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Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation — also known as augmentation mammoplasty, or more commonly breast implants — is surgery to increase breast size. It involves placing silicone or saline breast implants under breast tissue or chest muscles. Can be performed in conjunction with a breast lift for a fully updated, more youthful result.

Discuss your goals with your surgeon so that you can be realistic about what breast augmentation can do for you.

You'll consult with a plastic surgeon about your preferences for size, feel and appearance of your breasts. The surgeon will describe specific types of implants — smooth or textured, round or shaped like a teardrop, saline or silicone — as well as options for surgical techniques.

What to expect before the surgery?

Before the surgery, radiological examination of the breast in terms of cysts or other formations is recommended, especially in patients over 40 years of age. This is important to identify an existing pathology and to provide guidance during follow-ups. The placement of breast implants neither increases the risk of breast cancer in the patient, nor prevents the performance of a breast examination, follow-up or mammography imaging.

Capsular contracture is the major undesired complication in breast augmentation procedures using silicone implants. Since silicone implants are foreign structures to the body, a reaction against them may occur over time and a membrane, called capsular contracture, may form around them. If this condition, which may lead to stiffness and malformation in the breasts, is mild to moderate, it does not cause too much discomfort in the patient and does not create an impairment in appearance and can be removed by external massage, sometimes requiring additional surgical interventions. If a severe capsular contracture is present, removal of the implants may be necessary. Implants are manufactured from very durable materials and their rupture is very rare. However, incidents leading to the compression of implants such as traffic accident or impact may occur.

To insert the breast implant, your surgeon will make a single cut (incision) in one of three places:

• In the crease under your breast (inframammary)

• Under your arm (axillary)

• Around your nipple (periareolar)

After making an incision, the surgeon will separate your breast tissue from the muscles and connective tissue of your chest. This creates a pocket either behind or in front of the outermost muscle of the chest wall (pectoral muscle). The surgeon will insert the implant into this pocket and center it behind your nipple.

Saline implants are inserted empty and then filled with sterile salt water once they're in place. Silicone implants are pre-filled with silicone gel.

When the implant is in place, the surgeon will close the incision with stitches (sutures) and bandage it with skin adhesive and surgical tape.

Post surgery and recovery

Soreness and swelling are likely for a few weeks after surgery. Bruising is possible, too. Expect scars to fade over time but not disappear completely.

While you're healing, it might help to wear a compression bandage or sports bra for extra support and positioning of the breast implants. Your surgeon might prescribe pain medication as well.

For some women, breast augmentation is a way to feel more confident. For others, it's part of rebuilding the breast for various conditions.

Breast augmentation can change the size and shape of your breasts. The surgery might improve your body image and self-esteem. But keep your expectations realistic, and don't expect perfection. In general, the outcomes of the surgery are very pleasing and psychologically healing for the patient.