About Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation, also known as a mammaplasty, breast enlargement or breast implants.
Breast augmentation surgery is designed to increase or restore breast size, form and texture using either silicone gel or saline implants, or in some cases even an autologous fat transfer. Breast augmentation is commonly used for post-mastectomy breast reconstruction or for correcting defects of the chest wall.
Both a silicone and saline breast implant are made with a silicone shell. Silicone gel implants are filled with a plastic, silicone gel where as saline implants are filled with sterile salt water. These breast implants may not last a lifetime. The patient may actually need to have the implants replaced if there are any complications or if the shape and size of the breast changes over time.
The cost of breast augmentation tends to vary based on a few different factors. The type of implant is used, your geographic location and which doctor you use.
How is it performed?
When performing a breast augmentation using implants, your surgeon will make an incision, lift the breast tissue, create a pocket in the chest area and place an implant into this pocket. There are several places where the implant can be placed and you surgeon will determine which is most appropriate for you based on a variety of factors, such as your anatomy and your age. The implant is placed in a pocket either underneath the pectoral muscle (located between your breast tissue and chest wall) underneath the breast tissue or on top of the pectoral muscle. Placement of the implant underneath the pectoral muscle may interfere less with mammograms and breast-feeding and your plastic surgeon will discuss this with you prior to your procedure.
Is breast augmentation safe?
It is vital when considering breast augmentation that you consider that even though they are intended to last a long time, some replacement or re-adjustment may become necessary after a few years. After your breast implant surgery, you should aim to have periodic examinations by your plastic surgeon to monitor your implants and your recovery. Silicone, gel-filled breast implants have been under scrutiny for years by the FDA, but after meticulous research and data gathering, the FDA found no link between silicone gel breast implants and connective tissue disease, breast cancer or any reproductive problems. For more information please see the FDA breast implant information provided on their site. Breast augmentation techniques are constantly being refined and new implants are being developed all the time, increasing the reliability and safety of the procedure.
What are my options?
There has never been a wider selection of options available for your breast augmentation surgery. The choices available to you will depend on several factors, including your body shape, medical history and aesthetic goals.
Saline-filled breast implants are either pre-filled to the correct size with sterile salt water or filled during surgery to allow your surgeon to make minor modifications in their shape and size.
Silicone-filled breast implants are filled with a soft, elastic gel and come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. All silicone breast implants are pre-filled and to get the correct placement, your surgeon may need to make a longer incision than with a saline implant.
‘Gummy bear’ implants are filled with a cohesive gel made of cross-linked silicone molecules, which makes them thicker and firmer than traditional silicone implants and allows them better retain their shape.
Autologous fat transfer removes your fat through liposuction from an area of your body with extra fat cells, such as your abdomen, hips or thighs. After your surgeon has processed and refined these fat cells, they are carefully injected into your breast. This method is far less common than implants and there are ongoing clinical studies and research into their long-term safety and effectiveness.
Depending on your anatomy, your plastic surgeon might combine any of these breast augmentation options with a breast lift, if there is any drooping or sagging of your breasts. The factors that will influence the size and type of breast augmentation you surgeon recommends include: your medical history, your existing body frame and mass, your goals for breast enhancement, your existing breast tissue and your personal preferences relating to size and incision placement. What will my breast augmentation incisions and scars be like?
The incision to insert your implants can be made in one of four places:
- Underneath the breast just above the crease(Inframammary)
- Near the armpit where the arm meets the chest area(Transaxillary)
- Around the lower edge of the areola(Periareolar)
- In your navel(Transumbilical)
What result can I expect?
Under normal circumstances breast augmentation surgery will produce long-lasting and stable results. It is still important, however, to remember that some breast implants will need to be replaced if they leak and some may require re-alignment if they slip. It is important to maintain a routine of follow-up appointments with your plastic surgeon so that they can monitor how your body reacts to the surgery. If you are having autologous fat transfer surgery you should expect to lose some volume over time.Your breasts may also change over time due to events like weight gain, childbirth, aging, hormonal changes or just plain old gravity.
- Breast augmentation is a long-term cosmetic solution for achieving your ideal figure.
- Boosts the shape and or increase the size of breasts.
- Breast implants require careful monitoring and they will eventually need to be replaced.
- Normal surgical risks are the only considerations, although there may be further risks specific to your case that your aesthetic plastic surgeon will explain to you during your consultation.
Immediately after your breast augmentation procedure you will be placed in a surgical dressing that includes a support bra or garment. Breast augmentation surgery stretches the breast tissue and can be very painful, especially if the implants are placed underneath the pectoral chest muscle. The most pain is typically experienced within the first 48 hours after breast augmentation surgery and the level of pain you experience will normally decrease daily. It is normal for your breasts to feel sensitive and tight to the touch and your skin may feel itchy or warm and you may experience some difficulty or pain when raising your arms. It is normal for some swelling and discolouration to occur immediately after surgery, but this bruising will disappear quickly. Any residual swelling will typically resolve within a month.
You should be able to walk without assistance immediately after breast augmentation surgery and it is very important that you reduce the risk of blood clots forming in your legs by using your legs every few hours. It is essential that you follow your physician’s patient care instructions during your recovery. This may include information about what compression garments you should wear, how to take care of your drains, which prescribed antibiotics you should take and advice on the safe level and type of activity you can perform. They will also give you detailed information about normal post-surgery symptoms how to look for signs of complications. The amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
The First Week
During the first 5 days you will feel stiff and sore in your chest and upper body. Depending on the nuances of your procedure, you will be allowed to shower a few days after surgery and return to work within a few days, again depending on the nature of your surgery. You should refrain from pulling, pushing or lifting your breasts in any way that causes pain, including limiting the amount you twist your upper body twisting and avoid strenuous activity completely.
Two to Six Weeks
You should avoid any excessive physical activity for at least the first couple of weeks after surgery. After that be sure to take care and be extremely gentle with your breasts for at least the next month, while healing completes. Any intimate contact or sexual activity is a choice you must make yourself, but try to take it slowly so as to give your body time to tell you if something is wrong.
Your physician will ask you to schedule routine mammograms as is normal for your age group and you should continue to self-examine your breasts regularly.
Limits & Risks
Due to the popularity and age of the techniques, significant complications from breast augmentation are rare, although there may be risks specific risks for breast augmentation, which will be discussed during your consultation. The overall complication rate is low, when the operation is performed by an experienced plastic surgeon operating in an accredited facility. With breast augmentation, minor complications occur occasionally, but do not affect the outcome. Major breast augmentation complications are very unusual.