Are you interested in Breast Augmentation? Toronto plastic surgeons agree that breast implants are among the most popular procedures performed. Patients are almost always thrilled with the results, but when a Breast Augmentation is done poorly, it can be a very difficult experience. It is absolutely crucial to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon with proper training credentials and experience. This is not a cookie cutter operation. Breast implant surgery should be thought of as a process to match a patient with the appropriate implant type, size, and surgical approach, based on her wishes and anatomical findings. Dr. Lawrence Tong can guide you through the process of making your decision.
What a Breast Augmentation Does
Breast Augmentation will help you attain a fuller breast size and more pleasing breast shape. It can be used to improve unevenness, and also provide a small amount of lift. Breast implant surgery is accomplished by placing a breast implant underneath the soft tissues of the chest (most commonly under the muscle). The implant may either be filled with silicone or saline.
Who is a Candidate for Breast Implants?
You could benefit from Breast Augmentation if:
- You desire a larger breast size
- You want to fill out a bikini or swimsuit
- You have uneven breast sizes
- You have lost cup size because of pregnancy, breast feeding, weight loss, or aging
- You have a slight amount of breast drooping with volume loss.
- You wish to incorporate Breast Augmentation into a comprehensive Mommy Makeover
Other Criteria for Candidates:
- Patients should be generally fit and relatively healthy— Dr. Tong always makes an assessment of your general health and suitability before undergoing any type of surgery.
- Smokers should quit smoking at least 2 weeks prior to surgery
- Patients who are breast feeding should wait 4-8 weeks after finishing breast feeding before having surgery so that the true breast size can be determined
- A patient should have realistic expectations about what can be accomplished though Breast Augmentation
Breast Augmentation with a Lift
If you wish to achieve a larger breast size in conjunction with a greater degree of projection and more rejuvenated breast shape, you may benefit from a comprehensive Breast Augmentation with Lift procedure—commonly referred to as a Breast Lift with Implants. For the right candidate, a Breast Augmentation with Lift can yield the benefits of both breast surgeries in one all-encompassing procedure, increasing breast volume while lifting the breasts to a more youthful position on the chest wall. This is done to reshape the breasts and minimize the appearance of sag for an improved breast contour overall.
After listening to your aesthetic goals, Dr. Tong can help you determine whether a Breast Lift with Implants is the best procedure to attain your desired look.
Saline vs. Silicone Breast Implants
Breast implants come in two varieties: silicone and saline.
Saline breast implants are filled with IV fluid. They require a smaller incision for placement and are less expensive. They tend to feel slightly less natural than silicone breast implants and may not be appropriate for very thin patients due to a higher risk of rippling. Silicone breast implants are filled with silicone gel. They feel the most natural and are appropriate for patients who want the least risk of rippling. They are more expensive than saline implants and require a slightly longer incision for placement.
Each type of implant has its own advantages over the other, summarized below. Your choice of implant type may be influenced by these differences; you may also have other personal factors that lead you to your decision. During your consultation, Dr. Tong will do a thorough evaluation and make suggestions to help guide you through the process.
Regardless of which type of implant you choose, patients should understand that breast implants may deflate in the long term. The deflation risk is estimated at 1% per year they have been placed, and most patients have an average implant ‘lifespan’ of 10-20 years. Dr. Tong discusses the details regarding these possibilities at the time of consultation.
Summary of the Differences Between Saline and Silicone
Risk of 'ripping'
Higher, especially in thin patients
Shorter (approx. 3 cm)
Longer (approx. 5cm)
Costs less than silicone
Costs slightly more than saline implants
Soft, but not ‘flesh like’
Soft and ‘flesh like’
Average implant lifespan
10-15 years (replacement covered by warranty)
10-15 years (replacement covered by warranty)
The two major manufacturers of breast implants are Allergan and Mentor. Both companies offer excellent and comparable product lines. Dr. Tong believes that both product lines are more or less identical in nature, and he is happy to use either for your breast surgery.
Gummy Bear Breast Implants
Within the silicone implant category, there are two types of implants: moderately cohesive and highly cohesive silicone gel implants. The highly cohesive gel implants are the newest variety. The silicone inside a highly cohesive implant does not flow or leak, even when the implant shell is compromised. This implant has been termed the ‘gummy bear’ implant in the media.
Due to its firmer consistency and ability to hold shape, the gummy bear implants are manufactured as a ‘teardrop’ shape (which is not possible with regular silicone implants). The gummy bear implant is slightly firmer and moves less naturally when compared to a regular silicone implant. The gummy bear implants are slightly more expensive than regular silicone implants.
