Breast Augmentation Surgery
Although breast size and shape varies, ideally breasts are firm and, to some extent, full in shape. Breast augmentation is performed to improve breast shape and size whether you’re seeking a subtle enhancement or a very full enhancement. Breast augmentation may also lift the breast eliminating the need for a breast lift depending on the degree of sagging.
Am I a Good Candidate?
Women of all ages are usually good candidates for breast augmentation surgery. The ideal candidate should be of a normal healthy weight and should have fully developed breasts.
Possible Breast Augmentation Risks and Complications
When performed by an experienced board certified plastic surgeon, complications are rare. Nevertheless, such complications should be taken into account when considering an elective procedure. Depending on the individual and his/her adherence to the surgeon’s instructions there may be risk of excessive bleeding, infection, and/or reaction to anesthesia.
The incisions made during the breast augmentation procedure are strategically placed so that any scarring is inconspicuous. Poor healing and scarring are more common in smokers. Patients may experience increased, decreased or lost sensation in the nipples and breasts. This is normal and usually lasts for only a few months but may be permanent in some patients. Your plastic surgeon can discuss any possible complications with you during a consultation.
Breast Augmentation Consultation
During a consultation your plastic surgeon will take into account your age, the size and shape of your breasts, the condition of skin and your overall health and well-being to assess whether you are a good candidate for breast augmentation. You’ll need to inform the surgeon of any previous problems you’ve had such as lumps, nipple discharge, pain and any previous surgeries you may have had in the past as well as any family history of breast cancer, and medications you are taking at that time. The surgeon will also discuss your expectations and respond to your questions and concerns regarding the procedure as well as the cost of breast augmentation.
Preparing for Surgery
Breast augmentation surgery should be performed on patients who are at a healthy weight. If you are a smoker, you are strongly encouraged to refrain from smoking for at least one week prior to the procedure and continue to refrain from smoking until your incisions have healed (about two weeks after the procedure). This will promote faster healing and reduce the risk of infection. At your preoperative visit your surgeon will most likely provide a homeopathic remedy such as Arnica which is taken the day before surgery and a week to ten days after to help reduce the effects of bruising and swelling.
Breast Augmentation Procedure
The breast augmentation procedure takes between one and two hours depending on the extent of the surgery. Once anesthetized, you will be cleaned and draped. The surgeon will then make an incision using one of the following techniques:
- Periareolar in which the incision is made around the nipple,
- Inframmary in which the incision is made in the natural crease where the breast meets the chest,
- Transaxillary in which the incision is made in the armpit.
After the incision is made, the surgeon places either saline or silicone gel implants below the pectoral muscles (submuscular placement of implants reduces the risk the breasts hardening). During your consultation, your surgeon will discuss which implant and technique will be needed to give you the best possible result. Sutures close the incisions giving the breast their new contour.
After Breast Augmentation Surgery
During breast augmentation recovery , your breasts will be wrapped in a bandage or surgical bra over gauze dressings. A small tube may be placed in each breast to drain off blood and fluids for the first day. Any discomfort experienced after the procedure is controlled with oral pain medications prescribed by your surgeon. Bandages will be removed a day or two after surgery, though you’ll continue wearing the surgical bra until the swelling and bruising subsides (usually one to two weeks). In most cases, stitches will be removed within one to three weeks.
Although you may be up and about a day or two after your surgery, your breasts may still ache for the next few weeks. Avoid lifting or pushing anything heavy for three or four weeks. Most are able to return to work and social activities within two weeks. Physical activity should be limited (i.e. stretching, bending, walking, and swimming) until your energy level returns (typically within two to four weeks). Although much of the swelling and bruising disappear in the first few weeks, it may be six months to a year before your new breast shape emerges.
- American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (http://www.surgery.org/)
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons (http://plasticsurgery.org/)