Sizing Up Your Breast Augmentation Options

At my practice outside Vancouver, breast augmentation options are an important point of discussion between my patients and me. Patients sometimes mull over their options for weeks prior to their surgery to be sure they choose their “just right” size. Sometimes, though, I will see a patient who is sure she knows what size she wants: extra-large. Although the goal of every breast augmentation procedure is to boost size, I’m afraid there is such a thing as too big.

Implants that are too large do not look natural. This isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for surgery, but the overwhelming majority of patients express a desire to avoid a “fake” look. When a patient chooses implants that are too large for her tissues, her frame, or her body proportions, the skin becomes overstretched and thin, and the breast is higher and rounder than a natural breast.

Perhaps more importantly, implants that are too large can actually cause complications and pain. There is an increased risk of “bottoming out,” rippling, sagging, asymmetry, and deformities such as the “double bubble” effect. The soft tissues may be irreparably stretched, which accelerates sagging and aging. There may be compromised blood supply, which can cause numbness or decreased nipple sensation. In addition to the physical discomfort and aesthetic repercussions, these problems may require the added cost and downtime of a revisionary surgery.

It’s important for patients to heed the advice of their surgeons when it comes to this issue. If your doctor provides a compelling case for why the implant you’ve selected is too large, it’s probably wise to take his or her advice to heart. Your results may depend on it.

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