Breast augmentation or augmentation mammoplasty is defined as the use of prosthetic devices called breast implants, in order to increase the volume of the breasts. It should not be confused with breast lift or mastopexy, which involves the recasting of the skin and tissue in the breast area to produce a more youthful appearance. Fat grafting and other non-surgical techniques used to improve breast size and fullness are also not covered in this article.
Breast implants is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures among women. Seeking breast implant surgery could be due to a spectrum of medical or personal reasons. As a primary reconstruction, breast implant surgery may be used to treat women who went through surgical removal of a cancerous breast and those who suffer from congenital defects of the breast or chest tissues. Asymmetry in shape or size and changes brought about by sudden weight loss, pregnancy and breastfeeding are also common reasons for women to seek this surgery. Also, since breast size and fullness is closely linked with feminine beauty in our society, some women also want to have breast implants in order to improve their confidence and self-image.
Types Of Breast Implants
There are two types of breast implants: silicone and saline.
Silicone breast implants, due to the characteristic consistency of silicone gel, are designed to have a look and feel similar to natural breast tissue. Silicone breast implants are also more versatile, and can even come in an anatomical (tear drop) shape, which mimics the shape of natural breasts better than round implants. Anatomical implants usually come with a textured outer shell to prevent it from rotating, since anatomical implants would create a more visible defect if they rotate, as compared with round ones.
On the other hand, saline breast implants are filled with biological-concentration salt solution. Thus, in case it leaks, the filling is simply absorbed by the body without posing any safety risk. Saline implants can also be inflated with solution once the shell has been inserted in the body, thus making operations using saline implants less invasive. However, saline breast implants are not advisable for women who little breast tissue, since it is more likely to crate visible defects such as ripples and wrinkles, especially if the implant is too close to the skin.
Saline breast implants were popular in the 90’s, at a time when the safety of silicone breast implants were in question. Nowadays, silicone implants with a semi-solid gel filling are available, which addresses the risk of silicone leakage in the body while still giving a more natural feel compared with saline implants.
Breast Augmentation Placement
Patients and surgeons can choose to place the breast implant either behind the breast tissue (subglandular) or behind the chest muscle (submuscular). By placing the implant behind the chest muscle, women with low breast tissue to begin with can achieve a more natural result, since the soft muscle will cover the edges of the implant.
However, recovery can be slightly longer and a little more painful if this type of placement is selected. For women who already have a good amount of breast tissue that is enough to cover the edges of the implant, placing the implant behind the breast tissue could be more advisable.
Types of Breast Implant Incisions
Patients can also select the type of incision that will be used for their surgery. The most common type of surgical incision is the one located on the fold beneath the breast, also called inframammary incision. This type of incision provides a more direct access to the desired location of the implant. If the fold beneath the breast is not fully developed and the patient is concerned that the scar might be visible, a periareolar site can be considered. This type of incision is applied between the junction of the areola and the breast skin. The natural color contrast in this region of the skin would make the scar less visible.
If the patient still does not find herself comfortable with the periareolar approach, probably due to concerns with nipple sensitivity and plans of breastfeeding in the future, a third option may be selected: the trans-axillary incision. In this approach, the incision will be made near the armpit, and the operation will require endoscopic instruments to help place the implants properly. This type of approach is deemed more complicated by surgeons and is only advisable if the patient has a tendency of developing highly visible scars, such as keloid scars.
Breast Implants Cost
Once the patient and the surgeon have decided the type of breast implant, where the implant will be placed with respect to the chest muscle and where the incision will be made, the operation can now proceed. Breast implant surgeries in Melbourne typically cost $5,000-$7,500. When going through this surgery, patients are advised to select a cosmetic surgeon with at least five years of performing breast implant surgeries. An experienced cosmetic surgeon will not only pose less risk of complication but also provide more insight in terms of what is best for each patient.
Recovery from breast implant surgeries usually takes 4-6 weeks, but this varies on a case to case basis. The surgeon should be able to provide a more accurate estimate of when the patient can go back to her normal activities. Recovery from a surgical procedure always comes with some pain and discomfort, and breast augmentation is no exception. The surgeon may also prescribe painkillers to help alleviate the pain that will be experienced during recovery.
Surgeons may also prescribe long-term care for the breast implants. When given proper care and maintenance, breast implants will not cause complications such as breastfeeding difficulties and cancer. However, having implants should be considered when taking mammogram tests, since this can cause implants to rupture. Women are also encouraged to take MRI scans three years after the surgery and every two years from then on to check for signs of silent rupture on the implant.
Breast augmentation requires a lot of planning and communication between the patient and the surgeon in order to get the desired results and prevent complications from arising. It may seem complicated, but it can prove to be one of the most rewarding choices for women who undergo this type of surgery.