Breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures. Breast augmentation can significantly or subtly enhance the appearance of the breasts. Modern-day procedures are not only capable of adding size, but various techniques can change the shape and feel of the breasts as well. There are many reasons that women choose to undergo breast augmentation, such as reconstructing the breasts after a mastectomy for breast cancer, fixing congenital asymmetry of the breasts, or boosting self-confidence. What breast augmentation will not do is correct breasts that are already sagging, which is an issue fit for a breast lift.
There are many kinds of breast augmentation. The idea of breast augmentation has been around since the 1890s, but the modern methods as we know them came about in 1961, when the first silicone implants were developed. Today, patients have a wide variety of choices between silicone-filled or saline-filled implants of various sizes, textures and shapes. Both have silicone shells (outer casings), but saline implants are filled with saline — a sterile saltwater solution. Saline and silicone implants offer different benefits for different patients’ needs.
One of the most modern types of breast implant is the recently FDA-approved “gummy bear” breast implant. This implant is said to have the most natural feel and appearance and poses little risk if it is ruptured. However, saline implants still account for a large portion of implants selected, as they can be inserted empty and filled afterwards. This is beneficial because surgical incisions can be smaller and the implant size can be adjusted. Saline implants are available to women 18 and older, but if you are interested in silicone-filled implants, you will have to wait until you’re at least 21 years of age.
One of the major considerations is the surgical technique involved. For many patients who are undergoing augmentation for cosmetic purposes, scarring is a significant concern. Breast augmentation is an invasive surgical procedure, which means that incisions will be necessary, and you will need to undergo local or general anesthesia. There are four main surgical techniques, and they are classified by the location where the incision is made.
The incision types are inframammary, transaxillary, transumbilical and periareolar. The inframammary technique is the most common procedure, and it is characterized with an incision along the inframammary fold — the underside of the breast where it meets the chest cavity. The transaxillary technique is an incision that minimizes the appearance of scarring with an incision in the upper area of the armpit. Transumbilical breast augmentation, also known as TUBA, requires an incision around the belly button; it has minimal impact on milk production but is considerably more difficult. The periareolar incision is a technique that has an incision around the areola; scarring is hidden, but there is some risk to milk production and tissue sensation.
There are other considerations to make, especially if you are considering augmentation as a result of a mastectomy. The timing of the procedure and the need for tissue expanders may come into play depending on your particular case.
Feel free to contact Dr. Berhane if you have additional questions about breast augmentation or would like to schedule a consultation or examination for your tailored look breast augmentation. Contact us today for a consultation.