Breast augmentation, also called augmentation mammoplasty, is a surgical procedure that aims to increase breast volume by placing breast implants containing silicone.
In some cases, the surgery allows not only volumetric breast augmentation but also breast lift.
That is a fairly common surgery, and there are many types of implants and more modern procedures (such as breast augmentation with fat) that guarantee incredible results.
After surgery, patients experience a significant change in their appearance and self-esteem, something that positively changes their lives.
If you wish to have this procedure performed, here you will be able to learn about the detailed process and all the pertinent recommendations for a successful surgery.
How breast augmentation is done?
If you want perfect results and take care of your health, it is necessary that you have a professional in the area and that treats you in a specialized clinic.
In consultation with experts, you will be able to know which the most suitable procedure is for you and the particular care you should have.
The prosthesis volume depends on you. An excellent surgeon’s task is to advise you on how to reach a mass that is adequate for your thorax size. And that is also in harmony with your complete body profile.
In this way, you will have the best results from an aesthetic and healthy point of view.
The first consultations
In the first visit, the surgeon will have to evaluate the shape and size of your breast, areola, and nipple.
He/she will also have to explain to you the possible changes in shape and volume you will have. He will also disclose your alternatives regarding the process and types of implants. Besides, he must inform you of all the costs.
The surgeon must also evaluate your health to rule out any changes in care that may affect the final result of the surgery:
- High blood pressure
- Scarring problems
You will even receive precise instructions on pre- and post-operative nutrition, medication, and alcohol and tobacco consumption.
It is good that you get surgeons through positive referrals also that they are in specialized clinics and can show you their previous work.
You can also check out various opinions on breast augmentation and choose the one that makes you feel most comfortable. Also, don’t forget to ask as many questions as you think are necessary.
Before the surgery
The mammoplasty is a complex intervention that is why you will need an in-depth examination and constant supervision by the specialist from the day of the first consultation since he must prepare and check you for the day of the intervention.
Between the two of you, you must choose the prosthesis to use for the procedure. The surgeon will also explain to you the most suitable access route and the correct placement of the implant.
The access routes are:
- Submammary fold
The placement of the implant can be:
- Dual plane
You can choose a round prosthesis or prosthesis with an anatomical profile (drop or teardrop shape), of different texture and material.
How breast augmentation surgery is done? Surgical process
On the day of your breast augmentation, you need to be calm and confident in the process. The type of placement of a prosthesis is essential.
Usually, placing the prosthesis under the breast gland makes the surgeon’s job easier. But it has the disadvantage of making the prosthesis more palpable and visible and of making the mammographic examination more difficult.
The placement under the pectoral muscle reduces the visibility of the prosthesis and the risk of capsular contracture and also facilitates the mammographic examination.
However, it results in a longer duration of the surgery and the post-operative period, and may even increase the risk of the prosthesis moving upwards.
If we want to avoid these disadvantages, the dual plane technique is usually used, which consists of:
- To place the upper part of the prosthesis under the large pectoral muscle.
- Place the lower part under the gland.
That reduces the risk of upward movement and gives a more natural-looking breast.
Placing the prosthesis under the muscle allows obtaining a better aesthetic result, more natural and durable. Furthermore, it reduces the risk of contracture that could be produced by a breast implant.
It should be noted that not all women can discard some techniques and cases vary.
The surgery is usually performed in the daytime under general anesthesia with or without intubation (i.e., only with the aid of the laryngeal mask).
Sometimes it can also be performed under local anesthesia with sedation. That will allow you to remain awake, but relaxed and utterly insensitive to pain.
On rare occasions, it may be necessary to stay in the clinic for 1 or 2 nights.
Before surgery, the anesthesiologist will perform a complete pre-operative examination and prescribe a list of routine tests such as:
- Complete hematology
- Fibrinogen, electrolytes, glycemia
- Hepatitis B, C virus
- Breast examination with ultrasound or mammography
How long does breast augmentation surgery take?
The surgery takes about 1 hour. It ends with a bandage consisting of a bra that we have to replace after a few days.
After this, you should begin the rigorous care process to ensure your rapid recovery and return to your daily life.
Usually, after surgery, patients spend the night in the clinic. However, if the surgery is performed in the morning, they can leave the clinic the same night.
During the first week, you should take pain killers to relieve the pain.
That could be quite intense, above all, when they place the implant in the submuscular area.
During this time, you need to wear a sports bra to give excellent breast support.
They must cover the scars with surgical tape for two weeks.
They shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight for at least six months. Also, you must follow these instructions to the letter:
- You can shower after a couple of days with great care and bathe after two weeks. For this, it is good that you have someone to assist you, as you may have some discomfort.
