Breast augmentation, sometimes called breast enhancement or breast enlargement, is a surgical procedure during which implants are used to increase breast size and enhance the appearance of a woman’s breasts.  In some women, the breasts do not develop to their full size.  In others, breast tissue may become involute (shrink) after pregnancy and breastfeeding.  Small breasts may limit clothing options and breast implants may restore breast size after having children.

How is Breast Augmentation Performed?

Breast augmentation is a type of plastic surgery performed under general anesthesia.  The procedure takes about an hour and a half.  The plastic surgeon will make an incision under the underarm through which he will insert the implant.  This approach results in scars that are hidden and away from the breasts, an ideal outcome. Other approaches include making an incision under the breast or around the colored circle (areola) of the breast, but scars are obvious with these techniques. The implant is most often placed under the muscle of the chest, producing the most natural looking results.

Two main types of implants are available: silicone gel and saline.  Silicone gel implants are filled with a gel material that is soft, like normal breast tissue.  Saline is medical grade salt water that is not as soft as gel.  In breasts with modest thickness, the difference is relatively small and not always noticeable.  Gel breast implants are more appropriate for individuals with thin breasts.  Replacing gel implants is usually more involved than replacing saline implants.  The most common implants are smooth, round implants.

If the breasts are sagging, breast augmentation alone would make the breasts appear unnatural. In this situation, the doctor will likely recommend that a breast lift [RJS1] be performed in conjunction with a breast augmentation.

Who is a Good Candidate for Breast Augmentation?

Any healthy individual with no ongoing breast problems can have a breast augmentation. It’s important that patients not be actively breastfeeding. An individual with a significant history of breast cancer in the family may not be a good candidate.

The existing size of the breasts is not important. The final size of the breasts is decided with the patient before the operation using external sizer implants. The patient’s desire and the doctor’s recommendation are important factors in the final decision.

Recovering from Breast Augmentation

As with any operation, breast surgery results in a recovery period during which patients may experience some discomfort.  After surgery, the breasts will be supported with dressings and will not be bound by a bra.  The breasts need to undergo a period of settling while the overlying tissue adjusts to the increased volume underneath.  Activities are as tolerated; some people return to normal activities in a few days and others in a week to ten days.

There is a small chance of infection or bleeding after breast augmentation surgery. In some cases, infection may mean the implant may have to be removed. Bleeding can result in a collection of blood (called hematoma) in the space made for the implant, and the hematoma will have to be drained. This may interfere with proper healing.  In some instances, the sensation to the breast may change. Changing shape and consistency of the breasts over time due to excessive healing and scarring around the implant, called capsular contracture, is a possibility in some individuals.

Breast Augmentation Results

Women who have had breast augmentation like the enhanced appearance of their breasts and feel better about themselves, often reporting an improved sense of self-confidence. Increased clothing options and a more balanced figure are also reported benefits of breast augmentation surgery.

Click here to view a gallery of before and after breast augmentation photos.

Want to Know More About Breast Augmentation?

If you are interested in breast augmentation procedures and/or breast augmentation fees, contact our office by phone or email to receive more information or to schedule a consultation appointment.