Breast augmentation is the surgical placement of implants to enhance the size and shape of the breasts. Clinically referred to as mammoplasty, the procedure is often used as part of breast reconstruction surgery following a mastectomy.

What is breast augmentation?

Breast augmentation is used cosmetically to:

  • Increase the volume of naturally small breasts
  • Restore fullness to the breasts that may have been lost following pregnancy or weight loss
  • Create symmetry to breasts that are disproportionately shaped
  • Regain youthful appearance to breasts that have lost volume and shape as a result of the natural aging process

Types of Implants

Breast implants come in a variety of shapes and sizes to create a natural-looking result.

There are two types of implants:

  1. Saline-filled implants
  2. Silicone-filled implants

Saline and silicone breast implants both have an outer silicone shell. The difference is that one is filled with saline and the other silicone. The implant your plastic surgeon recommends will depend on your anatomy and desired results.

Who is a good candidate for breast augmentation?

The FDA requires that a woman be at least 18 years old to get breast augmentation with saline-filled implants and at least 22 years old to receive silicone implants.

The best candidates for breast implants should meet the following basic qualifications:

  • Have realistic expectations about what the surgery can accomplish
  • Are in good overall health with no major medical problems
  • Are nonsmokers
  • Are close to their ideal weight

Breast augmentation, before and after 1

Breast augmentation, before and after 2

What To Expect

Unless you're having other surgery at the same time, breast implants are usually done on an outpatient basis. You will be provided specific instruction on how to prepare, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking and avoiding anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, that may interfere with the blood's ability to clot.

How is breast augmentation performed?

Our surgeons use a variety of surgical techniques during breast augmentation to meet the unique needs of each client. Implant and incision placement is carefully considered and discussed during your initial consultation.

Under general anesthesia your surgeon will make an incision in one of three areas:

  • Under your arm (axilla)
  • In the crease under your breast
  • Around your nipple
The implant is then placed either under or on top of the pectoralis (chest) muscle.

Recovery After Breast Augmentation

After surgery, your breasts will need to be supported with a compression bandage or surgical bra to help position the implants. By supporting your breasts during this period, you are more likely to avoid pain and discomfort and achieve optimum cosmetic results.

Soreness and swelling are common for the first few weeks following surgery. Your surgeon may prescribe pain medication to help manage the discomfort.

With the exception of exercise, you'll be able to return to your regular activities after a few days. However, you should avoid vigorous movement during your recovery, especially with your arms. Over the next few months, you'll start to see the results of your new appearance, as your breasts heal and settle.

Carefully following all instructions will help your surgery go smoothly. Because this procedure requires general anesthesia you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night.

Breast augmentation, before and after 3

Risks and Outcomes

While breast augmentation surgery is normally safe, there is always the possibility of complications, as with any surgical procedure. You can reduce potential risks and complications by carefully following all pre- and post-surgery instructions provided to you by your surgeon.

There are a few specific risks associated with breast implants including:

  • Scar capsule formation around the implant
  • Breast pain
  • Changes in nipple or breast sensation, which may be temporary or permanent
  • Implant leakage or rupture

Both saline and gel implants may leak after chest trauma or sometimes for no apparent reason, requiring surgery to remove or replace the damaged implant.

Breast implants may interfere with the early detection of breast cancer if the implant is placed directly under the breast tissue. Your surgeon may recommend that you have a mammogram, ultrasound or MRI before your surgery. After surgery, you should make sure that your mammograms are performed by a radiologist with experience performing or reading mammograms on women with implants.

Breast augmentation, before and after 4

Breast augmentation, before and after 5

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