By Dr. Sunil Malla Buzar Barua, Endocrinology
Breast augmentation surgery increases or restores breast size using silicone gel implants, saline implants or in some cases, fat transfer. One of the most popular and frequently performed aesthetic surgery procedures, breast augmentation has a long and successful track record in satisfying women who wish to enhance, regain or restore balance to their figures.
When to Consider Breast Augmentation-
- If you want a better proportioned or more appealing figure.
- If you wish your clothes fit better.
- When pregnancy, weight loss or aging has affected the size and shape of your breasts.
- To restore symmetry if one of your breasts is smaller than the other.
Breast enhancement surgery is mainly done using:
- Implants: While performing breast surgery using implants, the surgeon will make an incision, lift up the breast tissue, create a pocket in your chest, and place the implant there. Generally, the breast implants are of two types, namely silicone and saline. Although both implants consist of an outer shell made of silicone, the difference lies in the internal content of the implant. Saline implants contain sterile or saline water, whereas silicone breast implants are generally filled with silicone gel.
- Fat Transfer: For breast enhancement techniques using fat transfer, liposuction is used to take fat from a part of your body that generally has a higher content of fat. This includes the abdomen or the thighs. This extracted fat is processed and then inserted into the breasts.
The safety of the type of breast enhancements depends on:
- Ruptures: Ruptures are risks with both forms of breast implant. The ruptures may result due to surgical error or a fall. Rupture of a saline implant only results in the leakage of harmless and absorbable saltwater. On the other hand, rupture of silicone implants causes leakage of silicone that tends to remain in the body and sometimes, may spread out of the breast and into the nearby lymph nodes.
- Aesthetic Results: The look and feel of silicone breast implants is given more preference because they are similar to real breast tissues. Saline implants tend to cause rippling of the skin.
- Surgical Differences: Saline implants can be filled after implanting. Hence, they require a smaller incision as compared to pre-filled silicone implants. Additionally, adjustment of saline implants after surgery is possible. However, the standard size of pre-filled silicone implants cannot be altered.
- Eligibility: Age criteria for women undergoing breast enhancements using saline implants is 18 and above, while for silicone implants, the minimum age is 22.
- The individual is kept under observation for a few days post the breast enhancement surgery. The breasts are covered in gauze dressings for a week before the patient is discharged.
- After discharge, one is advised to wear a support bra for the first few weeks till the implants set in.