Breast augmentation, also known as augmentation mammoplasty, is a surgical procedure designed to enhance the shape, size, or fullness of the breasts by inserting breast implants. Implants are usually made of synthetic silicone rubber shells filled with silicone gel or a saline solution. In some instances, fat cells from another part of your body can also be used as implants for the augmentation procedure.
Breast augmentation involves inserting breast implants underneath your breast tissue or chest muscles to create more breast volume. As there are various types of implants, your surgeon will recommend the particular type of implant that is most appropriate for you.
The average life span of a breast implant is ten years. During this time, your breasts continue to age, and elements such as weight loss or weight gain may impact the appearance of your breasts.
Some of the common indications for undergoing a breast augmentation procedure include the following:
- Enhance your breast appearance, if your breasts are naturally small or one is smaller than the other
- Reconstruct the breast following breast removal surgery or mastectomy
- Increase breast size after pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Adjust uneven breasts due to previous surgery or other conditions
- Restore your self-confidence and self-image
Preparation for Surgery
Preoperative preparation for breast augmentation will involve the following:
- Your doctor will review your medical history and perform a thorough physical examination.
- Diagnostic tests such as blood work and imaging are ordered.
- You will be instructed to refrain from medications such as blood thinners, aspirin, or anti-inflammatory drugs for a week or two prior to surgery.
- Avoid alcohol or tobacco at least 24 hours prior to surgery.
- Do not consume any solids or liquids at least 8 hours prior to surgery.
Breast augmentation surgery will involve the following steps:
- On the day of surgery, your surgeon will mark the areas for the breast incisions and implant insertion.
- The location of your incisions is based on your personal preference, your body type and your surgeon's recommendation.
- You will be placed in the supine position lying on your back and administered general anesthesia so you will be asleep during the procedure.
- Your surgeon makes a single surgical cut in one of 3 places: axillary or under your arm, peri-areolar or around your nipple, or inframammary or in the crease underneath your breast.
- After making the required surgical cut, your surgeon separates the muscles and connective tissue of the chest from the breast tissue to make a pocket either in front or behind the muscles of the chest wall.
- Your surgeon places the implant into this pocket and positions it behind the nipple.
- If silicone implants are used, they are pre-filled with silicone gel prior to insertion, whereas saline implants are inserted unfilled and then saline solution is injected to expand the implant shell.
- After confirming the implants are properly placed, your surgeon closes the surgical cuts with sutures and bandages.
You will most likely be discharged the same day of your surgery as the breast augmentation procedure rarely requires an overnight hospital stay.
Postoperative care instructions may involve the following:
- Avoid strenuous physical activity for at least three to six weeks.
- Pain and anti-inflammatory medications are prescribed as needed for comfort.
- Wear compression bras or a sports bra for support and to help the implants settle in place.
- Instructions on bathing and surgical site care are provided.
- You may resume your routine activities after six weeks, as well as return to work.
- Incisional scars will be present after the surgery, but should fade gradually.
Risks and Complications
As with any surgery, breast augmentation may involve some risks and complications, including:
- Changes in nipple or breast sensation
- Implant rupture or leakage
- Scar tissue
Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure to enhance breast size and shape. Women with naturally small breasts and those who have undergone breast removal surgery may undergo breast augmentation for breast reconstruction. Breast augmentation can help improve your self-esteem, body image, and make you feel more confident.