Important Issues to Consider With Larger Breast Implants

Much has changed since I first opened my practice in cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery in the Scottsdale and Phoenix metropolitan area more than 23 years ago. Back then, we listened to music on our Walkmans. Now we have tiny MP3 players and iPods. Cell phones the shape and size of bricks have been replaced by essentially miniature computers – iPhones, Androids and Blackberrys. And our wealth has … well never mind!

Not everything has shrunk in size, though. The Phoenix area has grown from an afterthought Western city situated somewhere between Chicago and L. A. to the 5th largest city in the country. And the average breast implant size has become larger. Much larger!

I find that women of all ages want breasts that are significantly greater in size than were desired years ago. Consequently, they are requiring much bigger breast implants for their breast augmentations in order to obtain that goal. This is a national phenomenon though some areas remain more “conservative” than others.

Larger implants with their increased volume and weight do introduce some important considerations that should be addressed as part of your consultation. The relatively greater weight will cause the skin at the bottom of the breasts to stretch out and become thinner to a much greater degree over time, causing a “bottoming out” appearance with less fullness higher up. This is more significant and substantial when the implants are situated above (submammary) versus below (submuscular) the muscle.

The weight can also tear or disrupt normal tissue structures of the chest wall at the crease at the bottom of the breast resulting in the implants becoming displaced lower, onto the abdominal wall. This is independent of the stretching effect noted above.

Finally, for disproportionately gigantic implants, especially those placed above the muscle, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that they could precipitate some lower back pain not dissimilar to that produced by naturally enlarged breasts.

What may be considered to be a “large” breast implant size for a breast enlargement? There is no precise or generally accepted volume where these effects would start to manifest themselves. It all depends on multiple factors including an individual’s size, width, skin tone, pregnancy history, activity level, bra usage and type, etc. Nevertheless, some patients may experience changes such as gradual skin stretching starting at around a 400cc size. At 500cc and larger, such changes would be far more likely to occur.

If you would like additional information on breast implants, breast augmentation or for any other cosmetic surgery procedure that I perform or if you would like to schedule a complimentary consultation with me, please call my office at 480-451-3000.

Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona

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