Breast Augmentation Options and Procedures

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Breast augmentation, also known as a “boob job,” is a type of cosmetic surgery. The procedure involves the use of breast implants or fat transfer to increase the size and volume of the breast. The procedure can also improve the breast shape.

Many women consider a breast augmentation or augmentation mammoplasty to boost their confidence. Others need the procedure to rebuild the breast after a certain condition. However, consult a plastic surgeon to understand the surgery procedure, possible risks, and complications before considering breast augmentation.

Different types of breast augmentation

The two main types of breast augmentation are breast implants and fat transfer. These two categories have different options depending on personal preference. It is essential to understand the benefits and risks of each option and consult a certified plastic surgeon before settling for any option.

Breast implants are the most preferred type of breast augmentation. However, some breast implants are only recommended and FDA-approved for a certain age limit. Most common breast implants options include:

Saline breast implants

These implants contain sterile saline (saltwater). In case it breaks inside the breast, the body absorbs the saline and gets rid of it naturally.

Silicone breast implants

woman holding Silicone breast implant

These breast implants are made of silicone gel. If they were to break, the gel could either stay in its shell or leak into the breast. Consult a plastic surgeon regularly to make sure the implants are working correctly.

Structured saline breast implants

saline breast implants

These implants have a more natural feeling than saline breast implants. They are filled with sterile saline but have an inner structure.

Form-stable breast implants

Also referred to as gummy bear breast implants, these implants maintain their shape even when they break. They are firmer than traditional implants and have a thicker silicone gel. However, they need a longer surgery incision in your skin.

Smooth breast implant

They are the softest of all other implants, and they make breast movement look more natural.

Textured breast implants

Textured breast implants are less likely to move around the breast. They form scar tissue that adheres to the implants.

Round breast implants

These implants are round in shape, so they don’t change how the breast looks if they move out of place. The women who prefer to have breasts that look fuller go for this type of implant.

Is fat transfer a good choice?

Fat transfer breast augmentation involves taking fat from other body parts and injecting it into the breasts. Liposuction can be the best choice if looking for fat transfer breast augmentation. This kind of breast augmentation is for people who want a slight increase in breast size. The fat is taken from the belly, back, flanks or thighs. On the other hand, a person looking for a breast reduction procedure can try something less invasive like CoolSculpting.

Why Have Breast Augmentation

There are many reasons people undergo breast augmentation, including:

  • To change breast symmetry if one looks smaller than the other.
  • Increase breast fullness and appearance, especially if they are small.
  • Boost confidence and self-esteem.
  • To correct any breast issues after undergoing breast surgery due to other conditions.

What to Expect During Breast Augmentation Consultation

Before the breast augmentation procedure, a person meets first with the surgeon. Think about the expected changes and ensure you have good physical and mental health. Expect also to answer detailed questions concerning medical history from the surgeon. It’s good to have realistic expectations. After all, the procedure is not for perfection but for improvement. The surgeon may inquire about:

  • Person’s medical condition
  • Smoking history
  • Prior surgeries
  • Existing allergies
  • Medications being used
  • Any previous breast issues

Questions a person can ask a plastic surgeon during the consultation are:

  • How many years of experience do you have?
  • Are you American Board of Plastic Surgery certified?
  • Can I see some of the photos of the breast augmentation you have performed?
  • Which is the best, breast implants or fat transfer?
  • Benefits and risks of different breast implant options
  • Does breast augmentation affect breastfeeding?
  • What are the risks involved?

Breast Augmentation Procedure

The breast augmentation procedure involves the following steps:

1. Anesthesia

The surgeon may administer general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. The doctor will recommend the best option.

2. Incision

An incision is made in areas that are not conspicuous to reduce visible scars. The surgeon will discuss different incision options and recommend the most appropriate for the desired outcome. Incision options include:

  • Via the inframammary fold (where the breast and chest meet)
  • Along the areola edge (peri-areolar incision)
  • Axillary incision (through the armpits)

Incisions vary according to breast implant type, person’s anatomy, degree of enlargement, and personal preference.

3. Insertion of the implant

The surgeon can either insert the implant under the breast tissue and over the pectoral muscle or place it under the pectoral muscle. How the implant is placed depends on the type of the implant, and the size of enlargement preferred. Make sure to discuss the benefit of each method with the surgeon before making a decision.

4. Closing the incision

After the implants are accurately placed, the surgeon stitches the incision to close them. Skin adhesive or surgical tape is used to close the skin. The surgeon will give you follow-up care instructions for the incision area.

After the Breast Augmentation Procedure

Immediately after the breast augmentation surgery, a person is taken to a room for observation as they wake up from the surgery. Once they are stable, they are free to leave the hospital. The surgeon will give specific instructions to be followed for recovery and schedule follow-up appointments. The surgeon will also recommend certain medications to control pain.

Swelling is likely for a few weeks after breast augmentation surgery. The scars start fading over time. While healing, the surgeon may recommend a sports bra or compression bandage for extra support of the implant. If the surgeon places drainage tubes, they will give you an appointment for removal.

Possible Side Effects of Breast Augmentation

Some of the possible breast augmentation side effects include:
  • Bruising
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Soreness
  • Increased nipple and breast sensitivity
Other complications include:
  • Infection
  • Implant leakage or rupture
  • Scar tissue formation
  • Fluid around the implant
  • Change of the implant position

While breast augmentation is a common cosmetic surgery with a high level of satisfaction rate, It’s important to understand the risks and possible complications of undergoing breast augmentation surgery. Make sure to consult a board-certified plastic surgeon and discuss extensively any concerns.