Having ‘fuller’ breasts have always been considered as an asset for a woman. A good shape and size of the breasts correlate with a woman’s attractiveness. It gives a more proportioned physique, a great deal of self-confidence and of course, a wider range of clothing options.
Having small breasts is associated with a negative body image. Women with underdeveloped breasts often look for options to enhance their breasts. For example, many women start using thick padded bras to make their breasts look fuller, but these bras are very uncomfortable and are not a permanent solution. If you are looking for a permanent option to have fuller looking breasts, it is time to think of getting a breast augmentation surgery.
Breast augmentation is a procedure which aims to increase the size of breasts by using breast implants or fat transfer. This procedure is the right option for women:
- with underdeveloped or asymmetrical breasts
- who have uneven breasts after breast surgery
- whose breast size has reduced after childbirth, weight-loss or with ageing
- who wants to enhance the size of their breasts
You can undergo breast augmentation surgery if you fulfil these criteria:
- You are not pregnant or breastfeeding
- Your breasts have developed fully
- You are physically healthy
- You have realistic expectations from the surgery
It is important to understand what this surgery entails in order to have realistic expectations from it:
- Breast implants don’t prevent sagging of breasts. If your breasts are sagging, you might need to undergo breast lift surgery.
- Breast implants may not give a permanently fuller-looking breasts for a lifetime. They may rupture or factors such as weight gain, ageing may affect the way your breast looks.
- It may be difficult for you to breastfeed with breast implants.
- You might need routine MRI scanning. The FDA recommends routine MRI scanning with breast implants once in every 3 years.
PREPARATION BEFORE PROCEDURE
During the visit to your surgeon before the procedure, your surgeon would collect your health history and order some tests (blood tests, X-ray) to check if you are fit for surgery.
Your surgeon will do a detailed examination of the breasts and will take some photos (after your permission) to plan out your surgery and future comparisons.
- The surgeon would also talk to you about the different types of implants that you could opt for. You may have to take a baseline mammogram before surgery.
- Your surgeon may ask you to follow these instructions to have an uneventful surgery:
- Quit smoking at least two weeks before surgery, as smoking interferes with your ability to heal.
- Tell your doctor about the medications you are taking. You may be asked to discontinue certain meds like aspirin, ibuprofen and some herbal supplements, which increase the risk of bleeding.
- Tell your doctor if you have any drug allergies.
Your surgeon would give instructions related to food and drinks before the surgery. You should have somebody to drive you home after surgery.
There are two types of breast implants:
- Silicone gel implants: These implants are filled with silicone gel. Some implants also have a polyurethane coating. These implants feel like natural breasts and are less likely to wrinkle. Even when there is an implant rupture, the gel is retained within the implant shell. They are FDA approved for women over 22 years of age. These implants have low risk of capsular contracture and implant rotating.
- Saline-filled implants: These implants are made of silicone rubber shells which are filled with saline by the surgeon before the surgery. If this implant leaks, the fluid is absorbed in the body and does not cause any harm.
These implants, however, are more likely to deflate and rupture than silicone implants. They look less natural than silicone implants too.
The surgery takes around 90 mins. Before the surgery, you would be given sedatives and general anaesthesia through a vein. Next, an incision is made either along the edge of the areola, in the crease under the breast, or in the armpit.
Then, the breast tissue and the muscles are separated so that a pocket is made in front of the muscle. The surgeon will insert the implant in this pocket and place it behind the nipple. If a saline implant is used, the implant is inserted first and then saline is instilled in the implant.
Next, the surgeon would close the incision with stitches and the breasts would be wrapped in gauze and an elastic bandage
After the procedure, you would be taken to the recovery and would be monitored for a few hours. The patient is likely to experience some soreness and swelling, which resolves in a few weeks. While leaving, you would be given some medications to relieve pain and antibiotics to prevent infections. You would be given instructions about the follow-up visits.
You would be told to wear a sports bra or a bandeau to keep your breasts supported for around 3 weeks after surgery. You may be asked to take rest and avoid driving for at least a week.
These tips may help you to heal faster:
- Do not do any physically demanding work for a few weeks
- Avoid any exercise that would put strain on the incisions
- Have a healthy diet
- Keep the incisional site clean and always check for pus or bleeding
- Avoid exposing the surgical scars to direct sunlight for a few weeks
FACTORS AFFECTING COST
The cost of breast augmentation surgery depends upon many factors such as:
- The surgeon
- The facility
- The technique used
Breast implants may have to be replaced after a few years. You need to go for annual visits to your doctor to check the integrity of the implant and breast health.
Having breast implants does not increase the risk of breast cancer. Studies have also proven that having an implant does not make the detection of breast tumours difficult. Plus, women with or without breast implants have the same chances of having remission after breast cancer therapy.
Breastfeeding, after breast augmentation surgery, is very much possible and safe for the mother and baby.
There are many women who have got this surgery done successfully, even in their 50s. However, we strongly suggest you talk to your doctor and then make a decision.
During pregnancy, the breast shape and size changes. This may have a negative effect on the way the breasts look. It is strongly recommended to postpone pregnancy till 6 months after surgery.