Augmentation mammoplasty, or breast augmentation, is typically performed to enlarge small, underdeveloped breasts or breasts that have decreased in size after a woman has had children. Breast augmentation is accomplished by surgically inserting an implant behind each breast.
Women can get breast implants to make their breasts bigger and fuller. That can be done for reconstructive purposes, such as after mastectomy for breast cancer, or for cosmetic reasons.
Many women consider undergoing breast implant surgery to enhance the size and shape of the natural bust-line. Breast implants are also commonly used to restore a breast that has been removed or disfigured as a result of a mastectomy.
A feminine body image is important to many women, and that includes the appearance of the breasts. In fact, breast implants come in a variety of sizes, shapes and profiles to achieve a natural-looking physique.
Breast Implants come in a variety of shapes, surface textures and sizes.
Am I a good candidate for breast implants? One or more of the following feelings or conditions may indicate that you are a good candidate for breast implants:
- You have a sense of low self-esteem that your breasts are too small
- Apparel that fit well around your hips is often too large at the bust-line
- You feel self-conscious wearing form-fitting clothing or a swimsuit
- Your breasts have decreased in size and lost their firmness after having children
- Fluctuation in weight has changed the size and shape of your breasts
- Asymmetry exists where one of your breasts is noticeably smaller than the other
Breast Implants Techniques Individual factors and personal preferences will help you and your plastic surgeon to determine your appropriate breast size, the location of incisions, and whether breast implants will be placed on top of or underneath the chest muscle.
The size, type, and location of your breast implant may be determined by your goals for breast enhancement, your existing body frame, and mass, your existing breast tissue, and the preferences you and your plastic surgeon discuss.
Saline Implants vs Silicone Implants
Saline breast implants: Solid silicone rubber outer shell filled with sterile salt water. Saline implants are filled at the time of surgery; thus may be inserted via a smaller incision than silicone implants. Saline implants allow for minor modifications in implant size at the time of the operation. If saline implants deflate, it is obvious in short time.
Silicone filled breast implants: Solid silicone rubber outer shell filled with cohesive silicone gel. Silicone is a naturally occurring element found in sand, quartz and rock. Silicone can be manufactured in a variety of ways, including oils, gels and solids. Silicone products have been shown to be bio-compatible, reliable, flexible and easy to sterilize. All silicone breast implants are pre-filled and may require a longer incision for implant placement. Patients tend to think that silicone implants feel more natural. If silicone implants rupture, it may not be obvious immediately.
Textured Implants vs. Smooth Implants
Textured implants: Implants with a rough surface. Textured implants are intended to stay in one place and not move. Shaped implants should be textured so that they are more likely to stay in the appropriate location and orientation. Round implants may also be textured. The idea being that a rough surface may help to decrease capsular contracture.
Smooth implants: Implants with a smooth surface. Smooth implants are intended to move within the pocket. Some patients think that smooth implants are less palpable.
Breast Implants FAQ
Will breast implant surgery be painful? Usually, pain after the breast implant operation is controlled by pain pills. Patients may feel stiff and sore in the chest region. They may feel tight, numb, itchy, or sensitive to the touch. Some patients may feel discomfort when raising their arms. However, the amount and duration of pain varies. Some patients have only minor discomfort. Others may have more severe pain or pain for a longer time.
Will there be scarring from breast implant surgery? Anytime the layers of the skin are cut through, a scar forms. Thus there will be a scar along the incision that will not be able to be erased. Your surgeon will make it as thin and least noticeable as he/she can; however, the ultimate healing will be determined by your body’s healing potential.
What are some typical short-term side-effects from breast implant surgery? Soreness, pain, swelling are to be expected. A collection of fluid (seroma) may occur that may need to be drained either with a needle or with another operation. A collection of blood (hematoma) or bleeding may occur that may need another operation. Implant asymmetry, rippling, contracture, rupture, may also occur. Poor healing, poor scarring, alterations in sensation may also occur. Breast implant infection that may need antibiotics or even removal may occur.
What type of anesthesia, if any, will be used during breast implant surgery? Breast augmentation may be done under sedation or general anesthesia. Speak to your surgeon regarding his/her preferences and your options. Many surgeons also use numbing medication (local anesthetic) during the operation to help with pain after the operation.
How long will my implants last? Implants will not last forever and will likely need to be replaced with a subsequent operation. The length of time varies in each patient. However, if your breast implants do not give you problems, there is no set time at which “old” implants need to be replaced.