Mammoplasty, or breast augmentation, is a surgical procedure that can be used to increase the size of your breasts, change their shape or enhance body curves. It is the number one cosmetic surgery in the US, with more than 300,000 surgeries done every year, and it continues to rise. The results of breast augmentation can range from subtle to bold. Most patients are simply looking to complement their proportions. However, many women enjoy substantial psychological benefits, including enhanced self-esteem.
Women opt for breast augmentation for a variety of reasons. For some women, it's simply about increasing their breast size or trying to create a more balanced hip-to-breast ratio. For others, augmentation is a way of altering the effects of genetics or aging. Common problems include:
- Size and fullness after pregnancy and nursing
- Uneven breast sizes
- Damage after a mastectomy or injury
The Breast Augmentation Procedure
During your first consultation, you will discuss your goals and motives for breast augmentation with your surgeon. Getting all the facts before your surgery is imperative to ask a lot of questions and consider your initiatives seriously. If you are considering breast augmentation, you should be doing so for you, and not because of outside pressure from another person.
The technique used in the procedure itself is typically the same process for most patients. As with most outpatient surgery, you will be under general anesthesia, or with local anesthesia and intravenous sedation. Most patients can leave the same day and begin their recovery at home. The biggest variables about your procedure will be the type of implant and where the incision is placed.
Deciding Between Gel and Saline Implants
Both gel and silicone implants have the same outside shells but contain different solutions. Saline-filled implants hold sterile salt water or saline that closely resembles the fluids already in your body. If they leak, which is uncommon, the saline is naturally absorbed by the body.
Silicone gel implants are filled with a special, medical-grade gel and are popular because they feel more natural, especially for thinner women. These implants are the most popular type, and they have a noteworthy durability and safety record.
Saline implants will have a smaller incision than silicone because the inflation is done after insertion. The size of a silicone implant is determined before surgery, and the incision has to be large enough to fit the implant into the chest.
Other Deciding Factors
There are other factors besides personal choice that will determine the size of your implants. Your rib cage, as well as the thickness and elasticity of your skin, are important considerations. The more elasticity your skin has, the greater your ability to stretch and accept larger implants without stretch marks. You also have to be healthy and meet the age requirements. For saline implants, you must be 18, and for silicone, you have to be 22 years or older. Additional factors that make you a good candidate include:
- Not smoking
- Realistic expectations
- A healthy and stable weight
- Not pregnant or breastfeeding
- Free of infection and disease
To achieve optimal results, sometimes you may require a breast lift as well as a breast augmentation. A breast lift can return your breasts to their normal position, which is often the most important part of the procedure for some women.
Things to Remember After Your Breast Augmentation
Recovery time will vary from one patient to the next, but on average, a full recovery ranges from four to six weeks. You will be less mobile for the first week, and you should stick to light activity and no strenuous exercise until you are fully healed. You will need to wear bandages and a special bra for several weeks and return to your doctor for regular checks to make sure you are healing properly.
Implants can last for many years, and most women don’t have any problems. If you have a silicone implant, you should have an MRI test every few years to make sure it stays intact. If your implant does rupture or leak, it could be so small you might not notice it right away. The FDA advises medical imaging to check the integrity of implants beginning at three years and then every two years after that.
It is important to realize that Mother Nature will have an effect on your implants over time. As you age, your anatomy alters, and if you gain or lose weight, or have children, your implants can shift or change shape. Before you commit to implant surgery, keep in mind that it will require maintenance, along with possible revision surgeries.
Are you Ready for a New Look?
If you're unhappy with your breasts and want to improve breast size or symmetry, find out if an augmentation procedure is the right solution for you. Contact Ghada Y. Afifi, MD to schedule a consultation today.