One of the most frequently performed cosmetic surgery procedures, breast augmentation can give women with small or unevenly sized breasts a fuller, firmer, better-proportioned look through the placement of implants in the breast. Women may elect to undergo breast augmentation for many different medical and aesthetic motivations, including balancing breast size and compensating for reduced breast mass after pregnancy or surgery. The procedure may be combined with others such as a breast lift for more satisfying results.
Breast implants are silicone shells filled with saline (salt water) and are placed behind each breast, underneath either breast tissue or the chest wall muscle. The procedure lasts one to two hours and is typically performed with general anesthesia, although local anesthesia combined with a sedative is also possible. After breast enlargement surgery the patient's bustline may be increased by one or more cup sizes.
Incisions are made in inconspicuous places on the breast to minimize scar visibility (in the armpit, in the crease on the underside of the breast, or around the areola, the dark skin around the nipple). The breast is then lifted, creating a pocket into which the implant is inserted.
Placement behind the chest wall muscle offers a few advantages over placement beneath the breast tissue only. These include reduced risk of capsular contracture (post-operative tightening around the implant) and less interference with mammogram examinations. Possible disadvantages include need for drainage tubes and elevated pain in the first few days following surgery.
After the implants are placed and centered beneath the nipples, incisions are stitched, taped and bandaged. In a few days these bandages may be replaced with a surgical bra. Most patients feel tired and sore after breast enhancement surgery, but this usually passes in a day or two and many patients return to work within the week. Stitches are removed in a week to 10 days and any post-operative pain, swelling and sensitivity will diminish over the first few weeks. Scars will begin to fade in a few months and will continue to fade for months or years.
Breast Augmentation FAQ
Are breast implants permanent?
Breast implants are not considered lifetime devices, but can sometimes last for up to 25 years with no problems. Removal, replacement and visits to the physician are commonly required.
Can I choose to have the implant removed?
Implants are removable, but keep in mind that you may experience dimpling, puckering, wrinkling or other cosmetic changes after the implant is taken out.
Am I eligible for implants?
Most people are eligible for implants to help enhance the appearance of their breasts for medical or aesthetic purposes. You are not eligible if you have untreated breast cancer or infection, are under 18 years of age, or are pregnant or nursing.
What happens if the implant ruptures?
Many potential patients worry about implant rupture as a major source of hesitation when considering implants. A ruptured implant is not very common. Within 10 years of surgery, only one in ten implants will rupture. Dr. Manjarrez examines his/her patients regularly to help prevent rupture, with many patients enjoying implant longevity of 15 to 25 years. However, if a saline implant ruptures, the implant will simply deflate in a few hours and your body will absorb the salt water. If a silicone implant leaks, you should see your doctor immediately.
Will there be scarring?
When can I expect to return to work and resume my normal activities after my breast augmentation?
While it will take several days to return to normal activities after your breast augmentation, it is important to your recovery that you get up and move around. Dr. Manjarrez encourages his patients to shower as soon as possible after the procedure. After breast augmentation, it is often possible to return to work within two weeks. Physical activity should be avoided for at least the first couple of weeks following surgery. After that, care must be taken to be extremely gentle with your breasts for at least the next month.
How long will the results last after a breast augmentation?
The results of your breast augmentation surgery will be long-lasting. Dr. Manjarrez's expert knowledge and vast experience contribute to helping patients enjoy young, supple breasts for many years to come.
Gravity and the effects of aging, however, will eventually alter the size and shape of virtually every woman's breasts. If, after a period of years, you become dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts, you may choose to undergo a breast lift operation to restore their youthful contour.