Written on Saturday, December 30, 2006 by Gemini
What if you could change the size of your breasts at will?
What if you could change the size of your breasts at will? For women with adjustable breast implants, having bigger—or smaller—breasts is a choice, at least for six months after surgery. And the adjustable nature of these devices could help many women who haven’t quite decided whether to go Pamela Anderson big, or adopt a svelter Gwyneth Paltrow silhouette.
“Women get a false idea of what size C or D is because each bra manufacturer is different,” said Thomas Jeneby, plastic surgeon. “You don’t get into patients’ mind-sets until after the surgery.” Adjustable implants allow for small changes in breast size after the surgery — women can go up to 20% bigger or smaller, on average. More than 364,600 women had breast implants put in last year, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
However, relatively few opted for the adjustable variety. There are two main types of adjustable breast implants. One is composed entirely of saline, and the other has a saline core and a silicone shell. A few months after the surgery, after women have had the chance to “test drive” their new bosoms, they can go back to their surgeons to request that their breasts be pumped up or toned down. The surgeon will then use a syringe to either inject saline into or draw saline out of the implants through a port hidden beneath the skin where the implant was originally inserted.
“The breast area is usually too swollen during the first two months after the surgery to tell what the final breast size will be,” said Jeneby. “The swelling goes down after that period, and patients can see if they are satisfied with their sizes.”
The adjustable implants offer a simpler alternative to complete replacement of implants with those of a different size. With nonadjustable implants, “if patients are unhappy with their size, there are no options other than redoing the surgery,” said David Watts, director of the Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Philadelphia.
“With adjustable breast implants, you can adjust the implant size postoperatively, up to 20 percent of its original size.” The port doesn’t stay in the patient’s body forever. It is removed six months after the surgery through an outpatient procedure done under a local anesthetia.
“It’s a fantastic way to control your breast size postoperatively, because people do change their minds,” said Jeneby.