Breast augmentation is often referred to as a “boob job” by most people in the general public. What this implies is a surgery whereby the size of the breast is enlarged using of the multiple methods available. There are multiple outcomes which one can expect from a breast augmentation, which includes:
- Increasing the breast size and volume
- Enhancing the shape and projection of the breast
- Increase self-confidence and boost self-esteem
- Improve the breast-hip balance
- Reconstruct breast after mastectomy or injury
Before deciding whether you would like to have a breast augmentation procedure, it is important to understand the composition or breasts, the procedure and the different options available.
Understand that a “breast lift” is not the same as a breast augmentation procedure. Breast lift is used to raise a breast that has sagged due to aging. This procedure can be done separately or during a breast augmentation procedure, but requires a larger incision.
What is the breast made of?
The breast is made up of multiple different tissues, including blood vessels, glands, milk ducts and nerves which are all surrounded and cushioned by fatty adipose tissue. The fatty adipose tissue is responsible for giving the breast its soft feeling. The tissues that makes up the milk ducts, known as the glandular tissue, is what is primarily responsible for the shape and look of the breast. The underlying muscles do not contribute the shape, but help to support the breast tissue.
Understanding the structure of the breast helps to better visualize where implants are placed or where the fat is placed in a fat transfer breast augmentation.
Who is eligible to have breast augmentation?
Because breast augmentation is a very intimate and personal procedure for the person wishing to have it, it is important to make the decision for yourself whether you would like the procedure. The level of patient satisfaction is usually higher when the breast augmentation was done out of the will of the patient. Having said this, there are some patients who may NOT qualify to receive a breast augmentation procedure, for one or other reasons. The following would make one a good candidate for breast augmentation:
- Being physical fit and healthy to undergo surgery
- Not pregnant or breastfeeding
- If the breasts are fully developed
- If there is dissatisfaction with the shape, size or proportionality of the breasts
- If one or both breasts have failed to develop normally
- If one has undergone a mastectomy and would like to have a reconstruction surgery
Before having the surgery, it is imperative to have a conversation with your surgeon regarding all your medical conditions and relevant medical history because certain health conditions may affect the type of option or implant you may decide to use.
Different implant options
There are multiple options available in terms of the type of procedure, method and implant material that one can chose from. These include the following:
- Silicone Implants
Silicone implants were the most popular material that was used in breast augmentation surgery in the 1990’s when there was an exponential increase in women who were seeking out the procedure. The earlier brands of silicone implants have been linked to the development of connective tissue disorders in some women. Since the revelation that there were health concerns regarding these implants, research was done in order to change the material composition of the implants. Since then, there have been improvements development of silicone, with silicone gel implants now being one of the FDA approved types of implants.
- Saline Implants
Saline implants are the most commonly used implants in today’s breast augmentation market. The saline lays inside a soft silicone shell. The empty shell is first placed in the body, and the implant is slowly inflated to the correct size per the patients’ requests. The advantages over this implant to the silicone implant is that saline is a type of saltwater liquid solution which can easily be absorbed by the body, so in the event of a rupture or leak, there is little health implications. Unfortunately, the feel is less natural than that of a silicone implant.
- Fat transfer breast augmentation
Fat transfer breast augmentation is the newest method of breast augmentation that was recently developed. This method uses fatty adipose tissue of the patient from other parts of the body, such as the thighs, in order to build up the breast tissue. The advantage of this method is that the rate of rejection is much lower, however, this procedure requires on to have an adequate amount of adipose tissue to be available for use.
The exact brand, shape and size can always be discussed with your surgeon. Remember that it is important to have an idea of what you would like out of your breast augmentation and what size you are looking for. Do not get caught up in cc’s of implants – your surgeon will know these much better and can choose the best one for what it is you are wanting to gain out of your breast augmentation. Additionally, there are other things that one can choose, such as textured or smooth shells and different implant shapes, like round or shaped to a pole.
Details of the procedure
Once all these decisions can be made, the procedure can be carried out. Breast augmentation surgery is typically done under general anesthetic, where the patient is completely unaware of what is happening. However, it can also be done under local anesthetic. The plastic surgeon will make an incision or cut in one of three places: the bottom crease of the breast, the armpit or the lower border of the areola. The surgeon carefully places the implant in the breast to display the correct shape and position. The implant can either be placed on top of the chest muscle or underneath part or the whole of the chest muscle. The incision is then close with stitches.
What you as a patient can expect, is that after the surgery, there will be gauze placed over the breast and will be in a special bandage or supported by a special bra. These stitches need to be removed, which can typically be done in 7 to 10 days. The breast will have bruising, swelling and pain for several days following surgery. This is to be expected and medicine will be giving to cope with the symptoms of the surgery. Most women are able to go back to their normal daily activities within a few days, however any heavy lifting and strenuous exercise should be avoided. Scars are minimally visible.
Like all surgeries, there are risks that are involved. One of the most notable risks in breast augmentation surgery is that breast implants make it difficult to interpret mammography scans, which are used to aid in the detection of breast cancer. Additionally, after a period of time, there are changes that happen to the implants. This may lead to the increased risk that the implant bursts, ruptures or leaks, causing an abnormal shape of the breast and requiring a relook surgery, where the implants may need to be replace or removed after some time. Also keep in mind that breast implants may affect the ability to produce milk and breastfeed your babies. If you are planning on having a child, be prepared for the fact that you may have difficulty. These are only a few of the complications that can occurs from the surgery. Others include:
- Infection after surgery
- Hematoma or seroma
- Capsular contracture
- Change in nipple or breast sensation
- Unsatisfied with the final outcome
- Delayed wound healing
- Calcium deposits
However, regardless of the many risk that are associate with breast augmentation surgery, there are also numerous benefits. According to literature reports, it has been shown that women who have undergone breast augmentation out of their own desire have been reported to have very high levels of satisfaction. They have better self-image and self-esteem and more self-confidence. People who have undergone the procedure have stated they their breast implants make them feel more feminine and more attractive to the opposite sex.
If you are interested in feeling more comfortable with your body and having improved self-esteem, contact your plastic surgeon in order to discuss whether you are eligible for breast augmentation surgery and which option would best suit what you are looking for.