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Breast Augmentation Basics

By Lana Hampton

Breast augmentation has been the subject of much debate, and much has been said for and against it. Understanding the definition is, therefore, important. Breast augmentation, technically known as augmentation mammoplasty, is usually carried out to increase breast volume (by one or two bra cup sizes) and enhance its shape following surgery.

Often, after weight loss, childbirth, or simply due to aging, breasts lose volume and shape. Also, many women go for breast enlargement in order to have a fuller bustline. Breast augmentation can be performed at any age after the breasts are developed; however, federal regulation prohibits this procedure for women below 18 years of age if it’s done for aesthetic reasons alone.

Breast tissue and skin is lifted to create a pocket for each implant. The implant is generally inserted directly under the breast tissue or beneath the chest wall muscle. The surgical incisions are made in the breast crease, around the nipple, or in the armpit to keep scars as inconspicuous as possible. After surgery, breasts appear fuller and more natural in tone and contour. Scars fade with time.

It’s also vital to know about breast implant material and the process. Breast implants are generally silicone shells filled with either silicone gel or sterile saline water. Concerns regarding the safety of silicone breast implants have also given rise to some other gel-filled implants.

Advantage of using a saline-filled implant is that it requires only a small incision (less than an inch) underneath the breast, just above the crease, for implantation. Another possible location for the incision is around the lower edge of the areola (pigmented skin area surrounding the nipple). A third alternative is a small incision within the armpit where a pocket is created behind the breast tissue or underneath the pectoral muscle for the implant to be inserted.

The positive aftereffects of breast augmentation are numerous. Among these are: positive aesthetic results and substantial psychological boost; quick return to normal activities; no risk of breast cancer, autoimmune disease, or any systemic illness; no negative effect on pregnancy or ability to breast-feed.

The negative aftereffects include: changes in nipple or breast sensation; post surgery, tightening of the scar may cause the breast to feel firmer than normal; breast implants are temporary and saline implant rupture is normal, the contents being absorbed; pregnancy can alter breast size and affect the long-term results of breast augmentation.

After all is said and done, breast augmentation is a very personal decision. However, it does improve the sense of a woman’s self-fulfillment, and has been shown to increase women’s confidence through a better self-image. If a woman has made an informed decision and has fully accepted the risks and responsibility of such a surgical procedure, breast augmentation can indeed be a positive experience.

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