A Woman's Guide to Breast Augmentation
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Breast Asymmetry After Augmentation

August 23, 2012

What do you do when you’ve had breast augmentation and now your implants are asymmetrical? Don’t panic. Uneven breasts or asymmetry is a common risk of breast augmentation. First, you need to figure out whether your breasts are still healing from the surgery or if the implants have settled unevenly for good.

Implant Settling/Dropping

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), residual swelling can last for a month after surgery. After the swelling goes down the implants will eventually settle or drop. They may, however, drop at different rates, creating a temporary asymmetry. Remember that both breasts will settle, probably within 3-4 months, but it could take up to 8 months before you realize your final results. You should have regular check-ups with your surgeon throughout this time to make sure your healing is progressing normally. But if you have serious concerns or think you may need a revision surgery, you should contact your surgeon.

How Did This Happen?

Asymmetry can result from doctor or patient error. An unskilled surgeon could use faulty techniques, improper implant placement, or even the wrong size implants for your body. Patient error occurs when you don’t follow all guidelines for aftercare - breast tissue and muscles around the implant require proper massage and care. Otherwise your results could be affected.

Women who elect to augment their breasts purely to enlarge them may not be aware of the potential risk of exaggerating an existing asymmetry. Since some degree of breast asymmetry exists in all women, most do not anticipate that these differences, which are almost unnoticeable with their smaller breasts, can become very pronounced once the breasts are enlarged.

What Do I Do Now?

If you had a complication with your original augmentation that has caused asymmetrical breasts, you may need a second surgery to correct the problem. This breast revision surgery should be performed by a highly specialized surgeon, as there is an artistry involved in re-implantation and minimizing secondary scars.

With a revision surgery, it is very important to give your surgeon as much information as possible about your original augmentation. If you are using a different surgeon, you will need to get all of your medical information from your first surgeon.

The revision surgery may lead to additional scars, but your surgeon will discuss with you types of incisions and their positioning based on your individual case. In a straightforward implant replacement, the surgeon may be able to use your original incision line. If your case requires an additional breast lift and/or tightening, there will be a lift incision around the areola and a tightening incision running from the areola down to the crease under the breast.

Make sure you research potential revision surgeons thoroughly, as cosmetic surgery requires a skilled hand. A good surgeon will perform a comprehensive pre-op examination of your specific body type. The pre-op exam enables your surgeon to find any existing asymmetries in your breasts or chest wall, and a highly specialized surgeon can work with these differences to create symmetry with your implants.

Visit our forums and read visitor stories to find and chat with other women who have had similar experiences. Share your story with us! It can be a helpful resource for other women.

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