Breast Augmentation (Enlargement)
Breast augmentation is an option for patients who feel like their breast are too small or unequal or would like to regain the shape of the breasts following pregnancy and breastfeeding of weight loss.
The operation involves increasing the size and fullness of the breast by placing synthetic implants in the breast in order to enhance the volume. Different types of implants are available.
- Saline: Implants are filled with a sterile salt water solution. Saline is harmless to the body and if the implant was to rupture or leak the saline would be reabsorbed by the body.
- Silicone gel: There is no evidence of silicone causing breast cancer however there is a small risk of developing a rare type of cancer in the scarring tissue around the implant which is called atypical large cell lymphoma (ALCL). The risk of this is 1 in 30,000 and is highly curable.
The shape of implants can be spherical or anatomical and either smooth or textured. Compared to textured implants, the smooth implants are less likely to cause ripping which is a wavy feeling of the breast however they are more likely to cause scarring and capsule formation which is hardening around the implant.
- The surgical incision for the procedure can be placed in different places. The surgeon will discuss with you where the scars will be prior to the operation. In the majority of cases it will be hidden from view.
- After the incisions are made, the implant will be placed and positioned either under the muscle on the chest wall (subpectoral) or under the breast itself (submammary). This will also be discussed with you before the operation.
- After the implants have been inserted and are in correct position, the skin will be stitched and covered with a dressing.
- Main complications include infection, blood clot formation, capsule formation, reduced breast sensation and silicone leak.
- A few days after the surgery it is normal to feel tired and have discomfort around the breast. The discomfort can be controlled with simple pain killers. The surgical bra which is usually given to patients should be worn for a week after surgery and following this a sport bra is advised for another 3 weeks. It can take up to 2-3 months before swelling comes down.