Breast enlargement, sometimes know as breast augmentation, is a procedure which has been around for over 100 years. The first known operation was completed in 1890 and used paraffin injections. In 1920, paraffin was rejected in favour of fat transplants. The fat was removed from the stomach and buttocks and implanted into the breasts. In the 1980s, silicone became popular as an implant. Today, the most common form of breast implant is a silicone shell filled with saline water.
Breast augmentations are one of the most popular cosmetic surgery operations currently available, and the popularity of this operation is increasing year on year.
Benefits of Breast Augmentations
Breat Augmentaion can enhance and increase the breast size and shape, resulting in a more proportional figure. Often, surgery is done after someone has lost a lot of weight, or has had a baby, as the breasts tend to sag or become too small. Breast Augmentations can also be performed as part of reconstructive surgery, for example after a mastectomy.
Who can have the surgery?
The best candidates for the surgery are those who want to improve how they look but aren’t expecting perfection. Generally, the patient should be over 18 years old and be in good physical and mental health.
What does the surgery involve?
Breast enhancement surgery involves having an incision made, lifting up the breast tissue to create a pocket in the chest/breast area, and then placing an implant into the cavity. Usually, saline filled implants are used, although there are a variety of choices. The surgery will normally last between one and two hours.
Recently, adjustable implants have come on the market. These are similar in design to standard implants however they allow the doctor to adjust the size of the implants by adding or removing some of the saline fluid within the implant itself. Readjusting the size of the implants does require another incision, however these are normally very small and difficult to see.
Where the implant is actually placed depends a lot of the physical make up of the patient. Normally, incisions will be made where the breast meets the chest to make the scars as inconspicuous as possible. Another incisions will also be made around the areola (the dark skin around the nipple) or in the armpit.
When the implants have been placed, suctures are usually used to close the incisions. Some surgeons will also wrap the chest area in gauze bandage to provide support which aids in the healing process. Sometimes tubes will be inserted in the incision site to drain any excess fluid which amy accumulate.
Breast enlargement surgery involves the stretching of skin and breast tissue therefore some people can experience a lot of pain in the days after surgery. The severe pain normally lasts less than 48 hours and can be easily managed with various pain medications.
What are the risks?
Breast implants are not for life. They cannot be expected to last forever. There is a risk that the implants may rupture in the future. With the latest saline filled implants, the saline is non-toxic and will be absorbed by the body easily and quickly. Most patients will not feel any different and will only notice that their implant has ruptured when the breast sizes become unequal. More surgery is normally required to replace the implant.
Capsular Contracture is also another risk. Capsular contructure means that the scar or capsule surrounding the breast begins to harden and tighten. This means that the breast may end up feeling hard and tight. To help to prevent this, breast massage during healing is a must. If the condition does develop and is fairly severe, extra surgery may be required to remove the scar. In the worst case scenario, the implants themselves will have to be removed.
Some women experience numbness or sensitivity after surgery. These symptoms normally disappear in the weeks after surgery.
Rippling is another common side effect. This occurs when the implants move causing indentations or ripples on the surface of the implant. If the rippling is severe, the implants may have to be replaced.
Infections are a side effect of any surgery. Infections will normally occur within the first week after surgery. Most infections will be treated with antibiotics however sometimes the implants may need to be removed until the infection is cleared up.