The ideal candidates to undergo breast surgery are healthy people who are emotionally stable and understand what results to expect from a surgery. Many women want a breast augmentation after a pregnancy or breastfeeding period that has resulted in empty or drooping breasts. Although there is no risk that the augmentation can affect future pregnancies, you should be aware that your breasts might droop again after a new pregnancy.
In the first visit, the plastic surgeon will assess the size and shape of your breasts, the firmness of your skin and your general health state. A breast screening will also be performed and in some cases a static mammography will as well be required. You will be informed about the different surgical procedures, and your plastic surgeon will discuss with you the shape and size of your breasts after the surgery as well as the options or the combination of procedures that are appropriate for you. You must speak sincerely and frankly about your expectations, so that the surgeon can also be frank and discuss with you the available alternatives for your problem, informing you about the risks and limitations of each and every one of them. You will also be informed about the kind of anaesthetics that will be used, about the need of being admitted in the clinic where the surgery will be performed and about the cost of the procedure.
The procedures covered by the National Health Service do not include breast augmentation for aesthetic reasons; however, it does cover important mamma asymmetries and reconstruction after breast tumour surgeries.
Remember to let your surgeon know if you are a smoker or take any medicine or vitamins, and to inform them about the number of previous pregnancies and if you are thinking of becoming pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not hesitate to ask any doubt you may have, especially those related to your expectations.
You will be given instructions on how to prepare for the surgery, including some rules about food and liquid intake, smoking and the taking or adjustment of current medication, including vitamins and iron supplements. Blood transfusion is not necessary in breast augmentation procedures. Be sure to arrange for someone to take you home after surgery and, if necessary, to help you out for a few days.
Breast augmentation surgery is performed in an operating room, in a clinic or hospital. Admission is normally required, being discharged the following day. Breast surgery is performed under general anaesthetic, so the patient is asleep during the procedure. In very specific cases, it can be performed under local anaesthetic with sedation.
Breast augmentation procedures are carried out through a small incision that, depending on the patient’s anatomy and the plastic surgeon’s choices, can be placed around the areola, in the crease under the breast or in the armpit. The incision is designed with the aim of making the resulting scar almost invisible. Through this incision, the breast tissue is lifted and a pocket is created in which the implant will be placed, either directly behind the breast tissue or under the pectoral muscle. Some drainage tubes will be inserted which will be withdrawn after a few days. Your breasts will be wrapped in a dressing or a bandage. The procedure lasts about 1 or 2 hours.
It is quite common to feel a little tired after undergoing breast surgery, but you can return to normal life after 24-48 hours. Most discomfort can be easily relieved with the medication prescribed by your plastic surgeon, although your breasts may hurt for a couple of weeks. The dressing or bandage will be removed in a few days, being replaced by a support bra that you must wear as indicated by your plastic surgeon. It is usual to feel burning in your nipples for the first couple of weeks. The stitches will be removed after 7 to 14 days. The oedema does not disappear completely until 3 to 6 weeks after the procedure.
After a breast augmentation you can go back to work after a few days, depending on the kind of activity you do. Follow your plastic surgeon’s directions on what kind of exercises you can do; you must avoid lifting objects above your head for 2 or 3 weeks. Your breasts may feel more sensitive for 2 to 3 weeks, so it is advisable to avoid intense physical contact for 3 to 4 weeks. At first, the scars will look pinkish, and their appearance will continually improve after 6 weeks. The mammographic screenings indicated for every woman’s age can still be performed, but you must inform about the existence of an implant. The procedure will not limit your suitability for breastfeeding if you become pregnant.
Breast augmentation surgery is a safe technique in the hands of a qualified plastic surgeon. There may be, however, risks and complication associated to it, as there are in any other kind of surgery. The most common problem, capsular contracture, occurs if the internal scar around the implant begins to tighten excessively, making the breast become harder. It can be treated in different ways. Sometimes it might be necessary to remove the internal scar and sometimes the implant might even have to be replaced.
Another complication normally associated to any surgery is bruising, which may sometimes require further surgery to get rid of accumulated blood. A small percentage of women may suffer from infection around the implant, which normally happens the first weeks after the surgery. Some women find their nipples are more or less sensitive or completely desensitised. These alterations tend to be temporary. There is no evidence that breast implants affect fertility, pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Implant rupture is extraordinarily rare. The implant might rupture and the contents of the capsule will leak out. If you have a saline implant, any leakage is quickly reabsorbed without causing any damage, and your breast will reduce its volume in a few hours. If you have a silicone implant, there are two possibilities: if the capsule is not ruptured, you will not feel any difference; if it is ruptured, especially when submitted to high pressure, the silicone leaks out reducing the volume of the breast. In both cases, further surgery will be required in order to replace the implant.
It has not been scientifically proven that implants may cause breast cancer or connective tissue disorders. The placement of an implant does not stop you from having mammographic screenings.
The results after a breast augmentation surgery are normally very satisfactory for the patient. Follow-up visits with your plastic surgeon and regular mammograms (when suitable depending on the patient’s age) will ensure the early detection and solution of any complication that might arise. The decision of undergoing a breast augmentation surgery is very personal and not everybody will understand your reasons. If you are satisfied with it, then, the surgery will have been successful.
– Information obtained from www.secpre.org