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Issue Date: July 2006 Issue


A Fuller Front

Natural lift through breast augmentation

When women want to perk up their pair — the front-and-center feature — most Northeast Ohioans don’t want to overdo it. “The majority of people who come in for breast augmentation want to go up a cup size or fill out clothing,” says Dr. Lee Hang-Fu, of Aesthetic Avenue in Fairview Park.

They want a fuller pair to pump up their self esteem — they seek to lift post-pregnancy breasts and defy age-related gravity that causes breasts to look “smaller and saggier,” Hang-Fu says.
“Most people say, ‘I don’t want to look like Pamela Anderson,” Hang-Fu says. “She literally has a shelf on her chest.”

Dr. Gregory Fedele hears similar requests — or concerns, rather. Dolly Parton is also a popular “don’t” example. “Most women in Cleveland are looking for an enhancement of themselves,” says Fedele. Some patients tell him they’ve worn padded bras and inserts under clothing since age 16 and want a fuller appearance in their bathing suit, too. “They say it’s difficult for them to buy the hot-styled dresses because the fashions require more fullness than what they have.”

These realistic expectations are a good thing, since small-framed women can’t support D-cup cleavage. Many of the celebrities that serve as positive examples of breast augmentation don’t undergo procedures to achieve their look, Fedele points out. Angelina Jolie is famous for her lips, but her natural breasts are an attractive feature. The same goes for Halle Berry. “They have natural-looking breasts, and that is what most people ultimately want,” he adds.

Proportion is especially important when choosing an appropriately sized breast implant, Fedele says. Size and weight figure into ideal cup size.

Hang-Fu notes that magazine photos don’t always paint the full picture. “Every single one of those models is probably 5 feet, 9 inches,” he says. “Women look at the picture and say, ‘I want this or that.’ But if you are 5 feet, 6 inches, a picture like that won’t tell you what you can handle.”

Hang-Fu says the ideal breast is “smooth and looks like a teardrop.” Implant positioning and, of course, appropriate size, achieve a natural look, he explains. Hang-Fu inserts saline implants underneath muscle to hide ripples in the saline pouch.

“If you put the implant before muscle, you may look like a rock in a sock,” he says. “Gravity will get a hold of it and yank everything down. If you put it behind the muscle, you have better support of the implant because the muscle won’t shift.”

Discussions with your surgeon about where and how implants will be inserted are important to avoid a top-heavy end result. Or, as Hang-Fu puts it, “You could end up looking like a double bubble.”

[On average, implants will last 10 to 12 years, but this varies.  In some women, implants may last  a lifetime.  In others, implants may sag with age and require replacement or an additional surgery (www.webmd.com)]

Procedure Pointers:
Size —
The most common reaction to a breast augmentation, besides satisfaction, is: “I could have gone bigger,” Fedele says. Most patients underestimate cup size, and once implants settle, their “less is more” approach could use a little … more.

“My tendency is to cheat toward bigger than smaller,” Fedele says, adding that he always maintains appropriate proportion.

Hang-Fu addresses this issue by asking patients what cup size they want to be. Then, he adds a size.

Safety — Patients should always ask surgeons how long an implant will last and whether it is safe, Fedele says. Silicone implants, once a popular option, are not currently approved by the FDA and generally cannot be used. Saline implants are safe; and should they leak or rupture, which is rare, the salt water absorbs into the body and is not harmful.

Swelling — Most swelling subsides after two to three weeks, and implants may “settle” for up to three months, Fedele says. “Your breasts should look great the day of surgery,” he says, noting that they will lose some of their fullness over the following few weeks. “You’ll see your final result in three to six months.”


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