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What is Breast Augmentation and How Can It Boost Confidence?

Published by Dr. Brandon Richland, MD

Breast augmentation, also known as augmentation mammoplasty, is a surgical procedure meant for the purpose of increasing and reshaping breast size. It involves placing of breast implants under breast tissue or chest muscles or by fat transfer augmentation method. For some women, breast augmentation is a way to feel more confident.

Key Takeaways of Breast Augmentation

  • Breast augmentation is a cosmetic surgery procedure that increases or enhances the size and shape of a woman’s breasts through the use of breast implants or fat transfer.
  • Breast Implants options include saline implant, silicone, gummy bear designs and other textured techniques to optimize aesthetic results and reduce chances of capsular contracture.
  • Fat transfer is used as another option for increasing breast size without many risks associated with traditional implant technique while simultaneously masking implant edges in thin patients and improving cleavage fullness.
  • Reasons for getting breast augmentation may involve wanting larger breasts due to low self esteem, correcting asymmetry between sides, body contouring, and restoring volume after pregnancy or significant weight loss.

Breast Augmentation Surgery

Breast augmentation is a procedure that increases or enhances the size and shape of a woman’s breasts.

During a breast augmentation procedure, the plastic surgeon makes incisions where they want to place the implant, these are usually around the nipple line at appropriate locations based on desired results and patient anatomy.

Results may vary depending on pre operative factors such as skin quality, underlying muscle support structure and tissue laxity. Consult with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon prior to undergoing any type of surgical intervention, this consultation should include an assessment and discussion of the desired results as well as potential risks associated with plastic surgery.

Use of Breast Implants

Breast implants are widely used in breast augmentation procedures. The most common types of breast implants used are silicone and saline, with silicone being preferred due to its ability to better replicate the feel of natural breast tissue.

Silicone implants have an additional barrier layer that makes them less likely to puncture or rupture over time. Modern day silicone implants feature a variety forms such as round and teardrop which may be well suited for patients depending on their characteristics and desired outcomes.

Breast implants have improved in implant technology over time which include advanced texturing techniques that reduce chances of capsular contracture, improved strength shells made from different materials, low profile and gummy bear designs, and more informed device labeling with detailed safety information and textured surfaces.

Increase in Size and Shape of Breasts

The boob job surgery involves using implants filled with silicone or saline fluid to increase breast volume and achieve fuller, more proportional contours.

During the operation, incisions are made in discrete areas along the breast perimeter to insert the breast implant type into pockets created beneath each breast tissue or muscle layer for optimum aesthetic results.

Depending on individual needs and preferences, patients can choose from various types of implants depending on what will yield best outcomes after healing.

Types of Breast Augmentations

Different types of breast augmentation exist, including textured round breast implants options such as saline and silicone, along with fat transfer procedures.

Implant Options Saline vs. Silicone

Saline and silicone implants are both options for breast augmentation. Saline implants have a silicone outer shell that is filled with a sterile saline or saltwater solution. The size, shape, and amount of saline can be customized beforehand for more precise results.

Silicone gel implants are filled with medical grade gel that closely resembles the feel of natural tissue when touched or palpated. Gummy bear implants contain thick silicone gel filling material offering overall improved stability and durability compared to standard saline implants or other types of silicone option.

People may opt for saline rather than silicone due to safety concerns surrounding long term use, but there is no solid proof linking illness or disease related issues around the different types of breast implants.

Image Credit: Mrwed54 / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Fat Transfer

Fat transfer is a popular procedure in breast augmentation that involves harvesting fat from other areas of the body using liposuction, and then injecting it into the breasts. This process enhances their size and shape without the same risks associated with traditional silicone breast implants, such as rippling or long term thinning.

Fat transfer allows for cosmetic improvements such as masking implant edges in thin patients, improving cleavage, and providing enhanced upper pole fullness. However, fat transfer can affect mammography results due to calcifications or cysts developed by injected tissue as well as possible redistribution of tissues within the breasts.

