means increasing breast size. This is achieved by placing silicone breast
implants under the breast tissue to improve fullness and volume. Breast
implants come in a range of sizes, although most women require implants
in the range of 200cc to 300cc - cc is short for cubic centimetre and
therefore 1cc = 1ml.The difference between one bra cup size and another
is about 120cc. Therefore, breast implants of 240ccs would increase the
breast size by two cup sizes (i.e A cup to C cup, or B cup to D cup).
These figures are just a rough guide and individuals may vary depending
on their height and weight.
give the most natural and realistic feel available. They are made from
a silicone covering which is filled with semi-solid silicone much like
the consistency of Turkish delight. Silicone implants are considered safe,
and there is no evidence that they cause connective-tissue disease or
breast cancer. There is actually some evidence that women with breast
augmentation may have a lower incidence of breast cancer than the normal
population. More information on this topic is available at the department
of health website - www. doh.gov.uk. (search site for "breast implants").
filled) implants are not used often in the UK and are subject to problems
such as high rupture rates, unnatural feel, and rippling of the implant.
For these reasons not many UK-based surgeons will use saline breast implants.
In addition, the covering membrane of the saline implants is actually
made out of silicone!
Breast augmentation is a price-sensitive market, and in an effort to reduce cost some surgeons use cheap, inferior quality implants, which are more likely to leak or deteriorate. Top quality, high end implants made by Mentor, Allergan, or Nagor may cost slightly more than other implants, but are superior and less problematic in the future. Breast implants by Mentor, Allergan, or Nagor are the only type used for these reasons.
The aim of
breast augmentation is to increase the volume of the breast, whilst keeping
the end result looking natural. Too big implants relative to the size
of the patient tend to look unnatural, and are best avoided. Good results
are best achieved by using high quality silicone implants accurately placed
under the breast tissue, the size of which both the patient and surgeon
have agreed on before the operation.
There is nothing
special or complicated to be done by the patient. If you are on the oral
contraceptive pill you should continue to keep taking it, and inform the
surgeon or anaesthetist in the hospital. If you smoke it would be a good
ideal to stop for a month before and two weeks after as this will improve
wound healing and your post-operative recovery. It is a good idea to buy
a soft sports bra (without wire) about 2 cup sizes larger than your natural
breast size and bring it to the hospital on your day of surgery. In addition,
it would be advisable to stop any herbal medicines and avoid aspirin or
ibuprofen-like drugs for 2 weeks before the operation.
The operation itself
You will come
into the hospital on the morning of surgery. The operation is performed
under general anaesthetic and takes just over an hour. The implants are
inserted under the breast tissue though an incision in the natural skin
crease below the breast, were the breast tissue joins the chest wall.
The wounds are closed with dissolving stitches and a light dressing applied.
In most cases drains are not required.
Post-operative follow-up and after care.
You are strongly
advised to stay in hospital overnight. All being well, you will be discharged
the following day with antibiotics and painkillers. It is import to leave
the dressing alone and wear the sports bra day and night. At between 5
and 7 days you will be seen in the clinic and the dressing removed and
the wound checked. It is important to rest and take it very easy for at
least 2 weeks after the operation. You wound be advised to take 2 weeks
off work and it is essential to avoid all sexual activity during this
period. The sports bra needs to be worn day and night for a month to give
the best result. Vigorous sport such as jogging or the gym should be avoided
for 6 weeks. A check up clinic appointment at 3 months after the surgery
will be arranged for you.
carry a risk of complications, although in breast surgery these are fortunately
low. There will be a scar under the breast that may be red and lumpy for
a few months but this usually settles down by itself. The risk of infection
and bleeding are between 1 and 2 % and precautions are taken to avoid
this with antibiotics and careful operating. Many patients will notice
that they have reduced sensation in the nipple. In 90% of patients, sensation
returns to normal in a few weeks, but in about 10% of cases the reduction
in nipple sensation is permanent. Breast augmentation should not interfere
with subsequent breast feeding.
All patients develop scar tissue around the breast implant itself, and
this is normal and does not interfere with the outcome. However, between
2 and 8% of women develop hard scar tissue known as a capsule. This may
deform the breast tissue over a number of years and make the implants
look less natural than they were. This is corrected by removing the old
breast implants along with the capsule and replacing the implants with
Many patients often ask how long implants last. There is no correct answer
for this question and it can vary from 10 years to over 25 years. What
is certain is that the implants do not last forever and if they will probably
need to be replaced at some point in a patient's lifetime. A reasonable
estimate of breast implant lifespan would be about 10 to 15 years.
is a relatively simple surgical procedure involving one overnight stay
in hospital, and about 2 weeks off work. The complication rate is low
and many patients are very happy with the final result.
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