At times people may want to change the way they look in order to enhance their appearance; this is true particularly in case of women. As a result, makeup has been used for centuries to alter the appearance of someone’s face. With the advancement of science over the past couple of decades, people can now have a safe breast augmentation operation too.
The way one looks may greatly impact their confidence level, and it can affect their mental health and overall quality of life. Surgeries for breast enlargement are usually frowned upon, but a person should do it if it improves the chance of them enjoying their life without worrying too much about the downside. However, it is important to consult a doctor about all the associated risks and to understand how breast enlargement can impact one’s life before deciding to do it.
What is breast augmentation surgery? Why is it performed?
Breast augmentation simply means increasing the size of the breasts with the help of implants or fat transfer. Breast implant surgery, which is also referred to as augmentation mammoplasty, is a common cosmetic surgery performed on women to help them achieve their desired body shape.
Breast enlargement affects the breast shape in addition to the breast size. In this procedure, the surgeon places the implants behind the breast tissues or chest muscles depending on various factors, such as the type of surgery and current and desired shape of the breast.
Breast enlargement can help a person in many ways, including the following:
- To achieve a desired body shape if one or both the breasts are smaller than wanted
- To adjust the size after significant weight loss or breast size reduction
- To correct uneven breast sizes after surgery for different conditions such as breast cancer
- To boost self-confidence
It is important to understand that there are certain limitations to what a breast augmentation surgery can do for someone. A person considering this surgery should discuss their aspirations with their plastic surgeon or doctor to understand the best type of implant and surgery for themselves and get almost natural-looking breasts.
Types of breast enlargement surgeries
Breast augmentation surgery can be done in majorly two ways, either with breast implants or fat transfer augmentation. Breast implant surgery is further classified into different categories based on the type of the implants used. It is important to do proper research and approach a trustable cosmetic surgeon for your implants as some of the implants are approved for only certain ages.
A fat transfer breast augmentation surgery uses liposuction to extract fat from different parts of your body—belly, flanks, back, or thighs—and inject it into your breasts. This is recommended for people who want a relatively small breast enlargement and may require more than one sitting to get the desired results.
Listed below are some of the most common types of breast implants:
- Silicone breast implants
This type of implants is constitute silicone gel. In case the implant breaks, it would leak into the breast and need to be removed. If you are going with these implants, you need to regularly visit the surgeon to ensure that they are intact.
- Form-stable breast implants
This type of implants is also known as gummy bear breast implants and maintains the shape even if the shell breaks. The material used for this implant is a thick silicone gel, and this implant is firmer and far more stable than traditional implants. The only downside is that form-stable implants need a longer incision, but it is usually under the breast and not visible.
- Textured breast implants
Theis type of implants has a rough surface and adheres to a scar tissue; thus, it chances of it moving around in your breast decrease. However, breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma or (BIA-ALCL), although rare, may commonly be seen in people who have these implants.
- Smooth breast implants
These are softest amongst all types and usually make the breast movement more natural.
- Saline breast implants
These are filled with sterile saline or salt water. In case the implant breaks, your body will absorb the saline water and get rid of it naturally without the surgeon’s intervention.
- Structured saline breast implants
Similar to the previous type, they are filled with sterile saline, but they also have a structure inside that helps in giving a more natural shape to the breast than the basic saline implant.
- Round breast implants
These implants are round in shape as the name suggests and do not change the overall shape of the breast if in case they rotate out of place. Usually, these are used to make the breasts appear fuller.
Risks and complications
Here is a list of the risks associated with breast enlargement:
- Scar tissue distorting the shape of the breast implant
- Pain in the breasts
- Reduced sensation in breasts and/or nipples (sometimes people lose the sensation altogether)
- Changes in implant position
- Implant leakage
- Ruptured implants distorting the breast shape
Additionally, BIA-ALCL may also occur in people who have had breast augmentation done. There is no evidence suggesting that BIA-ALCL is caused by textured implants, but women who have these implants have increased chances of getting this type of cancer.
Some people may also get breast implant illness, which is a combination of systemic symptoms that may be associated with breast implants. Further research is required in this area to fully understand the cause. However, some women report fatigue, skin rash, memory loss, trouble thinking clearly or concentrating, and joint pain after the surgery.
People should not ignore any abnormalities after the surgery and consult their surgeon immediately upon noticing any of the aforementioned symptoms. Removing the breast implants may reverse these symptoms.
Preparing for the breast enlargement surgery
Before the surgery, a plastic surgeon will ask a person who wants the surgery about their preferences for the desired shape, size, and appearance of the breasts. The surgeon will walk the person through the process and share different types of implants suitable for their age and associated procedure and risks. The person can then make an informed decision about the type of implant they want to get.
Here is a list of things to keep in mind before going through with the surgery:
- Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure to increase the size of the breasts; it will not prevent any sagging of the breasts.
- One may need to replace or remove your breast implants after a certain time or condition as most breast implants last about 10 years on average.
- Breast implants interfere with regular mammograms (X-rays of the breasts) to detect early signs of breast cancer.
- Health insurance will not cover the cost of breast enlargement.
Breast implant surgery procedure
The person undergoing the procedure will be given general anaesthesia or intravenous sedation before the surgery. After this, the doctor will start by strategically making an incision usually in any of the following ways:
- Under the breast (inframammary fold)
- Along the edge of your areole (periareolar incision)
- Armpit (transaxillary approach)
The surgeon will insert the implant either in front of muscles and under the breast tissue or behind the breast (pectoral) muscle. This is done according to the desired shape a person wants. After placing the implants and ensuring they are in the correct position, the surgeon ill start to close the incision; the surgeon can also utilise drainage tubes to ensure that excess bodily fluids are removed from the breasts.
After surgery care and recovery
The person who underwent the procedure will be transferred to a room and kept under observation for a few hours until they regain consciousness after the surgery. Once they are stable enough, the doctors will discharge them, which usually happens the same day or the next day.
The surgeon will share a customised care plan that people must strictly adhere to after the surgery in order to avoid complications and ensure a speedy recovery. The patient may also need to fix a follow-up appointment before they can be discharged; during this appointment drainage tubes will likely be removed. One can be given pain relievers if required.
The stitches will likely be removed a week or so after the surgery. During this time, one should take time off from their work and regular routine. Heavy lifting is strongly advised against for up to 4 weeks as it can rupture the scar or even the breast implant. People can likely return to most normal activities in about 4–6 weeks and can hit the gym after 6–8 weeks.
Breast augmentation surgery can be performed if people who want to increase the size of their breasts with the help of breast implants or a fat transfer technique. The breast enlargement surgery is a relatively safe procedure that can be repeated if the implants rupture or one needs bigger implants. Women who undergo this surgery can experience increase in their confidence levels and overall quality of life.
There are certain things one needs to keep in mind if they are considering breast enlargement. Regular follow-up sessions with a surgeon can increase the longevity of the implants. Although women rarely get cancer due to the breast implants, they hinder the normal screening for early signs of breast cancer (mammography). Thus, it is important to inform a healthcare provider about breast enlargement surgery beforehand.
Nowadays, safe implant options are available, which do not change the shape of the breasts if ruptured. However, it is best to visit a surgeon if one thinks that their breast implants are ruptured