Reasons for Getting Breast Augmentation

Many people choose to undergo breast augmentation surgery to enhance the size, shape or symmetry of their breasts for a more confidence boosting look.

Desire for Larger Breasts

The majority of women choose to undergo breast augmentation surgery to enhance their overall appearance and achieve fuller, more voluptuous breasts. While larger breasts do not necessarily define womanhood, the size of a person’s bust and breast size can impact how they feel about their body image and self esteem.

For some people who desire larger breasts, there may be an underlying psychological factor that contributes to the decision for getting a procedure such as depression or low self confidence caused by feeling like an outsider.

Those individuals with asymmetrical chest sizes often seek out surgical intervention so both sides are even in shape and or size. Possible motivations also include wanting to restore volume after pregnancy or weight loss or just simply wishing for bigger breasts due to personal preference.

Correcting Asymmetry

Breast asymmetry is a common issue affecting many women where one breast differs in size, shape or position from the other. Asymmetry can be caused by genetics, pubertal development, diseases and injury.

Breast augmentation surgery can correct asymmetric breasts by increasing or decreasing the size of both breasts to make them more similar or placing implants in different sized pockets for volume correction. Fat transfer techniques are also commonly used to help improve symmetry between breasts.

During the initial consultation, each patient’s individual needs will be discussed and factors like implant positioning and individual preferences need to be taken into consideration when choosing breast implants for correcting asymmetry.

Restoring Breast Volume

Breast augmentation surgery can be a great solution for women looking to restore volume in their breasts after pregnancy or weight loss. During pregnancy, a woman’s body often undergoes substantial changes like sagging breasts, which can cause her breasts to lose firmness.

If birth control pills are stopped after years of taking them or if there is sudden loss of body weight due to dieting and exercise or any other reason, it may also lead to significant reduction in the volume of breasts. To give the breasts a desired lift and restore sagging breasts, breast augmentation surgery has proven successful in many cases.

Breast Reconstruction

Another good reason some women decide for a breast augmentation is to reconstruct their breast after a hard time going through breast cancer surgery or mastectomy.

Common Risks and Potential Complications

Undergoing a breast lift or breast augmentation, carry some risks and possible complications associated with this plastic surgery, such as infection, capsular contracture, breast implant rupture, and changes in nipple sensation.

To minimize these risks, follow your plastic surgeon’s pre-operative instructions attentively and opt for experienced plastic surgeons with board certification specializing in breast cosmetic procedures.

Consultation with a Plastic Surgeon

When selecting a board certified plastic surgeon for a breast augmentation surgery, choose one who specializes in this particular type of operation.

During the consultation, patients should discuss their individual needs when considering size, placement and type of implants to use for best results.

Medical Evaluation and Screening

Before the procedure, patients need to undergo an extensive medical evaluation and screening process. Medical tests help assure that the individual is in good overall physical health prior to surgery and is eligible to go under anesthesia.

Blood work and other diagnostic tests may be necessary to ensure there are no underlying medical conditions or issues that may interfere with a successful outcome of the procedure.

During this process, the healthcare provider will review important information about the patient’s current health status, as well as discuss goals for desired results with regard to size and shape of breast augmentations.

Pre operative instructions should be followed prior to coming in for breast augmentation surgery, such as avoiding smoking and taking certain medications before putting on general anesthesia, so it wouldn’t affect recovery time.

Discussion of Desired Results and Expectations

During the consultation, patients are asked about why they want a breast augmentation and their expectations for the overall outcome.

Based on this information, the doctor will be able to determine the size of implants that are suitable for each patient’s body frame and explain how best to achieve natural looking results. Understanding these goals can help reduce the likelihood of dissatisfaction due to unrealistic expectations after surgery.

Pre Operative Instructions

Pre operative instructions are a vital part of a successful breast surgery recovery. Such instructions serve to provide women with an overview of the treatment and advice on how to best prepare for the surgery.

Pre-op guidelines often include tests such as blood work and imaging studies, diet restrictions before and after surgery, avoiding certain products like lotions or deodorant which could interfere with the recovery process, potential risks associated with the operation and ways that can help minimize them.

