What is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation is a surgery done to increase the size, shape or fullness of the breast. It is also known as augmentation mammoplasty. If the fat from another part of the body is used to improve breast volume the procedure is known as fat transfer breast augmentation.
Breast augmentation procedure involves placing breast implants under the breast tissue and chest muscles. On average the implants lasts for 7-12 years.
Breast augmentation procedure helps restore breast volume lost after weight reduction or pregnancy. It helps achieve more rounded breast shape and natural size and symmetry.
Why Is Breast Augmentation Done?
Breast augmentation helps in the following ways:
- Enhance the appearance of the breast, if you think the size is small.
- Adjust the breast reduction after pregnancy
- Correction of uneven breast
- Improves self-confidence
- The Breast augmentation surgery involves reconstructive surgery and plastic surgery.
Reconstructive breast surgery is done as a part of the treatment of breast cancer i.e. for aesthetic purpose.
Research showed that cosmetic surgery boosts a female’s self-esteem and feelings about sexuality (1).
Types of Implants Used in Breast Augmentation Procedure
There are three types of breast implants:
Saline Implants: These implants are filled with a sterile saline solution like saltwater. The solution is contained within an elastomer silicone shell.
According to the shape, feel and firmness required the implants can be filled with different amounts of saline solution.
If the saline in this implant leaks, it is expelled by the body naturally.
Silicone Gel-Filled Implants: These implants consist of a silicone outer shell filled with silicone gel. In case of leakage from the implants, the gel either stays in the shell or escapes in the breast implant pocket.
Those who choose this implant need to carry out regular checks with the doctor compare with those with saline solution implants. An MRI or ultrasound can help check the condition of the implant.
Alternative Composite Implants: These implants are filled with polypropylene string, soy oil or other material.
How To Prepare For The Breast Augmentation Procedure?
The individual who wants to go for the breast augmentation procedure first discusses the preference with the plastic surgeon. The surgeon describes the type of implant and surgical techniques.
Before breast augmentation surgery, the surgeon helps the patient choose the size of the implant.
General anesthesia is given, so that the patient is not awake during the breast augmentation procedure. In some patients, local anesthesia is given.
Incision is given either under the breast, in the armpit or around the nipple. The site of incision depends on patient’s anatomy, type of implant, and surgeon-patient preference.
The breast implant is then placed into the pocket. The placements are of two types:
- The Submuscular placement is done under the pectoral muscle.
- Submammary or sub-glandular placement which goes behind the breast tissue over the pectoral muscle.
- The incision is then closed with layered sutures, stitches, adhesive or surgical tapes.
- The incision line fades with time.
Recovering From Breast Augmentation Surgery
After breast augmentation surgery there is slight swelling which resolves within two weeks. The incision line also gradually fades away.
The patient should not engage in physical activity for about 6 weeks following breast augmentation procedure. Post-operative exercise is advised by the doctor, which helps relieve pain and discomfort.
The medical team provides with the following information:
- How to take care of the breast
- How to take prescribed medications
- About the follow-up visit
Risk and Complications Following Breast Augmentation Procedure
Like every surgical procedure breast augmentation has a set of risk and complications.
Some risk and complications of are breast augmentation procedure:
- Pain in breast
- Fluid accumulation
- Leaking or rupture of the implant
- Sensation in the breast
- Thickening of the scars which might be painful