Breast Augmentation Chicago

What Is A Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentation, also known as augmentation mammaplasty, is a very popular and common procedure that can increase your breast size by one or more sizes. By surgically inserting breast implants beneath the breast tissue or the chest muscle during augmentation, women can achieve larger and shapelier breasts.

Benefits of Breast Augmentation

For some women, breast augmentation is a way to enhance self-image and self-confidence. For others, breast augmentation is part of breast reconstruction after surgery for breast cancer or other health conditions affecting the breast.

Breast augmentation can dramatically improve the appearance of a woman’s breasts. The goal is to create a natural and alluring look. The implant size that will work best for you must be individually determined with your input. During your breast augmentation consultation, you’ll learn more about your options for creating your ideal breast appearance, including:

  • Implant size, style, and shape
  • Implant material (silicone or saline)
  • Implant position (typically below the pectoralis muscle or in a “dual-plane” pocket)
  • Implant incision site

Learn More About Breast Augmentation & Implants



What Our Patient’s Say

“Dr. Schierle is the absolute BEST! He did my breast augmentation and there truly aren’t enough words to express how happy I am with the results. I naturally have very small breasts. At 5’7″, 120 pounds, my chest wasn’t proportional to the rest of my body. I constantly needed dresses and tops tailored, and bathing suits never fit right. During my consultation, I expressed wanting a natural look, not too big or heavy. We decided on 200 CC implants through the armpit. They are the PERFECT size, and exactly what I wanted. In fact, I just bought a dress for my friends wedding and it fits like a glove – no alterations necessary! And, because Dr. Schierle went through my armpit, the scars aren’t visible” – Brit. K

Choosing Breast Implant Size

The goal is to create a natural and alluring look. The implant size that will work best for you must be individually determined with your input. We offer 3D imaging to help each patient choose which size is right for them. We also have a detailed consultation process where our patients can try on gel sizers to better understand how different sizes may feel. The size, shape, style, and type of implant will be decided after a comprehensive examination. Placing implants that are too large for the intended body size has greater chances of capsular contracture, discomfort and longer recovery times.

Breast Implant Shells

All implant shells are made out of silicone but can be smooth or textured. Smooth implant shells tend to feel softer and are more able to move within the space created for them on the chest. This means that they will move more like a natural breast. They can be pushed into a different position with a bra, for example, to create the appearance of more cleavage. Less commonly used in our practice are textured implants. Textured implants feel slightly more firm and are relatively immobile after being placed. Textured shells become adherent to your internal tissues, so they cannot be pushed into a position to increase cleavage.

Silicone vs. Saline ImplantsSilicone vs. Saline Implants In Chicago

Implants can be filled with silicone (gel) or saline (saltwater). Silicone is softer and feels more comfortable and natural than saline, and, in general, is less likely to show rippling through the skin. It also has a lower rupture rate than saline. If saline ruptures, your implant will deflate over time and eventually go flat. This is because saline can be reabsorbed by the body. If silicone ruptures, you may not notice at all, or you may experience a change in the way the implant looks or feels, but the volume will stay the same.

Are Silicone Implants Safe?

Patients often ask about safety related to silicone implants. In the past, silicone implants were taken off the market due to concern that they were somehow connected to significant health problems. This claim was very intensely researched, and no connection was found between silicone implants and the reported health issues. Despite the many benefits of silicone implants over saline, however, some patients do still choose saline due to their personal worry about their safety. In general, we counsel patients to choose saline if the idea of silicone makes them nervous despite all evidence suggesting they are safe.

Breast Implant Shape

In general, implants will appear more round and full at the top than a natural breast. Although this is often desirable, it is less natural in appearance. Shaped implants were designed to provide a more natural shape. These implants are tapered, so they are flatter at the upper pole, and more full at the bottom, similar to the shape of a teardrop. They are often also filled with a more cohesive gel, so feel more firm, but have less chance of contributing to visible rippling. Keep in mind that all tapered implants must be textured so that they will remain in the correct orientation; texturing reduces natural-appearing mobility. Despite texturing, there is still a risk for rotation. For most people, the supposed advantage of a more natural shape may not actually provide the desired result. This is best discussed on an individual basis.

