Breast augmentation surgeryBreast augmentation is performed to enhance the appearance, size, and contour of a woman’s breasts. Women consider breast augmentation for different reasons. Some women feel their breast size is too small relative to their body contour. Some women desire augmentation after size loss associated with pregnancy. Some women desire to correct an asymmetry in breast size. Breast augmentation is most commonly performed on women who are born with the genetic make-up leading to the development of small breasts. There is another group of women who have average sized breasts to start out with, but after child birth and/or breast feeding, develop atrophy, or a reduction in their breast size, and thus desire a return to their original size. There is a third, smaller, group of women, who are average to large in breast size to start out with, but desire very large breasts.
Breast augmentation uses implants to help women achieve their desired breast size and shape. The reasons for breast augmentation vary from cosmetic purposes to breast reconstruction following a mastectomy. No matter what the purpose, breast augmentation involves the same basic principals, although there are a number of implants and surgical techniques. Breast augmentations almost exclusively use saline-filled implants because of their safety and natural look. (Silicone implant breast augmentations gained national attention when reports of leaking implants were linked to negative side effects. Breast augmentations using silicone have long since been considered safe for use in the United States, and most breast augmentations use implants that are encased in a silicone shell.) Recent developments in breast augmentation use a variety of materials, but saline and silicone remain the most commonly used fillers.
Currently saline filled implants are the only implants available for cosmetic augmentation of the breast. Silicone gel filled implants are only available for breast reconstruction under experimental protocols. Although it is felt that silicone gel filled implants will eventually become available for cosmetic augmentation this will be after long term studies are completed on their efficacy and safety. The outer shell of saline filled implants is made of a hard elastomer of silicone. Saline, the same substance used in intravenous or IV solutions, is made up of salt water that is easily absorbed by the body and has absolutely no deleterious effects. There are a variety of shapes and sizes utilized for breast augmentation depending on the particular needs of the patient and the preferences of the surgeon.
Breast implants can be inserted through a number of different incisions and can be placed either above or below the chest muscle, the pectoralis major. One incision for insertion of the implant is through the axilla or arm pit, called the trans-axillary approach. A second incision can be made in the natural crease under the breast, called the infra-mammary crease approach. A third approach is to make the incision at the junction of the colored part around the nipple, called the areola, and the natural skin. This is called the peri-areolar approach. Each of these approaches has its advantages and disadvantages. Which one is utilized is dependent on the patients natural anatomy, patient preferences and surgeon's preferences.
No matter what incision is used, a pocket is then made either deep to the pectoralis major muscle, sub-muscular, or between the muscle and the breast gland tissue, sub-glandular. The implant is inserted into the pocket and then inflated with an appropriate amount of saline. The incision is then closed. Depending on the surgeon the breasts may be wrapped with bandages, taped, or left without any wrap.
There is no way to enter or insert an implant without creating a scar. With saline implants since the implants can be completely deflated before inserting them, fairly small incisions can be made. There are three possible ways that are commonly utilized for the insertion. The most common way is an incision made at the crease below the breast. The second most common way is at the junction of the areola, which is at the junction of the colored part around the nipple and the surrounding normal skin. The third method is through an incision made in the armpit. There is a fourth way, which is very infrequently used, which is through the belly button. It is difficult, if not impossible to place the implants below the muscle utilizing this route, so most surgeons do not utilize it.
For the healing of incisions, there have been thousands of things tried over the history of mankind. Vitamin C, although it can help the process of healing, has not been proven as to whether it will facilitate the healing of scar. However, Vitamin C taken orally may help in general. As far as arnica goes, again there are no controlled studies to indicate that arnica has benefits, but there are many people who feel that it helps reduce bruising and swelling after surgery.
Breast augmentation is considered major cosmetic surgery—general anesthesia is administered and the breast augmentation is an "invasive procedure." For these reasons, individuals should carefully research the process of breast augmentation prior to making a final decision. When selecting a doctor to perform the actual breast augmentation, the prospective patient should verify the physician's credentials and accreditations. Breast augmentations that are performed improperly can be very costly to fix, if the damage is reparable.
Breast augmentations can greatly improve an individual's personal appearance and confidence but, as with any surgery, a breast augmentation can also have serious side effects. Individuals who are interested in learning more about breast augmentation are encouraged to contact a medical doctor who is familiar with breast augmentation procedures for advice and additional information.