September 15th, 2013
Breast Augmentation: Some Frequently Asked Questions
Breast augmentation cosmetic surgery is one of the most common procedures performed. Women may choose to undergo breast enlargement surgery for various personal reasons e.g. for under-developed breasts, or because of differences in the sizes of the breasts or from changes after pregnancy or breast-feeding. Some women may be happy with their breasts but just want them made fuller. Often after weight loss, ageing or childbirth a woman’s breast volume and shape may change; this can lead a woman to seek a breast augmentation.
Breast implant surgery performed by cosmetic breast surgeons is the most popular way to improve breast shape and size. Breast enhancement using breast implants can give a woman a more proportional shape and may improve self-esteem.
Am I a candidate for breast augmentation?
One or more of the following feelings or conditions may indicate that you are a good candidate for breast augmentation:
- You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too small; clothes that fit well around your hips are often too large at the bust-line
- You feel self-conscious wearing a swimsuit or tight fitting tops
- Weight loss has changed the size and shape of your breasts; one of your breasts is noticeably smaller than the other
Your Personal Consultation
During the consultation, you will be asked about your desired breast size and anything else related to the appearance of your breasts that you feel is important. This will help your surgeon to understand your expectations and determine whether they realistically can be achieved.
How will my cosmetic breast surgeon evaluate me for breast augmentation surgery?
Your cosmetic breast surgeon will examine your breasts and perhaps take photographs for your medical record. He or she will consider such factors as the size and shape of your breasts, the quality of your skin and the placement of your nipples and areolas (the pigmented skin surrounding the nipples). If your breasts have dropped more then certain degree, a breast lift may be recommended in conjunction with augmentation, a procedure called “Simultaneous Augmentation Mastopexy” (SAM).
You should come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions, drug allergies, medical treatments you have received, previous surgeries including breast biopsies, and medications that you currently take. You will be asked whether you have a family history of breast cancer and about results of any mammograms. It is important for you to provide complete information.
There is no scientific evidence that breast augmentation increases the risk of breast cancer. The presence of breast implants, however, makes it more technically difficult to take and read mammograms. This may be a special consideration for women who perhaps are at higher risk for breast cancer because of their family history or other reasons. Placement of the implant underneath the pectoral muscle may interfere less with mammographic examination, but other factors may also need to be considered with regard to implant placement. Your surgeon will discuss this with you.
If you are planning to lose a significant amount of weight, be sure to tell your cosmetic breast surgeon. He or she may recommend that you stabilize your weight prior to undergoing surgery.
If you think that you may want to become pregnant in the future, you should mention this to your surgeon. Pregnancy can alter breast size in an unpredictable way and could affect the long-term results of your breast augmentation. There is no evidence that breast implants will affect pregnancy or your ability to breastfeed, but if you have questions about these matters, you should ask your cosmetic breast surgeon.
Is there an age restriction for Breast Implants?
There is no actual regulated minimum age for implant surgery although it is not recommended for girls under 18. There are several reasons for this, the main one being that breasts can continue developing until women are in their early twenties, and if implant surgery is carried out before, the patient will not know what shape and size they will ultimately be. This could mean that there was no need to have the operation in the first place.
How should I prepare for breast augmentation plastic surgery?
If you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop smoking well in advance of surgery. Aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs can cause increased bleeding, so you should avoid taking these medications for a period of time before surgery. Your surgeon will provide you with additional pre-operative instructions.
Breast augmentation is usually performed on an outpatient basis. If this is the case, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you at least the first night following surgery.
What will the day of breast implant surgery be like?
Your breast augmentation surgery may be performed in a hospital.
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. Frequently, local anaesthesia and intravenous sedation are used for patients undergoing breast augmentation, although general anaesthesia may be desirable in some instances.
When surgery is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored.
You may be permitted to go home after a few hours, unless you and your cosmetic breast surgeon have determined that you will stay in the hospital or surgical facility overnight.
How will my breasts look and feel after the breast implants have been placed?
You are up and about the next day. Movements are uncomfortable but with painkillers it should not be an issue. Any dressings will be reviewed at your first follow-up outpatient appointment, and you may be instructed to wear a support bra. Your cosmetic breast surgeon will probably permit you to shower between three and seven days following surgery. Usually there are no stitches to be removed, as they are placed under the skin. Some discolouration and swelling will occur initially, but this will disappear quickly. Most residual swelling will resolve within a month.
