Breast augmentation surgery is the second most commonly performed cosmetic surgery for women in the country. Every year, thousands of women enhance their figures and improve their self image and self confidence with breast augmentation. Common reasons why women have breast augmentation are:
- They consider their breast size too small, disproportionate or out of balance to the rest of their body.
- Loss of size, firmness and projection (“perkiness”) following pregnancy, weight loss, age, or other causes.
- Simply wanting larger breasts despite satisfactory shape, firmness, position, projection, and body proportion.
- Breasts that never develop to their desirable size after puberty.
- Breasts that are asymmetrical (unequal) or abnormally shaped.
BREAST PROSTHESIS (Implants):
The breast implants are made of a thin, rubbery, silicone shell and filled with either saline or silicone gel, which is more elastic. Both types of implants are now approved by the FDA for cosmetic breast enlargement. The prosthesis can be round or anatomically shaped (i.e., tear drop, contour). The round implant by far is most commonly used. Implants can have a smooth outer surface shell or a roughened textured surface shell depending on what type the plastic surgeon prefers to use.
For more detailed information about the different types of breast implants, sizes, and placement of implants click here:
Breast Implants – Info
The Procedure / Surgery
The surgery generally requires about one to one and a half hours to perform. If other procedures to enhance the breast such as breast lift are combined with the breast augmentation, the surgery will of course require some additional time and may take two to three hours. The procedure is done under general anesthesia or deep intravenous sedation with local anesthetic. In a healthy patient, there is no significant difference in terms of recovery or risks.
The surgical incisions most commonly used are just above the lower breast crease or fold (submammary), along the margin of the areola (periareolar) or in the arm pit (axillary). A small percentage of plastic surgeons may use the belly button (transumbilical) incision for remote placement of a saline implant, but this has some limitations.
After surgery, you can be up and about within a day and may be ready to return to normal non-strenuous activities or work within 3 to 5 days. Strenuous activities and heavy lifting should be avoided for 4 to 5 weeks. Narcotic pain medication is prescribed to assist in relieving the discomfort the first three to four days. The submuscular procedure with placement of the implant below the chest muscle normally causes more discomfort than the subglandular procedure during the first week. Usually after 4 to 6 weeks those with very physically active lifestyles or who do rigorous exercise and sport participants will have no restrictions.
The Augmented Breast
After breast augmentation surgery, the patient will have swelling, possibly bruising, and varying degrees of firmness or tightness of the breasts with newly placed implants. The implants may appear to ride high on the chest and will be somewhat top heavy in appearance. It is important to understand that the augmented breasts change in shape over time after the operation. The appearance of the breasts soon after surgery will be different than at one, three or 6 months after the operation. The breast skin, breast tissue, and the chest muscle (if the implants are submuscular) require time to relax, stretch and conform to the presence and contour of the implant. As the swelling decreases and the tissues relax, the implants settle and usually drop some to result in a more natural appearance. The end point appearance of the breasts may not be reached until 4 to 6 months after surgery depending on the patient. The breast normally will also soften to have a more natural feel and texture over time. Most of the change is typically seen in the first three to four months.