Breast implants allow women to have larger, fuller breasts. She may choose to do this for cosmetic reasons to enhance her self-image and self-confidence or for reconstructive purposes, such as after mastectomy for breast cancer.
In this article we will focus only on breast augmentation for now. If a woman has severely drooping breasts, a breast augmentation will not be able to correct this so a breast lift may be required for breasts to look fuller and lifted.
Breast lifting can often be done at the same time as your augmentation. Your plastic surgeon will help you decide what’s best for you.
Am I a Good Candidate for Breast Implants?
Getting a breast augmentation is a very personal decision, it’s important that the motivations behind getting implants be personal as well. If you decide to get a breast augmentation it should be because you want it and not because someone asks you to get it. Patients are usually very happy with the results, especially when they want the procedure themselves.
You may be a candidate for breast augmentation surgery if:
- You’re healthy and aren’t pregnant or breastfeeding
- It bothers you to have small breasts
- You have fully developed breasts
- You’re unhappy with your breasts losing shape and volume after pregnancy, weight loss, or with aging
- Your breasts are asymmetrical
If you’re considering surgery, you should review breast augmentation photos and learn what to expect during recovery, this way you will be able to have more reasonable expectations and a smoother recovery.
How do I choose the right type of Breast Implants?
If you’re considering breast implants, you’re probably wondering how to choose the right type of implants for you. Here’s some help to guide you in your decision.
What’s the difference between saline and silicone breast implants?
Saline and silicone breast implants both have an outer silicone shell. The implants differ in material and consistency, however.
Saline breast implants
Saline implants are filled with sterile salt water. They’re inserted empty, and then filled once they’re in place.
Saline breast implants are available to women 18 and older for breast augmentation and to women of any age for breast reconstruction.
Silicone breast implants
Silicone implants are pre-filled with silicone gel — a thick, sticky fluid that closely mimics the feel of human fat. Most women feel that silicone breast implants look and feel more like natural breast tissue.
Silicone breast implants are available to women 22 and older for breast augmentation and to women of any age for breast reconstruction.
What are the risks of Breast Implants?
Although it’s a cosmetic procedure, breast implant surgery poses certain risks, such as:
- Breast pain
- Changes in nipple and breast sensation, usually temporary
- Scar tissue forming and hardening in the area around the implant
- Problems with the size or shape of the implants (for example, the breasts may not be symmetrical)
It is also possible for implants to rupture and leak. If a saline implant ruptures, the leaking saline solution will be absorbed by your body without posing any health risks, but you’ll probably need surgery to remove the silicone shell. If you wish, a new implant can likely be inserted at the same time.
A silicone leak may stay inside the implant shell or leak outside of the shell. When a saline implant ruptures, it will deflate. But silicone breast implants may cause no obvious symptoms when they rupture. This is called silent rupture.
Recovery after Breast Implants
Your breasts will be wrapped with gauze dressings after the surgery. You may have drainage tubes, which will be removed in a few days. You will need to wear a support bra to minimize swelling and support your breasts as they heal.
You’ll need to take it easy for a few days and avoid any heavy lifting for up to six weeks after getting your implants.
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen may help relieve discomfort. Your doctor may also prescribe pain medication for you.
You will probably have some swelling in the area where the surgery was done. Over time, the swelling should ease and the scars will fade.
Considerations after Breast Augmentation Surgery
Breast implants are not guaranteed to last a lifetime. Some women will need to get them replaced if they have complications or if the size and shape of their breasts change over time.
Women who decide to get silicone gel-filled implants will need to get an MRI scan three years after the implant surgery and then MRI scans about every two years to check for silent rupture. If your implants rupture, you will need to have them removed or replaced.
Having breast implants can make it more difficult to get a mammogram, but special X-ray views can be done. There is a chance breast implants may make you more likely to get breast cancer. Breast implants also may make it harder for you to breastfeed.