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Breast augmentation can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but it won't necessarily change your looks to match your ideal or cause other people to treat you differently. Before you decide to have surgery think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.
The best candidates for breast augmentation are women who are looking for improvement not perfection in the way they look. If you're physically healthy and realistic in your expectations you may be a good candidate. You may also want to consider how important this really is... and look to accept your body the way it is.
Types of Implants
A breast implant is a silicone shell filled with either silicone gel, composite or a saltwater solution known as saline.
Breast Augmentation Risks
When It Does Not Go Well
Occasionally, breast implants may break or leak. Rupture can occur as a result of injury or even from the normal compression and movement of your breast and implant, causing the man-made shell to leak. If a saline-filled implant breaks, the implant will deflate in a few hours and the salt water will be harmlessly absorbed by the body.
Planning the Surgery
In your initial consultation, your surgeon should evaluate your health and explain which surgical techniques are most appropriate for you, based on the condition of your breasts and skin tone. If your breasts are sagging, your doctor may also recommend a breast lift. Be sure to discuss your expectations frankly with your surgeon. He or she should be equally frank with you, describing your alternatives and the risks and limitations of each.
You may want to ask your surgeon for a copy of the manufacturer's insert that comes with the implant he or she will use, just so you are fully informed about it. Also, be sure to tell your surgeon if you smoke, and if you're taking any medications, vitamins or other drugs.
Your surgeon should also explain the type of anesthesia to be used, the type of facility where the surgery will be performed and the costs involved. Because most insurance companies do not consider breast augmentation to be medically necessary, carriers generally do not cover the cost of this procedure.
Having the Surgery
The method of inserting and positioning your implant will depend on your anatomy and your surgeon's recommendation. The incision can be made either in the crease where the breast meets the chest, around the areola (the dark skin surrounding the nipple), or in the armpit. Working through the incision, the surgeon will lift your breast tissue and skin to create a pocket, either directly behind the breast tissue or underneath your chest wall muscle (the pectoral muscle). The implants are then centered beneath your nipples.
Some surgeons believe that putting the implants behind your chest muscle may reduce the potential for capsular contracture. Drainage tubes may be used for several days following the surgery. This placement may also interfere less with breast examination by mammogram than if the implant is placed directly behind the breast tissue.
Placement behind the muscle however, may be more painful for a few days after surgery than placement directly under the breast tissue. You'll want to discuss the pros and cons of these alternatives with your doctor before surgery to make sure you fully understand the implications of the procedure he or she recommends for you. The surgery usually takes one to two hours to complete. Stitches are used to close the incisions, which may also be taped for greater support. A gauze bandage may be applied over your breasts to help with healing.
Follow Up is Important
Regular examination by your plastic surgeon and routine mammograms for those in the appropriate age groups at prescribed intervals will help assure that any complications, if they occur, can be detected early and treated.
Finding a Reputable Surgeon
To find a plastic surgeon who performs this procedure, visit the online referral service of the ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons). ASPS, founded in 1931, is the largest plastic surgery organization in the world and the foremost authority on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. All ASPS physician members are certified by the ABPS (American Board of Plastic Surgery) or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.