Breast augmentation is a commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedure. Surveys conducted in 1998 revealed that up to 34% of North American women were dissatisfied with their breasts. In 2003, breast augmentation was the third most common cosmetic surgical procedure performed by members of the American Society of Plastic Surgery (with only Botox injections and microdermabrasion being more common).
Breast augmentation is designed to add volume and improve the shape of the breasts by the insertion of a breast implant. Alternatively, your plastic surgeon may recommend a breast lift to restore shape and nipple position to the breast. Breast augmentations or lifts are best for healthy women with small breasts, or women who have lost breast volume through childbirth, weight loss or age.
The ideal candidate is a younger woman with a normal breast examination, no personal or family history of breast cancer, small breast size, and without inherent breast abnormalities.
Breast augmentation, formally known as augmentation mammoplasty, is performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia in a hospital or surgical clinic, although a combination of local and regional anesthesia is sometimes used instead. For safety reasons, the patient should be accompanied home by a friend or a relative on the night of the surgery.
CONTRAINDICATIONS (some may be relative)
There are some preparatory steps that should be taken prior to surgery to ensure safety and maximum benefit. Alcoholic beverages should be avoided for a week prior to surgery, and anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aspirin®, Motrin®, Ibuprophen, and Advil® should be avoided for two weeks prior to surgery. This is to avoid excessive bleeding, blood clotting, and post-operative bruising. Tylenol ES®, is a painkiller that can be used for those who suffer from chronic pain. Any use of herbal supplements or other alternative medicine should be discussed with your surgeon. Finally, alcohol should be avoided for at least a week prior to the surgery date.
Additionally, any medical condition or medications that are used must be disclosed to your surgeon prior to the procedure. Conditions such as high blood pressure are important considerations in all plastic surgeries where bleeding and hematomas are a real risk.
Breast implants were first introduced to the market in the early 1960's, and since then, have undergone many revisions. Concerns over the safety of silicone in the body, and some failures of second generation silicones lead to the end of silicone implants in 1992.
Breast implants are placed into tissue pockets created below the glandular breast (subglandular), below the chest wall muscles (submuscular).
Discuss implant location with your plastic surgeon and have a clear understanding of all benefits and disadvantages before making the choice that is right for you.
An incision is made at the edge of the areola under the breast or in the armpit. Difficulties in breast-feeding have been reported with some approaches.
The typical recovery time following breast augmentation is 3 to 4 weeks. During this period, a contouring garment or bra is often used. Pain is controlled with prescription medication for the first days, up to a week. Generally, over the counter pain medications should suffice. In some cases, stool softeners may be helpful if a prescription narcotic is required. Bruising and swelling can become noticeable 3 or 4 days after the procedure. This is a normal part of the recovery process, and will subside within 2 to 3 weeks following the procedure.
It is important to understand that any form of surgery carries a certain amount of risk. Although these risks are uncommon, it is imperative that these be discussed with your surgeon. Below are some of the potential risks with a breast augmentation procedure:
*Formation of a fibrous capsule around ANY foreign body is a normal part of your body's healing. Excessive formation resulting in deformity of the implant is termed a capsular contracture.
For a more detailed discussion on expected results, recovery, and specific complications, please see your individual surgeon.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Pain perception varies widely from individual to individual, but in most cases, the post-operative pain is underestimated. New techniques have been developed to help with this problem. Also, early in the post-operative period, the implants may sit high on the chest wall, usually for 4 to 8 weeks, but this will settle over time. Many women comment that initially, the breasts feel very firm, but will begin to soften over time, although they will never be the same consistency as natural breast tissue. Finally, bruising in the arm pit or abdominal region can occur, and in some cases, can be significant with the trans-axillary or TUBA procedures.
Breast augmentation surgery is not covered under the Canadian Medical Plan and the final cost for such procedures will be at the discretion of the plastic surgeon performing the procedure. The average cost of this procedure, published by the Canadian Society of Aesthetic (Cosmetic) Plastic Surgery (CASPS) is $6000 (with a range of $6000-$12,000). Costs will vary based on the implant type used.
This website does not cover all of the medical knowledge related to breast augmentation nor does it deal with all possible risks and complications of surgery on the breasts. Although it is designed to provide the patient with greater depth of information in some areas, it is not intended to substitute for the in depth discussion between patient and surgeon that must occur prior to any surgical procedure.
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