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Breast Augmentation

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Millions of women worldwide go under the surgeon's scalpel to enhance their breast size and shape. Breast augmentation surgery is carried out by skillful plastic surgeons for cosmetic and medical reasons. Find out how breast enhancement is carried out and what are the complications that can arise. It is essential that you consider all the issues and discuss with your surgeon before you decide on your course of action.


Breast Augmentation

Breast enlargement is probably the 2nd most common cosmetic surgical procedure for women in the US. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) reports that Breast Augmentation procedure was done for 313,327 women in the year 2014. What is more, in the recent past, Breast Enlargement has sharply increased by nearly 350% when compared with the base line year of 1992.

Almost 150,000 breast enlargement procedures are done per year as per the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. There is an interesting racial angle in this too : 95% of this figure is reportedly done by Caucasian women, 4 % by African women, while the last one percent of the procedure is done by Asian and other women.


Many women opt for surgical breast augmentation (Augmentation Mammoplasty) for various reasons -

  • Breast reconstruction following breast surgery (mastectomy)
  • Cosmetic procedure to enhance, shape or enhance the contour
  • To correct a perceived or real flaw
  • To balance the size or shape
  • Breast lift - mastopexy to increase size, firmness or to counter the effects of gravity

Breast reconstruction involves many - often confusing options. Breast implants of many types are available - saline, silicone gel or your own tissue transplanted from abdomen or elsewhere. A breast implant can ride up sometimes which necessitates massaging it down in place. Sometimes, the implants can leak fluid.

Saline leak will have little consequence other than a reducing breast size. But a leaking Silicone gel can result in some complications - like increased scar tissue or irregular shape of the breast.

Leaking silicone has been implicated in auto immune diseases such as arthritis and lupus in the past. But a detailed study has failed to establish the link conclusively. The advantage of a silicone implant is silicone offers normal weight and consistency similar to a natural breast.


Using the patient's own tissue for reconstructive surgery has none of the above mentioned issues. Outlined below are common breast augmentation methods using tissues from other parts of the patient's body.


TRAM Flap Augmentation Mammoplasty

TRAM Flap

This procedure uses the tissue - transverse rectus abdominis muscle (TRAM) located in the lower abdomen, between the waist and the pubic bone for adding/reconstructing the breasts. The actual procedure takes about 5 hours and the stay in the hospital need not be more than a few days - less than 4 days in many cases. This has the added bonus of a 'tummy tuck' as the extra flab from the lower abdomen is removed.


Latissimus Dorsi Flap

This procedure uses tissues taken from the back muscle that lies below the shoulder and behind the armpit. This method is probably easier than others as the flap is easily slipped around front, through a short tunnel in the skin, and put into position. This lends itself to achieving good results for women with smaller breasts as the tissue from the back muscles are just about adequate to shape a smaller breast. On the flip side, you may have asymmetry on the back.


Breast Enlargement


All surgical procedures involve certain risks and you must have realistic expectations of the outcome. Expecting perfection in shape and perfect size may not be realistic. Computer modeling is used to merge expectations with the final results. Many surgeons take the time and effort to review the before and after pictures of other patients in order to better clarify the expectations.

All augmentation procedure uses some form of implants as outlined above and each carries its own complications. Some women develop infections around the implants soon after the surgery - usually within a week.

This might require that the implants are removed for several days, or even months before reinsertion. Some women report that the sensation is nebulous after the implant. But mammograms require specialist technicians who has experience in X-raying breast implants. Generally younger women have denser breast tissue which may need undue pressure for X-raying, which can impact an implant.


Breast Augmentation Surgery

Common fallout of breast augmentation surgery is capsule contacture - a situation where the body forms a lining of live tissue around the breast implants. This may lead to hardening of the entire breast implant and an unnatural appearance. This complication in breast augmentation surgery is more likely to happen to women who contract transient germ contamination or those suffering from seroma or hematoma.


'Bottoming out' is another complication of breast augmentation surgery. The implants descend too low and make the nipple appear too high on the breast mount.


Breast Augmentation Cost

The average cost of breast augmentation surgery can range from $4000 to $10000. The costs can vary substantially between different regions of the U.S. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery's survey, the average cost of breast augmentation was around $6700. The costs include the surgeon's fees, anesthesia, implants and cost of hospitalization. Depending upon the surgeon, the cost of his/her fees can be in the region of 3500 to 5000 US dollars. Usually the procedure of surgical breast augmentation is not covered by insurance unless the procedure itself is part of the breast reconstruction process after a mastectomy.


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Breast Augmentation
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