Also known as augmentation mammaplasty, breast augmentation involves using implants to fulfill your desire for fuller breasts or to restore breast volume lost after weight reduction or pregnancy.
Table of Contents
- Why Breast Augmentation?
- Procedural Steps
- Important facts about the safety and risks of breast augmentation
- My recovery
- The results will be long-lasting
- How much will breast augmentation surgery cost?
- Words to know
Why Breast Augmentation?
Enhancing your appearance with breast augmentation
If you are dissatisfied with your breast size, augmentation surgery is a choice to consider. Breast augmentation can:
- Increase fullness and projection of your breasts
- Improve the balance of your figure
- Enhance your self-image and self-confidence
Implants also may be used to reconstruct a breast after mastectomy or injury.
What it won’t do
Breast augmentation does not correct severely drooping breasts. If you want your breasts to look fuller and to be lifted due to sagging, a breast lift may be required in conjunction with breast augmentation.
Breast lifting can often be done at the same time as your augmentation or may require a separate operation. Your plastic surgeon will assist you in making this decision.
Is it right for me?
Breast augmentation is a highly individualized procedure and you should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.
Breast augmentation may be a good option for you if:
- You are physically healthy
- You have realistic expectations
- Your breasts are fully developed
- You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too small
- You are dissatisfied with your breasts losing shape and volume after pregnancy, weight loss, or with aging
- Your breasts vary in size or shape
- One or both breasts failed to develop normally
Important facts about the safety and risks of breast augmentation
The decision to have breast augmentation surgery is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.
Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks or potential complications.
The risks include:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Poor healing of incisions
- Changes in nipple or breast sensation, may be temporary or permanent
- Capsular contracture, which is the formation of firm scar tissue around the implant
- Implant leakage or rupture
- Wrinkling of the skin over the implant
- Anesthesia risks
- Fluid accumulation
- Blood clots
- Pain, which may persist
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Possibility of revisional surgery
Breast implants do not impair breast health. Careful review of scientific research conducted by independent groups such as the Institute of Medicine has found no proven link between breast implants and autoimmune or other systemic diseases.
Other important considerations:
- Breast implants are not guaranteed to last a lifetime and future surgery may be required to replace one or both implants.
- Pregnancy, weight loss and menopause may influence the appearance of augmented breasts over the course of your lifetime.
After a post-surgical recovery period of 24 to 48 hours and an additional reduced-activity period of a few days, you will likely experience soreness and swelling for a few weeks.
Exercise and normal activity can resume at the direction of your plastic surgeon. Over time, post-surgical swelling will decrease and incision lines will fade.
When you go home
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.
Following your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
The results will be long-lasting
The results of your breast augmentation surgery will be long-lasting. You will find it easier to wear certain styles of clothing and swim wear.
Like many women who have had breast augmentation, you may also have a boost in self confidence.
Implants may need to be replaced or revised
It’s important to know that your breast implants are not permanent and may require replacement during your lifetime. You should expect to have future visits with your plastic surgeon to discuss changes in your breasts.
Over time, your breasts can change due to aging, weight fluctuations, hormonal factors and gravity. If, after a period of years, you become dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts, you may choose to undergo a breast lift or implant exchange to restore a more youthful contour.
Continue to follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.
How much will breast augmentation surgery cost?
Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery. A surgeon’s cost for breast augmentation may vary based on his or her experience, the type of breast implant used, as well as geographic office location.
Many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask.
Cost may include:
- Surgeon’s fee
- Hospital or surgical facility costs
- Anesthesia fees
- Implant cost
- Prescriptions for medication
- Post-surgery garments
- Medical tests
Most health insurance plans will not cover cosmetic breast augmentation surgery, related complications or another surgery to revise the appearance of your breasts. Some carriers even exclude breast diseases in patients who have breast implants. You must carefully review your health insurance policy.
Your satisfaction involves more than a fee
When choosing a plastic surgeon for breast augmentation, remember that the surgeon’s experience with breast implants and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.
Words to know
- Areola: Pigmented skin surrounding the nipple.
- Augmentation mammaplasty: Breast enlargement by surgery.
- Breast Augmentation: Also known as augmentation mammaplasty; breast enlargement by surgery.
- Breast Implants: Medical devices placed in your body to enhance an existing breast size or to reconstruct your breast. Breast implants can be filled with either salt water (saline) or silicone (elastic gel).
- Capsular contracture: A complication of breast implant surgery which occurs when scar tissue that normally forms around the implant tightens and squeezes the implant and becomes firm.
- General anesthesia: Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.
- Hematoma: Blood pooling beneath the skin.
- Inframammary incision: An incision made in the fold under the breast.
- Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection into a vein to help you relax.
- Local anesthesia: A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain.
- Mammogram: An x-ray image of the breast.
- Mastectomy: The removal of breast tissue, typically to rid the body of cancer.
- MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging; a painless test to view tissue similar to an x-ray.
- Periareolar incision: An incision made at the edge of the areola.
- Saline implants: Breast implants filled with salt water.
- Silicone implants: Breast implants filled with an elastic gel.
- Submammary or subglandular placement: Breast implants placed directly behind the breast tissue, over the pectoral muscle.
- Submuscular or subpectoral placement: Breast implants placed under the pectoral muscle, which is located between the breast tissue and chest wall.
- Sutures: Stitches used by surgeons to hold skin and tissue together.
- Transaxillary incision: An incision made in the underarm area.
- Ultrasound: A diagnostic procedure that projects high frequency sound waves into the body and records the echoes as pictures.