It was not very long ago that breast implants were frowned upon and seen as a preserve of the Hollywood rich and famous female celebrities. To even consider inserting foreign objects into your breasts was seen as a hallmark of eccentricity. Not anymore.
Brest implants are extremely common nowadays and do not really carry the stigma that they used to anymore as technological advancements have made breast implants much safer, more natural and cheaper.
East Asian countries, in particular, have seen an explosion in breast implants as women seek to offset their natural predisposition to having smaller, less fuller breasts than their counterparts in Western countries.
How are breast implants used for breast augmentation?
Breast augmentation, also known colloquially as a “boob job” is a cosmetic surgery procedure that helps lend a fuller and more proportionate look to the breasts, using breast implants or fat. This usually involves the use of silicon or saline breast implants.
Breast augmentation is an effective way of providing fullness to the breasts as well as helping the whole body to attain a more proportionate look. It can also help lift drooping breasts caused by pregnancy, age, breastfeeding or sudden weight loss and can also fix asymmetrical breasts, making them look more uniform.
There are several key decisions that a breast plastic surgeon needs to make when planning a specific breast augmentation surgery. These include the shape of implant, the material of the implant, the size or volume of augmented material and the specific shape desired by the patient.
The shape of breast implants would include round and teardrop implants. While the round implants lend a fuller appearance to the breasts, the teardrop implant will give a gently sloping shape to the breasts, making them look more natural and elegant. The sizes vary from 150cc to 800cc and selection of the right size depends on the candidate undergoing the surgery, their body type, their requirements and personal choices or preferences.
What are the different types of Implants used for breast augmentation?
Breast implants can be categorized on the basis of shape, i.e., tear drop and round shape. They can also be categorized on the basis of the material of implants. These include silicon and saline implants.
All implants consist of an outer surface referred to as the “shell” or the “wall” and of an inner filler material, which may be either saline or silicon.
How breast implants are classified based on shape
This is the most commonly used implant shape. This is a good choice if you want to lend more upper pole fullness with a distinct round appearance. This shape best suited for those with minimal sagging of the breasts, breasts that do not have much space between them and breasts with centrally positioned nipplies. Also, since round implants do not really change the shape of the breasts but just impart them more fullness, they are better suited for those with breasts that have a good natural shape.
This implant is naturally shaped like a teardrop and adds more fullness to the lower portion of the breasts. This implant is more suitable for candidates with mild sagging of the breast, breasts that are set wide apart and breasts with low sitting nipples (nipples that appear below the center of the breast or the point of highest projection). Teardrop implants create more “side boobs” which makes it suitable for those with slimmer body types.
How breast implants are classified based on material
Anyone above the age of 18 years can opt for a saline implant. This usually consists of a silicon casing which is inserted into the body and then filled with the desired amount of saline water. The consistency is like that of water. In case the casing ruptures, the implant will deflate, giving rise to an awkward and uncomfortable situation.
These are relatively firm and retain their shape so the fullness is not lost. They are known to feel and look more like natural breasts, making them a popular choice. They do not usually cause any allergies or reactions in the skin otherwise and anyone above the age of 22 years can opt for this implant.
How is a breast augmentation carried out?
A breast augmentation surgery usually proceeds in the following manner:
– The patient is given anesthesia prior to the surgery. It may be intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.
– Incisions are made for the implants to be inserted into the breast tissue. The incisions are usually placed in a way that the scars post surgery will be hardly visible or depending on what the surgeons feels is most suitable based on the body of the patient undergoing the surgery. The incisions are made in three areas: under the breast (inframammary fold), areolar edge (peri-areolar incision), and in the armpit (axillary incision).
– The breast implant is then inserted through the incision. It is either placed right behind the breast tissue (subglandular placement) or under the pectoral muscle (a submuscular placement)
– The incisions are then closed with skin adhesive, surgical tape or layered sutures in the breast tissue.
What are the risks and side effects of breast augmentation?
A scar, post-surgery, is a very normal phenomenon. These scars are likely to fade away in a year or two. Rarely do scars turn worse over time. If they become darker or expand in area over time, a surgery might be required to halt or reverse this process.
Bleeding may occur after surgery and, incase the bleeding is extreme, it will require urgent medical attention. The surgeon could explore both surgical and non-surgical options to stem the bleeding.
This is a common complaint that might be faced by many that undergo breast augmentation. The results may not turn out to be as expected. They may not be comfortable with the look or feel of their new breasts. And there may be cases where the breasts may look asymmetrical.
In order to avoid this, the candidate should carefully choose an experience practitioner and clearly communicate their expectations to the surgeon before the surgery.
This is a condition where fluid fills up around the breast cavity and would require to be drained out with the help of needles and surgery.
Damage to the body
In certain cases, other parts of the body may be damaged if the surgery is not performed well. This would include harm to the blood vessels, tissues, muscles etc. It is thereby important to only get the surgery done by a reputable, certified plastic surgeon. Checking for any medical malpractice allegations against the practitioner in advance is always advisable.
Reactions and infections
As with any surgery, infections or reactions can occur due to lack of post-surgical hygiene or proper aftercare. Always ensure that the clinic or hospital follows the right hygiene standards and that you carefully adhere to the post-surgical instructions.
To find out more about the risks posed by breast implants, click on this article published by the US Federal Drug Administration.
What will a breast augmentation cost me?
The cost of a breast augmentation surgery can wary widely but typically ranges between $5,500 and $12,000 in popular body contouring plastic surgery destinations in Asia such as Thailand or South Korea. While saline implants, themselves, are cheaper than silicone implants, the cost of the implant is just one factor in determining the total cost of the surgery.
Other factors include your exact expectations, history of prior breast surgeries, the experience level of the surgeon and whether the surgery is performed in a clinic or a hospital.
Typically, a breast augmentation will not be covered by insurance as it is carried out for cosmetic rather than medical purposes.