Breast Augmentation: Deciding Without Misconceptions
Breast augmentation is one of the most popular procedures performed by plastic surgeons today and is safe when done properly. Breast augmentation (also known as breast enhancement), as I’ve observed over the years, provides a significant improvement in appearance, self-esteem, and self-confidence, as well as a renewed sense of femininity in most patients.
There are many and varied reasons why a woman may be drawn to breast augmentation plastic surgery – asymmetry, loss of mass from weight loss, and breast reconstruction after mastectomy for example. The two primary factors that contribute to my patients’ decision to have breast augmentation surgery are as follows. (1) To enhance their femininity by obtaining a fuller shape. (2) To remedy unwanted change in contour and appearance of the breast following childbirth.
Breast augmentation can be a very simple procedure and can be done as an outpatient. It does require general anesthesia. The best results will come from a highly skilled and well-trained board-certified plastic surgeon. Today, the operation can be done either with a saline or silicone gel-filled implants. Saline and silicone breast implants both have an outer silicone shell. Saline implants are filled with saline, usually at the time of surgery. Silicone implants are pre-filled with silicone gel. Each option has some advantages over the other and I generally give the patient the choice of what they would like as long as I think it is clinically correct.
Breast augmentation surgery takes about two hours and offers a relatively easy recovery period. Within a few days, the patient should be able to return to work and normal activities. Some inflammation, mild bruising, and soreness are common. For this reason, the patient should not engage in strenuous activity for several weeks after surgery.
During the consultation process, I hear common misconceptions about breast augmentation including continued fear of gel implants, which have been completely cleared by the FDA at this point. Other thoughts that I hear patients mention is that the breast implants only last 10 years. They are actually designed to last a lifetime, but there is about a 25% percent chance of needing some modification after the original surgery, which may include replacement of the implant or wanting a more youthful looking breast. The modern surgery is done in the submuscular plane, which makes mammograms easier and also provides a more natural looking shape.
The Internet is a great source of information and misinformation. To get all the facts about breast augmentation surgery, your options, and risks there is no substitute for a consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon.