Breast Augmentation 101

Breast augmentation, technically known as augmentation mammoplasty, is a cosmetic surgical procedure to enhance the size and shape of a woman’s breast through breast implants. Women choose breast augmentation for various reasons: when the breast size is too small, to balance a variation in breast size, to restructure breasts that have lost their shape from breast-feeding or aging and as a reconstructive procedure following breast surgery. Breast augmentation will increase the size of a woman’s breasts, but it will not perfect them.

Most procedures are performed in an outpatient setting under general anesthesia. By inserting an implant behind each breast, surgeons are able to enhance a woman’s bust line by one or more bra cup sizes. Earlier, silicone gel-filled implants were used for breast augmentation. Because of the complications using silicone, surgeons today usually make use of saline, a saltwater solution. In 1992, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) imposed a ban on the general use of silicone gel-filled breast implants. The new saline implants are a safe substitute.

The surgical incisions are made in the crease of the breast where the breast meets the chest, beneath the areola, or in the armpit. An implant insertion behind the breast tissue or under the chest wall muscle will push the breast tissue forward, making the breast appear larger and fuller. Most physicians prefer placing the implants under the chest muscle. This is because the muscle provides an additional layer of padding to provide a more natural look, and minimizes the probability of scar tissue formation around the implant. A small scar will be present after the surgery, even though most plastic surgeons try to make the incision in an area that will lessen the visibility of the scar.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of women undergoing breast augmentation is increasing at a rapid pace. Over the last couple of years, breast augmentation surgery has advanced in terms of safety and effectiveness.

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