Breast enlargement surgery is an elective invasive cosmetic procedure meant to increase the size of breasts while maintaining their internal biological function and sexual sensitivity. The procedure may also assist in creating symmetry between breasts with noticeable visual discrepancy (size and shape). In some cases, the procedure will help to improve sagging or droopy breasts structure. However, it will not resolve issues relating to excess skin. The two latter issues will have to be addressed by a separate procedure called mastopexy, or breast lift.
The surgery will commence with a 0.5 to one inch incision at one of the following three locations:
• Beneath the fold of the breast
• Around the armpit (axilla)
• Or near the areola region (below)
The cosmetic surgeon will decide on the incision location based on the requirement of the patient’s body and surgical objective. Occasionally, patients may be allowed to decide on the incision location based on aesthetic factors. For instance, incisions near the axilla will leave visible scarring that may discourage patients from wearing sleeveless shirts in the future. Nevertheless, armpit incisions actually heal faster compared to the other two options, particularly the areola region, as less blood vessels and nerve points are damaged during the procedure.
Once an incision has been made, the surgeon will carve a pocket inside the breast tissue beneath the breast gland to insert the implant. The implant should never be accessible to the touch, and instead, should ideally be shielded behind the soft and fat tissues to heighten the natural feel of the implant to the touch.
The surgeon may opt to carve a space behind the pectoral muscle for women with a skinny frame to ensure that their upper body will be able to support the weight of the implant (an average 300c implant typically weighs about 0.69 lb.). The pocket will be slightly larger than the implant in order to accommodate slight movements when patients shift their resting positon (sitting, standing, lying down, etc.) or gain weight.
Patients are normally placed under general anaesthesia during the surgery, which takes anywhere between one and three hours to complete. The procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis, and patients can leave the clinic on the same day. However, your doctor may ask you to stay overnight for observations.
Patient must take utmost care to restrict themselves to light activities for ten days after surgery. Patient may resume with driving and other light upper body activities after ten days, but must steer clear of strenuous activity or bouncing exercises for the next three to four weeks. Otherwise, they will run the risk of triggering internal bleeding or implant displacement, among other potential health hazards, which could necessitate a corrective surgery.
Although breast enlargement surgery is not an inherently risky procedure, complications may still occur, especially considering that a foreign object will be placed inside the body. Some of the more common complications that patients should be aware of include:
• Pain: Pain of varying intensity may manifest during the first several days after surgery. This can be managed with painkillers. However, if the pain persists and/or increases, please speak to your doctor immediately as this could be symptomatic of more serious complications, such as capsular contracture or iatrogenic injury.
• Bleeding and hematoma: This can be caused by several factors, including high blood pressure, fluid accumulation and tight implant closure.
• Infection: Open wounds are always at risks from infections, so keep an eye out for redness, swelling and even pus discharge. Also, do the basics right - always keep your wound dry and the dressing clean.
• Implants don’t last forever. You will need another surgery in another eight to 15 years – sooner if you require corrective work.
• Currently, there are no implants that can pass the touch test – the texture and elasticity of normal breast tissue still cannot be reproduced.
• It is rare, but incisions around the areola complex could permanently affect your ability to breastfeed. More common is the loss of sensation in nipples and around the areola, both temporarily and permanently.
• Statistics show that recovery takes longer for smokers.
• The risk of breast cancer following augmentation surgery increases if your family has a history of cancer. Further, developing tumours will be harder to detect during a mammogram.
• Augmented breasts could affect your posture, which, over time, could lead to chronic back, neck and shoulder pain.