There are many options to consider when deciding to have breast augmentation surgery. While this article will outline the main considerations, it is noted that a picture is worth a thousand words so breast augmentation photos will also be provided.
Almost any healthy person who wants to improve the size and/or shape of her breasts can be a viable candidate for breast augmentation surgery. That said, the best candidates will be non-smoking women at or near ideal weight, who have enough breast tissue to adequately support and cover an implant.
Risks: All surgeries carry a degree of risk. The most common complications include excessive bleeding, infection, bruising, loss or increase of sensation, tissue death, implant rupture, asymmetry, and capsular contracture. Capsular contracture is the hardening of breasts due to scar tissue formation around the implant. Another risk, though not related to the surgery itself, is that implants might make it more difficult to detect breast abnormalities. Many women concerned about the risks of breast augmentation surgery choose natural breast enlargement products like a breast enlargement cream or pills but those will not provide the amount of enhancement most women are looking for.
There are a number of options type and shape of the implant, implant placement and incision locations. Ask your surgeon for breast augmentation photos of each option to better decide which is best for you.
Types of Implants
- Rough or Smooth? Implants can be smooth or they can have a textured surface. Many surgeons believe the rough, textured surface can reduce the risk of capsular contracture. The downside is that textured implants are more difficult to remove if needed.
- Round or Tear-Shaped? Implants can be tear-drop shaped (anatomical) or round. Round implants are fairly easy to detect so many women prefer tear-drop shape implants for a more natural look. The downside of tear-shaped implants is the risk of malrotation, the implants rotating in different directions.
- Saline or Silicone? A silicone implant will feel more natural but many women select saline because of concerns about the safety of silicone implants. A recent report released by the FDA showed that about 20 percent of women with silicone implants will have problems major enough to warrant removal or replacement. The problems include capsular contracture, implant rupture, wrinkling, asymmetry, pain, scarring and infection.
Incision Options: There are disadvantages as well as advantages to each of the incision options. Your surgeon will recommend the best option for your.
- Periareolar Incision is made at the lower areola border. The areola is the dark area surrounding the nipple. For the scar to properly blend, the incision must be made exactly at the edge of the areola, where the darker skin meets the lighter skin. The scar will be almost invisible if the incision is made correctly and the healing directions are followed. If not, a scar that looks like a “smiley face” can form. Another downside is that this incision location places the woman at an increased risk of infection because the breast ducts are cut into.
- Inframammary Crease Incision is made underneath the breast in the natural crease. This is a popular incision site since it provides the surgeon with a good amount of control over the placement of the implant. The scar will be hidden by the breast’s natural fold so it will not be seen when wearing lingerie or swimsuit.
- Transumbilical (TUBA) Incision is made in the navel. The TUBA breast augmentation technique is less common but offers the benefit of no scars in the breast area because the incision is made through the belly button. The transumbilical technique is the least invasive and recovery time is less than with other incision sites. The drawback is that inflatable implants must be used and the transumbilical incision has the highest risk of placement error since the incision is furthest away from the implant destination.
- Transaxillary Incision is made in the armpit. The transaxillary is another popular incision. It will not leave a scar on the breast though you can see the scar when raising your arm but the scar is at a location that not many will associate with a breast augmentation. The downside is that this incision is made at a distance away from the breast so it is important that your surgeon is well trained in this incision procedure.
- Sub-glandular (over the muscle): This option provides more implant projection and is suitable for those with enough natural breast tissue to cover the implant.
- Sub-pectoral/sub-muscular (under the muscle): Placing the implant underneath the pectoral muscle is a better option for women without enough natural breast tissue to the implant. This placement also can decrease the risk of developing capsular contracture.
Recovery: Recovery time does vary but in general you will need a minimum of two days of rest after the breast augmentation surgery, followed by several days of reduced or little activity. Most women return to their regular activities several days to a week following the procedure though soreness and swelling may be present for three to four weeks.
How Much Does Breast Augmentation Cost?: Costs for breast augmentation surgery can vary, from about $2000 at the low end to up to $12000, with an average cost of about $5,500. Costs may the surgeon’s fee, anesthesia fees, operating facility fees, pre-op test lab fees, the cost of the implants, prescription medication costs, and other miscellaneous costs.
Another Consideration: Though breast implants can possibly last a lifetime, the implants are not consider ‘lifetime devices’ and might need to be replaced at some point due to rupture in the case of silicone implants or deflation with saline implants.
Saline implants deflate rates about one percent in the first year and about three percent at three years. When a saline implant deflates or ruptures, the saline is absorbed by the body and the implant will look smaller. Silicone gel implants are different in that the body does not absorb the silicone so the implant feel or appearance does not change after a rupture. An MRI is needed to detect a silicone implant rupture, which is why the FDA recommends that women with silicone or gel implants receive periodic breast implant MRI scans after the augmentation.
If the implants have not ruptured or deflated, there is not a need to remove or replace the implants just because a certain period of time has passed. It should be noted that most all health plans will not cover the cost of breast augmentation as it is considered cosmetic surgery.