Breast augmentation is considered to be one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures currently performed in the United States. In fact, the number of breast augmentation surgeries performed in America grew by 48% from the years 2000-2018 (according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons). Patients interested in having breast augmentation surgery normally want to gain a larger size to the breasts along with a greater contour to their appearance. Take a look below to learn more about having breast augmentation through the use of breast implants.
Breast Augmentation with Breast Implants Explained
Breast enhancement using breast implants begins by the surgeon placing the implants inside the breast area of the body of the patient. The breast implants range from small implants that provide a subtle augmentation to the appearance and size of the breasts to large breast implants that give a very noticeable increase in the size and look of the breasts.
The final size of the breasts implants, that will provide the desired amount of breast augmentation, is discussed during the consultation appointment between the doctor and the patient. The doctor wants to make sure the patient has realistic expectations about the final results. Breast implants that are smaller than the base width of the natural breast keep the natural teardrop breast shape. Breast implants that are larger in size than the base width of the natural breast will provide the breasts with a more circular shape since they are larger compared to the natural breast size.
Breast Implant Decisions for the Patient
Patients have some breast implant decisions they need to make before undergoing the cosmetic procedure:
- Location of the Breast Incision – When it comes to choosing the location of the breast implants incision, here are the options available to doctors:
1. Periareolar Incision – An incision that is made halfway around the lower circumference of the areola. Some risks include breastfeeding troubles and changes in the sensation of the nipple. Any scar is hidden by the darker pigment of the edge of the areola
2. Inframmary Incision – An incision is made in the inframammary fold AKA the horizontal crease where the breast meets the body/breast fold. This incision normally has less of a chance of creating changes in the sensation of the nipple. Patients should be aware that the resulting scar might be hard for the surgeon to hide.
3. Transumbilical Incision (TUBA) – This is an incision created in the belly button so any scar is hidden in its folds. The surgeon has to tunnel to the breasts in order to gain access to them. The need to tunnel can result in poorly positioned implants as well as results that look abnormal.
4. Transaxillary Incision – This is an incision in the armpit. In addition, a tunnel to the breast is made so a pocket is able to be formed for the implant to be inserted. Saline implants are normally used since they are smaller. Any scar will be located in the armpit of the patient.
- Silicone Implants or Saline Implants – Both of these implant options contain an outer silicone shell. However, the saline breast implant is filled with sterile salt water. Saline breast implants are inserted into the breast of the patient and then they are filled with sterile salt water. Silicone breast implants are pre-filled with a silicone gel and then they are placed in the body of the patient. Patients will need to decide the type of breast implants they want in the body and if they want textured or smooth breast implants.
- Under or Over the Muscle – There will have to be a decision made about placing the breast implants under (subpectoral) or over (subglandular) the muscle. The decision is determined by the percentage of breast tissue and body fat on the body of the patient. Women with a moderate amount of breast tissue are better suited for breast implants placed over the muscle.
Breast Implant Info to Know
Once the breast implants are placed in the targeted area, the body will form scar tissue around the area. Capsular contracture is a possibility after surgery and it is a breast augmentation complication where internal scar tissue forms a capsule that is tight or constricting. The capsule will contract and eventually becomes hard or misshaped.
There will be some pain in the breast area, after the surgery, which lasts for a few days. Gauze dressings are placed on the breasts after the surgery. They are eventually replaced with a special surgical bra. Patients should avoid lifting and bending for a few weeks as these motions can impact the healing process and increase the pain felt by the person.
It can take up to three months for breast implants to migrate to their ideal location. It can also take up to a year for breast implants to fully settle into place. Once the final results are seen, breast implants last anywhere from 10-20 years after the surgery.