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Patient Information

What is breast augmentation surgery?

Also known as augmentation mammaplasty, breast augmentation surgery involves using implants to fulfill your desire for fuller breasts or to restore breast volume lost after weight reduction or pregnancy.


Breast augmentation before and after

If you are dissatisfied with your breast size, breast augmentation surgery (either breast enhancement or breast enlargement) is a choice to consider. Breast augmentation can:

• Increase fullness and projection of your breasts
• Improve the balance of your figure
• Enhance your self-image and self-confidence

Also known as augmentation mammaplasty, the procedure involves using implants to fulfill your desire for fuller breasts or to restore breast volume lost after weight reduction or pregnancy. Implants also may be used to reconstruct a breast after mastectomy or injury.

What it won't do?
Breast augmentation does not correct severely drooping breasts. If you want your breasts to look fuller and to be lifted due to sagging, a breast lift may be required in conjunction with breast augmentation. Breast lifting can often be done at the same time as your augmentation or may require a separate operation. Your plastic surgeon will assist you in making this decision.

Is it right for me?
Breast augmentation is a highly individualized procedure and you should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else's desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.
Pictures of breast augmentation procedures may help you in the decision-making process. Breast augmentation may be a good option for you if:

• You are physically healthy
• You have realistic expectations
• Your breasts are fully developed
• You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too small
• You are dissatisfied with your breasts losing shape and volume after pregnancy, weight loss, or with aging
• Your breasts vary in size or shape
• One or both breasts failed to develop normally


Preparing for breast augmentation surgery

After researching the basics about breast enhancement or breast enlargement, many patients want to know what to expect before breast augmentation surgery.

Prior to breast surgery, your ASPS Member Surgeon may ask you to:

• Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
• Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
• Get a baseline mammogram before surgery and another one after surgery to help detect any future changes in your breast tissue
• Stop smoking well in advance of your breast augmentation surgery
• Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding

Special instructions you receive will cover:

• What to do on the day of surgery
• Post-operative care and follow-up
• Breast implant registry documents (when necessary)

Your plastic surgeon will also discuss where your procedure will be performed. Breast augmentation surgery may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical center, outpatient ambulatory surgical center or a hospital.

You'll need help

If your breast augmentation is performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.


Breast implant risks and safety information

The success and safety of your breast augmentation procedure depends very much on your being completely candid during your consultation. By being actively involved your consultation about breast augmentation, problems, concerns and questions you may have can be addressed by Surgeon. You'll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.

Be prepared to discuss:

• Why you want breast augmentation surgery, your expectations and desired outcome
• Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
• Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
• Previous surgeries
• Family history of breast cancer and results of any mammograms or previous biopsies

Your surgeon may also:

• Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
• Examine your breasts, and may take detailed measurements of their size and shape, skin quality, placement of your nipples
• Take photographs for your medical record
• Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
• Discuss likely outcomes of breast augmentation surgery and any risks or potential complications>
• Discuss the use of anesthesia during your breast augmentation procedure


Important facts about breast augmentation risks and complications

The decision to have breast augmentation surgery is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks of breast implant safety and potential complications are acceptable.
Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks or potential complications.

The risks of breast implants and complications after breast augmentation include:

• Unfavorable scarring
• Bleeding (hematoma)
• Infection
• Poor healing of incisions
• Changes in nipple or breast sensation, may be temporary or permanent
• Capsular contracture, which is the formation of firm scar tissue around the implant
• Implant leakage or rupture
• Wrinkling of the skin over the implant
• Anesthesia risks
• Fluid accumulation
• Blood clots
• Pain, which may persist
• Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
• Possibility of revisional surgery

Although there potentially may be complications with breast implants, they do not impair breast health.  Careful review of scientific research conducted by independent groups such as the Institute of Medicine has found no proven link between breast implants and autoimmune or other systemic diseases.

Other important considerations:

Breast implants are not guaranteed to last a lifetime and future surgery may be required to replace one or both implants. Pregnancy, weight loss and menopause may influence the appearance of augmented breasts over the course of your lifetime.


Breast augmentation procedure steps

What happens during breast augmentation surgery?

Step 1 - Anesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during breast augmentation surgery. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 - The incision

Incisions are made in inconspicuous areas to minimize visible scarring. You and your plastic surgeon will discuss which incision options are appropriate for your desired outcome. Incision options include:

Inframammary incision Transaxillary incision Periareolar incision
Inframammary incision Transaxillary incision Periareolar incision

Incisions vary based on the type of implant, degree of enlargement desired, your particular anatomy, and patient-surgeon preference.

Step 3 - Implant choice: Silicone breast implants or saline breast implants?

Breast size and shape are important, so be honest and open about your expectations when talking with your surgeon.
Implant type and size will be determined not just on your desired increase in size but more importantly on your breast anatomy, skin elasticity and body type.

Options for Breast Implants

Saline breast implants are filled with sterile salt water. They can be filled with varying amounts of saline which can affect the shape, firmness and feel of the breast. Should the implant shell leak, a saline breast implant will collapse and the saline will be absorbed and naturally expelled by the body.
Silicone breast implants are filled with an elastic gel. The gel feels and moves much like natural breast tissue. If the implant leaks, the gel may remain within the implant shell, or may escape into the breast implant pocket.
A leaking implant filled with silicone gel may not collapse. If you choose these implants, you may need to visit your plastic surgeon regularly to make sure the implants are functioning properly. An ultrasound or MRI screening can assess the condition of breast implants.
Implant manufacturers occasionally introduce new styles and types of implants, so there may be additional options available.

Step 4 - Inserting and placing the breast implant

Submuscular and Subglandular Breast Implant Placement

After the incision is made, a breast implant is inserted into a pocket either:

Under the pectoral muscle (a submuscular placement), or Directly behind the breast tissue, over the pectoral muscle (a submammary/ subglandular placement)

The method for inserting and positioning implants depends on the type of implant, degree of enlargement desired, your body type, and your surgeon’s recommendations.

Step 5 - Closing the incisions

Incisions are closed with layered sutures in the breast tissue and with sutures, skin adhesive or surgical tape to close the skin. Over time the incision lines will fade.

Breast augmentation incision locations

Step 6 - See the results

The results of breast augmentation surgery are immediately visible. Over time, post-surgical swelling will resolve and incision lines will fade. Satisfaction with your new image should continue to grow as you recover and realize the fulfillment of your goal for fuller breasts.