What To Know about Breast Augmentation
What are breast augmentations? Why might you want one? How does breast augmentation work, and what are the potential risks to keep in mind? Today we answer all of these questions.
Breast Augmentation surgery is a way to enlarge or enhance the breasts. Many factors can influence breast size, including heredity, weight fluctuations, illness, pregnancy, breastfeeding, certain medications, and aging. While not every woman needs breast augmentation surgery (some women just have naturally large or small breasts), many women seek to enhance their body image by gaining confidence about how they look in clothes. Breast enhancements are also used for reconstruction purposes after mastectomy surgery due to breast cancer treatment.
There are a few different kinds of breast enhancement surgeries:
- Autologous (using your own tissue) breast augmentation. Autologous breast augmentation is when your surgeon takes fatty tissue or fluid from other parts of the body and uses it to enhance the size of your breasts. The procedure can be done at the same time as abdominoplasty, breast lift, or another breast procedure. Autologous breast enhancement doesn’t use any prosthetic devices like breast implants or breast expanders. This type of breast enhancement has very few complications and side effects because there are no foreign objects inserted into the body during surgery besides some intravenous (IV) fluids.
- Implant-based and fat transfer breast augmentation operations. This breast enhancement surgery is the most common type of breast augmentation surgery. During this procedure, breast implants or breast expanders are added to a breast area to make it larger and more shapely. There are several different types of breast implants on the market for women who need breast enhancements.
- The most popular and effective breast enlargement surgery is breast implants. Breast implants are basically breast prostheses made of breast shells filled with either saline solution or silicone gel. Breast implants can increase breast size by one to three cup sizes. Using breast implants is the most common breast augmentation surgery around today since they help women get the breast size they want, feel more confident about how they look, and of course, help them gain self-esteem. Many people choose to have breast enhancements of this type for all these reasons. Breast implant surgery takes between one hour and two hours depending on your choice of breast enhancement surgery (breast implants or breast expanders) and how many procedures you’re having done at the same time (such as abdominoplasty or liposuction). Most breast enhancement surgeries are performed in an accredited surgical facility under general anesthesia so you’ll be asleep throughout your procedure.
Different Types of Breast Implants
- Silicone-filled breast implant. The most commonly used breast implant has been silicone-filled implants. In recent years, however, some manufacturers have begun selling saline-filled breast implants as well as silicone-gel-filled breast implants that come pre-filled from the manufacturer with a gel that’s similar in consistency to your body’s natural fluid (these tend to be pricier). Silicone breast implants are widely available and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Saline breast implants. These implants are filled after they’re inserted into your breast area, using a sterile salt solution through the implant’s access port. Saline breast implants may be slightly less likely than silicone breast implants to deflate or rupture, which is why some women choose saline breast implants over silicone breast implants for this type of enhancement surgery.
- Mammary prosthesis/breast form/breast shell. Although a breast prosthesis isn’t really a form of breast augmentation surgery in that it doesn’t add to or change your cup size, it can help make you feel better about yourself—especially if you’ve lost one or both breasts due to cancer treatment or breast surgery. A breast prosthesis is a breast shell, or breast form, that you fill with soft material—like cotton balls and gauze—to create the appearance of a breast.
Breast Implants Facts:
- There are basically two kinds of breast implants: saline and silicone gel – The FDA has not approved any breast implant made from animal tissue (i.e., pectoral muscle) since 1992 due to health risks such as infection, breast cancer development, and capsular contracture (a complication in which the scar tissue around the implant becomes too tight).
- Some people think it’s better to get mammograms more frequently if you have breast implants, but that isn’t necessarily true Mammograms can actually lead to breast implants and breast prostheses becoming misshapen if they’re not inserted and positioned properly.
- With breast implants, you’ll want to be sure that your breast implants don’t interfere with mammograms — breast x-rays used to examine the breast for signs of breast cancer or other breast abnormalities such as lumps. Problems may occur if a mammogram picks up an implant that is too close to the edge of the outer shell (which may obscure any problem areas) or if part of the implant is situated in the front or behind an area being studied by a mammogram. As a result, some women may need additional views taken during their mammography procedure (such as from above). It’s important to tell your doctor about your breast implants before you have breast surgery or a breast biopsy.
- There are other breast surgeries besides breast augmentation surgery including breast lift, breast reduction, and breast reconstruction.
- A breast lift can also be performed at the time of breast implant surgery in order to restore the shape, firmness, and projection to sagging breasts. Breast implants alone won’t do that, since they add volume or fullness to a woman’s breast but do not lift them at the same time. In addition, a breast lift (mastopexy) procedure helps correct sagging skin and tissue on the breasts caused by pregnancy, weight loss, or natural changes associated with aging. Some women decide to remove their implants after several years for any number of reasons such as rupture, pain, or dissatisfaction with breast size and shape.
- Breast implants can be filled with either saline or silicone gel, depending on the type of breast augmentation you choose. Silicone breast implants have been available since 1962 and are considered safe to use in breast-building procedures. The FDA approved silicone breast implants for breast enlargements after studies showed they were as safe as saline breast implants for this purpose.