What is a breast augmentation?
Breast augmentation surgery is performed to realize breast enlargement, breast enhancement, or both. Breast enlargement satisfies the desire for fuller breasts, whereas breast enhancement restores breast volume, which could have been lost due to pregnancy or weight loss. Breast augmentation is a tremendous help to patients who desire a fuller profile. Breast augmentation can also be used to correct breast asymmetry or for breast reconstruction following a mastectomy.
The shape, size, incision, placement, and type of implant are all factors that need to be adapted to each patient individually. The two types of implants that can be used are ones either filled with saline solution (salt-water) or silicone gel.
- Saline implants: Saline breast implants are filled with sterile salt water. These implants can be filled with varying amounts of salt-water, affecting the shape, firmness, and feel of the breast. If for some reason the implant deflates, the saline will be absorbed and passed in the urine.
- Silicone implants: Silicone breast implants come pre-filled to various volumes with cohesive silicone gel. The appropriate size is chosen based on patient desires and breast/thorax measurements. These gel implants allow for the breast to move and feel much like a natural one.
Lasting just over one hour, this procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia. Breast implants are normally surgically inserted using one of three traditional incisions: the inframammary (incision below the breast), the periareolar (incision in the lower half of the areola), or the transaxillary (incision in the armpit). All of these incisions allow the implant to be placed either submuscularly (under the chest muscle) or subglandularly (between the chest muscle and the breast tissue).
Immediately after surgery, it is possible to experience some discomfort in the breast. Most people are able to return to work in a week’s time. Physical activities are usually restricted for four weeks.
Risks and Complications:
All surgeries expose patients to risks and complications. In cosmetic surgery, all efforts are made to minimize these risks, but they cannot be completely eliminated. A partial list of complications for breast augmentation includes: scarring, infection, implant rupture (leakage), loss of nipple sensation, difficulty breast-feeding, capsular contracture, and implant malposition. It is important to discuss these risks with your surgeon as part of your decision making process.