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Breast augmentation

Breast augmentation, or augmentation mammoplasty, is a surgical procedure to increase the size, shape or fullness of a woman's breasts and correct breast asymmetry, enhancing both body harmony and self-confidence. Breast augmentation is one of the most frequently performed cosmetic surgery procedures together with liposculpture.

Preparing for breast augmentation

The surgeon analyses the main features of the breast describing achievable changes of shape and size in order to choose the implants to use and the best surgical procedures about the incision ( inframammary, periareolar or transaxillary ) and the placement of the prostheses (dual-plane, submuscular, subglandular ). Breast implants consist of a sac of silicone elastomer filled with highly cohesive gel that helps the implant maintain its anatomical shape to rebuild or increase the natural appearance of the breast. Nowadays, round shaped implants are discouraged because of their lack of naturalness; however, there is such a wide variety of choice among the most versatile breast implants that patients can customize their surgery. To prevent a less natural appearance, the surgeon measures the base of the breast to place a smaller anatomic implant that will not be detectable or visible in the outer edges. The pre-surgical assessment is a very important factor to exclude possible complications (high blood pressure, bleeding or scarring problems) that could undermine the surgical outcome; therefore, it is important to follow any advice about diet, use of medications, cigarettes and alcohol.

Breast augmentation procedure

Breast augmentation is performed under local anaesthesia with sedation in day surgery or general anaesthesia with an overnight hospital stay. Incisions are practiced in the inframammary fold, around the areola, in the armpit region for the rapid insertion of the implants that change the appearance of the breast. In “dual plane” procedure, implants are placed beneath the pectoralis major muscle without affecting the mammary gland and the sensitivity of the nipple areolar region; this method allows patients to do breast examinations any time and safely. The procedure lasts less than 30 minutes and requires a medical bra to wear for a few days.

Postoperative care instructions

Breast augmentation is carried out in day surgery or with an overnight hospital stay and requires a rest period of 48 hours. Three days after surgery, it is possible to restart a normal life and be able to drive. About two days after surgery, patients could experience swelling, bruising and soreness in the breast area, even though, within three weeks, they can gradually resume all normal activities, including sports. Breast augmentation generally gives very good results fulfilling both patients and surgeon. The result achieved is usually long lasting even if not completely permanent, as subject to gravity and natural ageing. The replacement of breast implants could be a personal choice (in case of breast implant upgrades) or a necessity due to possible complications (e.g. capsular contracture) and can occur within a few years or after 10-20 years following the first operation.

Scars in breast augmentation

Scars for breast augmentation incisions are generally hidden in the inframammary fold or along the edge of the areola.


Who undergoes breast augmentation?

Breast augmentation is designed to enhance surgically breast size to balance the proportions of the body. It can correct a reduction in breast volume after pregnancy or significant weight loss, helps balance a difference in size or implemented as a reconstructive technique following an invasive mastectomy.

Is there any age limit to undergo breast augmentation?

It is advisable to wait the full development of the breast, reached during puberty.

Is it possible to combine breast augmentation with other cosmetic procedures?

Augmentation mammoplasty can be performed alone or in combination with other procedures such as mastopexy, tummy tuck, liposuction or other cosmetic surgery.

Are there risks and / or complications for this type of plastic surgery?

Breast augmentation surgery is relatively simple, and, if carried out by qualified surgeons who perform plastic surgery procedures in accredited facilities, usually gives excellent results; special attention must be paid to the quality of the implanted material, its shape (round or anatomical) and its manufacturer.  A possible complication of breast enhancement is the capsular contracture, or “prosthesis rejection”. The body creates a capsule of fibrous scar tissue around the implant as a natural reaction to any foreign object surgically implanted into the body and can be painful, discomforting and might distort the aesthetic results of mammoplasty. Infections may occur rarely together with hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity in the nipple areolar region, dislocation of the implants or a marked shrinkage of the breast. It is important to follow carefully the instructions provided by the surgeon before and after surgery to decrease the occurrence of complications. Smoking can increase the risk of complications and delays healing; therefore, smokers should reduce their cigarette consumption before and after surgery. Breast implants do not cause or increase the incidence of breast cancer and autoimmune or connective tissue diseases; indeed, according to the most recent medical research, there is a lower incidence of breast cancer in women with breast implants.

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