What is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation remains the most popular plastic surgery procedure. Due to hormonal changes as we age, loss of volume after pregnancy and/or breastfeeding or weight loss and sometimes simply due to genetics, many women with small or asymmetric breasts come to our practice considering breast augmentation in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Implants and/or fat transfer can increase the size of your breasts and create a fuller and more balanced figure. There are many different types and designs of implants, and our breast enhancement specialists will help you choose the right option for your goals. Breast augmentation is an outpatient procedure and requires only a limited time away from work.
Dr. Dennis Hammond and Dr. Andrea Van Pelt understand that every case is different and strive to give each patient a unique, one-of-a-kind experience. Our knowledgeable staff values patient education and are with you every step of the way. We have extensive experience with this procedure, have board-certified anesthesiologists on staff, and perform surgeries in our fully accredited facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan. To learn more about breast augmentation, request a consultation online or call us at(616) 464-4420.
Breast Augmentation Before & After Photos
See more cases like this one in our before-and-after photo gallery of real breast augmentation patients.
*Keep in mind that each patient is unique and your results may vary.
Our doctors are extensively trained and experienced in helping women feel satisfied with the look of their breasts. In fact, Dr. Dennis Hammond consistently contributes professional presentations on breast enhancement and other plastic surgery topics at conferences worldwide. During your consultation, you’ll discuss many of these topics as they relate to your own surgery. Dr. Van Pelt, Dr. Kath, or Dr. Hammond will review your medical history and any lifestyle factors that could affect your surgery, as well as the cost of breast augmentation. Each procedure is completely customized to each patient’s needs, and no 2 experiences are exactly alike.
We offer various types of breast implants as well as different options for incision placement including:
- Both saline and silicone gel (traditional and “gummy bear”) implants: Both of these materials come with their own advantages. For example, many women are drawn to saline implants because they’re a bit less expensive than silicone. In the unlikely event of a tear or break, their sterile saltwater filling is harmlessly absorbed by the body. Saline implants may be more appropriate for women who have a good amount of existing breast tissue. On the other hand, most people agree that silicone gel implants look and feel more natural than saline. If a silicone implant breaks, which is highly unlikely, it retains its shape, and the filling doesn’t travel outside of the breast pocket.
- Different choices for incision location: Our surgeons can place your incision under the breast where it meets the chest wall (an inframammary incision) or along the lower edge of the areola (a periareolar incision). The ideal choice for you depends partially on the type of implant you choose, as well as the condition of your natural breast tissue. Regardless, our team works to ensure your incisions are very fine and discreet, so that your scars fade rapidly until they are nearly invisible.
- Different shapes of implants: We offer round implants, which provide more fullness in the upper portion of the breasts for more cleavage, and “anatomically shaped” implants, which are fuller at the bottom and provide a subtler boost in volume.
- 2 placement options: We can place your implants either above or below the pectoral muscle. This choice depends mostly on how much breast tissue you have. Placing the implants below the muscle conceals them better, particularly for those with little natural tissue. However, placing the implants above the muscle usually results in a slightly easier recovery period.
Dr. Hammond, Dr. Van Pelt, and Dr. Kath are pleased to offer patients an additional option for breast enlargement that doesn’t require implants. Fat transfer, sometimes called fat grafting, is an alternative that uses a patient’s own fat to selectively enhance her body. Fat transfer typically follows 3 steps:
- Liposuction: Your surgeon begins by harvesting fat using liposuction from a donor site on your body, usually the abdomen, thighs, or another area where excess fat accumulates. Once you are fully anesthetized, he or she makes a small incision in your donor area and inserts a thin tube called a cannula. After breaking apart the donor fat, your doctor carefully suctions it into a collection canister.
- Purification: Before adding the fat back into your body, it must be purified to ensure long-lasting results. Your doctor separates blood and other fluids from the healthy fat cells.
- Injection: Finally, while you are still asleep, your doctor injects the fat into your breasts at different depths and layers, carefully sculpting them to create a pleasing, natural-looking shape and a new size that aligns with your aesthetic wishes.
Fat transfer is appealing because its results feel and look very natural. Because it uses a patient’s own fat instead of an implant, there’s also no risk of rejection or other adverse reactions. Although it can’t create results as significant as those of implants, fat transfer is a good match for women who want a more subtle size increase. To be a candidate, it’s important that you have enough existing body fat to use. During your consultation, your doctor will help you understand which surgical options are likely to give you the results you want.
In addition to breast augmentation, our surgeons also perform breast lift surgery to enhance the shape of the breasts further. During your consultation, we can talk about the possibility of combining procedures, as well as other important considerations such as the cost of breast augmentation.
Meet Your Doctors
Request a Consultation View Before & After Photos
Dr. Hammond has participated in clinical studies with implant manufacturer MENTOR®. Clinical studies are an important way for manufacturers to evaluate the efficacy of their products and for doctors to familiarize themselves with them, keeping their practices on the leading edge.
Dr. Hammond’s work in part led to the FDA approval of several versions of MENTOR’s popular MemoryShape® implants. These textured, shaped silicone gel implants are remarkably popular at practices throughout the world thanks to their incredibly realistic results and lasting durability. Learn more about Dr. Hammond’s role in clinical studies.
