About Breast Augmentation, Implants and More

About Breast Augmentation
Once you have selected a physician to conduct your breast augmentation, your doctor will give you specific steps to prepare for surgery. Throughout the process, they will offer you guidance on the types of questions to ask and information to gather so that you remain informed and confident about your decision.

Before having breast enlargement surgery
While each person is different, patients often must make changes to their behaviors in several ways prior to surgery. Quitting smoking before and after the surgery is almost always required because smoking restricts the amount of oxygen used by your muscles to repair and heal. If you cannot completely quit for two or more weeks before and after surgery, you may not be a good candidate for breast augmentation.  

You should give your doctor a full and complete medical history to prepare for your upcoming surgery. It is especially important to provide details of all the prescription drugs and herbal remedies you take. You may have to stop taking certain supplements or change your prescriptions for a time before surgery. Prior to your surgery, you will have a consultation with the surgeon you have selected to discuss your overall health as well as your expectations about the results of the breast enlargement. Your doctor may recommend you have a baseline mammogram before the procedure to make sure your breasts are healthy.  

About implants
There are various types of implants that can be used, and your doctor will discuss the pros and cons of each type of implant with you. Here is some general information about implants that you can discuss in detail with your doctor. Breast implants come in two types: saline or silicone. Both also come in two basic shapes: round or teardrop in either smooth or textured forms. Your surgeon will discuss your preferences for overall appearance, size, and feel, so you can select the implant that can give you the shape you want.

  • Saline breast implants are silicone shells filled with sterile salt water called saline. If the implant were to leak, the saline would be absorbed naturally by the body while the implant shell would deflate.
  • Silicone implants are silicone shells filled with a plastic gel called silicone. If the implant were to leak, either the gel would remain in the shell or it would leak into the implant pocket of the breast.

It is a matter of personal opinion as to which type of implant feels more natural. Smooth implants are softer than textured implants, but textured implants are less likely to move around inside the breast or to get repositioned. Again, your surgeon will help you select what is best for you.

Fat transfer augmentation
For women who are looking for a small increase in breast size, a fat transfer augmentation may be a good option. Liposuction is used to remove fat from other body parts (an advantage of this procedure!) and injected into the breasts for a more natural looking result.  It is a less expensive and less invasiveprocedure than breast augmentation.  Ask your doctor if fat transfer augmentation is an option for you.

Overview of the breast augmentation procedure
The breast enlargement procedure usually takes place on an outpatient basis in a surgical suite, clinic, or hospital. First, the doctor administers either general anesthesia that allows you to sleep during the surgery, or intravenous sedation is given that has the same effect. Confirm with your surgeon the type of anesthesia to be used. The procedure itself typically lasts between one to three hours.  

Depending on your surgeon’s preferred technique and the reshaping to be performed, an incision will be made in one of three places. Incisions may be placed under your arms with a transaxillary incision, under your breasts with an inframammary incision, or around your nipples with a periareolar incision.

After the incision is made, a pocket is formed either under the pectoral muscle or directly behind the breast tissue. Your surgeon will insert the implant into this pocket and position it properly. The incision then will be closed with sutures, surgical tape, and/or skin adhesive.

When the surgery is complete, your breasts will be covered with gauze. Your surgeon may insert a small drainage tube to remove fluids that may collect around the surgical sites, but it will be removed within a few days. Your doctor may recommend a surgical bra or sports bra to reduce swelling and to support your breasts while they heal.

You will remain in the clinic, medical suite, or hospital until the anesthesia wears off and your doctor says you are ready to be discharged to your home, hotel, or another place to recuperate. It will be helpful to have someone with you to stay overnight or longer to make sure you are comfortable and help you when non-clinical needs.

Immediately after the surgery
After the procedure, your movement and physical exercise will be limited during the recovery and healing process. Your doctor will provide you with instructions about what you can and cannot do after the surgery.  

For one or two days after the surgery, your doctor may advise you to refrain from any activity, especially heavy lifting or physical exertion. Your breasts will be tender and sore for several weeks. Subtle swelling can persist for one to three months. It can take your body up to one full year to reach the final result, but the results of your breast augmentation will be visible immediately.

Some women feel uncomfortable talking about their surgery, believing there is some stigma attached to cosmetic surgery. Others are willing to share their experiences. While you should take at least one and possibly two weeks out of your busy schedule, it is completely up to you whether you reveal your choice about improving your cleavage or you let family and friends guess why you are looking better. Receive the compliments with a mysterious smile or tell people about your adventure—your choice.

Maintenance and issues to consider
Breast enlargement requires that you conduct regular self-examinations to evaluate the condition of your implants and your overall breast health. Ask your doctor how to conduct proper breast self-examination so that you understand how to identify any problems that may arise.

Breast implants do have a limited life, and future surgery may be required to replace one or both implants. The implants may change shape and size over time. Corrective surgery may be required. Further, tastes change over time, and some women elect to have their implants removed for personal or aesthetic reasons.

If you have opted for silicone gel implants, your doctor will give you instructions about obtaining an MRI at regular intervals to ensure that the implants have not ruptured. A ruptured implant is a danger to your health and should be detected and addressed without delay.

Having breast implants may make it more difficult to have a mammogram taken properly; however, it is important that you receive regular mammograms. A good mammographer can take accurate X-rays so that a radiologist can accurately check your breast health.

Some women do experience discomfort or difficulty breastfeeding once implants are in place. Each woman must determine her own willingness to risk this problem if pregnancy is in her future.

Pregnancy, weight loss, and menopause can affect the appearance of breasts for all women, especially those with implants. 

Remember that larger breasts will impact your posture and may weigh more than your natural breasts. Some women are surprised that they have to reframe their posture to be able to stand up straight and be comfortable.

The results of breast augmentation should be long lasting, but they are not permanent. Do keep in mind that your body and breasts change over your lifetime, with or without surgery. Following your doctor’s instructions and living a healthy lifestyle can prolong the benefits of looking and feeling better.

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This information does not take the place of medical advice given by your doctor but is provided for general informational purposes only. Discuss the specific details of your treatment with your physician.

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