Breast augmentation allows patients to add volume, curvature, and symmetry to their breasts to improve the shape and overall appearance.
What is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation, commonly known as a “boob job,” is a surgical procedure that transforms a patient’s breast shape, volume, and proportion to their desired appearance.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast augmentation is the top cosmetic procedure performed in the U.S. Common reasons patients undergo breast augmentation include:
- Adding fullness and projection to the breasts
- Enlarging breasts that are disproportionately small or underdeveloped
- Restoring volume and/or shape to breasts that were altered due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, or weight loss
- Balancing asymmetrical breasts
- Replacing breasts that were lost due to surgeries, illness, etc.
Two Types of Breast Implants
Saline and silicone are the two types of FDA approved breast implants used for augmentation.
Both implants are available in different volumes, shapes (round or teardrop), and shells (smooth or textured) and can be placed over (subglandular) or under (submuscular) the pectoral muscle. Saline and silicone implants can enhance the contour of a woman’s body and bring proportion to the chest. The ideal implant depends on the aesthetic goals and lifestyle of each individual patient. Any variation of these options can be used to create a custom breast augmentation that produces the patient’s desired outcome.
The Breast Augmentation Procedure
Breast implants are inserted using three types of incisions:
- Inframammary incision: The implant is placed below the breast and hidden within the breast fold.
- Transaxillary incision: The implant is placed through the armpit in the underarm.
- Periareolar incision: The implant is placed through the areola, leaving the most visible incision.
Incision placement is largely determined by the patient’s personal preference and cosmetic expectations. A particular incision may be suggested depending on the patient’s anatomy and the type or size of implant chosen. Regardless of the method of placement, all incisions are carefully placed to minimize visible scarring.
After the incision is chosen, the implant is inserted inside of a pocket behind the breast tissue or beneath the pectoral muscle. Once the implant is in place and positioned, the incision is closed using dissolvable sutures.
Breast Augmentation Recovery
Patients usually experience slight discomfort up to three days following the procedure. After discomfort subsides, regular, non-strenuous activities may be resumed, and most swelling fades after a few weeks. After surgery, patients are given a post-operative bra that must be worn during the healing process. Once several weeks have passed, and all swelling has subsided, patients may stop wearing the prescribed post-op bra and resume more strenuous activities. Patients should continue to perform the arm movements and exercises prescribed following their surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is an ideal candidate?
What is the difference between saline and silicone?
Saline implants have been available since the mid-1960s and are FDA approved for women 18 and older. These are not pre-filled; the implant is filled with a sterile saltwater solution after its interested into the breast pocket during augmentation. Saline implants are known to provide a more uniform shape that is rounder in appearance and firmer in feeling.
Silicone implants are FDA approved for women 22 and older, and are filled with a silicone gel that has a long, proven history of safe use. The gel in silicone is more reminiscent of actual breast tissue, making these implants more natural in feel and appearance. Silicone comes in a range of shapes, sizes, and textures, and are pre-filled prior to the augmentation procedure.
Why get breast augmentation and lift together?
While breast augmentation can improve moderate sagging, the procedure does not correct breasts that droop severely. A breast life is more suitable for this issue and can be performed in conjunction with augmentation to make breasts larger, fuller, and more defined in shape.
When both procedures are performed during one appointment, a double incision can be avoided. This will reduce scarring, and the patient only has to undergo one recovery period.