By: Erika Nourishirazi, MD & Mauricio De la Garza, MD, DHR Health Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Institute
It is natural for women to experience changes in their breast shape and size as they become older. Many women notice even more changes to their breasts after childbearing. This often occurs due to a combination of weight gain from pregnancy, hormonal influence, and the after-effects of breast engorgement during lactation.
While women are encouraged to embrace their bodies’ natural changes, there are options for women looking to redefine their breasts after childbearing. This is where cosmetic breast surgery can help.
Three main cosmetic surgeries can be performed on breasts: Breast augmentation with implants or fat grafting, breast lift, and breast reduction.
Breast augmentation with implants involves placing silicone or saline implants to give your breasts a fuller and rounder look. Your plastic surgeon will work with you to determine your desired breast size, scar placement, and amount of breast projection. Remember, the FDA recommends breast implants to be exchanged every 10 years to avoid complications. Breast augmentation can also be performed using your own fat. This technique combines liposuction and fat grafting to give your breasts a natural look and feel while having the benefits of body contouring. Generally, fat is taken from your abdomen and flank with liposuction, and this fat is injected into your breast. The fat is then shaped to your desire.
Many women experience ptosis of their nipples after having children. Ptosis is the drooping of the nipple and areola. If a woman’s main concern is ptosis, a breast lift may be a great option. A breast lift rearranges the breast to bring the nipple to the center of the breast to give a youthful appearance. This can be combined with implants or fat grafting to provide more volume to your breasts.
While most women notice a decrease in breast size after pregnancy, some women notice enlargement of their breasts. This increase in breast size can lead to back and shoulder pain, skin infections, and painful shoulder grooving. A breast reduction can remove the excess breast volume, which can help decrease these bothersome symptoms while also improving breast shape and projection. Depending on the type of symptoms experienced, breast reduction may be covered by insurance.
Most women can breastfeed without problems after cosmetic breast surgery. However, we do recommend waiting six months after the end of lactation before undergoing breast surgery. Cosmetic breast surgery should not affect your mammograms and other breast imaging, but it is important to let the radiologist know of the surgery you have had. We also encourage patients to be evaluated thoroughly by a board-certified physician prior to undergoing any surgery. It is also recommended by the American Board of Plastic Surgery that any patients having surgeries lasting longer than six hours stay in the hospital overnight for monitoring.
If you or someone you know would like more information about the surgery options available after pregnancy, please call the DHR Health Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Institute at (956) 362-8160.