In December 2011, Allergan introduced a new type of gummy bear implant which has some new features. Most notably, the new Natrelle INSPIRA® highly cohesive gel implants have a smooth shell surface. Most notably, the new Allergan Inpsira™ line of highly cohesive gel implants features implants that have a smooth shell surface. The smooth surface provides a much more mobile augmented breast when compared to the current gummy bear implants. Another significant difference is that the smooth gummy bear only comes in a round shape. Both the newer and current gummy bear implants have certain advantages and disadvantages: the current gummy bear implants have a slightly more natural teardrop shape but less mobility, the newer gummy bear implants move much more naturally but have a slightly more rounded look. Both are good options for breast augmentation because the concerns about silicone leakage are significantly reduced.
Determining which type is better for you depends on a number of factors which Dr. Tong will evaluate and go over, so that you can make an educated choice about silicone breast implants.
Should My Implant Be Placed Over or Under the Muscle?
In the majority of cases, Dr. Tong will recommend breast implant placement underneath the muscle (submuscular).
The benefits of going under the muscle include:
- A more natural look and feel
- Less risk of capsular contracture (implants becoming firm from scar tissue)
- A better mammogram image can be obtained
- The muscle can deter the drooping process because it ‘holds’ the implant in place, preventing some of the weighing down effect on the skin
Placing the implant over the muscle is termed a subglandular placement, and it sits between the breast and muscle. In some cases, going over the muscle is recommended, such as with female body builders.
How to Choose a Breast Implant Size
During your consultation, Dr. Tong will find out about your goals, take anatomical measurements of your chest, and establish a range of implants from which you can choose. Choosing a breast implant size is a very personal decision. The process starts with you. Think about what you hope to achieve with Breast Augmentation. Collect photos that you would like to emulate and bring them to your consultation. This will give Dr. Tong a good idea of what you want to attain from Breast Augmentation.
Additionally, by viewing our Breast Augmentation before and after photographs, and trialing implant sizers in the office, Dr. Tong will help you select your ‘perfect’ breast implant size. This tried and true method has worked tremendously well during Dr. Tong’s years of cosmetic surgery practice in the United States.
Breast Implant Incisions
Any surgical procedure will leave some type of scar. A plastic surgeon specializes in obtaining the least visible scars and putting them in the least visible places.
The most common Breast Augmentation incision is in the breast fold (the inframammary incision). It hides extremely well and generally heals beautifully. Wearing any type of clothing will cover it. In the nude, the scar may be slightly visible when a patient lifts the breast upward.
Other options for Breast Augmentation incisions:
- Transaxillary: through the armpit
- Periareolar: at the edge of the areola (the darker skin around the nipple)
- If a Breast Lift is performed simultaneously with Breast Augmentation, no additional incisions are required aside from the Breast Lift incisions
These incisions all work tremendously well in the right patient, and Dr. Tong will discuss all incision options thoroughly with you.
Details of the Breast Augmentation Procedure
Breast implant surgery is performed under deep IV sedation or general anesthesia. You are asleep and totally unaware of your surroundings during the procedure. The surgery is performed at Dr. Tong’s private practice facility, at 199 Avenue Road in downtown Toronto.
First, an incision made at the pre-determined incision site, either in the breast fold, armpit, or at the edge of the nipple/areola complex. Dr. Tong surgically creates a space (the implant pocket, usually under the chest muscle (submuscular), or sometimes over the chest muscle (subglandular). He inserts the implant into the pocket through the incision. After insertion, the bed is positioned so that you sitting upright (while you are still asleep). This allows Dr. Tong to judge the implant position and size in the most precise manner. Dr. Tong will make adjustments as needed to obtain the optimal appearance for you. He places a few stitches to close the incision and the anesthetist will gently wake you up from anesthesia.
Recovery from Breast Augmentation
Immediately following your breast implant surgery, our registered nurses will monitor you in the recovery area, as the residual effects of anesthesia wear off. Once completely worn off, Dr. Tong will allow you to go home accompanied by a friend or family member.
We encourage you to relax once at home. You may do non-strenuous activities such as reading, watching television, and making small meals, but nothing that is more physical. Your diet will consist of clear fluids initially, progressing to a regular diet over the next 24-48 hours. Expect to feel tight and sore in the chest for 1-2 weeks; your pain medication will help with the discomfort during this time. Most patients return to (non-strenuous) work in 5-7 days.
