Breast Augmentation In-Depth
What is a Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure that increases or enhances the size of breasts. It is one of the most commonly performed plastic surgery procedures and also known as an augmentation mammoplasty.
Commonly referred to as a “boob job”, breast augmentation is accomplished by either using breast implants or transferring fat from other parts of one’s own body to the breast.
Who is a Good Candidate for Breast Augmentation Surgery?
If you are unsatisfied with the size of your breast, are a non smoker and in overall good health, you are likely an excellent candidate for breast augmentation. Candidates often have a variety of reasons why they choose breast augmentation.
Some common reasons include:
- To increase the size of naturally small breasts
- Restore volume depleted by pregnancy, age or weight loss
- Reconstruction after mastectomy
- To correct uneven or oddly shaped breasts.
How is Breast Augmentation With Implants Done?
First, you will need to meet with a surgeon who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This is important because surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery must meet rigorous qualifications and standards to receive their certification after completing four years of medical school and several more years of residency. Be wary of physicians who are certified by medical boards other than plastic surgery as they do not have the same extensive training.
During your visit with the surgeon, you will discuss your issues and concerns. A good surgeon will carefully listen to your desired outcome and help you know if breast augmentation surgery is the right procedure for you.
For your comfort during the procedure anesthesia or sedation will be administered. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. During the pre-op visits you and the surgeon will decide which will be the best option for you.
The location of the incisions depend on whether or not you are using implants, your body shape and the desired amount of enlargement and any other preferences.
Once an incision has been made, breast implant can be placed either under the pectoral muscle (known as a submuscular placement) or over the muscle but under the normal breast tissue (known as a submammary/subglandular placement).
The placement and technique will depend on certain preferences and conditions which you and your surgeon will discuss prior to making a decision. Incisions are then expertly closed with layered sutures in the breast tissue and with sutures. Occasionally, skin adhesive or tape will be used for complete closure and optimal healing. Plastic surgeons are skilled at leaving barely visible scars however, other factors such as genetics, smoking and infections also play a role in scarring.
Once the procedure has been completed, you’ll be held in the recovery room until you wake up from the anesthesia or sedation.
Unless you are staying in a special post-op suite or the hospital, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and stay with you the first few nights to help you recover.
What is Recovery from Breast Augmentation Like?
After the surgery is complete, the chest is wrapped in gauze dressings and an elastic bandage or support bra for comfort, support and to minimize swelling.
Your surgeon will give you specific post-operative care instruction so be sure to follow them closely. Follow up appointments are usually scheduled within a few days to monitor your healing.
Medications may be prescribed to help with pain and inflammation.
Plan to wear the support bandage (a bra or elastic band, called a bandeau) at all times or as instructed by your plastic surgeon.
Rest and avoidance of any activities that use your chest muscles such as lifting or pushing is strongly recommended for optimal healing and prevention of pain.
Pain typically subsides within the first week, but soreness and swelling may be present for a few weeks.
Do not resume exercise or other physical activity until cleared by your surgeon.
What are the Results and Benefits of Breast Augmentation?
After the bandages have been removed, a noticeable difference in breast size can be seen. Final results, however, may not be fully visible until after all the swelling has resolved, usually after a few weeks.
For achieve optimal breast augmentation results, follow all post-operative instructions and keep follow-up visits.
Benefits from Breast Augmentation with Implants include:
- Larger more aesthetically pleasing breasts
- Enhanced fullness and profile of the chest
- Improved self-confidence and body image
- Reconstruction post-mastectomy or radiation
- Sensual and balanced body contour
A breast lift in addition to a breast augmentation may be required for the desired result. Breast lifts can be done at the same time as the breast augmentation if that is something you and your surgeon have decided is the best option for you.
What Risks Come With Breast Augmentation Surgery?
Risks are present with any procedure or medical treatment. Knowing what risks you may face will help you weigh the pros and cons so you can make the right decision for you.
Your surgeon will go over risks that may be more specific to you but in general here are some risks associated with breast augmentation surgery:
- Altered skin sensation, temporary or permanent
- Blood clots
- Skin discoloration from scarring or bruising
- Challenges breastfeeding
- Chronic pain
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia or sedation medication