Breast augmentation (augmentation mammoplasty) is commonly referred to as a “breast aug” or “boob job”. This surgery commonly uses breast implants to increase breast size. In some cases, fat transfer may also be used.
Breast augmentation is useful for restoring breast volume after weight loss or pregnancy, increasing the fullness and projection of the breasts, and achieving a more rounded breast shape. Other uses include improving the balance of breast and hip contours, improving breast asymmetry, and enhancing patients’ self-image and self-confidence.
A good candidate for breast augmentation is:
- An adult woman with fully developed breasts
- A woman bothered by her breasts being too small
- A woman whose breasts have lost shape and volume after pregnancy, weight loss or with aging
- A woman unhappy with the upper part of your breast appearing “empty”
- A woman with asymmetric breasts
- A woman with one or both breasts that failed to develop normally or have an elongated shape
- A physically healthy woman who is not pregnant nor breastfeeding
- A woman with realistic expectations
The final results of breast augmentation may take weeks to months as the swelling subsides and the skin stretches. Incisions also take months to fade. Breast augmentation requires regular breast examinations to evaluate the condition of the implants. Pregnancy, weight loss, menopause and age may influence the appearance of augmented breasts which may later require revision or lifting. Breast implants are not guaranteed to last a lifetime and future surgery may be required to replace one or both implants.
Breast augmentation does NOT correct severely drooping breasts. In such cases, a breast lift may be required with breast augmentation to make the breasts look fuller and lifted. Breast lifting can often be done at the same time as your augmentation or may require a separate operation.
Risks of breast augmentation include risks from anesthesia, bleeding, fluid collection, infection, poor healing, breast contour and shape irregularities, breast asymmetry, changes in nipple or breast sensation, loss of nipple and areola, Implant leakage or rupture, formation of tight scar tissue around the implant (capsular contracture), wrong or faulty position of the implant deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications, and the possible need for revisionary surgery.
Breast implants do not impair breast health. Careful reviews have found no link between breast implants and autoimmune or other systemic diseases. There however is a rare occurrence of breast-implant associated Lymphoma.
Types of Breast Implants
Saline vs Silicone
Saline breast implants are filled with sterile salt water. Saline implants are FDA-approved for augmentation in women age 18 or older. Damage to the implant shell would cause a leak with deflation of the implant as the saline is absorbed by the body.
Silicone: Gel vs. Form stable
Silicone gel breast implants are filled with silicone gel and feel a bit more like natural breast tissue. Silicone breast implants are FDA-approved for augmentation in women age 22 or older. If damage to the implant shell occurs the gel may remain within the shell or leak into the breast implant pocket. The breast will however not collapse. Regular clinical follow ups, ultrasound or MRI screening help assess the condition of Silicone gel breast implants.
Form-stable (Gummy bear) Silicone Implants contain silicone in thicker form than traditional gel. They are firmer to touch and usually shaped (anatomic). Placement requires a slightly longer skin incision. Damage to the implant shell produces minimal to no leak with the implants maintaining their shape.
Round vs Shaped
Round breast implants are the ‘round’ with the same shape all over, so there is little concern about rotation. These are mostly saline and silicone gel implants. They have a tendency to make breasts appear fuller than shaped form-stable implants. Higher profile options can achieve even more projection.
Shaped (Anatomic) implants have more projection at the bottom and are tapered towards the top. Rotation may lead to an unusual appearance of the breast that requires a separate procedure to correct. These implants are usually form stable, gummy bear implants with texturing to minimize rotation risk.
Smooth vs Textured
Smooth breast implants are the softest feeling. They can move with the breast implant pocket, which may give more natural movement. However, they may have some palpable or visible rippling under the skin.
Textured breast implants develop scar tissue to stick to the implant, making them less likely to move around inside of the breast and become repositioned. This is an important quality for shaped implants. Texturing also offers some advantage in diminishing the risk of a tight scar capsule.
Dr. Gbulie will discuss breast augmentation in detail with you, including risks and expectations, prior to your surgery. Whatever your implant choice, it is important for you to monitor your breast implants and follow-up with Dr. Gbulie for appropriate checkups post-op.