What is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation sometimes referred to as a “breast aug” or “boob job” by patients, involves using breast implants or fat transfer to increase the size of your breasts. This procedure can also restore breast volume lost after weight reduction or pregnancy, achieve a more rounded breast shape or improve natural breast size asymmetry.
Breast augmentation is also referred to as augmentation mammoplasty. When fat from another part of the patient’s body is used to create the improved breast volume, the procedure is referred to as fat transfer breast augmentation.
What breast augmentation surgery can do?
- Increase fullness and projection of your breasts
- Improve the balance of breast and hip contours
- Enhance your self-image and self-confidence
Breast implants may also be used for breast reconstruction after mastectomy or injury.
What breast augmentation surgery can’t do?
Breast augmentation does not correct severely drooping breasts. A breast lift may be required along with a breast augmentation for sagging breasts to look fuller and lifted.
Breast lifting can often be done at the same time as your augmentation or may require a separate operation. Your plastic surgeon will assist you in making this decision.
Who is a good candidate for breast augmentation?
Breast augmentation is a deeply personal procedure, and it’s important that you’re doing it for yourself and not for someone else, even if that person has offered to pay for it. Patient satisfaction is high, specifically when they want the procedure themselves.
You may be a candidate for breast augmentation if:
- You are physically healthy and you aren’t pregnant or breastfeeding
- You have realistic expectations
- Your breasts are fully developed
- You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too small
- You are dissatisfied with your breasts losing shape and volume after pregnancy, weight loss, or with aging
- You are unhappy with the upper part of your breast appearing “empty”
- Your breasts are asymmetrical
- One or both breasts failed to develop normally or have an elongated shape
If you’re considering surgery, spend some time reviewing breast augmentation photos and learning about what to expect during recovery. Preparation ahead of time helps patients have reasonable expectations and a smoother recovery.
What should I expect during my breast augmentation recovery?
During your breast augmentation recovery, your breasts will be wrapped in gauze dressings and an elastic bandage or support bra will minimize swelling and support the breasts as they heal.
Immediately after surgery, you will be taken into a recovery area for close monitoring. You may be permitted to go home when you are stable for discharge, typically after an hour or so.
Before leaving, you will be given specific postoperative instructions for your breast implant recovery and a follow-up appointment with your plastic surgeon. You may also receive medications or a prescription, but many plastic surgeons prescribe postoperative medications in advance. Your prescribed medications may include pain pills and an antibiotic to prevent infection.
Wear your support garment (a bra or elastic band, called a bandeau) around the clock as instructed by your plastic surgeon. Some surgeons may ask patients to cleanse the incision sites and apply ointment, while others will ask their patients to keep tape or a bandage on. Instructions vary, so it’s important to follow all your plastic surgeon’s directions carefully.
Because it is possible to bleed into the pockets around the breast implants for the first several days, take it easy until you have permission to increase your activity level. Acute pain typically subsides after one to five days, but you may experience soreness and swelling for a few weeks. Resume exercise and normal activity, according to your plastic surgeon’s directions.
What should I expect during a consultation for breast augmentation?
During your breast augmentation consultation be prepared to discuss:
- Why you want breast augmentation surgery, your expectations, and the desired outcome
- Medical conditions, drug allergies, and previous medical treatments
- Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use
- Family history of breast cancer and results of any mammograms or previous biopsies
Your plastic surgeon will also:
- Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Examine and measure your breasts, including detailed measurements of their size and shape, skin quality, and placement of your nipples and areolas
- Take photographs
- Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes of breast augmentation and any risks or potential complications
It’s important to understand all aspects of your breast augmentation surgery. It’s natural to be nervous about it, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.