or silicone gel (recently approved by the FDA). They are placed behind each breast, underneath either breast tissue or the chest wall muscle. Placement behind the chest wall muscle offers a few advantages over placement beneath the breast tissue only. These include reduced risk of capsular contracture (post-operative tightening around the implant) and less interference with mammogram examinations. Possible disadvantages include need for drainage tubes and elevated pain in the first few days following surgery.

Should women who are pregnant or plan to be pregnant wait before undergoing a breast lift or breast reduction?

Women planning to have children are advised to postpone surgery, since pregnancy and nursing can counteract its effects by stretching the skin. However, the procedure should not affect your ability to breast-feed.

Breast reduction surgery is not recommended for women who intend to breast-feed, since many of the milk ducts leading to the nipples are removed.

Is there much post-operative pain from a breast lift?

Breasts will probably be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for a few days but this will pass. Numbness in the breasts and nipples should lessen as swelling subsides, although occasionally it lasts for months or even permanently. Stitches are removed after one to two weeks, and many patients return to work then.

How long does recovery take?

Most patients feel tired and sore after surgery, but this usually passes in a day or two and many patients return to work within a week or two. Any post-operative pain, swelling and sensitivity will diminish over the first few weeks. You should avoid heavy lifting for three to four weeks and only gentle contact with the breasts should occur for six weeks.

Does breast surgery cause scarring?

Yes, although scars can be hidden with a bra, bathing suit or low-cut top.  During surgery, incisions are made in inconspicuous places on the breast to minimize scar visibility (in the armpit, in the crease on the underside of the breast, or around the areola, the dark skin around the nipple). Scars do fade with time.