Breast augmentation, also called augmentation mammaplasty, involves surgical placement of an implant behind each breast to increase its volume and enhance its shape. Often, after weight loss, childbirth, or as a result of aging, the breasts lose volume and their shape changes. Also, many women choose to have their breasts enlarged in order to satisfy their desire for a fuller bustline. Breast augmentation can be performed at any age after the breasts are developed.
In 1992, because further studies were needed to establish the safety of breast implants, the Food and Drug Administration decided that silicone gel-filled implants would not be generally available for cosmetic breast enlargement. Currently, all women undergoing breast augmentation receive saline-filled implants which consist of a silicone shell filled with sterile saltwater. One of the advantages of a saline-filled implant is that, because it is filled with saltwater after being inserted, only a small incision is needed. Often an incision of less than one inch is made underneath the breast, just above the crease, where it is usually inconspicuous. Another possible location for the incision is around the lower edge of the areola (the pigmented skin surrounding the nipple). A third alternative is to make a small incision within the armpit. Once the incision is made, the surgeon creates a pocket into which the implant will be inserted. This pocket is made either directly behind the breast tissue or underneath the pectoral muscle which is located between the breast tissue and chest wall.
- In addition to positive aesthetic results, data has shown patients often receive a substantial psychological boost.
- It is often possible to return to work within a week, depending on the nature of your work.
- No scientific evidence that breast augmentation increases the risk of breast cancer, autoimmune disease, or any systemic illness.
- No evidence that breast implants affect pregnancy or ability to breast-feed.
- Every surgical procedure carries some risk. Potential complications may include reactions to anesthesia, blood accumulation that may need to be drained surgically, and infection.
- Changes in nipple or breast sensation may result from breast augmentation surgery, although they are usually 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. If the capsular contracture is severe, it may cause discomfort or changes in the breast’s appearance. Additional surgery may be needed to modify or remove scar tissue, or perhaps remove or replace the implant.
- Breast implants can make performing and reading mammograms technically difficult. Placement of the implant underneath the pectoral muscle may interfere less with mammographic examination.
- As with other surgical implants, breast implants cannot be expected to last forever. If a saline-filled implant breaks, its contents are harmlessly absorbed by the body, usually within hours.
- Pregnancy can alter breast size in an unpredictable way and could affect the long-term results of breast augmentation.
- As of May 2000, Federal regulation prohibits breast augmentation for purely aesthetic surgery in women less than 18 years of age
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