These instructions also explain what type of support system may be necessary post surgery from friends or family members helping out around the house while in recovery, or other activities that will greatly improve safety and outcomes during this time in order for patients to properly recover well.

The Breast Augmentation Procedure

The procedure involves the plastic surgeon making incisions to create pockets for the implants, placing the chosen implant type in these pockets, and closing up the incision.

Image Credit: Zinkevych / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Anesthesia Options

There are three kinds of anesthesia commonly used for breast surgeries, which are general anesthesia, local anesthesia with sedation and wide-awake anesthesia.

General anesthesia is usually used for a relatively quick 45 minutes to 1 hour procedure as it provides full unconsciousness throughout the surgery to ensure patient safety. Local anesthesia with sedation means numbing only the area being operated on, so the patient remains conscious but will not be able to feel any pain during the procedure.

Awake breast augmentation under local anesthesia is an option for some patients which can help minimize risks associated with general anesthesia and improve control over accuracy of placement due to better response rates from targeted nerve fibers in awake versus asleep state.

Incision Sites

The four common incision sites are transaxillary, inframammary, areolar and transumbilical. The type of incision site used in a procedure depends largely on the patient’s anatomy and desired implant size as well as their surgeon’s expertise. The transaxillary approach involves making an incision in the armpit area to avoid any visible marks on the breasts but may limit access for surgeons during the procedure.

The inframammary technique provides optimal visibility for surgeons by inserting implants through a crease underneath the breast, this method can result in more visible scarring when wearing low cut clothing or swimsuits.

For those wanting to preserve nipple sensation, an areolar incision is made around its edge while still providing direct access to tissues underneath them. Should a patient want to avoid scars after a breast surgery, a transumbilical approach is suitable, however this has certain limitations to the type of implants that can be used.

Placement Options for Implants in Breast Surgery

Implants can be placed either directly behind the breast and on top of the chest wall muscle subglandular placement or behind the breast and chest muscles submuscular placement.

Subglandular implant placement is less invasive but may have increased visibility with potential visible rippling, while submuscular implant placement offers a more natural look with decreased risk of visible implants.

Recovery times for breast implants may differ depending where they are placed. The decision regarding where to place an implant is made based on body shape, existing breast tissue, and desired outcome.

Insertion of Implants

Depending on the patient’s preference for breast implant, illness and body size, there are two widely used incision sites for implant surgery, which are either around the areola or in the underarm crease.

After making either an inframammary or periareolar incision, a pocket will be created in this space to accommodate and place each implant along with any extra sutures to close it off neatly.

The plastic surgeon may even use a sizer during surgery to determine what size implants fit best for natural looking results on the patient’s body type.

Recovery and Post-Operative Care

Following the procedure, patients will need to follow certain post-op instructions from their surgeon in order to ensure a successful breast augmentation recovery.

Immediate Post-Operative Period

After the surgery, patients may experience soreness, swelling or bruising which should gradually subside over time.

Patients may be instructed to wear a compression garment or surgical bra over their incisions for added support while they heal, as well as medications such as painkillers and antibiotics to help reduce any discomfort or infection risk.

Full recovery typically lasts several weeks, with most people may return to light work within a week after the procedure and strenuous activities taking up to 6 weeks before being allowed again.

Pain Management

After surgery, pain and discomfort are common symptoms that can usually be managed through cold compresses and over the counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Throbbing pain after breast augmentation may be reduced in frequency and intensity with the help of gentle massage by an experienced therapist, this will also prevent buildup of scar tissue in the newly formed pockets around implants while promoting circulation into surrounding tissues which facilitates healing.

If nerve pain becomes too severe after breast augmentation, corticosteroid injections may be used as an option to ease pain or numbness in specific area, caution must be taken not to delay consulting medical care as this could lead to serious complications such as permanent muscle weakness or further damage caused by prolonged inflammation or irritation.

