Breast augmentation surgery is often associated with women who want to increase their breasts due to cosmetic reasons. But it’s also done in cases of breast cancer etc. Find out more.
For women with small breasts, breast augmentation may be the answer to their dreams. But because breast augmentation requires a woman to go under the knife, one should evaluate the pros and cons before opting for it.
What is breast augmentation?
Breast augmentation helps to increase the size of breasts by inserting an artificial implant into each breast. The implant may be inserted beneath the chest muscle or above it through a small incision made in the breast. As breasts continue to grow while a woman is in her late teens or even twenties, saline filled implants should be inserted only when the woman is above 18 years of age while silicone filled implants require a minimum age of 22 years.
Types of breast implants
Implants are made up of an artificial material called silicone which forms the shell. The shell is round or tear shaped. Inside the shell, saline water or an elastic gel is put. Hence, implants are known as saline-filled implants or silicone implants.
When are breast implants done?
- When a woman has had her breast removed due to breast cancer surgery, breast reconstruction is done along with inserting an implant.
- For cosmetic reasons. If a woman is not satisfied with her breasts and wants them to be bigger or fuller, she can opt for breast augmentation surgery.
- Some women who are public figures in the entertainment or modelling industries may feel the need to acquire bigger breasts.
- Women who lose breast fullness after pregnancy or breast-feeding can consider this surgery.
Risks of breast augmentation surgery:
As with any surgical procedure, breast augmentation surgery also comes with some risks:
- Implant rupture: In case of saline filled implants, the saline is safely absorbed by the body but if a silicone implant ruptures, it poses a heath risk and should be removed as soon as possible.
- Scarring around the incision site, infection or bleeding can occur after surgery. Pain in the breasts is also a possibility.
- If implants are put in both breasts the breasts may look uneven or asymmetrical. This may require a second surgery.
- After the surgery, the sensation in the breast or nipple may change. This is informed to the woman before the surgery.
- An implant is not designed to last forever. It may need to be removed or replaced which means additional surgeries will be required.
- If a silicone implant ruptures, the shape of the breast may remain the same and the woman may not be aware that the implant has ruptured. This is called silent rupture.
- Mammography is difficult with breast implants. So an MRI may be advised every couple of years to check the status of the implants. An implant may also rupture during mammography.
- If a woman having implants gets pregnant, she may or may not be able to successfully breast feed her baby. Current research is inadequate to predict if there are any risks in breastfeeding.
- Calcification may occur in the breast. This should be differentiated from calcification as a result of breast cancer and hence it is important to visit the surgeon periodically.
Breast augmentation surgery – about the procedure
Under sedation or general anaesthesia, the surgeon will make an incision in the breast. The incision may be around the areola (periareolar), below the breast (infra-mammary) or near the armpit (trans-axial). The implant is chosen according to what the woman desires from the surgery, her skin elasticity, breast anatomy and body type. The implant is then pushed through the incision below the chest muscle or around it. A drain is kept sutured to drain the excess blood. The incision is then closed with absorbable sutures.
It is normal to experience some pain and swelling around the surgical site. Your doctor will prescribe painkillers to alleviate the pain and discomfort.
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