What Is Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure for enlarging, or augmenting, the breast. Breast implants are pouches that are saccular in shape, made of a silicone outer shell, and filled with silicone gel or saline (salt water).
Breast implantation is usually performed to make normal breasts larger for cosmetic purposes. Sometimes a woman having a breast reconstruction after a mastectomy will need the opposite breast enlarged to make the breasts more symmetrical. Breasts that are very unequal in size due to trauma or congenital deformity may also be equalized with an enlargement procedure.
How Common Is Breast Augmentation?
Breast enlargement is the second most common cosmetic surgical procedure practiced on women in the United States. It increased by almost 300% between 1997 and 2007. According to the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, more than 380,000 breast augmentation procedures are performed each year.
Presently, more than two million, or approximately 8%, of women in the United States have breast implants. The majority of breast implant recipients are Caucasian women (95%), followed by African-American women (4%). The remaining women that have breast implants are Asian (0.5%) and other non-specified races (0.5%).
About Breast Enlargement
Cosmetic breast enlargement or augmentation is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. It may be done under local or general anesthesia, depending on patient and physician preference. The incision is typically made through the armpit (axilla), along the fold line under the breast, or around the areola (the darkened area around the nipple); these techniques create the most inconspicuous scars. The implant is placed in one of two locations: between the breast tissue and underlying chest muscle, or under the chest muscle. The operation takes approximately one to two hours. This procedure is also known as augmentation mammoplasty. Aftercare Many normal activities such as driving may be restricted for up to one week. Sutures are usually removed in seven to 10 days. Typically, a woman can resume all routines, including vigorous exercise, in about three weeks. The scars will be red for approximately one month, but will fade to their final appearance within one to two years.
Risk of Breast Augmentation
As with any surgery, there is always the risk of complication. Heavy smokers, patients who are overweight and patients with diabetes and/or other health problems are more susceptible to complications. Risks inherent to the use of general anesthesia include nausea, vomiting, sore throat, fatigue, headache, and muscle soreness. In very rare cases, the use of general anesthesia may cause blood pressure problems, allergic reaction, heart attack, or stroke.
Risks associated with breast augmentation include bleeding, infection, skin or fat necrosis, hematoma (collection of blood in a tissue), seroma (collection of serum in a tissue), blood clotting or numbness around the breast area.