- You should avoid any sports activities for at least two weeks. Then you can resume them gradually.
- The breasts initially appear larger due to the normal post-operative swelling. In most cases, this swelling will disappear in a few months.
- After an implant, the soft tissues and muscles will need some time to completely accommodate the implant and make it fit your body well. Because of this, the shape of the breasts will continue to vary slightly.
- Six months after surgery, you should schedule a follow-up visit to evaluate the final result of the surgical procedure.
- Depending on your case, the surgeon may give you particular post-operative instructions that you must follow rigorously.
- You must moisturize the skin very well with specific creams for the pre-operative phase a few weeks before the operation.
- Also, you must inform the doctor about the types of medication you are taking.
- Stop smoking and drinking alcohol as soon as you decide to have surgery.
- It is not recommended to perform this type of surgery before the age of 18. There may be doubts about the patient’s emotional stability, in case a decision is made at an even earlier age.
- As far as nutrition is concerned, you should avoid or reduce fat and flour.
Looking ahead, in some cases, breast implant replacement may be a matter of personal choice (if you want to change the type or size of the prosthesis).
Also, a necessity due to complications (such as capsular contracture) and can take place in about 10-20 years after surgery.
Risk factors for breast enlargement
As for the associated risks, you should consider possible complications, such as:
Capsular contracture is the hardening of the breasts caused by excessive scarring of the tissues around the prosthesis.
However, with the new techniques and materials, the incidence is indicated at around 1%.
In extreme cases of contracture, it is necessary to intervene again to weaken the fibrous capsule and sometimes replace the prosthesis.
On the other hand, some complications in the immediate postoperative period are:
Post-operative hematomas are very rare, 3% to 7%, their most common treatment being drainage — also an exploration of the breast to evaluate possible points of bleeding.
Some local infection
It may even require the removal of the prosthesis to relocate it a few weeks later).
These complications are uncommon with the necessary care.
You must know that, in most cases, even if you have a prosthesis, you will be able to undergo any clinical examination. Besides, there is no higher incidence of tumors or other diseases.
Finally, I want to tell you that prostheses are safe within any social life. You can travel, dive and do all the sports activities.
Types of implants
Generally, the prostheses used in breast augmentation surgery consist of:
- An outer silicone shell and an inner content that may be silicone gel.
- Also of saline solution.
- Other substances used in the past, such as soybean oil or others, have been progressively abandoned.
It is well known that the use of water-based implants or other contents has been surpassed by silicone.
For many experts, silicone is extraordinarily safe and lasts much longer than all other types of implants.
On the other hand, once prostheses have been inserted, they can be maintained for about 15-20 years.
There are no definitive prostheses, nor do the manufacturers indicate them with such specifications.
These are the existing types of implants according to their characteristics:
Not all prostheses are the same. Depending on the material they are made of internally we can divide them into three different types like:
- Prostheses with saline solution. They have a sterile saline solution on the inside and a silicone coating on the outside.
- Prostheses with silicone gel with different degrees of cohesion to make them more or less soft. These are the most commonly used, and they are filled with silicone gel and also have a silicone shell on the outside.
- Tissue prostheses: These are a type of prosthesis under development. It consists of taking stem cells from the same patient and then producing tissue prosthesis.
With this method, there is no risk of loss or breakage of the prosthesis, and the size can remain stable throughout the patient’s life.
Externally, breast implants can have a smooth surface or a rough (textured) surface.
Smooth-surfaced breast implants have a slightly smoother coating and are less likely to feel to the touch, even if they are placed under the breast gland.
Textured breast implants are a little more rigid, but are now used more than smooth breast implants. That happens because they give less rejection once they are inserted in the breast region.
Depending on the shape, we can divide them into:
- Round, which only has one front and one back, so they do not need attention in placement, but are self-adaptive.
- Anatomical (drop or teardrop shape), they have a front and a back, and an upper and a lower part. These are already designed to give the form of a more natural breast.
However, the surgeon must be more careful in both the placement and the handling of the prosthesis.
Fat-bearing breast augmentation (another type of implant)
These surgical procedures are minimally invasive but effective and are also gaining in popularity.
This fat-based breast augmentation offers an additional option if you do not wish to live with silicone implants.
The surgeon removes fat from an area of your body where it is abundant and transfers it to your breasts.
That is a good option if you are interested in giving a more natural look. The surgeon takes the fat from the thighs, hips, or stomach. It is also purified of the remaining blood and anesthetic solution before it is injected into the chest.
The results look very natural, and the shape of the breast can be shaped to your liking.
Also, this process leaves a minimal scar, and you have the added advantage of being able to shape other areas of your body where there is extra fat.
Plastic surgeons recommend them for women who want only a slight increase in size.