If You’re Considering Breast Augmentation…

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 your surgeon 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 your surgeon.

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. Saline implants are FDA approved for augmentation in women 18 years of age and older. Silicone implants are FDA approved for augmentation in women age 22 and older. Saline or silicone implants may be recommended at a younger age if used for reconstruction purposes.

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.