Many women choose breast augmentation to help them look more attractive in clothing and to boost their feeling of femininity. Breast augmentation uses synthetic implants to add more fullness to the breast. As with any other surgery, breast augmentation entails some risk. Women considering breast augmentation should have a serious discussion with their surgeons about their expectations for the surgery and should be prepared to do both pre-surgery and post-surgery actions to ensure the success of the procedure. Our plastic surgeon, Mark Pinsky, MD, has the knowledge and experience necessary to create the results you desire safely and effectively.
Understanding the Breast Augmentation Procedure
In a breast augmentation procedure, the patient must first be put under anesthesia. Your physician will determine the best type of anesthesia based on your medical history. Where the incision is placed depends on the type of implant and your individual needs. The incision is generally positioned where it will be least visible.
A pocket is then formed either behind the pectoral muscle or on top of it to hold the implant. The implant is inserted and positioned properly for the most natural effect. The incision is then closed and allowed to heal. Any scarring from the incision generally fades over time. Either saline or silicone implants are used. Saline implants are made of salt water. Silicone implants are made of a synthetic compound. Which type your physician uses depends on the outcome you expect and your individual needs. Breast implants generally last for about 10 years. They must then be replaced with a new implant. Breast augmentation may also be required when the breast is damaged through illness or injury.
Who is a Good Candidate for the Surgery?
Anyone over the age of 18 can be considered for breast augmentation surgery. Generally, you must be over the age of 22 to receive silicone implants. You should be in good general health with no bleeding problems or other issues that could affect surgery or your capacity to heal well. Smoking contracts blood vessels, so people that smoke are generally advised to stop before breast augmentation surgery. Anyone with an active infection anywhere in the body should not undergo breast augmentation surgery, nor should any woman with pre-cancerous or cancerous cells who is not yet being treated for their condition. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, you should wait to get breast augmentation. If you intend to become pregnant in the near future, you should discuss the issue with your physician. Pregnancy can cause unusual changes in breast tissue that may affect the augmentation result. The physician may suggest waiting until after your pregnancy to place the implants.
*Individual Results May Vary
Preparing for the Procedure
Proper preparation before your procedure can help surgery go smoothly and hasten your recovery time. You will be required to have some laboratory tests done to determine the overall state of your health. Your doctor may recommend getting a mammogram before your surgery to serve as a baseline for future testing. Generally, patients are required to eat a healthy diet and get sufficient rest in the weeks before your procedure. You should avoid taking aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs for at least a week before surgery to prevent excessive bleeding. Herbs and supplements should also be stopped for at least two weeks before you undergo surgery. Stop smoking at least 6 weeks before surgery. If you are on other medications on a regular basis, your physician may advise you to stop taking them for a period of time before surgery. The physician will also give you specific instructions for the day of the surgery. Follow these instructions carefully to ensure your safe surgery. You will be groggy after surgery, so you should arrange to have someone drive you home and stay with you for a time until you fully awake from the anesthesia.
Recovering From Surgery
Breast augmentation surgery can be done in a doctor’s office, in the hospital or in an ambulatory surgery center. After surgery, you will be released to a responsible person who will take you home to begin your recovery. It is recommended that patients have someone with them after surgery for 24 hours. Patients should walk around as soon as possible after surgery to relieve the effects of anesthesia. Your doctor will instruct you on how to clear fluids that may drain from the incision. When lying down, use pillows to elevate the upper body to about 30 degrees and keep your knees flexed. Limit arm movements for 48 hours. Eat lightly after surgery, starting with liquids and then progressing to Jello and soup. The day after surgery you can begin to eat normally. Avoid smoking during the recovery period. Your doctor will recommend exercises to help settle your new breast implants into natural position. Generally, the implants will settle into the breast tissue over a period of 12 weeks. You can return to work after a week, but you should avoid any heavy lifting for at least 2 weeks.