Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure to enhance the size and shape of a womans breasts for various reasons. Breast lifts lift a falling a drooping breast. Some of the reasons that have been used for having the procedure done are to enhance the body contour, to correct a reduction after pregnancy, to balance a difference in breast size and as a reconstructive technique following breast surgery such as for breast cancer. The reasons are as varied as the women that have the procedure performed.
The way the surgeon increases the size of the breast is by placing an implant behind each breast. Generally speaking a woman that is considering this procedure can expect a one or more bra cup size increase in size. This procedure can be used to increase your self-esteem such as in the cases of reconstructive surgery after cancer surgery. It is important to remember that while the surgery may enhance your appearance it is not going to make you look like your ideal.
It is important that when considering this procedure like any other procedure that you have realistic expectations about what you will look like after the procedure is complete. The biggest complication is that of being unhappy with the results because of unrealistic expectations. The idea behind breast augmentation surgery is improvement and not perfection in ones appearance.
The implants are made of a silicone shell that is filled with either silicone gel or a saltwater solution called saline. Do to the uncertainty about leakage of silicone and its affects on your health the FDA has ruled that the only women able to get silicone gel implants must be part of an approved study. All other women will receive the saline filled silicon shell implants because they have proven to be safe over the course of time.
The FDA recently reapproved the silicon implant after a 13 year hiatus, maintaining new eveidence shows this implant to be safe.
If we are to look at the risks involved with the surgery the most common risk is for capsular contracture to occur. This is when the scar or capsule around the implant begins to tighten resulting in the soft tissue being squeezed and the breast feeling hard.
As with any other surgery there is always a concern for swelling and pain. In the worst cases of capsular contracture it can result in scoring the scar or the removal and replacement of the implant itself. There is also the risk of an infection forming around the implant. There is a risk for some women to suffer from sensitivity issues or numbness of the nipples after the surgery. If this does occur you should let your doctor know right away. The affect is generally short term but in rare cases can be permanent in some patients.
There is no evidence that having breast augmentation surgery will affect your ability to get pregnant or to be able to nurse after you deliver your baby. If you are having the surgery to correct reduction after pregnancy and you nursed within a year before having the procedure you will experience some milk production and leakage. There have been cases where the implant has broken and leaked as a result of an injury or breast compression. If this does occur the breast will deflate within a couple of hours and the saline will be reabsorbed into the body.
If the implant contains gel and leakage occurs what happens will be determined by if the scar capsule is ruptured or not. If it is not ruptured than you will most likely not notice any change, it does rupture than the silicone gel will leak into the surrounding tissue. There is no evidence that breast implants cause breast cancer. When you se your surgeon prior to surgery you will evaluate all your options and recommendations will be made for a proper course of treatment. If your breasts are sagging than a breast lift may be recommended. In any case be sure to discuss your expectations frankly with your surgeon to make you are both have the same understanding of what the results are supposed to be.
You should also follow all the recommendations of your surgeon prior to surgery. The surgery is generally performed in the surgeons office or an outpatient facility and occasionally it will be performed in a hospital depending on the circumstances for the surgery. The placement of the incision and the implant will be determined by your anatomy and the surgeons recommendations.
The surgeon will make the incision and insert the implant behind the breast or under the chest wall muscle and then center the implant behind the nipple. You can expect to be up and about within 48 hours after surgery. The gauze will be removed within a few days of surgery and you will be given a surgical bra. You will wear this for about two weeks. Full healing will take about 4-6 weeks and the discomfort will diminish with time.
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Barry A. S. Lycka is one of North America's foremost authorities on cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. You can find out more at www.barrylyckamd.com and www.restoringyouthonline.com. He is founder of The Ethical Cosmetic Surgery Association (www.ecsaonline.com).
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