Sagging breasts can be disappointing and conspicuously small breasts can feel inadequate. Clothes that fit neatly at the shoulders and waist but appear too large at the bust line can be awkward. But you don’t have to be self-conscious when you wear swimsuits or form-fitting tops. You can achieve your desired breast size through the medical procedure known as breast augmentation.
What is breast augmentation?
Also called augmentation mammoplasty, breast augmentation is the surgical procedure to increase breast size. It uses either implants or fat transfers for enlargement. The goal of the procedure is to increase the projection and fullness of the breasts, improve the balance of breast and hip contours, and enhance self-image and self-confidence.
Why consider augmentation mammoplasty?
The procedure is ideal if you have small and flat breasts that do not offer desired curves to your physique. The surgery adds volume and shape so you can fill out a favorite bikini top, achieve a certain cup size, and enjoy the curves in your body.
You might also consider breast augmentation if your breasts are significantly uneven. The procedure can be used to balance asymmetrical breasts by adjusting the difference in their size.
If you are a mother, you may want to correct sagging breasts caused by breastfeeding. And if you have not had children, the surgery can help with age-related changes that make you uncomfortable and less confident.
Breast augmentation often follows a mastectomy. A mastectomy is a life-saving procedure for treating breast cancer that can, however, leave you feeling like a shell of your former self. Augmentation mammoplasty after a mastectomy restores lost breast volume and helps you feel like yourself again after surviving breast cancer.
When considering breast augmentation, it is important to speak with a plastic surgeon who will help you decide whether the procedure is right for you. At Politis Plastic Surgery, we will conduct a physical exam, get your medical history, listen to your concerns, consider your aesthetic goals, and offer options for how to proceed. We only recommend this surgical procedure to patients in good health who have realistic expectations. This is why the consultation is critical.
While your surgeon may use implants, fat transfer or both to augment your breasts, the decision primarily depends on your existing breast tissue, body mass and frame, as well as your desired body shape. The surgeon will create a personalized plan and provide you with pre-operative instructions to ensure the experience is as easy, safe and comfortable as possible.
Before surgery, the surgeon will ask you to:
- Stop smoking at least 6 weeks before the procedure to promote healing
- Avoid aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs that increase bleeding
- Ensure proper hydration to guarantee safe recovery
How is breast augmentation done?
When performed on an outpatient basis, augmentation mammoplasty takes 1-2 hours—though it may require more time when combined with a breast lift.
When breast implants are to be used, there are two main types: saline-filled or silicone gel-filled implants. The saline-filled implants may be of predetermined sizes or filled just before surgery for minor implant-size modifications. On the other hand, silicone gel-filled implants contain pre-filled soft, elastic gel of various shapes and firmness.
To use an implant, the surgeon makes an incision and creates a pocket in the chest or breast area. The implant is inserted in the pocket and the surgical incisions are closed with sutures.
The chest area is wrapped with a gauze bandage or dressed in a compression bra to provide support and facilitate healing. Drainage tubes may also be used for a short time.
Breast augmentation by autologous fat transfer involves the removal of fat from the patient’s thighs, hips or abdomen. The fat is harvested using cannulas, processed, and then injected into the breasts. After the incisions have been closed with sutures, compression garments are worn over both the liposuction areas and the breasts.
Is the procedure safe?
Breast augmentation is a reasonably safe procedure and the techniques used are continuously being refined to give more consistency and safety. But like any surgical procedure, it has some risks.
For instance, you may experience allergic or adverse reactions, changes in sensation, bleeding, infection, scarring, hematoma, or unsatisfactory results after the procedure. Implant rupture, capsular contracture and mammography shadows are also risks of the surgery.
Though breast implants have been associated with breast cancer, reproductive, and connective tissue problems, studies have found no link. However, there is a rare risk of Breast Implant-Related Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma (BI-ALCL), which you should discuss with your surgeon.
The risks associated with augmentation reduce significantly when you work closely with a board-certified surgeon and follow her instructions. You should also keep in mind that implants may eventually need replacing and should be monitored during periodic follow up examinations.
Recovering after breast augmentation
After the procedure, you will stay in the recovery room for observation before going home. Have a friend or family member drive you home and stay with you for at least the first night.
At home, adhere to your plastic surgeon’s instructions—take prescribed medications, care for the drains, wear compression garments, and reduce your activity. Walking several times a day will minimize the risk of clot formation in your legs.
At first, your breast tissue will be stretched and painful when the anesthesia wears off. The breasts may also be sensitive to touch, tight, itchy or warm. However, while the discomfort may be pronounced during the first 48 hours, it reduces each subsequent day and can be managed effectively with pain medications.
Swelling and discoloration may occur but will disappear quickly. You should be extremely gentle with your breasts during the first month or so—any contact with your breasts should be guided by your comfort. Should the swelling, redness, or pain become severe or persistent, speak with your surgeon to find out if what you are experiencing is normal.
Keep your surgical dressings for support until advised otherwise by your plastic surgeon. The tissue glue or tape and external sutures should wear off after a week or two.
You should be able to return to work within a few days, although that depends on the activity required for your job. Make sure to avoid lifting, pulling, or pushing anything that could cause pain, and to limit any strenuous activity or upper body twisting that causes discomfort. It is best to keep your physical activity low for the first 4-6 weeks after surgery.
Amazing, lasting results
At Politis Plastic Surgery, breast augmentation is performed frequently and with remarkable outcomes. Our patients get to enjoy having firmer, more proportionate and youthful-looking breasts. We stay in touch with them to make sure they follow our pre and post-operative instructions for excellent and enduring results.
We understand that breasts may change after the procedure due to aging, weight gain or weight loss, pregnancy, or hormonal factors. We help our patients understand possible changes and advise them on lifestyle decisions that may impact their new look. Should they feel less satisfied with their appearance after a number of years, we may recommend they undergo implant replacement or a breast lift.
Are you interested in breast augmentation? Dr. Effie Politis has many years of experience with this procedure, performs it often, and will dedicate the time needed to ensure your surgery yields your desired results. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Politis to discuss your specific questions and concerns. For more information about plastic surgery, visit the Politis Plastic Surgery website.