Implants Used At Our Practice

Breast Augmentation Chicago IL | Breast Enhancement SurgeryIn our practice, the most common implants used are smooth round silicone implants. We offer Mentor Gel and Allergan Inspira implants. Smooth round silicone-filled implants optimize comfort, longevity, and natural feel, and create a shape that is most commonly desired. Although smooth round silicone implants often provide the most comfort and longevity, some patients are still interested in choosing a saline device. For patients who desire saline implants, we are now offering a saline implant called the Ideal Implant. This is a saline implant that has a more natural feel, similar to silicone gel. To learn more about this type of implant, you can click here.

Breast Implant Incisions

At our practice, there are several techniques that we can use during breast augmentation. This
can vary with each patient’s case. The different incisions include:

  • Inframammary Incision
  • Transaxillary Incision
  • Periareolar Incision

Inframmamary Incision

This incision is commonly thought of as the simplest approach and is made below the breast fold. This incision can be a great choice for women who naturally have a fold where their breast sits on the chest wall. This allows for concealment of the incision. However, if this fold does not exist or is not prominent, it can be considered less ideal.

Transaxillary Incision

This incision is made under the arm. A lighted camera (endoscope) is used to help tunnel through the subcutaneous fat to create a pocket behind the breast where the implant will be placed. Although a more technically challenging approach, our office specializes in this technique and we believe it yields equally excellent results. This approach can be appealing for women who would like to conceal the incision in a natural fold underneath their armpit, therefore avoiding scarring on the breast itself.

Periareolar Incision

This incision site is typically the most concealed due to the natural separation and color change that the eye expects to see between the breast and the areola. However, it is associated with a higher likelihood of affecting sensation in the nipple than the other incision options because the periareolar incision involves cutting through the breast tissue.  This incision is more commonly used when breast augmentation is done in conjunction with a breast lift, because the periareolar incision is utilized for breast lift surgery.

Breast Implant Placement

When it comes to placing impants, there are two options that can be used:

  • Sub-muscular implant placement
  • Sub-glandular or Sub-fascial implant placement

Sub-Muscular Implant Placement

The breast implants are placed partially or wholly under the pectoralis major chest muscle. This is our preferred technique for several reasons. One advantage is a more natural appearance to the upper part of the breast, as there is more tissue in between the skin and the implant. This means you are less likely to see the border of the implant or to see rippling. The action of your muscle will help massage the implant and keep the scar tissue capsule soft. The muscle protects the implant from the natural bacteria in your breast to decrease the risk of infection and capsular contracture. This approach also offers easier mammographic imaging of the breast.

Sub-Glandular Implant Placement

The breast implant location is between your chest muscle and your breast tissue (under the gland, above the muscle). It may be less painful than sub-muscular placement and may make your breast implants easier to access if re-operation is necessary. However, implants that are sub-glandular may be easier to see and feel through your skin. This means you may be able to see the border of the implant or see rippling. There is also a slightly higher risk of capsular contraction with this approach.

Breast Augmentation Before & After

Breast Augmentation Before & After Chicago

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Breast Augmentation With Breast Lift

Breast implants won’t prevent your breasts from sagging. A breast lift may be needed in addition to breast augmentation to correct sagging breasts. Performing an augmentation along with a breast lift can create a breast that has more upper pole fullness, which is often desired.

Recovery After Breast Augmentation

Your surgeon will give you specific guidelines to follow during your recovery based on your personal needs. In general, you can expect to return to your usual routine after a few days, but try to avoid excessive lifting to minimize tension on incision lines.

Feeling tired and mild soreness following breast augmentation surgery are common. Pain medication will be prescribed to help alleviate discomfort. A pain pump, placed at the time of surgery, is also available to deliver local anesthesia to the breasts. It is advised that you remain in a support bra with no underwires for approximately four to six weeks. Breast swelling may take up to five weeks to subside. Scars usually stay firm and pink for at least six weeks and will begin to fade after several months, taking on a flesh tone by 6 to 9 months postoperatively.

Augmentation Mammaplasty Risks

Each year thousands of women undergo successful breast augmentation surgery, experience no major problems and are happy with the results. Significant complications from breast augmentation are infrequent. However, make sure you understand what surgery involves, including possible risks, complications and follow-up care. Breast augmentation poses various risks, including:

  • Breast Augmentation Chicago IL | Breast Enhancement SurgeryCapsular contracture (a tightening of the scar tissue which can make the breast feel hard and can distort the shape of the breast implant).
  • Changes in nipple and breast sensation (usually temporary).
  • Breast pain
  • Rare implant leakage or rupture.

Correcting any of these complications might require additional surgery, either to remove or replace the implants.