Activity Restrictions

Patients are typically advised to avoid hot tubs, swimming and stretching the incisions for at least four weeks after surgery in order to prevent infection or other complications.

To minimize pain and discomfort, light work and activity can usually be resumed within one week although it is advisable to take several short walks each day starting as soon as possible.

Range of motion exercises can further promote flexibility during the recovery period after breast reconstruction while also helping to alleviate stiffness in the chest area. Patients should gradually increase their physical activities in accordance with the specific guidelines set forth by their plastic surgeon or healthcare provider for a successful recovery.

Follow up Appointments

During these visits, appropriate screening tests are conducted to monitor the patient’s health and wellbeing. Follow-up visits also help in maintaining optimal results for longer periods of time by keeping track of different aspects such as implant position, size and shape changes over time, or any signs that may indicate a rupture or other problems with the implants.

These appointments provide patients with an opportunity to discuss their desired outcomes and expectations with their doctor in order to ensure long term satisfaction from their breast augmentation procedure.

Breast Implant Lifespan

The average lifespan of breast implants is around ten years, but the longevity and success of these implants can depend on a variety of factors like the immune system. The age at which they are implanted, the type and size of the breast implant surgery, as well as environmental conditions such as sun exposure or frequent physical activities like strenuous exercises can all contribute to how long an implant lasts. Normal aging also plays a part in deteriorating the integrity over time.

Frequently Asked Questions in Breast Augmentation

1. What is Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentation, also commonly referred to as a boob job, is a surgical procedure that primarily uses implants to alter the size and shape of breasts. Implants are typically inserted through an incision made in the crease under the inframammary or around the nipple.

2. Who can Benefit from Breast Augmentation?

Most people seeking out this surgery want to increase volume in their chest area or improve drooping due to natural aging, pregnancy or breastfeeding. In some cases, it may be used for other aesthetic reasons such as balancing out asymmetrical breasts.

3. What types of Implants are Available for my Breast Augmentation?

There are two main types of implants. Saline and silicone filled implants carry their own advantages and differences depending on patient goals and needs. An expert board certified plastic surgeon can ultimately help clear up any confusion prior to making a final decision about which choice is the best fit to your unique needs and desires.

Image Credit: Gorodenkoff / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Conclusion and Summary of What is Breast Augmentation and How Can It Boost Confidence?

Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure that can be used to enhance the size and shape of a woman’s breasts or as a reconstructive surgery. It is important to choose an experienced and qualified plastic surgeon when considering this type of cosmetic procedure.

The results can be dramatic and long-lasting with proper follow up care and monitoring. Women should understand that there are potential risks associated with breast augmentation, including infection, capsular contracture, implant rupture, changes in nipple sensation, and other complications.

It is up to each individual patient to decide if undergoing breast augmentation surgery is right for them after carefully weighing the pros and cons of the procedure against their desired outcome goals.

Each woman’s body proportions must also be carefully considered when selecting an appropriate implant size for achieving natural looking results following this type of cosmetic surgery.

Please note that this article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Before making any changes to your treatments, please consult with your healthcare provider to discuss the appropriateness and safety of such changes.

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About the Author

Dr. Brandon Richland, MD is a respected Board Certified Licensed Plastic Surgeon in Orange County / Southern California specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries.

Driven by his passion for medicine, Dr. Richland obtained his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the prestigious program at Saint Louis University (SLU) School of Medicine in 2013. His exceptional skills were recognized when he received the McGraw Hill / Lange Medical Student Academic Achievement Award, and graduated top of his class with Honors. For his undergraduate degree, he attended University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and graduated with Honors in 2009.

To further enhance his surgical expertise, Dr. Richland completed his Residency in Plastic Surgery at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) from 2013 to 2019 earning the Academic Achievement Award twice during this period. A total of 14 years in dedicated schooling and medical residency.

Dr. Richland is actively involved with healthcare and medical societies, as a Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, and the California Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Contact Dr. Richland today by visiting RichlandMD.com, scheduling a cosmetic consultation, or by calling 714-241-0646 or 949-945-0025 directly.