Breast augmentation, known as augmentation mammoplasty, has become more common and safer in all areas. Surgical procedures to enhance a womens breast size (breast enlargement), and/or the shape (breast lift) has always been considered "elective" cosmetic surgery. However, these days, breast reductions and reconstruction is considered "corrective" plastic surgery in a lot of cases. For these reasons, some insurance plans may cover the cost of corrective breast surgeries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Good candidates for breast augmentation are physically healthy women who are looking for improvement, not perfection, in the size and shape of their breasts.
During this surgical procedure, breast size is enhanced using inflatable implants filled with saline (salt water) solution. Your surgeon will make incisions in an area that is as inconspicuous as possible, given your particular body shape. This may be near the armpit, around the areola or nipple, or under the breast itself.
Your doctor will give you instructions before your breast augmentation surgery, including guidelines on eating, drinking, and taking medications. Avoid smoking or tobacco use four to six weeks before surgery.
Your surgeon may require you to have a mammogram before surgery, depending upon your age and family history.
You will also want to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and stay with you for a day or two because some activities may be uncomfortable.
Immediately following breast augmentation surgery, you may experience temporary soreness, swelling, bruising, sickness, and changes in nipple sensation.These symptoms can be managed by medication prescribed by your doctor. Your surgeon may also discharge you with gauze dressings and a surgical or soft bra. Dressings are typically removed after several days. Sutures, if any, are removed within a week to 10 days. If your doctor gives you a surgical or soft bra, it should be worn as directed.
You may feel tired and sore a few days after your breast augmentation surgery, but will be able to resume light activities between one to two days. Usually, women go back to work within a one to two weeks and may resume strenuous activities after a month. It may take three to five weeks for the swelling to completely subside and several months for scars to fade.
Risks associated with breast augmentation surgery include deflation of your breast implant, bleeding or infection. The most common complication experienced after breast augmentation is capsular contracture. After surgery, fibrous tissue forms around your implants to form a natural "capsule." Sometimes the capsule contracts and causes the implant to feel hard and the breasts to appear distorted.
Several options exist for where breast augmentations are done. For the most part, patients undergo breast augmentation as an outpatient, without an overnight hospital stay. Outpatient surgery can be done at a hospital, or even at a private plastic surgery practice that has an operating room. After surgery, when the affects of the general anesthesia have worn off and the patient feels capable of walking (1-2 hours), they are then allowed to go home. Wherever you decide to have the surgery, the office or hospital should be accredited. JCAHO is a one example of an accrediting organization. This means that the medical center has been inspected and has passed tests for quality.