Quite frequently women who consult with us for breast augmentation are also concerned about breast asymmetry. Breast asymmetry may involve differences in breast size, breast shape, and differences in nipple position. Breast asymmetry may be slight or severe. In fact, all women will exhibit some degree of asymmetry if one looks closely enough, and 100% breast symmetry never occurs, before or after breast augmentation.
Differences in Breast Size
Although size asymmetry exists to some degree in all women, most women are not normally aware of any difference in size when asked. In these individuals, the difference is usually small, and simple breast implant surgery with similar size implants is all that is required. This usually means choosing the same size implants. Of course with saline implants, limited adjustment is possible by adding saline during the procedure. Silicone implants cannot be adjusted, but implant sizers can be used during the procedure to evaluate the desired implant sizes if necessary.
Those women who are aware of differences in the size of their breasts are often aware that they fit unevenly in their bras. It can be helpful for these women to measure the difference by padding the smaller side with a plastic bag filled with rice, and measuring the amount of rice needed to pad the smaller side so that it feels the same as the larger side.
At the Bougainvillea Clinique, we also use the Vectra 3-D imaging system to measure breast size, and this technology can actually calculate the difference in volume between the two breasts.
For women with very large differences in breast size, other options may be suggested. The Spectrum adjustable saline implant can be used to adjust the size of the breast for up to six months after surgery. A small valve is placed under the skin on the lower side of the breast close to the incision under the breast, and the implant can then be adjusted simply by injecting or removing saline through this valve. Once the desired adjustments are complete, the valve can be removed with a small local anesthetic procedure.
Occasionally women with large differences in breast size choose to have silicone gel implants. In these cases, one either has to commit to calculating the breast size difference as closely as possibly before and during surgery, and placing the best possible size match at the time of surgery. Alternatively, Spectrum implants can be used, and once the adjustment is complete, the Spectrum implants can be replaced with gel implants.
Differences in Breast Shape and Position
If there is a big difference in breast shape or position, other procedures such as breast lift may be required on one or both sides. Liposuction may also be used to reduce the size or modify the shape of the larger breast, particularly if there is more fullness on the side of the breast.
There are a number of procedures that may be used to achieve the best possible symmetry. These include breast augmentation choosing different size implants, using adjustable Spectrum saline implants, and breast lift and liposuction procedures. In some cases these procedures may be used in combination for very asymmetrical breasts. We always emphasize, however, that absolute symmetry may not be possible, but achieving much more symmetrical breasts is usually possible.
With the help of the latest technologies such as the Vectra 3-D Breast Sculptor imaging system, we continue to improve our ability to help individuals with breast asymmetry.
If you live in the Orlando or Winter Park, Florida area, and would like to learn more about breast implant surgery procedures to make breasts more symmetrical, please contact Florida cosmetic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Hartog at the Bougainvillea Clinique today to schedule a breast asymmetry consultation.