An Ultimate Guide To Breast Augmentations
What is a breast augmentation?
A breast augmentation, is a fairly common cosmetic procedure that is used to enhance a woman’s size, shape and fullness of the breasts. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that in 2018 there were 313,735 breast augmentations done in the US.
A breast augmentation is medically known as a mammaplasty, but more commonly known as a boob job.
Why a breast augmentation?
There are several reasons women choose to have a breast augmentation. Generally, to enhance their appearance by:
- Balancing out their natural shape
- Enhancing their breast size
- Increasing breast volume, especially after childbirth or extreme weight loss
- Reconstructing breasts after injury or a mastectomy
If you are dissatisfied with your breasts for any reason, breast augmentation is an option you can consider, but is it the right procedure for your needs? Keep reading to find out.
Is a breast augmentation the right choice for me?
A breast augmentation is an extremely individualized procedure and your personal reasoning for the decision is important. If you are considering breast augmentation to obtain an “ideal image” or to meet the desires of another person’s expectations, then you might be in it for the wrong reasons.
What a breast augmentation won’t do:
If your breasts are drooping severely, a breast augmentation will not correct this. If this is your concern, then instead, you should consider a breast lift. A breast lift will make your breasts appear fuller and lifted. If your concerned about the drooping of your breasts and the size of your breast, then a breast lift can be done at the same time as a breast augmentation. Talk to your surgeon about your options.
What a breast augmentation will do:
If your decision for an augmentation will benefit you and your confidence, above all else, then you’re a good candidate for a successful augmentation and you’re ready to learn more. You are a good candidate for breast augmentation if:
- You are in good physical health
- Your expectations for the procedure are realistic
- Your breasts have fully developed
- You are dissatisfied with the size of your breasts
- Your breasts vary in size or shape
- Either of your breasts failed to develop normally
- Your breasts are asymmetrical
- You are dissatisfied with your breasts due to loss of shape or volume as a result of weight loss, pregnancy, or aging
If any of these points relate to you, keep reading to learn more about the steps to take to prepare for your breast augmentation.
Steps To Expect During Your Breast Augmentation Procedure:
Step 1 – Anesthesia You will receive anesthesia to keep you comfortable during your procedure. Anesthesia options include general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. Dr. Rieger will help you choose the option that is best for you.
Step 2 – Incision Your incisions will be made in areas meant to minimize the amount of visible scarring. Dr. Rieger will discuss your incision options with you to determine the options that will help you best achieve the results you desire.
Types of incisions include:
The type of incision that will be right for you is determined by weighing factors such as the type of implant being used, the amount of enlargement you want to achieve, your body’s personal anatomy, and your personal preference.
Step 3 – Choosing your implant type When choosing the type of implant you will get, it is important to discuss your expectations with Dr. Rieger honestly.
In addition to your desired results in increasing your breast size, other important factors to consider when choosing the type of implant and the size of the implant include your personal breast anatomy, body type, and skin elasticity.
Breast Implant Types:
Saline implants consist of an outer shell made of silicone and are filled using a sterile saltwater saline solution. Some saline implants come pre-filled, while others are filled during the procedure. Saline implants are available in various sizes and can be filled with different amounts of saline, which may affect the shape, feel, and firmness of the breast.
Silicone implants consist of an outer shell made of silicone and are filled using an elastic silicone gel. Silicone implants are available in various sizes. The silicone gel creates movement and feeling that is similar to natural breast tissue.
New types and styles of breast implants are occasionally introduced by manufacturers, so there may be other options available to choose from. Dr. Rieger will discuss your options with you fully.
The FDA has approved Saline implants for breast augmentation in women who are age 18 and over.
The FDA has approved Silicone implants for breast augmentation in women who are age 22 and over.
It is possible for either type of implant to be recommended at a younger age if the procedure is being done for the purpose of reconstruction.
Once your incision has been made, Dr. Rieger will insert the breast implant into a pocket that is placed as:
- A submuscular placement – under the pectoral muscle, or
- A submammary/subglandular placement – directly behind the natural breast tissue
The placement used for inserting the implants is based on a number of factors including the type of implant being used, your desired degree of enlargement, your body’s personal anatomy, and Dr. Rieger’s recommendations.
Step 5 – Closing the incisions
Dr. Rieger will close your incisions using layered sutures within the breast tissue and by using sutures, surgical tape, or skin adhesive to close the skin. Incision lines will fade over time.
Step 6 – Enjoy the results
The results of your breast augmentation surgery will be visible immediately. The post-surgical swelling will decrease and your incision lines should fade over time. As you continue to recover, your satisfaction with your results should continue to grow.
Important Facts About The Safety And Risks Of Breast Augmentation
Choosing to have a breast augmentation surgery is a personal decision. As with any procedure, there are potential risks and/or complications that you should be aware of. Dr. Rieger and his staff will fully explain the risks and complications that are associated with this surgery and ensure any of your concerns are addressed.
It’s imperative to fully realize the benefits and risks of the procedure, before you make a final decision. So, at this time, voice any questions or concerns that you might have. You must assess and determine if the benefits outweigh the risks for yourself.
A common question that many patients are most concerned with is whether or not implants affect breast health. Considerable scientific research has been completed by independent groups, and review of their results confirms that there has been no link proven between breast implants and health concerns such as autoimmune disease or other systemic diseases. You can read the results of one such study performed by the Institute of Medicine here.
Once our staff knows you have a full and clear understanding of the procedure and potential risks or complications, you will be given consent forms to sign to confirm you understand the procedure fully.
