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A beautiful, round, symmetrical, and firm breast can make a woman feel beautiful, sexy, confident, or attractive. But not everyone is gifted with such breasts.
With the advancement of science, nowadays, women can choose from various options on how to make their breasts bigger, fuller, or firmer.
Breast enlargement pills, exercises, increase intake of certain foods, surgery or other related procedure, and others are thought to help women achieve the size and shape of breast they want.
What is breast augmentation?
Breast augmentation is also called augmentation mammoplasty, or “boob job” is an incision procedure performed by a surgeon to a woman’s breast. The purpose of the surgery is to increase the size, volume, or shape of the breasts of the patient.
A more natural procedure of breast augmentation is the use of the patient’s own body fat (fat transfer augmentation). The fat will be extracted from the other parts of the body through liposuction, then infuse it to the breast.
The breast implant is another method of breast augmentation. This procedure is done by inserting silicone bags filled with either silicone gel or saline.
Women’s reasons for going through the procedure can be:
- To increase breasts’ size
- To add volume to their breasts that are lost due to pregnancy, breastfeeding or weight loss
- Correct the symmetry of breasts
- Enhance self-confidence
A thorough discussion with your surgeon will help you fully understand what to expect from the procedure.
How does it work?
If you choose the more natural way, your surgeon will remove fat from different areas of your body like the buttocks, stomach, thighs, or legs through liposuction. When the tissue collected is processed and turned into liquid, it will then be injected at the back of your breasts. This process gives a more natural look for your breasts. Fat transfer augmentation can only give you a small increase in size, therefore, this is not for you if you are expecting a bigger result.
For implants, they will either be set beneath the breast or beneath the chest and breast muscle. The implants will enlarge the breast, giving a fuller and better shape, and more cleavage. This procedure is suited for those who want to have a bigger breast size.
The breast size is primarily the patient’s choice. Among the two breast augmentation procedures, using implants is the more commonly used, especially the silicone gel.
How much does it cost?
The cost of the surgery varies from the country where you want to have the operation, kind of implant being used, and the doctor.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, $3,824 is the average rate for breast augmentation. This amount does not include expenses for:
- Implants to be used
- Hospital or surgical center
- Tests to be done
- Clothing worn while recuperating
The procedure is costly, but be sure to ask your surgeon as many doctors offer financing plans to their patients for breast augmentation.
Another thing to consider is that corrective breast augmentation and complications that may arise due to cosmetic surgery are not covered by health insurance.
Preparation for the surgery
You will be advised by your surgeon to follow all the preoperative preparations before the surgery starts.
Checking your blood flow is important before the operation. Hemoglobin, creatinine, electrolytes, INR (blood’s ability to clot) should all be in the normal levels.
Habits like smoking and drinking should be stopped at least two weeks before the schedule of surgery as they can affect your blood, cause complications, and prolong healing. Your surgeon may instruct you to stop taking certain medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen or herbal supplements.
The breast augmentation procedures
For you to be eligible for a breast augmentation, your breasts should have already stopped growing. According to the FDA, a patient should be at least in her late teens (18 years old) if she wants to have saline-filled implants, and she should be at least 22 years old if she wants silicone implants.
In choosing your surgeon, you have to check on the experience. A surgeon who has a longer experience in plastic surgery and surgical training may have a better outcome and less likely to develop complications.
Before proceeding to the breast augmentation surgery, a medical assessment is performed. You can discuss what you are expecting and get a comment from your surgeon. If you are taking medications, your doctor might advise you to stop a few days before the operation.
Most of the breast augmentation surgery is done in an outpatient facility or surgical center, wherein the patients can go home on the same day after the procedure. It is seldom that a hospital stay is required.
Sometimes, the patient is given local anesthesia wherein she’s fully conscious, but the area around her breast is numb. General anesthesia is mostly used during the operation, putting the patient to “sleep”. The surgery usually takes within an hour or two.
The implants will be inserted when your surgeon makes a single cut (incision) in one of the three areas:
- Inframammary (the crease below the breast)
- Axillary (underarm area)
- Periareolar (around the nipple)
After cutting, your doctor will then separate your breast’s tissue from your chest’s muscles and tissue to create a pocket. This pocket will either be at the back or in front of the pectoral muscle. The implant will be inserted in this pocket, and the surgeon will then center the implant inside the breast.
For saline implants, they are implanted empty in your breast first before your doctor will put the sterile saline, while silicone implants are already filled silicone gel before inserting them in your breast.
When the implant is already fixed well, your incisions will be closed with stitches and bandage them with surgical tape and glue to properly cover them fully. You will be sent home once the anesthesia subsides, and your condition shows a good sign of recovery.
After the surgery
While recovering, your doctor might require you to put on a surgical bra for additional support. A follow-up schedule to your doctor is needed for the removal of sutures or drainage tubes placed after the surgery.
Expect swelling and soreness for a few days and weeks, and sometimes, associated with bruising. Scars may fade as time goes, but not totally. It is also possible that your surgeon will prescribe medication for pain.
Follow your doctor’s advice before going back to your regular routines. Strenuous activities should be avoided for at least 14 days. Bear in mind that your breasts will be more sensitive to physical contact or rough movements.
When you see that your breast becomes red and warm or you experience fever, consult your doctor as you might get an infection. Chest pain and shortness of breathing is a more critical situation. Call your doctor immediately.
What to expect after the procedure
Right after the surgery, you will notice immediate results as your breasts become bigger, fuller, and have a better shape. You will also experience tenderness and swelling. The final assessment may happen after the healing starts.
The surgery can also make you feel more comfortable about yourself and enhance your self-esteem, but you should also be realistic. Keep your expectations real as breast augmentation is not designed to last for a long time.
Even after the surgery, your breasts will continue to change due to age and weight loss or weight gain. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that implants will last a lifetime. You may reconsider more surgeries to correct the issues once you feel dissatisfied. You can also have the implants removed if you no longer like it, or if they are giving you discomfort. You should keep a healthy habit for faster healing.
Possible risks and complications after the surgery
The breast augmentation surgery can cause possible risks like:
- Discharge from the breast or cut due to infection
- Incorrect placement of the implant or the size of the breasts are not symmetrical
- Fluid build up around the implant
- Breast pain
- Difficulty healing
- Scar formation inside the breast which can cause implants to be displaced, painful, misshapen or more visible
There is a possibility that the implants will rupture and leak. For saline implants, it will deflate and can be absorbed safely by the body. The silicone implants leak either remain inside the silicone bag or flow outside of the bag. A silent rupture in silicone that shows no evident signs may happen.
The use of general anesthesia during the procedure is also risky as it can cause death during the operation.
Signs and symptoms that call for an emergency action are:
- Redness and warmth of the breasts
- Shortness in breathing
Pay attention to any changes, pain, or swelling. Consult your doctor.
Choosing your surgeon
When you want to have a breast augmentation, you have to check or research on who will be your doctor. Check their experiences in the field, qualifications, and patients reviews. It is also important that you feel comfortable and certain in their capability as the procedure is risky and confidential. Your safety should be the main priority.