What is a Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation — or augmentation mammoplasty — is a surgical procedure to increase the size or change the shape of the breasts. It is often used after a mastectomy (breast removal) and may sometimes be used when a patient has lost a considerable amount of weight.
The procedure may include the use of breast implants which are available in different styles, such as saline filled or silicone filled, and in different shapes. Fat may also be transferred from somewhere else in the body and placed in the breast area.
What's the Procedure Like?
Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure that requires either intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. The surgeon makes an incision under the nipple, under the breast itself or in the armpit.
The implant or fat is inserted into a pocket between the pectoral (chest) muscle and the breast tissue or under the muscle itself. The incisions are closed with sutures, skin adhesive, or special tape. Dressings and sometimes a special bra are applied. Most people go home within a few hours after surgery; full recovery takes a few weeks.
Who is a Good Candidate for Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation should only be performed because the patient wants it done. Good candidates are physically healthy, have reasonable expectations about the results and have fully developed breasts.
Patients who have small breasts, or whose breasts have lost shape and volume after pregnancy, weight loss or with aging may be candidates for augmentation surgery. Asymmetrical breasts or breasts that did not develop normally can also be corrected with augmentation surgery.
What Can I Expect After the Procedure?
Like any cosmetic surgical procedure, breast augmentation is most effective in people who are otherwise healthy, have good skin, and muscle tone.
It’s unrealistic to expect that breast augmentation can completely restore the appearance of youthful breasts. The surgery may cause changes in sensation, especially in the nipple area. A breast augmentation cannot correct severely drooping breasts; that requires a breast lift, which is a different procedure.