Breast Augmentation Procedure
We perform breast augmentation at our outpatient surgical facility. The procedure is about an hour long, and you’ll be placed under general anesthesia so you can sleep comfortably for the duration.
Your surgeon begins by making incisions in the area you discussed during your consultation — either along the fold where the breast meets the chest wall or around the lower edge of the areola. He or she then creates pockets within your breast tissue to house the implants. If you’ve chosen saline implants, their shells will be added empty and filled with sterile saline once they’re in place. Your surgeon carefully evaluates your breasts for symmetry before closing your incisions.
If scarring is a concern for you, you can rest assured that all of your incisions are carefully closed with stitches placed beneath the skin so there is no chance of having “railroad track” marks. Instead, you’ll have very fine, faint scars once fully healed. These sutures will not have to be removed as they’re completely dissolvable.
Once your procedure is complete, you are moved to a comfortable recovery area where you are monitored as you begin to wake up. After a brief period of observation, you may return home with a trusted friend or loved one to drive you.
Healing at Home
The average recovery time is about 3 to 5 days before returning to work or any social activity, although some patients, especially those who choose under-the-muscle implant placement, may elect to take a full week off work. Swelling and bruising can last about 3 to 10 days, and you’ll need to wear a special surgical bra to properly support your breasts during this time.
Although it’s important to get up and walk around as soon as you feel comfortable, you shouldn’t pick up your usual workout routine immediately. Instead, it typically takes a few weeks before you can get back to light cardio. Strength training or any exercise that involves your upper body should be postponed until you’re cleared by your surgeon. Over time, your breasts drop, soften, and adopt a more natural look and feel as your body accommodates them.
Breast Augmentation FAQ
Before you undergo breast augmentation at our Grand Rapids, MI practice, you will have several decisions to make about your implants and your surgical process. Our experienced and compassionate surgeons understand that there is a great deal of information to keep straight. In an effort to streamline the process, they have provided their answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this popular surgery.
Breast augmentation is a good procedure for women who are unhappy with the size of their breasts. Strong candidates have breasts that are fully developed, are in good overall health, and are non-smokers. It is also important for patients to be in good emotional health, with a positive outlook and a goal of achieving personal fulfillment, rather than getting surgery to please someone else.
At Partners in Plastic Surgery, we customize each surgery to our patients’ exact specifications. Because each breast augmentation is different, it’s tough to offer a general estimate over the internet. We use several different factors when estimating the cost of surgery, including the fees charged by our anesthesiologists and the cost of the breast implants you select. During your consultation, we offer you a written estimate that reflects the details of your surgery.
This is a highly personal decision that should be based on your aesthetic goals and body characteristics. Dr. Hammond, Dr. Van Pelt, and Dr. Kath have a lot of experience using both kinds of breast implants for their Grand Rapids breast augmentation patients, and will guide you in your decision. Both materials have their advantages, and both can create beautiful results. For instance, saline implants usually require shorter incisions, while silicone implants tend to look and feel more natural. Your surgeon will help you come to a good choice based on your preferences.
As with any plastic surgery, scars are an inevitable part of the process, but our surgeons use specialized techniques with dissolving internal stitches that ensure the resulting scars are very fine and discreet. They primarily use 2 kinds of incisions: under the breasts in the body’s natural crease or around the edge of the areolas. Our medical team will also provide you with aftercare instructions so that you can help your incisions heal quickly, fading over time until they are nearly invisible.
Recovery after breast augmentation usually takes about a week, with most patients feeling comfortable returning to work in that time. Swelling and bruising can last about 10 days. We encourage our patients to begin walking as soon after surgery as they can, because this light activity promotes healing. More strenuous exercise should be resumed slowly, and your surgeon will clear you for various activities over time. We will provide you with detailed instructions about medications to manage any discomfort and how to care for your incisions.
This is a very common question from our breast augmentation patients, many of whom plan to have children in the future. Most women are pleased to find out that breast implants rarely interfere with the ability to breastfeed. Our surgeons use techniques that avoid the milk ducts and nipple structures that are necessary for nursing. Be sure to talk to your surgeon about your desire to breastfeed during your consultation so these techniques are incorporated into your surgery.
While most breast implant manufacturers give their products a warranty of 10 years, many women never need to have their implants replaced. If there is a leak or rupture, your surgeon can replace one or both implants during a simple surgical procedure. While implant complications are rare, many women visit our surgeons to replace saline implants with silicone, or change the size of their implants.
Breast implants can affect a technician’s ability to get views of your breast tissue during a standard mammogram, but a technician can take special views for a good evaluation. When you go in for a breast cancer screening, be sure to mention that you have implants so the staff can take these extra views.
Many patients who are interested in breast augmentation would also benefit from a breast lift. Dr. Kath, Dr. Van Pelt, and Dr. Hammond perform both procedures together to give the patient fuller, more shapely breasts. Many women also choose body contouring procedures such as a tummy tuck in conjunction with breast augmentation as part of a comprehensive package called a “mommy makeover.” Your surgeon can make recommendations about whether any other procedures would work well for yo