Breast augmentation, technically known as augmentation mammoplasty, is a surgical procedure to enhance the size and shape of a woman’s breast for a number of reasons:
To enhance the body contour of a woman who, for personal reasons, feels her breast size is too small.
To restore breast volume lost due to weight loss or following pregnancy
To achieve better symmetry when breasts are moderately disproportionate in size and shape
To improve the shape of breasts that are sagging or have lost firmness, often used with a breast lift procedure
To provide the foundation of a breast contour when a breast has been removed or disfigured by surgery to treat breast cancer
To improve breast appearance or create the appearance of a breast that is missing or disfigured due to trauma, heredity, or congenital abnormalities
By inserting an implant behind each breast, surgeons are able to increase a woman’s bust line by one or more bra cup sizes. If you’re considering breast augmentation, this will give you a basic understanding of the procedure–when it can help, how it’s performed, and what results you can expect. It can’t answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on your individual circumstances. Please ask Dr. Lattyak if there is anything you don’t understand about the procedure.
The Best Candidates for Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but it won’t necessarily change your looks to match your ideal, or cause other people to treat you differently. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with Dr. Lattyak.
The best candidates for breast augmentation are women who are looking for improvement, not perfection, in the way they look. If you’re physically healthy and realistic in your expectations, you may be a good candidate.
Types of Implants
The choice of implant filler, implant size, shape and other features will be determined based on your breast anatomy, body type and your desired increase in size. Your lifestyle, goals and personal preferences, as well your plastic surgeon’s recommendations and sound surgical judgment are also determining factors. Implant manufacturers occasionally introduce new styles and types of implants, and therefore there may be additional options available to you.
Breast implants are medical devices with a solid silicone, rubber shell. The implant shell may be filled with either saline solution (sterile salt water) or elastic silicone gel. Both saline and silicone gel breast implants are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Approval means that an implant has been rigorously researched and tested, and reviewed by an independent panel of physicians for safety.
The size of a breast implant is measured in cubic centimeters (ccs) based on the volume of the saline or silicone filler. Breast implants vary both by filler and in size, but there are additional features to consider:
Texture: the implant shell may be smooth or textured
Shape: the implant may have a round profile or one that is anatomic (teardrop or tapered shape)
Profile: the implant may have a low, medium or high projection (the depth of the implant from the base to the highest point of the implant curve)
Diameter: the width of the implant measured across it’s base (the side of the implant that will be positioned over the chest wall)
Adult women of any age can benefit greatly from the enhancement breast implants provide. It is usually recommended, however, that a woman’s breasts are fully developed prior to placement of breast implants. You should be aware that breast implants are not guaranteed to last a lifetime and future surgery may be required to replace one or both implants. Regular examinations for breast health and to evaluate the condition of your implants are important whether you have chosen saline or silicone breast implants.
Planning Your Surgery
In your initial consultation, Dr. Lattyak will evaluate your health and explain which surgical techniques are most appropriate for you, based on the condition of your breasts and skin tone. If your breasts are sagging, Dr. Lattyak may also recommend a breast lift.
Be sure to discuss your expectations frankly with Dr. Lattyak. He will be equally frank with you, describing your alternatives and the risks and limitations of each. You may want to ask Dr. Lattyak for a copy of the manufacturer’s insert that comes with the implant he will use — just so you are fully informed about it. And, be sure to tell Dr. Lattyak if you smoke, and if you’re taking any medications, vitamins, or other drugs.
Dr. Lattyak should also explain the type of anesthesia to be used, the type of facility where the surgery will be performed, and the costs involved. Because most insurance companies do not consider breast augmentation to be medically necessary, carriers generally do not cover the cost of this procedure.
Preparing For Your Surgery
Dr. Lattyak will give you instructions to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. A mammogram may be recommended prior to your procedure to ensure breast health and serve as a baseline for future comparison.
In addition to explaining your surgical procedure, Dr. Lattyak will discuss anesthesia, the recovery process and your obligations as a patient. You will also discuss where your procedure will be performed. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications of your surgery. There may be a waiting period of several days to weeks from the time of your consent to the day of surgery.
While making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out for a few days, if needed.
After Your Surgery
You’re likely to feel tired and sore for a few days following your surgery, but you’ll be up and around in 24 to 48 hours. Most of your discomfort can be controlled by medication prescribed by Dr. Lattyak.
Within several days, the gauze dressings, if you have them, will be removed, and you may be given a surgical bra. You should wear it as directed by Dr. Lattyak. You may also experience a burning sensation in your nipples for about two weeks, but this will subside as bruising fades.
Your stitches will come out in a week to 10 days, but the swelling in your breasts may take three to five weeks to disappear.
Getting Back to Normal
You should be able to return to work within a few days, depending on the level of activity required for your job. Follow Dr. Lattyak’s advice on when to begin exercises and normal activities. Your breasts will probably be sensitive to direct stimulation for two to three weeks, so you should avoid much physical contact. After that, breast contact is fine once your breasts are no longer sore, usually three to four weeks after surgery.
Your scars will be firm and pink for at least six weeks. Then they may remain the same size for several months, or even appear to widen. After several months, your scars will begin to fade, although they will never disappear completely.
Routine mammograms should be continued after breast augmentation for women who are in the appropriate age group, although the mammography technician should use a special technique to assure that you get a reliable reading, as discussed earlier.
Your New Look
For many women, the result of breast augmentation can be satisfying, even exhilarating, as they learn to appreciate their fuller appearance.
Even if you believe your implants are functioning well, it is important that you follow-up as directed with your plastic surgeon to assess the condition of your breast implants. In addition, whether you choose to have breast implants or not, it is essential to your health that you practice a monthly breast self-exam and schedule regular diagnostic breast screenings.
Your decision to have breast augmentation is a highly personal one that not everyone will understand. The important thing is how you feel about it. If you’ve met your goals, then your surgery is a success.