Breast Augmentation

The breasts can lose volume and their shape can change after weight loss, childbirth or as a result of aging. Breast augmentation can enhance the size of the breast as well as give you a better proportioned figure.

Your plastic surgeon will examine your breasts and take into consideration factors such as the size and shape of your breasts, the quality of your skin and the placement of your nipples. If your breasts are sagging, a breast lift may also be recommended.

Breast implants can makes it more difficult to read mammograms. All women have a risk of breast cancer and you will need to consider this prior to making a decision about whether or not to have implants.

Your plastic surgeon will discuss cancer detection with you.

Implants can be placed under the chest muscle, or between the chest muscle and the breast tissue. This decision has many advantages and disadvantages with each choice.

The same goes for the choice of the possible incision location through which to place the implant. Your plastic surgeon will discuss implant placement location and location of the incision with you.

Breast augmentation is usually performed on an outpatient basis so it is important to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you the first night following surgery.

Individual factors and personal preferences will help you and your surgeon determine your appropriate breast size and the location of incisions.

Keep in mind that in general, the larger the implant, the greater the risk of complications.

Although non-cohesive silicone gel-filled implants can be used for cosmetic breast enlargement in Canada, most women are currently receiving saline-filled implants which consist of a silicone shell filled with sterile salt water. Recently, new cohesive silicone gel implants have become available in Canada. Unlike the silicone in regular silicone gel implants, cohesive gel does not seep, run or shift.

Silicone gel implants tend to feel more like real breast tissue than saline implants. Silicone gel implants do not ripple or fold as much as saline implants sometimes do. Your plastic surgeon will discuss the type of implants available to you. Once the incision is made either under the breast, in the axilla, or at the edge of the areola, the surgeon creates a pocket into which the implant will be inserted. This pocket is made either directly behind the breast tissue or underneath the pectoral muscle (located between the breast tissue and chest wall).

After surgery, some discoloration and swelling will occur, but this will disappear quickly. Most residual swelling resolves within a month. After surgery, you can return to work within 3-7 days.

Some potential complications of breast augmentation include infection, reactions to anesthesia, and blood accumulation that may need to be drained surgically. Although rare, an infection may require temporary removal of the implant. Changes in nipple or breast sensation may result from breast augmentation surgery, though they usually are temporary.

When a breast implant is inserted, a scar capsule forms around it as part of the natural healing process. The scar capsule may tighten and compress the implant, causing the breast to feel firmer than normal. This is called capsular contracture. Capsular contracture can occur to varying degrees. If it is severe, it can cause discomfort or changes in the breast's appearance. In such cases, more surgery may be needed to modify or remove the scar tissue, or perhaps remove or replace the implant.

Breast implants are not lifetime devices. They cannot be expected to last forever. Surgery may be required at some point in your life to replace your implants, should they rupture or deflate.

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