Dr. Tong will see you one week after surgery to remove stitches and to assess how you are progressing. He will teach you breast implant massage exercises at that time. Patients are usually allowed to start light exercise (e.g. walking) at 1-2 weeks after surgery. Strenuous activity (weight lifting, aerobics, jogging, yoga, pilates, martial arts) may generally be started at 4-6 weeks after surgery. Dr. Tong will inform you of activity restrictions as you progress. Subsequent visits to monitor your progress will occur at 6 weeks and 6 months after surgery, at which time post-op photos will also be taken.
In the beginning, your breasts will look ‘high’ or ‘artificial’ and feel tight. This is entirely normal, and it takes between 3-6 months for them to fully settle. As the settling occurs, you will gradually notice that the breasts take on a much more natural look, shape, and position.
Risks and Complications of Breast Augmentation
As with any surgery, there are risks involved with having Breast Augmentation. Although the procedure has a low risk profile, Dr. Tong will make sure to go over the pertinent potential problems associated with Breast Augmentation at the time of your consultation.
Can I Breastfeed With Breast Implants?
Breastfeeding after you have had Breast Augmentation is certainly possible. Although there are risks associated with the surgery that may alter your ability to breastfeed, Dr. Tong is able to perform the surgery using techniques that maximally preserve the potential for nursing. If you have breastfed in the past, it is very likely you will retain nursing function after Breast Augmentation when these techniques are utilized. Depending on your anatomy and desired result, alteration of the technique may or may not be required. As an example, placing the implant through the breast fold incision (inframammary approach) would be recommended, while an areolar incision would NOT be recommended. Placing the implant under the muscle would also be beneficial, as would choosing an implant that does not significantly exceed your breasts’ base width. If you have never attempted breastfeeding and have future plans to breastfeed, it is important that you communicate your desires to Dr. Tong before surgery so that he can utilize the optimal techniques.
Pregnancy and Breast Augmentation
On a related note to breastfeeding, it is important to understand that pregnancy can potentially impact the appearance of the breasts. These changes can occur whether or not you have undergone breast augmentation. The physical changes caused by pregnancy and breastfeeding include increased skin laxity, sagging, and a decrease in breast volume. If you have breast implants, these changes can alter the results of the procedure and compromise your breast aesthetic. For this reason, the timing of potential pregnancy should be taken into account when deciding to undergo breast augmentation. If you anticipate becoming pregnant in the near future, Dr. Tong recommends you consider postponing your surgical plans until after childbearing. ‘In the near future’ is a relative term that each patient will need to decide for themselves. A young woman who has no plans for pregnancy in the near future may decide to undergo surgery now, while a patient who is planning pregnancy in the next year may decide to wait until all childbearing is complete.
Not all women who become pregnant after breast augmentation will have alterations to the appearance. In fact, most patients who have previously undergone breast augmentation do not need further surgery. In cases where augmented breasts do change noticeably after pregnancy, plastic surgery can correct the changes. Procedures include replacing the implant with a different size and/or performing a breast lift. Although the timing may not work for younger patients, postponing surgery until after childbearing would be the best strategy to avoid the need for subsequent procedures.
Are Breast Augmentation Scars Noticeable?
While any type of surgery will likely leave some type of scar, Dr. Tong takes extra care to place the incisions for Breast Augmentation in discreet locations for inconspicuous post-surgical scarring. The typical incision sites for the procedure exist either along the breast fold (inframammary incision), around the areola (periareolar incision), or within a fold of the underarm (transaxillary incision). All three of the incision sites used for Breast Augmentation are purposely placed within the natural contours of the breasts, and most patients report that scars are virtually undetectable or well-hidden under a bra or bikini once healing is complete.
All scars will go through phases of maturation after surgery. In the initial few weeks, the incision line may not be noticeable at all because little scar tissue has developed. Over the next several months, the scar may actually become more pink, raised, and even slightly firmer. This stage represents the phase wherein the body is laying down scar tissue to make the incision site as strong as possible. After this stage, the scar begins to settle. During this phase, the scar will become lighter in colour, softer, and less noticeable.
The degree to which the scar fades largely depends on how a person tends to heal. Dr. Tong will suture the incisions to maximize the incision appearance. Following Dr. Tong’s post-operative instructions on proper wound care also helps to diminish the visibility of any scarring. This advice may include continuing to apply scar gels and silicone strips.
How Long Do Breast Implants Last?
It is important to understand that a breast implant does not last forever. In the past (before highly cohesive gel implants), most surgeons would estimate the lifespan of an implant to be between 10-15 years. Currently, the newer form-stable implants (highly cohesive gel implants, i.e. gummy bear implants) are thought to last significantly longer than the older style of implants. In some cases, breast implants can span decades of use, but it is not uncommon for complications to arise (i.e. implant leaking, rupture, capsular contracture, etc.) after a certain number of years.
