Breast Enlargement (also known as breast augmentation or breast implants) is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures. Many women are unhappy with their breasts because they feel they are either the wrong shape or too small. Some women are born with smaller breasts whilst others’ shrink after pregnancy or weight loss. Age also takes a toll, causing saggy, shrivelled and droopy breasts.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Breast Enlargement Operation
- Types of Breast Implants
- Breast Enlargement Recovery Process
- Breast Enlargement Risks
Breast Enlargement Operation
There are two options with breast augmentation surgery. The implant can either be placed under your breast tissue and muscle or under the breast tissue only. There are variations to the procedure, with each surgeon having their own preferred method. Generally cuts are made underneath the breast. The surgeon then creates a pocket for insertion of the implant. Once in place, the incision is closed with stiches.
This is not the only option available for breast augmentation surgery. Today, there are many different adaptations which can be made to the procedure. Make sure you ask your surgeon what options he/she can offer. With so many variables, a surgeon can personalize the operation for each patient. The three main options include the type of implant, incision site and implant pocket placement.
Types of Breast Implants
There are three key options with breast implants for augmentation surgery: sizing, shape and material used. Once again, your plastic surgeon can guide you through these choices.
The size of the breast implant is very important. As with any other cosmetic procedure, there are limitations. The surgeon needs to consider long-term considerations, possible problems and visual implications as well. If your request is unreasonable, the surgeon may refuse to operate. To help you with determining the size, fill your desired bra size with tissues or socks. Once you are satisfied with the look, take the bra to your consultation.
The shape options include teardrop and round shaped implants. Tear drop breast implants require a larger incision. For this reason, many surgeons prefer the less stiff round implants.
As to the material, the outer layer is made of silicone and can either be smooth or textured. The inside is made of silicone gel or saline (salt water).
Breast Enlargement Recovery Process
In the hospital
After the operation, you wake up with your chest strapped. You may have pain in the breast area. There will be drains coming from the wound area. These are used to release any fluid that may collect in the breast pocket. The drains are removed before you leave the hospital.
You will be provided with instructions on caring for your new breasts. This should include short term and long term recovery practices. The recovery instructions may necessitate massaging your breasts. When leaving the hospital, you will be dressed in a gentle sports bra.
Recovery at Home
Once you arrive home, you will need to rest with your feet up for at least two days. In most situations, the patient returns to work after approximately two weeks.
The pain, swelling, bruising and tenderness usually remain for the first few days. You may take pain killers as prescribed by your operating surgeon.
Stitches are removed approximately one week after the breast enlargement surgery. Continue wearing a soft bra and stay away from wired bras (usually at least three weeks). This should be mentioned in your recovery instructions.
You cannot use deodorant. Also, use uncoloured and unscented soap for the first few weeks. Keep moving your shoulder joints but don’t overdo it. Make sure you take care when moving your arms. No heavy lifting is allowed for at least four weeks after your breast augmentation operation. You can usually start exercising after about six weeks.
Your nipples may feel a burning sensation for a few weeks after surgery. This should go away. Any residual swelling disappears after about four or five weeks.
Breast Enlargement Risks
There are risks involved in breast augmentation. These include:
Generally incisions are made in inconspicuous locations, hiding scars from view. This can include the armpit, around the nipples and under the crease of the breast. The scars can become red and elevated. If you are disposed to problem scarring, talk to your surgeon about this procedure risk.
Hard scar tissue can form around the breast implant. This is caused by the cut that needs to be made inside the breast once the small incision is made for insertion. The body responds to this cut and the foreign implant material by forming scar tissue. If the scar tissue is very thick and hard, this forms a shell around the implant and squeezes it into a tight ball. This can be painful and unattractive, requiring further surgery. To reduce the occurrence of capsule formation, implants are now made with a rough outer texture which helps to limit the development of scar tissue.
The implant rupturing inside the body and leaking is another risk factor to consider. Whilst the latest implants are more sturdy and resistant to rupturing, leaking is still a present and real risk. If a saline implant ruptures, the breast deflates quickly. The process is more gradual with silicone implants (the silicone usually does not penetrate past the scar tissue).
How can I tell if the implant leaks or ruptures? You will notice a leak if your breast becomes softer or unusually hard. If you’re unsure, it’s best to consult your surgeon just in case.
What happens if my implant leaks? Once your surgeon confirms that the implant has in fact ruptured, you will require further surgery. The breast implant will need to be removed and replaced with a new one.
All women have naturally asymmetrical (irregular) breasts. Usually, the difference is very minute and unnoticeable. However, breast enlargement surgery can bring out the irregularity.
If infection occurs, you will be required to take antibiotics. If your body does not respond, the breast implant may need to be removed. Infection is rare with this procedure but is still a risk.
Loss of Sensation
After breast surgery, women generally cannot distinguish between the skin and nipple sensations. Although usually temporary, this side effect can be permanent. The risk is not limited to the nipple incision method; it can happen with any breast augmentation approach.
Fluid Build Up
Fluid can build up around the operation site. The medical term is Seroma. This is a mild risk. If it does occur, then draining the fluid usually fixes the problem without further complications.
If bleeding continues after the operation, the breast pocket will contain clotted blood. Your surgeon will need to remove the clot and stop the bleeding. This complication is not limited to breast enlargement. It can happen with any surgery.
This is another complication which can occur with any surgery. Prior to surgery, you will have a consultation with an anaesthetist, who will take your personal, health and medical details and history. Their expertise should reduce any prospect of an adverse reaction.
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