Overview of Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation, also known as augmentation mammoplasty, is a procedure that involves placing either a saline or silicone implant behind each breast to enhance the size and shape of a woman’s breasts. It is the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure currently performed in the United States. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, approximately 286,000 of these procedures were performed in the U.S. in 2012 alone. Breast enhancement can be used to treat a number of conditions, including:
- Naturally Small Breasts
- Loss of Volume
The implant can be placed either behind just the breast tissue or behind both the breast and the deeper chest muscle. The latter option provides more tissue to cover the implant so it is better concealed. This is especially important for the upper half of the breast where there is less tissue and in thin women. Placing implants beneath the muscle also helps the breasts resist sagging in the long run. Future mammograms are easier to perform with this type of placement.
Currently, there are 4 possible locations where an incision can be made to insert the implant: in the armpit, around the areola, in the fold under the breast, and around the belly button. The most commonly used incisions by most surgeons are around the areola and under the breast. These incisions allow for a higher degree of control when placing the implants. The scars are usually easy to conceal as well.
The size of the implant is a decision you and your surgeon will make together. The biggest factor involved here is the current width of your breast and chest wall. Based on measurements that your surgeon will do, you will be given an estimated size that is right for you, which can be adjusted to some degree according to your wishes. Although breast implants are measured in terms of volume, it is important to remember that the final size of your breasts will depend on both the size of the implant and the current size of your breasts. For instance, a 350cc implant may give one woman a C cup and another woman a D cup, depending on the size of their breasts prior to surgery.
Deciding whether to use a saline or silicone implant is also an individualized decision with advantages and disadvantages to both. Both implants are very safe and have the same outer shell made from silicone, but one contains a silicone gel while the other contains sterile salt water. Silicone implants look and feel more natural but are more expensive, require a slightly longer incision for placement, and when they rupture it is harder to detect. Saline implants can be placed through smaller incisions, are cheaper, and deflation is easily seen by the patient; however, they are not as natural. Choosing the right implant type for you will depend on a number of factors, including the desired look and feel of your new breasts, your expectations for recovery, and your budget.
Ultimately, you and your surgeon will work through all of these variables and determine what is best for you based on your individual circumstances.
Who are good candidates for Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation can improve your appearance but it can’t necessarily change the size and shape of the breast to meet your ideal. Certain issues like lack of cleavage, asymmetry, excessively droopy breasts, etc. may not be improved at all with breast augmentation alone. Asymmetry in particular is prevalent in all women, is not usually improved with surgery, and in fact can be more noticeable to patients after surgery. The best candidates for breast augmentation are healthy women unhappy with the size of their breasts who understand the limitations involved and have realistic expectations.
What are the risks of Breast Augmentation?
All surgical procedures carry some uncertainty and risk and breast augmentation is no different. Although there are many possible complications, the good news is that the combined risk of having any complication is still low. The following represents some of the major complications but is not meant to be comprehensive…Read More
Before and After Photos
What is my initial consultation like?
During the first meeting, your surgeon will determine if you are a good candidate for surgery while at the same time you will decide if he or she is right for you. This starts with a full health history with a focus on prior breast illnesses. All women greater than 35-40 years of age or younger women with a strong family…Read More
How do I prepare for Breast Augmentation Surgery?
Within 1 month of surgery all patients should have a medical evaluation by their physician or a primary care provider. Depending on your health this may require blood tests, an EKG, etc. Also, all women over 35-40 years of age or younger women with a strong family history of breast cancer should have a mammogram within 1 year of the date of surgery. You will be given a list of medications, vitamins, and supplements to refrain from taking at least two weeks before and after surgery. You should also stop smoking for at least 1 month before and after surgery.
What is the day of my Breast Augmentation Surgery like?
You will need to begin fasting 8 hours prior to your procedure which means you cannot eat or drink anything at all during this period including chewing gum or water. If you have been instructed to take any medications in the morning this is permitted with a few sips of water. Breast augmentation surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia which means you will be completely asleep and feel nothing during surgery. The surgery usually takes one to two hours to complete. Your incisions will be covered with surgical tape and other forms of dressings and a surgical bra may be applied over your breasts to help with healing. After surgery, you will stay in the recovery suite until you are ready to go home.
What is the recovery process for Breast Augmentation Surgery?
You are likely to feel quite sore and tired for the first few days following surgery but most of your pain should be controlled with the prescribed medication. You are encouraged to walk around as soon as you are able. You will be given directions as to when to remove any dressings and most patients are able to shower 1-2 days after surgery. You should be able to return to work after one week but this really depends on the physical demands of your job. You will have to refrain from any exercise for 2-3 weeks and heavy exercise for 4-6 weeks. After 2 months you will be able to resume any previous activities.
Dr. Dino Elyassnia and his staff will be happy to discuss breast augmentation in San Francisco with you. To get started you can call our office at 415-677-9937 to speak with our staff or to schedule a consultation.