What is it?
Breast augmentation or augmentation mammoplasty as it is known in medical terms, is a surgical procedure that is done to increase the size of a woman’s breast. The procedure incorporates the use of breast implants which are surgically inserted under the chest muscles of breasts.
The cosmetic procedure is usually carried out on an outpatient basis in a surgeon’s office and doesn’t take more than two hours at the most. However, doctors may require some patients to stay overnight in some cases.
Breast augmentation surgeries differ according to the type of implants being used. Amongst them, saline and silicon based implants are the most common –
These particular types of implants feel like plastic bags full of water and are made from layers of silicon rubber that comes with a valve. The implants are filled with sterile salt water or saline. Once the implants are inserted, a disposable tube is used to fill them to full size. The valve closes by itself as soon as the tube is withdrawn. However, surgeons still seal it with an additional sealing tip.
Saline implants come in a variety of sizes. Patients can choose between the 150cc to 700cc variety. Smaller sizes in the 150cc to 400cc category can be incremented at 25 to 30cc while more than 50cc increments can be made in 400cc implants.
These implants cost less than those made from silicone gel. They can also be microadjusted in volume in order to balance the size of each. Patients might feel slight wrinkles at the bottom or sides after implantation.
Silicone Gel Implants
Also made from several layers of silicon rubber, silicone gel implants as the name implies are filled with a plastic gel or silicon. Their covering was prone to leak since it was more porous in previous models. The silicon that is used to fill them now however, is semi solid which makes it less runny as well.
Silicone gel implants feel more like natural breasts as compared to their saline based counterparts. This is also why they cost twice as much. Unlike saline implants, the silicone based variety cannot be microadjusted in volume it comes sealed. This may cause the two implants to vary in size. The smallest sizes are available till 400cc.
Other Types of Implants
While most patients choose saline or silicon based implants for breast augmentation, other options are available to them as well –
Textured Implants – These implants have a rough outer cover. Their texture was thought to be necessary when capsule formations were a common occurrence in breast augmentations. Surgeons were of the opinion that the textured shape of these implants reduced the chances of such formations. While textured implants do come in the round variety, patients are also allowed to choose teardrop shaped or anatomic shapes.
High Profile Implants – These particular types of implants allow for more volume and a narrower width. The maximum width is calculated by the surgeon by using breast measurements. This is done to prevent possible distortions. For instance if a short woman has a narrow chest wall and small breasts wishes to be a D or C cup, the general standard that is set for her particular frame may not achieve the volume or size that she wants.
Some women opt for breast augmentation surgery for cosmetic reasons in order to enhance their self image and feel more confident. However, some might use it to reconstruct breasts that have either been removed or damaged due to medical reasons as well. Cosmetic surgeons generally consider women over the age 22 to be good candidates. This is also a requirement from the FDA since a woman’s breasts may continue to develop during her late teens or early twenties. Other women who are not considered to be good candidates fall under the following categories –
Women who have active infections anywhere in their bodies
Pregnant or breastfeeding women
Women who have cancer or have not received treatment for the disease
Health insurance does not cover breast augmentation procedures since they are cosmetic in nature. The cost of breast augmentation depends on the type of implants used, location and the doctor who performs the surgery. A typical surgery may cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.
How is the Procedure Performed?
Patients might be put under local or general anesthesia before their chosen procedures. The procedure may last between one to two hours. Women are advised to choose surgeons who have an extensive amount of experience with plastic surgeries. The surgeon calls his patient for medical evaluations first. He may ask the patient to stop taking certain types of medication a few days or weeks before the procedure is supposed to take place.
After the anesthesia takes effect, the surgeon makes a small cut either under the breasts, around the nipples or under the arms. The chosen spot depends on the type of implant, the size of the enlargement and the patient’s body. The breast implant will be placed in a pocket either above or below the chest muscle. After the implant is in place, he/she will close the cuts with surgical tape or sutures.
The benefits of breast augmentation speak for themselves. Research has shown that such procedures improve a woman’s bodily image and self esteem. However, women are advised to think carefully about their choice and discuss any reservations they might have about the procedure with their doctors first. In general, it has been beneficial for women who –
Consider their breasts to be too underdeveloped or small
Feel that their breasts are out of proportion
Have breast implants currently and are facing complications
Feel that their breasts vary in size from one another
Have breasts that look unnatural or have an elongated shape
Patients and doctors are advised to implement regular screenings to prevent possible infections or complications after procedures. In the end, breast augmentation depends on a patient’s circumstances and personal choices no matter the type of implants she chooses.
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