How Big Can You Go? A Look at Oversized Breast Implants
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For many women, their first and possibly only area of interest in plastic surgery is breast augmentation. This procedure of enlarging one’s breasts has consistently been among the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the United States for decades.
With breast augmentation, women can safely and effectively achieve much larger and more shapely breasts, but as with all good things, there may be risks associated with extremes.
Perhaps, this could be a memorable example of the expression, “too much of a good thing!”
Of course, there will be many who will enthusiastically beg to differ here.
So the question is, how large can breasts be augmented and is it possible to go too big?
Should You Maintain Breast to Body Proportion?
When trying to determine the right implant size for your breast augmentation, it is most prudent that your body proportions are taken into consideration. This is both true if you are seeking “proportionality” and if you are desiring to be disproportionately large with a fake look. Depending on what look you are seeking, there are quite a latitude of choices for each of these that can be more precisely determined based on other factors.
What Are Potential Consequences of an Oversized Implant?
There are both objective and subjective considerations that can be used to determine what size and/or configuration implant would be considered to be oversized for a particular individual. What may seem to be too large for one patient may be too small for another. Not only will these vary considerably among patients, but they will also do so among physicians. Furthermore, there is no truly objective formula that will yield exactly one implant size and configuration based on one’s particular unique body parameters and goals.
To a great extent, this illustrates the importance of both art and science in the practice of plastic surgery.
That being said, there can be complications and other untoward issues that can be associated with large breast implants. These can be related both to the implant’s disproportionality to one’s anatomy as well as to the sheer weight/size of the implant. If such complications do occur, a breast revision may be needed.
What Are Some Potential Consequences of an Oversized Implant?
Some women don’t care whether or not their breasts look natural as long as they are the size they want. On the other hand, a high percentage of women today prefer that their breasts look as natural as possible as long as they experience a noticeable increase in size. Therefore, it is important to choose an implant that proportionally matches their frame. For them, oversized breasts can look fake and negate some of the advantages of breast augmentation that they were seeking.
Oversized breasts, whether natural or artificial, can have adverse effects. These may include:
- Lower back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Skin rashes
- Postural changes
- Pain with certain exercises and activities, leading to limiting or avoiding them completely
- Thinning of the skin
- Implant visibility and palpability
- Distortion of breast shape and bottoming out
It is my extensive experience that the first five of these symptoms are virtually always associated with naturally large breasts and rarely related to an extreme breast augmentation. When they are associated with a breast enlargement, it most occurs when these massive implants have been placed in a submammary pocket as opposed to behind the muscle.
Increased Risk of Sagging
Oversized breasts weigh more, whether as a result of implants, natural growth, weight gain, or all of the above. Heavier breasts tend to sag more quickly and severely than smaller ones. As such, choosing an oversized implant will increase the risk of sagging breasts, and cause sagging to occur sooner, and with greater severity than might otherwise occur. This is also far more common when they are placed above the muscle and even more so in those with thinner, less elastic skin.
Treatment of this sagging may involve breast lift surgery along with implant downsizing.
Your Choice Remains
As a patient, your choices remain yours to make. If you decide that an oversized breast implant is the right for you, so be it—with some limitations. It is important that you know the potential risks and side effects before making your choice. Dr. Turkeltaub will do his best to advise you on optimal implant sizes based on your aesthetic goals, body shape, and desired contours.