Breast augmentation surgery increases or restores breast size using silicone gel implants, saline implants or in some cases, fat transfer. One of the most popular and frequently performed aesthetic surgery procedures, breast augmentation has a long and successful track record in satisfying women who wish to enhance, regain or restore balance to their figures.
Are you a good candidate for breast augmentation?
The following are some common reasons why you may want to consider breast augmentation:
You believe your breasts are too small for your body.
You feel self-conscious wearing a swimsuit or form-fitting or low-cut tops.
Clothes that fit your hips are too large at the bust line.
Your breasts have become smaller or less firm after you've had children.
Your breasts have become smaller due to weight loss.
One of your breasts is noticeably smaller than the other.
If you are in good health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
How is a breast augmentation procedure performed?
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In breast augmentation using implants, your surgeon makes an incision, lifts the breast tissue, creates a pocket in the chest/breast area and places an implant in the pocket. An additional option for breast augmentation is autologous fat transfer, a process in which your surgeon removes your own fat, using liposuction, from a fat-yielding body part (such as your abdomen, thighs, or flanks) processes it and then injects it into your breasts. This procedure is currently considered experimental, due to a limited history of data, but the process has shown promise.
Where will my breast implants be placed?
Multiple factors, including your anatomy and your surgeon's recommendations, will determine how your breast implant is inserted and positioned. The implant is placed in a pocket either:
Underneath the pectoral muscle, which is located between the breast tissue and chest wall.
Underneath the breast tissue and on top of the pectoral muscle.
Breast implants are placed either above or below the pectoral muscle.
Placement of the implant underneath the pectoral muscle may interfere less with mammograms and breast-feeding. Your plastic surgeon will discuss this with you.
What are my options?
There have never been more choices for breast augmentation. The following options are available, depending on your medical history, body shape and aesthetic goals. Saline-filled breast implants are filled with sterile salt water. They may be prefilled at a predetermined size or filled at the time of surgery to allow for minor modifications in implant size. Silicone-filled breast implants are filled with soft, elastic gel and are available in a variety of shapes. All silicone breast implants are pre-filled and may require a longer incision for implant placement.
Cohesive gel silicone implants, also known as “gummy bear” or “form stable” implants, are filled with a cohesive gel, made of crosslinked molecules of silicone, which makes them a bit thicker and firmer than traditional silicone implants. This enables them to hold their shape better. Approved by the FDA for use in the United States in 2012, these implants have been available in much of the world since 1992.
Autologous fat transfer removes fat through liposuction from an area of your body in which there are abundant fat cells, such as your thighs, abdomen and hips. After a process of preparation and refinement, the fat cells are injected into your breast. This is a less common method than breast implant augmentation and is still undergoing clinical studies and research for safety and effectiveness. Your plastic surgeon might combine any of these breast augmentation options with a breast lift if there is any sagging or drooping of your breasts.
Your anatomy and health profile as well as your personal preferences will help you and your surgeon determine:
The best type of surgery for you
Your optimal breast size
The type of implant and incision location that will best fill your needs.
Factors that influence the size and type of breast augmentation recommended for you include:
Your medical history
Your goals for breast enhancement
Your existing body frame and mass
Your existing breast tissue
Your preferences related to size and incision placement.
The goal of your aesthetic plastic surgeon and staff is to help you achieve the best results and to make your surgical experience as easy, safe and comfortable as possible.
What will my breast augmentation incisions and scars be like?
An incision can be made in one of four places:
Inframammary: Underneath the breast, just above the crease
Transaxillary: Near the armpit, where the arm meets the chest area
Periareolar: Around the lower edge of the areola (the dark area surrounding the nipple)
Transumbilical: in the navel
Is breast augmentation safe?
It is important for women with breast implants to keep in mind that while breast implants are intended to last your lifetime, replacement may become necessary. After breast implant surgery, you should have periodic examination by a board-certified plastic surgeon to monitor your implants.
Silicone gel−filled breast implants have been under scrutiny for years, but after gathering detailed and meticulous research and data, the FDA has approved them for use in cosmetic breast enhancement surgery, finding no link between silicone gel breast implants and connective tissue disease, breast cancer or reproductive problems. In addition, the FDA has approved three companies to develop and market breast implants and continue to collect data on their long-term safety and efficacy. For more information, please see the FDA breast implant information provided on their site.
Surgical techniques for breast augmentation and all breast implants are continually being refined, increasing the safety and reliability of the procedure. Ask your plastic surgeon to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.