Breast Augmentation

In Charleston, SC


At O’Neill Plastic Surgery in Charleston, SC, breast augmentation surgery is a procedure that is very popular among our female patients. It is a relatively simple surgery that adds volume to the breasts, which improves their shape and profile.

Many women feel that larger breasts help balance their bodies’ overall appearance, giving them better symmetry and a more natural, feminine look. The new look contributes to an improved self-image and an increase in confidence. Women with limited breast development, tissue loss, or uneven development may find it difficult to wear some clothing or to even have a positive body image.

Breast augmentation is the surgical placement of breast implants to increase the fullness and projection of the breasts or to improve the symmetry of the breasts. Clinically referred to as augmentation mammaplasty, the procedure is used to:

  • Enlarge a naturally small breast
  • Restore breast volume lost following pregnancy or due to weight loss
  • Achieve better symmetry when breasts are moderately disproportionate in size and shape

*As with any procedure and/or treatment the results may vary and it is important to consult with your primary care provider first.

The breast augmentation procedure should not be selected as a way to correct sagging breasts. In cases where a woman desires to enhance breast fullness and at the same time improve the position and shape of sagging breasts, a breast lift may be performed in conjunction with augmentation.

How It Works

An incision is made, either around the areola, beneath the crease of the breast, or beneath the underarm, depending upon the goals and type of implant procedure to be performed. An implant may be filled with either saline or an inert silicone solution.

The implant is placed through the incision. The implant may be subglandular or sub muscular, depending upon the goals and preferences of the patient and surgeon. Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz will discuss the pros and cons of the choice of incision, implant type, and placement with you and help you make the best choice for your situation.


Women find that after a breast augmentation surgery, they feel more proportional, have a more positive body image, and have an easier time finding flattering clothing that fits well. An increase in confidence is the most important outcome of an augmentation.

Treatment Areas

The breasts are the area affected by a breast augmentation surgery.


Complications are possible, as they are with any surgery. The specific risks involved vary from patient to patient and depend upon your individual situation and history. Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz will review your medical history and discuss any risk factors with you.


For the first 3-5 days after your surgery, it’s important to engage in only light activities. The initial discomfort should begin to subside in 1-5 days, but expect tenderness and soreness for a few weeks. The final outcome of your augmentation will take up to a year to become fully visible, as the tissue settles into place.


Every woman has her own opinion of what breast size she feels is ideal. Many women feel that their breasts are too small or lack fullness and choose to explore the breast augmentation procedure. Charleston plastic surgeons Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz have helped hundreds of women meet their goals of having larger, fuller breasts. Breast augmentation is a highly individualized procedure, and you should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of idealized image.

Breast augmentation may be a good option for you if:

  • You are in good physical health
  • You have realistic expectations
  • Your breasts are fully developed
  • You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too small
  • You are dissatisfied with your breasts losing shape and volume after pregnancy, weight loss, or with aging
  • Your breasts vary in size or shape
  • One or both breasts failed to develop normally

Don’t take a chance with just any provider of breast augmentation in Charleston: Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz are waiting to listen to your concerns and start formulating a game plan that will have you feeling and looking better than ever.


Breast augmentation surgery is a very common procedure performed by local surgeons, Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz. It is crucial that you obtain information about every aspect of the surgery and develop a trusting relationship with Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz. We strive to develop this relationship so that your expectations and body image goals are met and exceeded!

During your breast augmentation consultation, you will be asked about your medical history, social habits, expectations, and existing knowledge about the procedure. The success of your surgery and your personal safety depend very much on your complete candidness during your consultation.

Remember: your greatest ally in the process is the knowledge and experience of your plastic surgeon. Charleston has an array of options for both doctor and price range, but you should pick a doctor that above all has your best interests in mind and you feel comfortable with.

You should be prepared to discuss:

  • Why you want breast implants,
  • Your expectations
  • Desired cosmetic outcome
  • Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
  • Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
  • Previous surgeries
  • Family history of breast cancer and results of any mammograms or previous biopsies


Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz will spend as much time as necessary to ensure that you have the information you need prior to your breast augmentation surgery. In Charleston, SC, cosmetic surgery involves planning and taking steps pre-operatively to ensure the best possible outcome.

