Breast Augmentation

One of the most frequently performed cosmetic surgery procedures in the U.S., breast augmentation can give women with small or unevenly sized breasts a fuller, firmer, better-proportioned look through the placement of implants in the breast. Women may elect to undergo breast augmentation for many different medical and aesthetic motivations, including balancing breast size and compensating for reduced breast mass after pregnancy or surgery. The procedure may be combined with others such as a breast lift for more satisfying results.

Implants are silicone shells filled with either saline (salt water) or the new cohesive silicone gel and are placed behind each breast, underneath either breast tissue or the chest wall muscle (pectoralis). The procedure lasts one to two hours and is typically performed with general anesthesia, although local anesthesia combined with a sedative is also possible. After surgery the patient’s cup size may be increased by one or more cup sizes depending on the patient’s desire and available tissue. The newest procedure is the dual plane approach, which is a combination of the subglandular (above the muscle), and the submuscular (below the muscle) approach. This incorporates the advantages of each technique.

Incisions are made in inconspicuous places on the breast to minimize scar visibility (in the crease on the underside of the breast, or around the areola, the dark skin around the nipple). The breast is then lifted, creating a pocket into which the implant is inserted.

Placement behind the chest wall muscle offers a few advantages over placement beneath the breast tissue only. These include reduced risk of capsular contracture (post-operative tightening around the implant) and less interference with mammogram examinations. After the breast implants are placed and centered beneath the nipples, incisions are stitched and steri-strips are applied. No bandage is necessary and a very soft loose bra may be worn if desired. No external or skin stitches are utilized which creates a better cosmetic appearance.

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