The lifespan of a breast implant is different for each patient and may depend on the type of implant. The most important factor with regard to the longevity of breast implants is the ability to recognize when they need replacing. With saline implants, patients will typically experience a noticeable deflation in size or shape when there is a leak or rupture. In contrast, implants made from silicone can often keep their shape in the event of a complication—especially newer form-stable (“gummy bear”) implants composed of cohesive gel—but some surface abnormalities may still be apparent. The newer ‘gummy bear’ implants contain a silicone core that behaves like a solid; therefore, if the shell were to acquire a small defect (usually due to wear and tear over the years), the likelihood of silicone leaking out would be minimal. Special imaging tests, such as ultrasound or MRI, may be utilized from time to time to monitor the status of a breast implant when no obvious symptoms are notable.
The bottom line is that even implants that perform normally for many years may need to be replaced at some point, due to wear and tear issues. Some women will take a proactive strategy— they decide to have their implants replaced after a certain amount of time (e.g. 10-15 years) before a leakage occurs. The advantage of this strategy is that the patient has control over when the surgery occurs and can plan accordingly. Additionally, the implants would still be intact, making the surgery much more straightforward. Other patients may wait until a leakage/rupture occurs. This strategy has the advantage of ‘maximizing’ the useful lifespan of the implant; however, when the leakage is noted, there is some urgency to remove the implant and the procedure is usually less straightforward in nature.
Do Breast Implants Interfere with Mammograms?
Although breast implants have been known to make traditional mammogram readings slightly more difficult, there are a number of newer techniques that can be employed to obtain accurate results for breast implant patients. If your implant is located under the chest muscle, your mammographer can utilize an “implant displacement” approach, which involves pulling the breast tissue forward while the implant is pushed in another direction to gain additional x-ray images and a more comprehensive reading. When the implant is in a subglandular position (over the muscle), or the implant displacement technique doesn’t produce a satisfactory outcome, an MRI can be used to provide a clearer picture of the breast tissue surrounding the implant. Whether your implant is placed above or below the chest muscle, a definitive mammogram reading is certainly possible as long as you make your mammography team aware of your breast implants when booking your appointment.
How Much Does Breast Augmentation Cost?
While the price of Breast Augmentation ultimately depends on the details of your treatment plan, the cost of the procedure at our practice generally ranges from $6,000 to $8,500. This figure includes the fees for anesthesia, post-operative care, and other related expenses. Factors that usually affect the cost of Breast Augmentation include:
- The type of implants utilized
- Whether a Breast Lift was performed in conjunction with the procedure
- The complexity of your Breast Augmentation
- The surgical technique used
After Dr. Tong has the opportunity to assess your needs in a consultation, our office will be able to provide a personalized quote that is unique to your procedure. In addition to accepting major payment methods, Dr. Tong offers plastic surgery financing through some of the leading patient lending companies in the nation, including Medicard® and Crelogix®. If you are interested in paying for your Breast Augmentation over a period of time rather than in a lump sum, these options can offer qualified applicants a range of payment plans with low monthly installments to bring the cost of cosmetic surgery into budget. Please contact our office to learn more about the costs of surgery, or to speak to a member of our team.
Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation
If you are looking for an alternative to breast implants, fat transfer breast augmentation offers a unique solution to attain a modest increase in breast size using a patient’s own tissue. This technique uses excess fat cells from another part of the body—commonly the abdomen, hips, or buttucks—and repurposes the purified tissue for injection into the breasts. The result can be smooth, soft, and natural-looking breast contours that are achieved without the need for an implant. Dr. Tong can perform Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation as a stand-alone enhancement procedure, or as a complement to standard Breast Augmentation to smooth the implant edges as well as reduce implant rippling or dimpling. To learn more about the fat transfer technique, please visit our page and don’t hesitate to inquire with Dr. Tong about the procedure.
Get Educated about Breast Augmentation
There is a lot of information to digest during your Breast Augmentation consultation and Dr. Tong will make sure that you are informed at every step. The initial consultation may take over one hour to complete. You will never be rushed. We feel that the better-educated patient will make better choices about their surgery and their surgeon.
To learn more about how Toronto Breast Augmentation surgeon Dr. Lawrence Tong can help you with your Breast Augmentation goals, set up a consultation with Dr. Tong by giving us a call at (416) 972-0999. Alternatively, let us give you a call; just fill out our contact form and we will contact you on the same or the next business day. No physician referral is needed.
See Dr. Tong’s work in our Breast Augmentation photo gallery.
Breast Augmentation at a Glance
- Over dissection of pocket leading to ‘bottoming out’ or ‘lateral drift"
- Inappropriate implant size selection