Prior to surgery, you may be asked to:

  • Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • Get a baseline mammogram before surgery and another one after surgery to help detect any future changes in your breast tissue
  • Stop smoking well in advance of surgery
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding

All patients who are scheduled for a breast augmentation at O’Neill Plastic Surgery have a pre-operative visit in our Charleston, SC office prior to their surgery date. During this visit, they receive a booklet of information outlining all of the pre-operative and post-operative instructions. All remaining questions are addressed, surgical consents are reviewed and signed, pre-operative photos are taken, and all necessary supplies are provided. Don’t take a chance with just any clinic in Charleston: cosmetic surgery specialist is waiting to fully prepare you for your coming procedure, ensuring your safety and peace of mind.


There are several key decisions that you will be faced with prior to going into the operating room for your breast augmentation surgery. Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz will assist you in the decision-making process prior to your surgery date during your consultation at our clinic in Charleston, SC. These decisions involve the type of implant used, the incision made to place the implant, and whether the implant is placed above or below the pectoral muscle.

Options for Breast Implants:

Saline breast implants are filled with varying amounts of saline (sterile saltwater). The amount of saline filling affects the shape, firmness, and overall feel of the breast.

Silicone breast implants are filled with a silicone gel and are typically more popular as the gel feels more like natural fatty, breast tissue.

  • Currently, saline implants are FDA-approved for augmentation in women 18 years of age and older.
  • Currently, silicone implants are FDA-approved for augmentation in women 22 years of age and older.
  • Saline or silicone implants may be recommended at a younger age if used for reconstruction purposes.


Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz will discuss the pros and cons of each of the three breast augmentation incision types used in breast augmentation surgery. The three types of incisions are inframammary incision, the periareolar (around the areola) incision and the transaxillary incision. The incision may vary based on the type of implant, amount of enlargement desired, your particular anatomy, and patient-surgeon preference.

The Inframammary Incision

The inframammary (under the breast) incision is the most common approach in breast surgery. The incision is made in or adjacent to the inframammary crease. Since this incision provides the most direct route for Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz, it typically requires the shortest amount of time in surgery placing the breast implant.

The Periareolar Incision

If the areola (area around the nipple) is large enough, the incision can be made within the pigmented areolar tissue. This type of incision is chosen when patients want to have a very minimal scar, and this incision is hidden even with the smallest bikini.

The Transaxillary Incision

When breast implant patients want to avoid having their surgery scar on the breast, they may be able to have their surgical incision in the armpit, called a transaxillary incision. Their scar may sometimes be visible when the patient lifts her arms or when wearing certain pieces of clothing.


Submuscular Placement (Under the pectoralis muscle)

Most women choose a submuscular placement of their breast implants because it tends to provide a more natural, tear-drop shape to the breast. For thin women with little breast tissue, it provides better coverage of the implant and fewer problems with visible rippling. The downside to a submuscular placement is that there tends to be more post-operative discomfort in the days following surgery and lifting restrictions are in place for 6 weeks.

The technique can vary from a complete coverage with muscle versus a “dual plane” technique in which only the upper part of the implant is covered by the muscle. This can be discussed in detail with your surgeon. With a little preparation, your breast augmentation in Charleston will leave you with results to treasure for a lifetime.

Subglandular Placement (Under the breast tissue and over the muscle)

Although the submuscular placement is the most popular, it is not right for every woman. Because breast size and shape is very personal, some women prefer a more “augmented” look. In this case, a subglandular placement is often used because it can provide more fullness in the upper pole of the breast. In women who have a widened sternum, subglandular placement may be the best option because it allows the implants to be placed closer together giving more “cleavage”.

Also, women who are bodybuilders may choose to have their implants above the muscle because when the pectoralis muscle is flexed, it can cause a visible displacement of the implant. Subglandular placement is not an option for women choosing to have an augmentation and breast lift due to blood supply issues.

Don’t take a chance with just any provider of breast augmentation: Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz are ready to provide you with a safe, effective procedure that will have you looking and feeling better than ever.


The decision to have a breast augmentation or any cosmetic procedure is one that is very important and personal. When it comes to plastic surgery, Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz advise making an informed decision and learning about all the benefits and risks associated with plastic surgery. This is not a procedure to undergo lightly or for the benefit of someone else. The only person whose happiness you should be concerned about is your own.

During your consultation, Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz will explain in detail the risks associated with breast implants. Once you have had time to ask all the questions that you have about breast augmentation, you will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks or potential complications. Plastic surgery can be an intimidating proposition, but with guidance from Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz, proper preparation, and risk assessment you’ll come out of it feeling and looking great.


