Women may decide to undergo plastic surgery to enlarge or reduce their breasts, to achieve a balance in size or shape for their breasts, or to reconstruct one or both breasts after mastectomy. Men may also seek to reduce breast size. Whatever the motivation, breast surgery is safer and easier now than ever before.
Who is the ideal candidate for each breast procedure?
Candidacy for the various breast procedures performed by Dr. Frank is as varied as the outcomes. Let’s walk through each.
- Breast Augmentation — Ideal candidates would seek to add volume and shape to their breasts. Maybe the person has always felt her breasts were disproportionate to the rest of her body. Maybe there is a degree of asymmetry. Maybe she’d simply like to have larger breasts.
- Breast Implant Revision — If a patient is dissatisfied with a prior breast augmentation done elsewhere, she would be a candidate for revision. Implant placement could be the problem or there could be rippling. Capsular contracture, where the body forms an inordinate amount of scar tissue around the implants, is a reason for revision. Implant rupture requires revision surgery. Sometimes, the patient decides she would like either larger or smaller implants.
- Breast Lift — An ideal candidate for a breast lift would be unhappy with her sagging, flattened breasts. She would feel her breast mass has dropped into the bottom of the breast, flattering the upper breast. Her nipples may point downward to a degree. She seeks to bring the breasts back up to a higher position on the chest, removing excess, sagging skin.
- Breast Reduction — Overly large natural breasts can be a physical and mental burden. Their size and weight can create problems ranging from neck and back pain to carpal tunnel syndrome. The breasts can keep the woman from participating in various types of exercise or sports. The undue attention her large breasts can attract in social situations is unwanted.
- Breast Implant Removal — A woman who has had breast augmentation may opt to have her implants removed for potential health reasons such as the risk for breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma that led to the recall by Health Canada and the U.S. FDA of BioCell textured breast implants in 2019. Or she may be getting older and no longer wants to have augmented breasts.
- Male Breast Reduction — It’s estimated that approximately half of men could have a condition known as gynecomastia, where the breasts become enlarged. Many men assume this is simply due to having a few extra pounds, but this can actually be a glandular condition with enlarged mass behind the nipple area. Enlarged breasts can make a man avoid social situations where he would have to take off his shirt.
Additional FAQs About Breast Procedures
This varies with the procedure. The shortest recovery comes with male breast reduction, as most patients can return to normal activity in about one week after their surgery. Female breast reduction requires the longest recovery due to the large incisions and removal of more sagging skin and fatty tissue. Full recovery after reduction surgery will likely take at least six months. Breast lifts will require a full month of avoiding strenuous activity and wearing a strong support bra at all times. Incision healing takes a little longer. Breast augmentation recovery is not as difficult. Patients can usually return to work in just four or five days but need to avoid any impact exercise or activity for one month.
Breast lifts and reductions are low risk procedures. The main risk is loss of nipple sensation, as Dr. Frank usually needs to relocate the nipple/areola complex. Implant revision surgery is also low risk, as Dr. Frank can use the incisions from the original augmentation procedure. Plus, not removing a ruptured implant or an implant being strangled by capsular contracture involves more risk than revision surgery.
There is more risk associated with augmentation, although not with the actual surgery. The surgery is a low-risk procedure. However, from potential implant rupture to capsular contracture to implant rippling, there are some risks down the road with implants.
Breast augmentation with silicone implants is the most popular breast surgery performed by Dr. Frank.
The general rule with any procedure following the birth of a child is for the new mother to be finished with breastfeeding for at least two to three months. This allows the breasts to return to their normal cup size, and that is where any change, whether augmentation or reduction, needs to start from. The patient should also be within 10 percent of her ideal body weight.
Health Canada doesn’t cover cosmetic surgeries, so breast augmentation is not covered unless it follows mastectomy from breast cancer. Breast lifts are not covered, as they are deemed elective, cosmetic surgery. Female breast reduction is typically covered, but the patient may have to have her primary care physician provide information about the health effects the patient has to deal with due to her enlarged breasts (issues such as neck pain, rashes, carpal tunnel, etc.). Male breast reduction is covered if the condition involves glandular tissue under the nipple complex. Implant revision surgery is usually covered in cases of rupture and capsular contracture, but not covered with poor placement or when the patient seeks to change the implant size.
Your ideal breast surgery will make itself known as you explore the characteristics that you want to improve compared to those that you already like about your current appearance. If you are generally satisfied with where your breasts sit on the chest wall but you would like more volume and shape, you may achieve great results with breast augmentation alone. If you're unhappy with saggy, deflated-looking breasts but have sufficient volume to suit your ideal appearance, then a breast lift alone may give you the results you want. You may want to combine these two procedures if you lack both volume and height.
In addition to achieving profound cosmetic results, your combined lift and augmentation offer the benefit of one surgical event and one recovery time. If cosmetically reasonable, combining your breast augmentation with a breast lift can be quite a cost-effective option.
Like natural breast tissue, breast implants have weight to them. Where there is weight, there is gravitational pull. At some point after having breast augmentation surgery, you will experience sagging. This is due primarily to the natural aging process and the way the skin and soft tissue in the body loosen over time. Having breast implants won't necessarily accelerate this process but it may make the process noticeable once breast shape starts to change. In fact, one of the reasons women undergo breast augmentation revision is to correct age-related breast ptosis. Usually, this takes place at least 10 years after the first surgery.
In recent years, more women have sought to have their breast implants removed without replacing them. Often, it's recommended to combine breast implant removal with a breast lift. During your consultation for this procedure, Dr. Frank will carefully observe your skin and breast tissue. If your skin is elastic and your breast tissue is firm, the tissue may contract around the natural breast mound without manual tightening. If your examination reveals tissue characteristics that are not conducive to adequate tightening, you may be a candidate for a breast lift. One of the goals of your breast implant removal is to achieve a satisfying cosmetic result that will last many years.
Male breast enlargement, called gynecomastia, can develop for several reasons. The breast reduction procedure that corrects this issue may remove both fatty and glandular tissue. With that, it's uncommon for the breasts to enlarge a second time. That said, there are some reasons for a recurrence of gynecomastia. These include:
- Obesity. A man's weight at the time of surgery and also after surgery can influence the long-term outcome of male breast reduction. If weight gain occurs after surgery, a condition called pseudogynecomastia may develop. Fortunately, this may be correctable with weight loss.
- Surgical technique. The technique that's used to reduce breast size may depend on the surgeon and on the patient. In the case of obesity, a surgeon may primarily remove fatty tissue, leaving more of the glandular tissue in place. This can result in puffiness around the nipple and an overall unsatisfying result.
- Medication or drug use. Certain medications and drugs are known to contribute to male breast enlargement. If these medications or drugs, such as anabolic steroids or marijuana, are used after surgery, excessive breast growth may recur.
Hear From Dr. Frank’s Breast Procedure Patients
"Had a BA 6 months ago, and Dr. Frank surpassed all my expectations from consultation to post op. He is personable, cares & very thorough. Thanks Dr. Frank & your amazing nurses for giving me my confidence back!" – B.H
"HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! It has been exactly 6 months since I had a breast augmentation. The final results were exactly what Dr. Frank and his team had assured me and then some. Dr.Frank’s team are all true professionals and it’s easy to tell they love what they do. I was walked mentally through the procedure, the healing process and they never missed a step, therefore, I did not have any questions or anxiety about the changes I would experience. I couldn’t be more satisfied with the results. Thank you to all!!" – R.S
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If you would like to learn more about our cosmetic and plastic surgery services, to make an appointment with us, or to schedule your consultation, call us or contact us at our Calgary office.