Risks may include:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Hematoma (bleeding)
- Blood clots
- Unexpected infection
- Poor healing of incisions
- Temporary or permanent changes in sensation to the nipple or breast
- Capsular contracture (formation of scar tissue surrounding the implant)
- Leakage or rupture
- Skin wrinkling over the implant
- Risks associated with anesthesia
- Fluid accumulation
- Pain, which could persist
- Deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary complications, or cardiac complications
- Possibility of needing revisional surgery
Additional considerations that are important include:
- The possibility of requiring additional surgery in the future to replace one or both implants. Breast implants are not guaranteed to last a lifetime.
- The appearance of your augmented breasts being influenced by pregnancy, menopause, or weight loss over the course of your life.
Breast Augmentation Recovery
After your breast augmentation, your post-surgical recovery period will be between 24 and 48 hours. In the days and weeks following, you will need to reduce your physical activity as you will likely be affected by swelling and soreness. The post-surgical swelling should decrease over time. Incision lines should also fade with time. Most importantly, listen to your body and don’t push your recovery. Dr. Rieger will inform you when you may resume exercise and other normal activity.
When to seek medical attention
Once you are home, if you experience symptoms including unusual heart beats, chest pains, or shortness of breath, you should immediately seek medical attention. These complications could require hospitalization or additional treatment.
Be careful during your recovery
Dr. Rieger will provide you with specific instructions about how to care for yourself during your recovery. Following these instructions is critical to the success of your surgery. It is important to protect your surgical incisions from excessive force, motion, or abrasion while they heal.
Results Are Long-Lasting
Your breast augmentation surgery results are long-lasting. Like many other women who have had this procedure, you will likely experience a boost in your overall self-confidence. You may also find it easier to wear different styles of swimwear and other clothing.
It is important to remember that breast implants are not guaranteed to be permanent, and you may require additional surgery to replace your implants during your lifetime. You should have follow-up visits with Dr. Rieger to discuss changes to your breasts.
Your breasts may change over time due to natural factors such as aging, fluctuations in weight, gravity, and other hormonal factors. If you find yourself becoming dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts after a period of time, you may want to consider a breast lift or a breast implant replacement procedure to restore your breasts to a more youthful contour.
It is important to continue to follow Dr. Rieger’s instructions and attend any scheduled follow-up visits even after you have fully recovered.
How Much Does Breast Augmentation Surgery Cost?
Cost should always be a consideration when choosing any elective procedure. Costs for breast augmentation surgery can vary based on several factors such as the experience of your surgeon, the type of breast implant being used, and the geographic location of the surgeon’s office.
Most health insurance policies do not cover the costs of cosmetic breast augmentation surgery, related complications, or the costs of additional surgeries needed to revise the appearance of your breasts. Some insurance carriers may even exclude the coverage of breast diseases in patients who have breast implants. It is important to carefully review your health insurance policy for details specific to your coverage.
Breast augmentation costs may include:
- Your surgeon’s fees
- Costs for the hospital or surgical facility
- Cost of the implant
- Prescription medications
- Post-surgical garments
- Medical tests
Your satisfaction is about more than cost
When you are considering breast augmentation surgery, remember that the level of experience your surgeon has with breast implants and your personal comfort level with your surgeon and their staff are factors that are just as important as the overall cost of the procedure. Choose a plastic surgeon that you are confident has the experience needed to achieve your desired results.
Important Breast Augmentation Terms
- Areola: the ring of pigmented skin that surrounds the nipple.
- Augmentation mammaplasty: the surgical process of increasing the size of your breasts.
- Breast Augmentation: another term for augmentation mammaplasty.
- Breast Implants: a prosthesis that is filled with either a salt water saline solution or a silicone elastic gel and is placed behind or in place of your breasts to cosmetically enhance your existing breast size or to reconstruct your breasts after injury or damage.
- Capsular contracture: a complication associated with breast augmentation that causes the scar tissue that forms around the breast implant to firm resulting in tightening and squeezing of the implant.
- General anesthesia: a form of anesthesia consisting of medication and/or gases that is used during surgery to alter your consciousness, relieve pain, and improve comfort during the procedure.
- Hematoma: blood clots that pool, swell, and become solid within the tissue.
- Inframammary incision: an incision that is made in the fold beneath the lower part of the breast where it meets the chest wall.
- Intravenous sedation: a form of anesthesia that helps a patient relax using sedatives that are injected into a vein through an intravenous (IV).
- Local anesthesia: a form of anesthesia that helps relieve pain by injecting medication directly at the site of the incision to induce the absence of pain sensation
- Mammogram: an x-ray image of the breast
- Mastectomy: the surgical process of removing breast tissue, usually done to remove cancer.
- MRI: a medical exam that uses Magnetic Resonance Imaging to view tissue.
- Periareolar incision: an incision that is made at the outer edge of the areola along the curve that separates the darker area surrounding the nipple from the rest of your breast.
- Saline implants: breast implants that are filled using a salt water saline solution.
- Silicone implants: breast implants that are filled using a silicone elastic gel.
- Submammary or subglandular placement: breast implants that are placed directly behind the natural breast tissue and over the pectoral muscle.
- Submuscular or subpectoral placement: breast implants that are placed beneath the pectoral muscle, between the natural breast tissue and the chest wall.
- Sutures: a row of stitches used by surgeons to close and hold together incisions of the skin and tissue.
- Transaxillary incision: an incision that is made in the area of the underarm.
- Ultrasound: a diagnostic medical procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to record vibrations and form pictures of the body.