Breast augmentation, also known as augmentation mammoplasty, is a surgical procedure to enhance the size and shape of a woman’s breasts. While breast augmentation will make the breasts larger, the surgery will not move the breasts closer together or lift sagging breasts. Breast augmentation is tremendous help to patients who desire a fuller appearance of their breasts. Often women lose breast volume following pregnancy and nursing, through weight loss and by aging. Women who have been surgically treated for breast cancer may request a reconstructive breast augmentation to restore their breasts.
Reasons for Considering Breast Augmentation:
Enhance body shape if breasts are too small.
Increase breast volume after pregnancy and nursing.
Equalize a difference in breast size (cup size) to gain breast symmetry.
Reconstruct breasts following a mastectomy or injury.
Breast augmentation involves making a small incision to insert a breast implant under the natural breast. The surgery is commonly performed on an outpatient basis at a hospital or state-of-the-art ambulatory surgical center. The procedure is performed while the patient is asleep, under a general anesthesia. There are several possible locations for the small incision that will be used for inserting the breast implant. The incision may be placed along the lower border of the areola, along the bottom of the breast, or in the arm pit. Dr. Stiles prefers the peri-areola approach for saline augmentation. The scar is well camouflaged by the natural change of skin color, from the darker areola to the lighter surrounding skin of the breast. The preferred approach for silicone augmentation is the inframammary approach. The best technique for each patient is directed by the patient’s anatomy and will be agreed upon by the patient and surgeon during the consultation.
During surgery, the breast tissue is raised to create an open pocket beneath the chest wall muscle, the pectoralis major muscle. The implant is inserted into the pocket and filled with sterile saline to achieve the appearance the patient desires. This may increase a woman’s breast size by one or more bra cup sizes. Under certain circumstances, according to a national study protocol, a silicone gel implant may be used. In some circumstances, particularly those in which there is breast asymmetry (uneven breast size), a post-operatively adjustable implant may be used. This allows the surgeon to stretch the breast tissue and skin over several weeks to achieve breast symmetry and balance. Surgery typically lasts from 1 to 3 hours.
Generally, post-operative instructions call for rest for the first few days and limited activity of the arms for several weeks. Bandages are applied at the time of surgery to aid the healing process and to minimize movement of the breasts. A special surgical bra will be worn for several weeks. Post-operative pain is minimized by the use of pain pump catheters that deliver local anesthesia directly to the breast. This decreases the number of pain pills that patients require in the initial post-operative period. While complications may occur, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the directions given by the physician after surgery.