Like any major surgery, breast augmentation surgery poses a risk of bleeding, infection and an adverse reaction to anesthesia. It’s also possible to have an allergic reaction to the surgical tape or other materials used during or after the procedure.

Other Considerations for breast augmentation surgery

  • Breast implants aren’t guaranteed to last a lifetime. In addition to the possibility of implant rupture or leakage, factors such as aging, weight gain and/or weight loss may further change the way your breasts look. Any of these issues might lead to additional surgery.
  • Mammograms might be more complicated. If you have breast implants, routine mammograms might require additional, specialized views. However, placing the implant below the muscle allows for easier mammographic imaging as it presses the breast tissue up.
  • Breast implants could hamper breastfeeding. Most women are able to successfully breastfeed after breast augmentation. For others, however, breastfeeding can be a challenge.
  • Insurance might not cover breast implants. Unless it’s medically necessary, such as the need for implant reconstruction after a mastectomy, breast augmentation is not covered by insurance. Be prepared to handle any expenses that accompany breast augmentation, including related surgeries or future imaging tests.
  • Additional surgery may be needed after breast implant removal. If you decide to have your implants removed at a later time in your life, you might need a breast lift or other corrective surgery to help your breasts maintain an aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Breast Augmentation FAQs

How Long Is Breast Augmentation Surgery?

Breast augmentation can be done in a surgical center or hospital outpatient facility. Surgery usually takes one to two hours, and is performed under general anesthesia. You will most likely go home the same day of your surgery

What results can breast augmentation achieve?

Breast Augmentation Chicago IL | Breast Enhancement SurgeryWith aging, a woman’s breasts naturally flatten somewhat. More of the mass tends to descend to the bottom of the breasts. If this sagging is extreme, a breast lift with augmentation will be necessary to remove the excess sagging skin. In mild flattening, augmentation with breast implants can return the volume to the upper area of the breasts, without looking unnatural. That is the main goal of augmentation — to add volume and shape to the breasts.At Northwestern Specialists in Plastic Surgery, our sole focus is to satisfy our patients’ goals for their augmentation. We strive for a natural increase in breast size that fits proportionally with your figure but adds shape and volume. Of course, if you would like to add extra volume, we’ll make that happen and help you with decisions such as projection and the like.

If you’re concerned about the asymmetry between your breasts, we can address that, although this is best done with a breast lift with augmentation.

Finally, if you’ve always wanted a curvier, shapelier figure, augmentation can surely provide that and Dr. Schierle and Dr. Fine will put their board-certified surgical expertise to use helping you realize the figure you’ve always dreamed of.

What the difference between a breast lift and breast augmentation?

A breast lift addresses flattening and sagging in the breasts that is a result of pregnancy and breastfeeding, the gain and subsequent loss of a good deal of weight, or simply the passage of time. The goal of these procedures is to return the breasts to a higher position on the chest, removing excess sagging skin and possibly some breast tissue.Breast lifts do not return the volume to the breasts, however. By bringing the breast mass back up from the settling and sagging that has created pendulous breasts with most of the volume in the lower part of the breast, the patient may actually decrease a bra cup size, although the breasts now look much younger and perkier.

Augmentation involves the insertion of breast implants to return volume, shape, and sometimes projection to the breasts. Augmentation returns the volume to the upper area of the breasts that have flattened somewhat with age. Some women assume that augmentation can rejuvenate flattened, sagging breasts, but this is not the case.

Because lifts don’t add volume, many women come to us for a breast lift with augmentation. This not only removes the sagging skin and reshapes some of the breast tissue, but implants return or add volume. A nice side benefit of adding implants during your breast lift procedure is that it is simple for Dr. Schierle or Dr. Fine to place the implants using the incisions already made for your breast lift. Plus, you’re basically having two procedures with just a single recovery.

Can breast augmentation be combined with other procedures?

Breast Augmentation Chicago IL | Breast Enhancement SurgeryFor women who have had children and wonder who stole their pre-baby figure, mommy makeovers are our most popular combination of procedures. Our mommy makeovers usually combine a breast lift with augmentation, a tummy tuck, and liposuction. They target all the areas most affected by pregnancy and childbirth.If you’d like to combine augmentation with other procedures such as liposuction that may also be possible. During your consultation, we’ll discuss your goals and possibilities.

When can I return to my normal activities after breast augmentation?

