Breast enlargement surgeryBreast enlargement surgery is a surgical procedure to enlarge small breast or breast that has lost their fullness. For patients with mild to moderate breast sagging, it will also improve the shape of breast and the positioning of the nipple. Breast enlargement surgery is done to increase the size of the breasts and enhance their shape. A woman may decide to get breast implants to enhance breasts that she considers too small. The definition of what is "too small" (or too large, for that matter) varies from woman to woman. There is no universal standard below which breasts are considered too small.
If a woman is content with the size of her breasts, then they are not too small. Restore the size or shape of the breasts after significant weight loss or pregnancy. A breast lift may be done at the same time as the enlargement in these cases. Make the breasts more evenly proportioned. In many women, one breast may be larger or sit higher than the other. Breast implants may also be used to reconstruct breasts after surgery for breast cancer (mastectomy).
Breast enlargement surgery can increase a woman's breast size by one or more bra cup sizes. It can also reduce differences in size and shape between a woman's breasts. Studies have shown that most women who get breast implants are happy with the results. Breast implants will not prevent the breasts from sagging as a result of future pregnancy or weight gain or as a natural result of aging. Breasts that are too small or too big can both cause problems for women. For small breasts, atrophic breasts after breast feeding, and a mild degree of breast ptosis can be corrected easily by breast implants with small scars in the armpits. Women who have giant breasts and desire smaller ones will have to accept some visible scarring on the breasts after the operation -- but it is worth it. Western people usually develop nice scars but Asian people usually develop keloid scar tissue.
During breast enlargement surgery (augmentation mammoplasty), an implant is placed under the breast tissue or under the chest muscle beneath the breast. An implant is a soft silicone shell filled with a saline (saltwater) solution or another substance, such as methylcellulose gel or hydrogel (not used in the United States at this time). Saline solution is now the material most commonly used to fill breast implants because it can be safely absorbed by the body if the implant leaks or ruptures.
To position the implant, an incision is made in the bottom crease of the breast, the armpit, or along the lower edge of the areola (the colored area surrounding the nipple). The implant is inserted through the incision and may be placed under either the breast tissue or the chest muscle beneath the breast. Some doctors believe that putting the implant beneath the chest muscle lowers the risk for capsular contracture and interferes less with mammography than when the implant is under the breast tissue but in front of the muscle. (See the Risks section below for more information.) Once the implant has been carefully adjusted to the correct shape and position, the incision is closed with stitches.
A breast lift (mastopexy) may be done at the same time as the breast enlargement. A breast lift can raise sagging or drooping breasts and elevate the nipple and areola. To lift the breasts, excess skin from the bottom of the breast and the area around the areola is removed. The remaining skin is then brought together, which tightens and raises the breast. A breast lift requires larger incisions than a breast enlargement alone. Incisions may extend from the areola down to the crease where the bottom of the breast meets the chest. Breast enlargements and lifts are usually done as outpatient procedures in a hospital or outpatient surgery center. An overnight stay in the hospital is not needed unless there are complications during surgery. The surgery takes 1 to 2 hours. General anesthesia is usually used, although local anesthesia may be used in some cases.
Immediately after the surgery, gauze is taped over the stitched incisions, and the breasts are wrapped in an elastic bandage or supported by a special bra. The stitches may be removed in 7 to 10 days. Most women have some swelling, bruising, and soreness in their breasts for several days after the procedure. Medication can help relieve the pain. Swelling and bruising may last for several weeks. Some women also have a burning sensation in their nipples right after surgery. Wearing a supportive bra 24 hours a day can help reduce swelling and support the breasts while they heal. Most women can resume normal work and social activities within a few days, unless those activities involve heavy lifting or strenuous exercise. Your doctor will tell you when you can return to more vigorous exercise and activities.
You will have scars after breast enlargement surgery, but these are usually in well-concealed areas (such as the crease under the breast, the armpit, or the border of the areola). These procedures are designed to minimize scarring so that incisions are not easily detected. Scars usually fade after several months. Having a breast lift in addition to an enlargement leaves larger, more visible scars.