Breast implants, also known as breast augmentation or as a mammoplasty, is a cosmetic plastic surgery with no other intent than to enlarge either breasts or one breast to make both look symmetrical.
The Need for Breast Implant Surgery
- To increase the breast size of woman who feels her breasts are too small
- To add volume when one breast is larger than another for a more symmetrical appearance
- To increase the volume of breasts that have been “deflated” by nursing or pregnancy
- As reconstructive surgery to restore volume to a breast that has had a cyst or lump removed
The Best Candidates for Breast Implants Surgery
As with all cosmetic surgery, the best candidates are women with a healthy sense of self-image and realistic expectations about the results of the breast augmentation. Smokers, pregnant individuals and people with auto-immune diseases are not good candidates for this type of surgery.
There are several successful stories of breast implant surgery. But one should be careful enough not plunge before considerable consultation. Because breast implants have brought the name ‘bad plastic surgery’ for the complications it brings if performed improperly.
Types of Breast Implants
There are many different types of breast implants but the safest, according to most sources, are the saline (salt water) solution filled implants.
Some doctors also use implants filled with silicone gel, but the long-term health effects of these types of implants are still under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. To stay on the safe side, stick with saline for now and keep in touch with your doctor for more specifics of the FDA decisions regarding implants.
The reason you are advised to stick with saline implants for now is that breast implants have been known to rupture – seemingly without much cause. If a saline-filled implant breaks, the body will harmlessly absorb the salt water.
However if a gel filled implant breaks it can leak into surrounding tissue and cause damage to tissues and promote new scars to form changing the shape of the breast. Silicone gel can also migrate to other places in the body and cause an individual to suffer from flu like symptoms as well as mysterious lumps and cysts.
Common Complications of Breast Augmentation
There are also many risks associated with getting breast implants. One of the dangers of silicone breast implants is called capsular contracture. This happens when scar tissue forms around the implant and causes it to feel tight and hard.
Usually this problem is only resolved by a second operation that is performed to remove the excess scar tissue or even the implant (depending on the severity of the situation.)
Another common complication is hematomas (the pooling of blood around the implant) or a seroma (the pooling of pus or lymph around the implant).
If this occurs, shunts or drains may be placed beneath the breasts or another operation may be performed to remove the accumulated fluids.
As with any surgical procedure, an infection can also occur around an implant. In this case, the implant is removed for several months and replaced once the body is free of infection.
In case of women with huge breast implants there are several problems. Sometimes, nipples become oversensitive or numb as a result of breast implant surgery.
In most cases this numbness is temporary but you can suffer a permanent loss of sensation in your breasts because of implant surgery. Some women may also spontaneously lactate (leak milk) for a few days after having breast implants.
Breast Implants – Consultation
In your initial consultation, your plastic surgeon will evaluate your health and explain which surgical techniques are most appropriate for you. If your breasts are sagging, your doctor may also recommend a breast lift.
The method of inserting and positioning your implant will depend on your anatomy and your surgeon’s recommendation. The incision can be made either in the crease where the breast meets the chest, around the areola (the dark skin surrounding the nipple), or in the armpit. The surgeon will create pocket, either directly behind the breast tissue or underneath your chest wall muscle (the pectoral muscle and center the implants beneath the nipple.
Breast Implants Surgery – Procedure
The surgery usually takes one to two hours to complete. Stitches are used to close the incisions, which may also be taped for greater support. A gauze bandage may be applied over your breasts to help with healing.
You should be able to return to work within a few days, depending on the level of activity required for your job, but you might be required to wear a support bra for two to three weeks to minimize the discomfort of swollen or bruised tissues.
One more thing that you need to be aware of is that your new breasts may take some time to “settle in”. It can take as long as six months for them for swelling to subside and for them to take their desired shape. The good thing about this type of cosmetic surgery is that it is reversible and that breast implants can always be removed if you don’t like the way they look.