Breast augmentation, or “augmentation mammaplasty,” is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures performed today. This surgery is designed to increase the size and enhance the shape of the breasts using either saline or silicone implants. Breast implants can be used to improve asymmetrical breasts, to reconstruct one or both breasts after mastectomy (see breast reconstruction), or to correct congenital breast deformities or misshapen breasts resulting from injury. Breast augmentation surgery can also restore breast volume lost after pregnancy or weight loss.
The breast augmentation procedure is not designed to lift sagging breasts. However, breast lift surgery can be performed in conjunction with the breast augmentation procedure for women who desire to lift and increase the size and projection of their breasts.
Ideal candidates for breast augmentation are in good physical and mental health, are dissatisfied with the size or shape of their breasts, and have realistic expectations for the outcome of the procedure. Women considering breast augmentation should want to undergo the procedure for their own desires rather than to fit another person’s ideal image.
Be sure to ask questions: It’s very important to communicate openly with your plastic surgeon and ask him questions about breast augmentation. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Discuss these feelings with your plastic surgeon and ask any questions that you may have about the procedure and recovery.
Bruising and swelling may be apparent after the procedure for a couple of weeks. Most patients return to work within ten days of their breast augmentation procedure, but strenuous activity should be avoided for at least six weeks. A compression garment should be worn to provide support during the entire recovery period. If you experience any shortness of breath or chest pain during your recovery, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Following your physician’s instructions is an important part of a successful surgery and recovery. It is essential that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for your breasts as they heal during recovery.
As with all surgical procedures, breast augmentation surgery has certain risks, and it is important to know what these risks are before making your decision. Talking to a plastic surgeon is the best way to understand your risks and to learn what to look for as you heal.
Potential complications include:
Results will be long lasting, but implants will likely need to be replaced over time. The increased projection of the breasts will be visible immediately, but their new shape will become more apparent as bruising and swelling resolve and your recovery progresses. More true results will be visible in the coming months as you continue to recover and your breasts settle into their new shape and size. Most women are very happy with the results of their procedure and find new confidence in their bodies after breast augmentation.