San Diego
(858) 483-0690
salavi@doctor.com


Dr. Sassan Alavi
Medical Director

3023 Bunker Hill St.
San Diego, CA 92109

(858) 483-0690
salavi@doctor.com




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If you're considering breast augmentation . . .
Breast augmentation, technically known as augmentation mammoplasty, is a surgical procedure to enhance the size and shape of a woman's breast for a number of reasons:

  • To enhance the body contour of a woman who, for personal reasons, feels her breast size is too small.
  • To correct a reduction in breast volume after pregnancy.
  • To balance a difference in breast size.
  • As a reconstructive technique following breast surgery.
By inserting an implant behind each breast, surgeons are able to increase a woman's bustline by one or more bra cup sizes. If you're considering breast augmentation, this will give you a basic understanding of the procedure--when it can help, how it's performed, and what results you can expect. It can't answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on your individual circumstances. Please ask your surgeon if there is anything you don't understand about the procedure.

The best candidates for breast augmentation
Breast augmentation can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but it won't necessarily change your looks to match your ideal, or cause other people to treat you differently. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.

The best candidates for breast augmentation are women who are looking for improvement, not perfection, in the way they look. If you're physically healthy and realistic in your expectations, you may be a good candidate.

Breast augmentation is usually done to balance a difference in breast size, to improve body contour, or as a reconstructive technique following surgery.

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Types of implants
A breast implant is a silicone shell filled with either silicone gel or a salt-water solution known as saline.

Because of concerns that there is insufficient information demonstrating the safety of silicone gel-filled breast implants, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that new gel-filled implants, at the present time, should be available only to women participating in approved studies. Some women requiring replacement of the implants may also be eligible to participate in the study (we are part of such study and have the silicone implant available for eligible patients).

Saline-filled implants continue to be available to breast augmentation patients on an unrestricted basis, pending further FDA review. You should ask your doctor more about the specifics of the FDA decisions. (Above guidelines are current as of July 1992.)

All surgery carries some uncertainty and risk
Breast augmentation is relatively straightforward. But as with any operation, there are risks associated with surgery and specific complications associated with this procedure. These risks will be discussed by your surgeon and staff during your initial consultation.

While the majority of women do not experience these complications, you should discuss each of them with your physician to make sure you understand the risks and consequences of breast augmentation.

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Planning your surgery
In your initial consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your health and explain which surgical techniques are most appropriate for you, based on the condition of your breasts and skin tone. If your breasts are sagging, your doctor may also recommend a breast lift.

Be sure to discuss your expectations frankly with your surgeon. He or she should be equally frank with you, describing your alternatives and the risks and limitations of each. You may want to ask your surgeon for a copy of the manufacturer's insert that comes with the implant he or she will use -- just so you are fully informed about it. And, be sure to tell your surgeon if you smoke, and if you're taking any medications, vitamins, or other drugs.

Your surgeon should also explain the type of anesthesia to be used, the type of facility where the surgery will be performed, and the costs involved. Because most insurance companies do not consider breast augmentation to be medically necessary, carriers generally do not cover the cost of this procedure.

Preparing for your surgery
Your surgeon will give you instructions to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications.

While making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out for a few days, if needed.

Where your surgery will be performed
Your surgery will be performed in our accredited operating room.

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Types of anesthesia
Breast augmentation can be performed with a general anesthesia, so you'll sleep through the entire operation. Some surgeons may use a local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy, so you'll be relaxed but awake.

The surgery
The method of inserting and positioning your implant will depend on your anatomy and your surgeon's recommendation. The incision can be made either in the crease where the breast meets the chest, around the areola (the dark skin surrounding the nipple), or in the armpit. Every effort will be made to assure that the incision is placed so resulting scars will be as inconspicuous as possible.

Incisions are made to keep scars as inconspicuous as possible, in the breast crease, around the nipple, or in the armpit. Breast tissue and skin is lifted to create a pocket for each implant.

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Working through the incision, the surgeon will lift your breast tissue and skin to create a pocket, either directly behind the breast tissue or underneath your chest wall muscle (the pectoral muscle). The implants are then centered beneath your nipples.

Some surgeons believe that putting the implants behind your chest muscle may reduce the potential for capsular contracture. This placement may also interfere less with breast examination by mammogram than if the implant is placed directly behind the breast tissue. Placement behind the muscle however, may be more painful for a few days after surgery than placement directly under the breast tissue.

The breast implant may be inserted directly under the breast tissue or beneath the chest wall muscle.

You'll want to discuss the pros and cons of these alternatives with your doctor before surgery to make sure you fully understand the implications of the procedure he or she recommends for you.

The surgery usually takes one to two hours to complete. Stitches are used to close the incisions, which may also be taped for greater support. A gauze bandage may be applied over your breasts to help with healing.

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After surgery, breasts appear fuller and more natural in tone and contour. Scars will fade with time.

After your surgery
You're likely to feel tired and sore for a few days following your surgery, but you'll be up and around in 24 to 48 hours. Most of your discomfort can be controlled by medication prescribed by your doctor.

Within several days, the gauze dressings, if you have them, will be removed, and you will continue to wear the  surgical bra for four weeks after your surgery.  You may also experience a burning sensation in your nipples for about two weeks, but this will subside as bruising fades.

Your stitches will come out in a week to 10 days, but the swelling in your breasts may take three to five weeks to disappear.

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Getting back to normal
You should be able to return to work within a few days, depending on the level of activity required for your job.

Follow your surgeon's advice on when to begin exercises and normal activities. Your breasts will probably be sensitive to direct stimulation for two to three weeks, so you should avoid much physical contact. After that, breast contact is fine once your breasts are no longer sore, usually three to four weeks after surgery.

Your scars will be firm and pink for at least six weeks. Then they may remain the same size for several months, or even appear to widen. After several months, your scars will begin to fade, although they will never disappear completely.

Routine mammograms should be continued after breast augmentation for women who are in the appropriate age group, although the mammographic technician should use a special technique to assure that you get a reliable reading. (see All surgery carries some uncertainty and risk.)

Your new look
For many women, the result of breast augmentation can be satisfying, even exhilarating, as they learn to appreciate their fuller appearance.

Regular examination by your plastic surgeon and routine mammograms for those in the appropriate age groups at prescribed intervals will help assure that any complications, if they occur, can be detected early and treated.

Your decision to have breast augmentation is a highly personal one that not everyone will understand. The important thing is how you feel about it. If you've met your goals, then your surgery is a success.

Before and After Images

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