Recovery from augmentation surgery is not as difficult as you might assume. For the first few days, you will have some discomfort, but it doesn’t usually require serious pain medication. Many of our augmentation patients say the feeling equates to the feeling a day or two after a very hard upper body workout at the gym. Your chest will likely feel tight, but this is perfectly normal as the tissue needs to stretch and the implants need to settle into place. When you first look at your new breasts, they may appear too high on the chest. But this is also normal, as settling will bring the implants down somewhat.Most patients can return to work in just four or five days. You can begin the non-impact activity in a week or so, but impact exercise needs to wait for at least one month. A good guideline for return to activities is a pain. If you have some pain when you do something such as lifting an object, then you need to stop and come back to it in a few days or a week.

Is there an alternative to breast implants?

Breast Augmentation Chicago IL | Breast Enhancement SurgeryBreast implants, whether saline or silicone, provide the most predictable results for augmentation. We know the size and characteristics of all FDA-approved implants.The breasts can be augmented with the patient’s own fat, as well. Fat is harvested from an unwanted area such as the lower abdomen, purified, and is then injected into the breasts. Fat cells that acquire a blood supply will permanently “take.” Other fat doesn’t take, however, and is absorbed by the body. That makes the results of fat grafting for augmentation somewhat inconsistent.

How long do breast implants last?

Implants are made to last a lifetime, but do have an expiration date. If there is no problem with your implant, and you are happy with the appearance, you do not need a replacement. Implants may leak or rupture, leading to a surgery for implant removal and replacement.

How much does breast augmentation cost?

A breast augmentation procedure in Chicago, IL, costs between $9,500 and $12,500 including surgeon fee, implants, and surgery center fees.

How do I know what type of breast implant to get?

There are many different implant options. These include the implant fill, implant shape, and implant shell. There are different profiles as well as styles, which we will discuss in detail at your consult. Oftentimes in our practice, we are using smooth round silicone implants. The base width of your breast will help us to decide the profile, and the implant sizing that we can do in the office (and give you tips about how to do at home) will help us to determine size.

How do I know what size breast implant is right for me?

Choosing size is a very important part of the consultation process. You can try on sizes at home by doing the RICE test, which we can provide easy instructions for. In the office we will try on gel sizers so you can get an idea of what size feels right for you. We will guide you through this process and offer guidance on what would be a good fit for your body.

Is breast augmentation painful?

After surgery, pain may last for a day or two, followed by tenderness and/or soreness for a week or two. Typically, this is managed by small doses of narcotics or over the counter non-narcotic pain medication.

Can breast augmentation cause cancer?

Breast implants are very safe. We use smooth implants which have been extensively studied and are safe to implant. A very rare form of cancer called BIA-ALCL has been associated with the textured surface of some breast implants, but we do not use this type of implant.

Will I have scarring after a breast procedure?

As with any surgery, scarring is inevitable but we use many techniques to make this the best scar possible. Your incision site/s will be red/pink in color during your initial recovery period, and over time should fade into a thin white line. We also have several treatments ranging from topical scar gels to laser treatments that may aid in the appearance of scars.

How long will I need to take off of work?

Patients can expect to take anywhere from one day to 1-2 weeks off of work, depending on how physical your job is.

When can I expect to see the final result?

The final results of breast augmentation usually take a couple of months for all of the swelling to decrease and the implants to drop and settle. Sometimes this happens in a shorter or longer period of time depending on the patient.

When can I return to regular exercise after a breast procedure?

After breast surgery, you can return to normal daily activities right away (showering, walking, cooking, etc). You are generally cleared to return to light physical activity/exercise about 1-2 weeks after your procedure. Typically, depending on the exact nature of your surgery, you are cleared to return to normal exercise with little to no restrictions at 6-8 weeks post surgery. Every body is different, so these may vary from patient to patient.

Should I wait until I’m done having children to have a breast procedure?

It depends. Your breasts can change throughout many periods of your life, and having children can affect the breasts. There is a risk of secondary surgery after giving birth, but this can be discussed in more detail at a consult. It is important to discuss your plans for pregnancy with your physician so that you are informed on what to expect, and what the right timeline for surgery may be for you and your family.

Schedule A Consultation

If you would like more information about breast augmentation, contact Northwestern Specialists in Plastic Surgery. Call us at (312) 266-6240 to schedule your consultation with our Board Certified Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Neil Fine or Dr. Clark Schierle. Our practice serves Chicago, Illinois and surrounding areas.