Breast enhancement surgery, which is also called breast augmentation or breast enlargement surgery, is among the most popular cosmetic surgical procedures for women. Over 350,000 breast enhancement procedures were performed in 2008 in the US alone, according to statistics provided by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, or ASAPS, which attests to its popularity.
There are a variety of reasons as to why a woman may consider breast augmentation surgery. Breast augmentation can be used in order to address a difference in the size of the breasts, or to reconstruct the breasts as a follow-up to a mastectomy or other surgical procedure; the term “breast reconstruction surgery” is generally used to refer to cases such as these. Breast enhancement is also commonly used to address hereditary issues involving the breasts such as micromastia, a condition involving the severe underdevelopment of the breasts, as well as other conditions which can result in the absence of breasts in females.
Above all, though, the majority of women who elect to undergo breast enlargement surgery do so for purely cosmetic reasons. Detrimental social effects are frequently associated with negative feelings about one’s looks, and this includes the appearance of the breasts. By the same token, by achieving the type of appearance they desire, individuals can enhance all aspects of their lives. Thus, it’s not surprising that breast augmentation is so popular.
There are many different methods in use for breast enhancement surgery procedures, which differ with regard to their suitability to the individual dependent upon several factors such as the amount of augmentation desired, body type, operations undergone previously, and so on. All breast enhancement procedures involve the use of implants. There are two basic kinds of breast implants: silicone implants and saline implants.
Of these two types, saline implants are the less common one, and are comprised of a silicone elastomer shell which is then filled with a saline solution, containing salt and water, after being inserted during the breast enhancement procedure. This means that they are somewhat more adaptable than silicone implants. That being said, saline implants are considered to be useful only for less significant procedures. They are also slightly vulnerable to rippling, wrinkling, and other such issues, as well as being considered to be less subtle to the touch compared to silicone implants, although there is some debate on this point.
Silicone implants have a silicone elastomer shell which is pre-filled with a silicone gel of varying properties. Silicone implants, like saline implants, have been used since the 1960s, but the nature of silicone implants has seen changes steadily over time. The silicone implants available today are substantially different from the earliest ones; the gel in use currently is semi-solid, and this all but completely erases the problems with leaking that earlier implants, which made use of a liquid-like gel, were known to experience.
The surgical procedure itself can also take different forms. The most commonly used method for breast enhancement surgery is the inframammary incision method. This technique makes use of an incision in the area directly below the breast, called the inframammary area. The implant can be inserted by way of this incision. This method has the lowest risk of complications of any kind of breast enhancement procedure, and the resulting scars are almost always completely concealed underneath the breast following the procedure.
The periareolar incision method makes use of an incision along the edge of the areola. Silicone implants are not appropriate for this type of procedure, as the incision used is not big enough to accommodate them. However, this technique does permit the surgeon to reposition the breast entirely, which may be requested in some instances.
In certain cases, the patient may desire the surgeon to to make the incision in an area farther away from the breast; this can also be requested by patients who are adverse to scarring appearing in the area of the breast. The transumbilical incision is an incision made in the navel area, which can be performed alongside a tummy tuck, while a transaxillary incision is an incision made in the armpit area. In both cases, an endoscope may be used in order to help with the correct placement of the implant. Both of these procedures are generally only performed with the use of saline implants.
Every type of surgical procedure involves some risk, and breast augmentation is no different. Also, following this kind of procedure, the patient will normally take at least six weeks to recover completely, during which period strenuous physical activity must be avoided in order to ensure that the operation is successful in the end.