  • Anesthesia risks
  • Capsular contracture, (forming of firm scar tissue around the implant)
  • Scarring
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Excess Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Incision Infection
  • Slow/Poor Healing
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Changes in nipple or breast sensation, may be temporary or permanent
  • Implant leakage or rupture
  • Wrinkling of the skin over the implant
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Blood clots
  • Possibility of revisional surgery

Implants are not guaranteed to last a lifetime and future surgery may be required to replace one or both implants if there is some injury or health issue. Over the course of your lifetime, weight loss or gain, menopause, or pregnancy may affect the appearance of breasts, which is natural and normal. If you’ve seen changes in the shape or appearance of your implants, or are considering implants and want to know more about the potential for changes, Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz will be able to answer questions about those specific risks. Call us today at (843) 881-2130 or contact us online now.


Breast augmentation is an out-patient procedure, meaning that you will go home shortly after your procedure to recover. Most patients spend 30-45 minutes in the recovery room following the surgery. It is important that you arrange for transportation and that you have someone stay with you for the first 24 hours after anesthesia.


Your first post breast augmentation appointment with Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz is usually 1-4 days after your breast surgery. Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz advise a post-surgical recovery period of 24 to 48 hours and an additional reduced-activity period of a few days. You will likely experience soreness and swelling for a few weeks after your breast augmentation procedure.

Exercise and normal activity can resume at the direction of Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz. Lifting restrictions will be in place for most patients for up to six weeks following surgery.

You will be given specific instructions that include: How to care for your breasts following augmentation surgery, medications to take for discomfort, and when to follow-up with Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz.

Be sure to ask specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period.

  • What medication will be prescribed after surgery?
  • Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery and when will they be removed?
  • Are stitches removed? If so, when?
  • When may I resume normal activity and exercise?
  • When do I return for follow-up care?

When you go home, if you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment. Do not take unnecessary risks by disregarding these symptoms.

The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.

It is extremely important that your surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. As described, Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself. With little preparation and planning, you’ll get the best results you could ask for from your breast augmentation in Charleston.


Costs are always a consideration in elective surgery; most health insurance plans will not cover these procedures. Sometimes, breast augmentation surgery or complications can even be excluded from your company’s policy. Some carriers even exclude breast diseases in patients who have breast implants. Before undergoing breast surgery, it is extremely important that you understand the details of your health insurance policy.


  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Hospital or surgical facility costs
  • Anesthesia fees
  • Implant cost
  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Post-surgery garments
  • Medical tests

When choosing a Charleston plastic surgeon for breast augmentation, remember that the doctor’s experience with breast implants and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery. If financing your breast augmentation is something that interests you, O’Neill Plastic Surgery offers Care Credit as an option. The application process is simple and can be done online on the Care Credit website: For more information about the costs of the breast enlargement procedure or general plastic surgery questions for Charleston, SC patients, call us today at (843) 881-2130 or contact us online.


Having questions about your breast augmentation surgery is totally normal. Local Charleston, SC plastic surgeons Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz and their team work very hard to ensure that all of your questions are answered to your satisfaction and that you understand the process of the breast augmentation procedure. A list of questions has been provided below to help you through this process. Read more about Dr. O’Neill’s and Dr. Swartz’s plastic surgery experiences and training on their biography page. You can also speak with someone by calling us today at 843- 881-2130 or contacting us online.

  • Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
  • Are you a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons?
  • Were you trained specifically in the field of plastic surgery?
  • How many years of plastic surgery training have you had?
  • Is the office-based surgical facility accredited by a nationally or state-recognized accrediting agency?
  • Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
  • What do I need to do to get the best results?
  • Where and how will my procedure be performed?
  • What shape, size, surface texturing, incision site and placement site are recommended for me?
  • How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
  • What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
  • How many additional implant-related operations can I expect over my lifetime?
  • Will my ability to breastfeed be affected?
  • How can I expect my implanted breasts to look over time? After pregnancy/breastfeeding?
  • What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the cosmetic outcome of my implanted breasts?
  • How will my breasts look if I choose to have the implants removed in the future without replacement?


Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Swartz perform breast implant surgery at O’Neill Plastic Surgery which is conveniently located in Charleston, South Carolina on Daniel Island. To learn more about your options and discuss any questions you may have with a consultation, call us today at 843-881-2130 or contact us online.

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