As is the case in any surgical procedure, even in breast augmentation you must be fully informed before going on the surgeon’s table. It is today one of the most ordinary cosmetic surgeries being done in the world. Yet there are several confusions about the procedure, due to contrasting information available on different websites.
What is Breast Augmentation Exactly?
It is nothing but the operation of inserting implants into the breasts so as to make their bulk more, or to give them more firmness and rigidity. This operation is performed by a qualified surgeon. The surgeon makes an incision somewhere on the breast, mostly under the breasts so that the incision is not apparent from the outside. Then using special instruments, the surgeon lifts the adipose tissue of the breast from the pectoral muscles (or the chest muscles) on which it lies. It is inside this pocket between the adipose and the pectoral muscles that the implanting material is inserted.
What is the Implanting Material?
The implanting material used for breast augmentation has undergone a lot of changes since the last few decades. The early materials were quite inelastic and gave a rigid unnatural appearance to the breasts. It took a while for medical science to find out a suitable material for the implants. It is not wrong to say that the surgical procedure of augmentation was perfected much before the proper material was discovered.
Until recently, silicone gel was the preferred material of women undergoing breast augmentations. Silicone gel was filled within a silicone shell and used as the implanted. But silicone gel was never approved by the FDA, which regulates any material that is meant to be put into the human body. Also, there was a strong indication that such implants increased the chances of breast cancer in women.
Hence, in 1992, the use of silicone gel implants was disbanded. Today, the implants are saline gel filled, which are harmless to the human body. These saline gels are filled within a silicone shell, which does not cause much harm. There is also a technical advancement in the procedure. The implants today have more cohesive strength; which means they can be attached to the muscles and tissues within the breasts in a much superior manner than before.
There are two distinct shapes of implants that are in current usage. These are briefly described below:
(i) Round breast implants
These are round in shape, and hence are perfectly symmetrical. It is easy to insert the round implants because they are same from all the sides. Hence, not much skill is required. Also, these implants provide better equality in the shapes of the two breasts.
But the round breast implants do not very well complement the natural shapes of the breasts. They provide a sort of rigid unnatural look to the breasts. An experienced eye can easily make out that the breasts are uplifted by using some kind of implants. Thus, round breast implants are not much popular with women.
(ii) Teardrop shaped breast implants
The preferred choice of breast implants is the teardrop shaped implants. Since breasts are also somewhat teardrop in shape (look at your breasts in profile), these implants complement the breasts much better than round shaped ones.
It is much more difficult to insert teardrop shaped breast implants, as they need to be inserted in the proper direction. A little discrepancy could create an asymmetry between the two breasts. Teardrop shaped implants also adhere better to the breast tissue because of their particular shape. They provide the woman with more comfort and freedom.
Teardrop shaped breast implants are more expensive than round shaped ones, due to the added skill required.
How Long Does the Effect of a Breast Augmentation Last?
This is undoubtedly the most important question for women going in for breast augmentation. The answer varies because it depends on a variety of factors – which implants are used, how they have been inserted, the age of the woman, her hormonal balance, etc.
The average age of women undergoing breast augmentation is 34-35 years. Women who go for breast augmentation generally have kids and do not plan to become mothers again. Considering these factors, it can be said that the breast augmentation could last a pretty long while. However, even the best of breast implants will lose some of their content over a long period of time and this will show. Women who have undergone breast augmentation once need to perform breast augmentation correction surgery after a while. There may be a need of two or three correction surgeries in the whole lifetime of a woman.
What are the Precautions to be Taken?
Not many precautions are needed, as augmentation is a very simple operation, which is mostly carried out as an outpatient surgery. Just keep the following things in mind:-
- Smoking and alcoholism should be heavily curtailed after the surgery.
- Do not indulge in heavy exercises, especially those which involve the pectoral muscles for a while after the augmentation surgery.
- Avoid antibiotics like aspirin. Talk to your doctor about any medication you might be taking.
- If you have a family history of breast cancer, then you will need to discuss with your doctor whether it is really safe for you to have a breast augmentation done.
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