When can I expect to resume my normal activities after my breast augmentation?
While it will take several days to return to more normal activities after your breast augmentation, it is important to your recovery that you get up and move around. After breast augmentation, it is often possible to return to work within just a few days or a week, depending on the type of activities that are required at your job.
Physical activity should be avoided for at least the first couple of weeks following surgery. After that, care must be taken to be extremely gentle with your breasts for at least the first four months. Aggressive movements, e.g. jumping up and down, weight lifting, running, marshal arts etc. are not recommended. If these activities are resumed soon after the surgery, before the implant has set in, it can lead to an undesired outcome.
What type of breast implants can be used for breast augmentation?
The most common type used in the UK is silicone implants. Ask your surgeon what implant make is being used, information which must be ascertained before committing to having surgery. Manufacturers who guarantee the safety of their implants, e.g. Allergan, Mentor, Nagor, etc, should be preferred.
The size and type of breast implant recommended for you will be determined by your goals for breast enhancement, your existing body frame and mass, your existing breast tissue, and the preferences you and your cosmetic breast surgeon discuss.
New scientific data on the safety of breast implants is rapidly being collected. In the future, it is possible that additional types of filler materials may become available as advancements take place. Surgical techniques for breast augmentation and breast implants themselves are continuously being refined, increasing the safety and reliability of the procedure. Your cosmetic breast surgeon will be able to provide you with the latest information.
Where are the incisions made for the placement of breast implants?
Most commonly used incision is under the breast as it provides optimum results. Other incisions used are:
- Around the nipple areola complex
- In the armpit
- Around the belly button
Please discuss with your surgeon the advantages and disadvantages of the above incisions.
I understand that every plastic surgical procedure has risks, but how will I learn more so that I can make an informed decision?
The subject of risks and potential complications of surgery is best discussed on a personal basis between you and your cosmetic breast surgeon.
Some of the potential complications that may be discussed with you include reactions to anaesthesia, blood accumulation that may need to be drained surgically, and infection. Although rare, an infection that does not subside with appropriate treatment may require temporary removal of the implant. Changes in nipple or breast sensation may result from breast augmentation surgery, although they usually are temporary.
When a breast implant is inserted, a scar capsule forms around it as part of the natural healing process. The capsule may sometimes tighten and compress the implant, causing the breast to feel firmer than normal. Capsular contracture can occur to varying degrees. If it is severe, it can cause discomfort or changes in the breast’s appearance. In such cases, more surgery may be needed to modify or remove the scar tissue, or perhaps remove or replace the implant.
Breast implants are not lifetime devices and cannot be expected to last forever. However, most implants come with a lifetime warranty against rupture. Do check this with your surgeon. In the event of implant rupture, a definite change in the size of the breast is clearly noticed. Rupture can occur as a result of trauma to the chest, but more commonly it occurs spontaneously with no apparent cause. Surgery will be required to replace the implant, if desired.
Some women with breast implants have reported problems including certain connective tissue and immune-related diseases. Women without implants also have these disorders, so the key question is whether breast implants increase the risk of developing the conditions. Several large studies have been completed that provide reassurance that women with breast implants do not have a significantly increased risk for these diseases.
Breast augmentation will make your breasts fuller and enhance their shape. You will find it easier to wear certain styles of clothing. Like many women who have had breast augmentation, you may have a boost in self-confidence.
How long will the results last after a breast augmentation?
Except in the event of implant deflation requiring surgical replacement with a new implant, the results of your breast augmentation surgery will be long-lasting. However, gravity and the effects of aging will eventually alter the size and shape of virtually every woman’s breasts. If, after a period of years, you become dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts, you may choose to undergo breast “lifting” to restore their more youthful contour.
Maintaining a Relationship with Your Cosmetic Breast Surgeon
Please remember that the relationship with your cosmetic breast surgeon does not end when you leave the operating room. If you have questions or concerns during your recovery, or need additional information at a later time, you should contact your surgeon.
Ring 01872 248325 to make an appointment for free consultation.
Filed in Cosmetic breast surgeon.