Breast augmentation, also known as augmentation mammaplasty or commonly referred to as a 'boob job', is a surgical procedure to restore breast volume after weight reduction or pregnancy. Breast augmentation improves natural breast asymmetry and gives a rounder and more youthful appearance. Breast augmentation typically involves the insertion of saline implants, silicone implants, or sometimes fat transfer behind the breast tissues. However, the main objective is to have a breast size proportionate to the other body parts. Breast implants used during breast augmentation surgery can improve breast size, shape, and volume but do not correct severely drooping breasts. In that case, a breast lift may also be required along with breast augmentation. Breast lift can often be done at the same time as your augmentation or may require a separate surgery. Your plastic surgeon will recommend the better option. Women undergoing breast augmentation often report more positive self-image and enhanced self-esteem.
What is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation is an elective cosmetic surgical procedure aimed to enlarge or bring symmetry to otherwise asymmetrical breasts. Women choose breast augmentation for many different reasons. Some patients simply are looking for a larger bust size to achieve a certain body self-image that they consider more feminine. Sometimes women feel that their breasts are out of proportion or uneven, with a noticeable difference in size. Tiny, tubular, or asymmetrical breasts are often a cause of self-consciousness. In many cases, they need a specific undergarment to solve the asymmetry problem.
A few common goals of breast augmentation surgery are:
Restoring breast volume lost after childbirth and breastfeeding
More noticeable curves in a swimsuit or lingerie with added volume
Adding balance to complement their hips better
Enhancing a positive self-image
Proportionate, attractive, and shapely breasts—a symbol of youthfulness
Methods of breast augmentation
There are several methods of breast augmentation, including:
Breast implants: For breast augmentation using breast implants, the surgeons work with the patient to find suitable implants for their specific needs. They can choose from the following types of breast implants:
Silicone Gel Implants
Fat transfer: Fat is taken from another part of the body using liposuction and is then injected into the breasts.
Flap reconstruction: Tissue from the stomach, back, or other body parts is used to create a breast shape.
Non-surgical augmentation: Non-invasive procedures such as Sculptra injections or HIFU ultrasound treatment can help to boost volume but are not as effective as surgical options.
It's important to note that breast augmentation is a surgical procedure with a complication risk. Therefore, you should consult a board-certified plastic surgeon to understand your best options. Ideal candidates for breast augmentation include women who want larger breasts, wish to correct asymmetrical breasts, or want a more curvy and aesthetically pleasing breast profile. There is no 'typical' breast augmentation patient. Therefore, each treatment is tailored specifically to the needs of women. Specialist cosmetic surgeons at Yes Doctor’s list of board-certified surgeons have performed thousands of breast augmentation procedures, typically more than a hundred each year. In a consultation, they'll take the time to understand your needs, talk you through the options, answer your questions, and ensure that you understand what surgery involves, including possible risks, complications, and follow-up care.
Breast implant procedure
The surgical procedure for implant placement may seem simple but in fact requires a great deal of mastery. Below are the main steps involved:
Incision: incisions are made under the breast, along the border of the areola, or in the armpit (rarely, some surgeons perform augmentation through the belly button) to place the implants inside. Great care is practiced to ensure that the scars are minimal in size and as discreet as possible.
Implant placement: Proper implant placement is necessary to get natural-looking results. Breast implants are placed under the chest tissues for a natural and balanced look. Depending on the technique, anatomy, and patient and surgeon preferences, implant can be placed under the breast tissue, muscle, or both. The choice of method mainly depends on the degree of enlargement required, the patient's body type, and the surgeon's recommendation.
Closing the incisions: After the implant placement, incisions are stitched and dressed. In most cases, this will be done with dissolvable sutures or sutures that are removed within the first two weeks.
Postoperative care: To guard against unreal expectations of breast augmentation, candidates should know what breast augmentation cannot do. Breast augmentation surgery cannot correct Grade 3 Ptosis—severely drooping breasts. The patient may need a breast lift parallel to breast augmentation to treat severely sagging breasts. Moreover, implants do not last for a lifetime. The patient needs to replace the implants sometime in the future. The life span of breast implants usually varies from patient to patient and will depend on many factors that can not be predicted.
