Breast augmentation (otherwise known as breast implant surgery) is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures among women. For women, the size, shape and function of their breasts is very important. The ideal breast size standard varies, depending on the time and environment where a woman lives. Any malformation on the breast’s shape, size and position may cause significant psychological problems to a woman. Women who choose to have breast augmentation seek to improve their appearance and boost their self-confidence and femininity.
Women who notice that their breasts have lost their volume and shape after massive weight loss or pregnancy, and those wishing to have larger breasts should seek plastic surgeons specialized on breast augmentation surgery.
The principal indication for breast augmentation is the unilateral or bilateral hypoplasia of the breasts.
Unilateral hypoplasia may be related to trauma or to a congenital defect. A small degree of asymetry in the size of breasts is normal and exists in most women.
Bilateral hypoplasia of the breasts is classified into three types, depending on its severity.
Type I: Hypoplasia concerns the mammary gland, and its fat
Type II: Hypoplasia characterized by complete agenesia (lack) of the breast’s adipose tissue.
Type ΙΙΙ: Hypoplasia where all the breast’s anatomical elements are there but significantly underdeveloped.
Breast augmentation is performed under general anesthesia and breast implants are placed with various techniques. The special breast implants are made of silicon and, according to their texture, they are classified to textured or smooth. They are placed under the mammary gland or under the pectoralis major muscle. The traditional incision sites for placing the implant are: the axillary (when the implant is placed by an incision made in the armpit); the periaolear (when the incision is made around the aureola) and the inframammary (when the incision is made at the crease where the breast meets the body). Surgeons usually prefer the inframammary incision and placement of a textured implant under the pectoralis major muscle. The particular technique offers the most natural result, and reduces the risk of complications and the creation of a scar capsule. The type and size of the implant depends on the initial volume of the breast, and the desired result.
The duration of surgery is 1-1 ½ hours and the patient is required to stay in hospital for one night.
After the surgery, the patient usually wears a special bra for one month.
If the breasts are sagging, it is recommended to combine breast augmentation with breast lift.
The results of breast augmentation are directly visible, while any details are visible after 3-12 weeks when the swelling subsides.
The average lifespan of the silicon implants used for breast augmentation is over 10 years. Some manufacturing companies give a life time guarantee for their implants. However, the woman may choose to change them after some time, because of age, pregnancy etc. In most cases, breast implants do not need changing.
Complications are uncommon and are limited with the correct application of the proper technique, the placement of the right size of implant, the preventive antibiotic treatment and the observation of the pre- and post-operative instructions by the patient. The main complications include haematoma development (which will require draining), inflammation and the development of a capsular contracture around the implant. A capsular contracture may alter the procedure’s result and require another surgery to remove it.After a breast augmentation surgery, edema, numbness or bruising may occur on the breasts, but this will subside in a month. Moreover, patients may also experience hypoesthesia (decreased sensitivity) in the area of the breasts or nipples, but the symptoms will subside within six months at the most.
The postoperative scars will fade with time. The implants are usually inserted through the armpit, from around the nipple, under the breast (inframammary fold) and rarely through the navel.
The postoperative pain is treatable with analgesics, and patients may return to mild work after 1 or 2 weeks and to full activity in 3 to 4 weeks.
With the proper implants, breastfeeding is not affected in any way.
Let it be noted that silicon implants may affect the mammogram, so you should inform your gynecologist. You may need an MRI on the breasts.