Breast augmentation or breast enlargement is the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the United States. Breast augmentation increases the size of the breasts and enhances their shape and contour.
Most often, breast augmentation is performed because the patient would prefer larger breasts. However, this procedure can also be used to correct unevenly proportioned breasts; or breast volume changes related to breastfeeding, pregnancy, or significant weight loss. After pregnancy or significant weight loss, patients may also benefit from a breast lift, which can be done at the same time as the breast enlargement.
Breast implants may also be used in breast reconstruction following a breast cancer mastectomy. See reconstructive surgery for more details about breast reconstruction.
Breast Augmentation Procedure
Type of Implant
Patients can choose between saline or silicone implants. Both implant types have a silicone shell, but are filled with different substances. Each offers benefits and drawbacks, which the doctor will explain in detail during your free consultation.
A saline implant is filled with a salt-water solution. One of the main benefits of saline implants is cost. They are less expensive than silicone implants, and can be placed through a smaller incision.
Silicone gel implants are slightly more expensive and have a more natural look and feel. In the past there were concerns about the safety of silicone gel implants. After more than ten years of case studies and research to establish their safety, the FDA re-approved the use of silicone implants for patients over the age of 22 who are undergoing their first breast augmentation.
Implants can be placed on top of, or under the pectoralis major muscle. Placing the implant under the muscle tends to increase the length of recovery, but will conceal the implant better, creating a more natural look and feel.
Incisions and Scarring
Four different types of incisions can be used to place breast implants. These include the fold under the breast, through the belly button, under the armpit, or around the boarder of the areola (the dark tissue around the nipple). Pros and cons of each incision type will be discussed during your free consultation.
Scarring is almost always the number one concern for women when considering breast augmentation. In most cases, there will be very minimal scars that are very difficult to detect.
Complete recovery from breast augmentation surgery may take up to 3-4 months depending on several factors including the size and location of the incision, the size of the breast implants, placement of the implants, etc. Your plastic surgeon will discuss details about your recovery plan before you have surgery.
More information about Breast Augmentation