Most breast enhancement procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and entail a modest recovery period with limited time off work. Sensation is preserved and breastfeeding is typically still possible for patients who pursue a breast enhancement procedure.
Surgical breast augmentation increases the size of your breasts through the use of breast implants or fat transfer. Breast augmentation remains the most common cosmetic surgical procedure performed in the United States, and achieves a fuller, more youthful breast appearance following extensive weight loss or pregnancy, or as a balancing procedure following breast reconstruction.
The Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery Clinic at Northwest Hospital offers the full spectrum of implants, including saline implants filled with sterile salt water, silicone implants filled with silicone gel, and form-stable or “gummy bear” implants filled with a thicker silicone gel that enables them to maintain their shape.
Breast reduction decreases the size of one’s breasts by removing fat, glandular tissue and skin. This procedure may reduce back and neck pain, improve breast hygiene, and facilitate greater enjoyment of physical activities. While breast reduction surgery may be paid for by one’s insurance provider, plan-specific, physical criteria must be met in order to be a candidate for this procedure.
Breast lift, or mastopexy, achieves a firm, youthful bust through the removal and tightening of excess skin and tissue to reshape and support the new breast contour. This operation is frequently requested after the breast-deflating effects of extensive weight loss or breastfeeding, and may be combined with a breast augmentation.
The surgeons at the Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery Clinic at Northwest Hospital work closely with the physicians at Seattle Breast Center to provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary breast cancer care. Goals of breast reconstruction following mastectomy or lumpectomy include the restoration of breast volume, shape and symmetry. Breast reconstruction may be accomplished by employing a variety of surgical procedures that must be tailored to the specific needs of each patient. Regardless of the technique(s) employed, breast reconstruction frequently requires multiple stages over a 9-12 month period to achieve a natural and symmetrical result.
Implant (Alloplastic) Reconstruction
Implant-based (also called alloplastic) breast reconstruction is typically accomplished in at least two stages, the first of which can be performed at the time of mastectomy. In rare circumstances a single-stage implant reconstruction may be accomplished at the time of mastectomy. This reconstructive technique traditionally utilizes silicone implants to restore breast volume and shape, and requires a modest recovery period following each stage, though this may vary from patient to patient.
Natural Tissue Reconstruction
Natural (also called autologous) tissue reconstruction utilizes one’s own tissue to reconstruct the absent breast mound(s). A variety of autologous reconstructive techniques exist including rotation of skin and subcutaneous tissue from the back (latissimus dorsi flap) or the microsurgical transfer of skin and subcutaneous tissue from the abdomen, inner thighs or buttocks (DIEP, TUG or SGAP/IGAP flaps). Regardless of the specific technique employed, autologous breast reconstruction offers a natural texture without the use of any prosthetic implant material. Autologous tissue reconstruction frequently requires longer surgeries, hospitalizations and recoveries than those of implant reconstruction, but is more durable and does not require replacement over time.