Breast implant complications
Generally, breast implants can last 10 to 20 years. However, replacement may be required along the way for cosmetic improvements, leakage, shape changes, volume changes, or correction of effects of pregnancy and weight fluctuation. Patients in their late teens or early 20s, when first undergoing augmentation, might need to get their implants replaced many times in their lifetime.
Other complications can include capsular contracture, where the breast may become firmer and distorted in appearance due to thickening of the lining of tissue that forms around the implant on either or both sides. This can require revision surgery and can recur in some patients. There is also a phenomenon currently known as “breast implant illness,” where some patients have body symptoms that in some cases improve when their implants are removed and not replaced. Breast implant illness is an area of ongoing study and is not widely agreed upon.
Breast implants might also rupture if the patient sustains serious chest injuries, like airbag deployment or blunt trauma. Changes in the breast shape with pregnancy or weight changes may alter how the implant sits and may be a reason for revision surgery. Breast lifting is often combined with implants to correct such issues.
Types of Breast Augmentation
Which Breast Augmentation is Right for You?
Breast augmentation is a cosmetic procedure that can help enhance the size and shape of your breasts. Choosing the right type of breast augmentation depends on several factors, including your anatomy, aesthetic goals, and lifestyle. Some standard options include silicone breast implants, which offer a natural feel and a variety of sizes, or saline breast implants, which are filled with a saltwater solution and are typically less expensive. Both silicone and saline implants are FDA approved and generally considered a safe option. However, it is essential to consider the risks and potential complications before deciding.
In addition to the size and shape of your breasts, you should also consider factors such as the incision placement and the type of implant pocket (over or under the muscle). You may also want to consider the benefits of breast augmentation, such as increased self-confidence, improved proportions, and a more youthful appearance.
It is important to consult with a plastic surgeon who can provide personalized recommendations based on your unique needs and goals. The following is an overview of the standard breast augmentation methods:
Saline implants are filled with sterile saline water and are sometimes considered “safer” because even if the implant ruptures, salt water is absorbed by the breast tissues.
Still, there is a third option, the Ideal Implant ®, a saline implant with two chambers, allowing it to feel softer than traditional saline devices. Ask your surgeon regarding options if you feel saline fill is the right choice for you.
Saline implants are filled with sterile saline water and are sometimes considered “safer” because even if the implant ruptures, salt water is absorbed by the breast tissues. Many surgeons prefer silicone for reasons listed below, but there is a third option, the Ideal Implant ®, which is a saline implant that has two chambers, allowing it to feel softer than traditional saline devices. Ask your surgeon regarding options if you feel saline fill is the right choice for you.
Fat transfer breast augmentation typically involves removing fat from one body area and injecting it into the breasts. Liposuction involves the following steps:
Liposuction: Fat is removed from the chosen body area using liposuction. The fat is processed and purified to remove excess fluids or blood.
Injection: The pure fat is injected into the breasts using tiny needles. The fat is typically injected in small amounts in multiple locations to ensure even distribution and to minimize the risk of complications.
Recovery: After the procedure, the patient must wear a compression garment to help reduce swelling and promote healing. There may be pain and discomfort in the areas where liposuction was performed and the breast, but this can be managed with pain-relieving medicines.
Follow-up: The patient must follow up with the surgeon to monitor healing and the final result.
It's important to note that fat transfer breast augmentation is not permanent, as the body may reabsorb some of the injected fat over time. It's also not recommended for significant augmentation. In most cases, it's used to add a small volume to the breast.
An alternate technology is utilized to create the structured breast implant, making it distinct from saline or silicone gel implants. It is filled with saline, but the design is structured with an inner core of nested shells that support the upper pole and regulate fluid flow. Several features and advantages of saline and silicone gel implants are incorporated into this implant.