While a few decades ago, women relied on genes and exercises to determine the size of their chests, today’s women can increase the size and shape of their breasts under the knife with a surgical procedure called breast augmentation or augmentation mammoplasty.
During this procedure, breast implants are surgically placed under the chest muscle or breast tissue. For most women, getting breast implants is a way to boost their self-confidence and make them feel prettier. This may be because they think their breasts are too small, one breast is smaller than the other, or perhaps pregnancy changed the appearance of the breasts. For other women, breast augmentation is needed to reconstruct a breast following breast cancer and a mastectomy or other medical conditions.
Breast augmentation is generally a safe procedure with few negative side effects. However, there are risks involved and possible complications. Before women choose to undergo breast augmentation surgery, here is what they should prepare themselves for.
Following surgery, you can expect breast swelling and soreness for a few weeks. There may be numbness, bruising, or burning in the nipples during the healing process. Scars from the procedure will be especially noticeable at first, though they will never disappear completely. The darker your skin, the more visible your scars will be. And your breasts will be sensitive to movement.
Expect a few weeks to pass before you feel normal again and resume regular activities. If redness appears, if the breast feels warm, or if a fever develops, there may be infection. Call the doctor as soon as possible.
As with any major surgery, breast augmentation comes with possible risks. These include infection, breast pain, scar tissue that changes the shape of the breast or causes pain, possible lifelong changes in breast or nipple sensation, or leakage or rupture of the implant. If any of these complications occur, a second surgery may be required to replace or remove the implants.
Many women are concerned about possible long-term health risks associated with implants. However, while long-term studies are currently ongoing, research hasn’t determined a link between breast implants and disease.
Before choosing to get breast implants, there are a number of important factors to consider.
First of all, breast implants don’t last forever. Most likely, you will have to undergo the surgery and recovery a second time to remove or replace the implants. If your implants require surgical removal, your breast skin will most likely appear wrinkly, droopy, or dimpled. In this case, you may choose to replace the implants or undergo a surgical breast lift to remove the excess skin and change the position of the nipple. Second, if your breasts are saggy, getting implants won’t help. If sagging is your problem, you may want to consider a breast lift as well as implants.
Third, if you plan on breast-feeding anytime following breast augmentation, there is a good chance it will be a difficult and challenging task.
A fourth consideration to think of is your routine mammogram. Implants create a challenge for the clarity and scope of mammograms. Therefore, women with implants need to make sure their mammogram technician is highly trained and experienced.
Lastly, unless your breast augmentation is medically necessary, insurance will not cover the high costs. The cost of breast augmentation usually runs between $5,000 and $10,000. Be prepared to pay for all expenses as well as future complications.
Whether or not to undergo breast augmentation is a difficult decision. Keep realistic expectations as you consider the end goal of augmentation. Most women are pleased with the outcome and feel prettier. But don’t expect perfection or you could be disappointed. Remember your results may look great initially, but won’t last forever. Find a doctor who you trust and who can explain the risks and benefits. Knowing what to expect will help you make a confident decision.