All you need to know about breast augmentation
What is breast augmentation?
Breast augmentation — also known as a mammoplasty — is a kind of plastic surgery that increases breast size by lifting, placing breast implants, or performing a fat transfer under the breast tissue or chest muscles.
Women have long used this method to achieve a rounder and perkier breast and as a way to restore the volume, size, shape, or fullness of the breast after aging, significant weight reduction, pregnancy, breastfeeding, or pregnancy.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that in 2018, there were 313,735 breast augmentations procedures in the United States alone, a 48% increase compared to the year 2000.
This procedure is typically performed with breast implants, which are available in a range of diameters, volumes, and projections (how far it projects from the chest wall), and your surgeon can suggest a size that’s most appropriate for your body and goals.
What are the benefits of breast augmentation?
A recent study from the University of Florida found that breast enlargement through cosmetic surgery boosts women's self-esteem and their feelings about their sexuality by restoring symmetry and sizing.
What types of breast augmentation procedures are available?
Breast implants and breast lift are the most common types of breast augmentation surgery.
Moreover, there are two basic types of breast implants: saline and silicone gel.
Saline breast implants are filled with sterile saltwater, provide a uniform shape, firmness, and feel, and are FDA-approved for augmentation in women age 18 or older.
This type of medical device can yield good-to-excellent results of increased breast size, smoother hemisphere-contour, and realistic texture.
Silicone breast implants are filled with silicone gel in a smooth or textured surface and feel a bit more like natural breast tissue.
Recently, textured implants have been linked to a higher risk of BIA-ALCL, a rare type of lymphoma, according to research published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. As of July 2019, textured implants manufactured by Allergan were recalled by the FDA.
Gummy bear breast implants are teardrop-shaped, gel-based implants that have more projection at the bottom, and maintain their shape even if the implant shell is broken.
Placement of gummy bear implants requires a slightly longer incision in the skin.
A breast lift — also known as mastopexy — is a surgical procedure that raises the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast lifts have grown 70% since 2000, outpacing breast implants 2-to-1.
The procedure aims for a breast profile that is more youthful and uplifted after losing skin elasticity, especially after pregnancy, significant weight loss, and breastfeeding.
Women seek a lift to boost their self-image and confidence after noticing sagging breasts, downward-pointing nipples, and if one of the breasts falls lower than the other.
The procedure is often combined with breast implants to restore lost volume.
Augmentation can also be done via breast fat transfer from your abdomen or thighs.
Who is an ideal candidate for breast augmentation?
While the decision to get breast implants is elective and can be extremely rewarding, patients should always research whether or not this procedure is a good fit for them.
The best candidates for breast augmentation maintain realistic expectations and understand the risks as well as the rewards.
In general, you should be in good physical health, but there are several criteria that patients should meet in order to be an ideal candidate for breast augmentation.
If your breasts are sagging or one breast varies in size or shape.
If you have realistic expectations of improvement and not perfection.
If you are dissatisfied with the size, shape or firmness of your breasts after weight loss, pregnancy, or as a result of aging.
A surgeon rather prefers patients that don’t smoke or those who consume large amounts of alcohol.
Being in good health means no active infections, untreated cancer or serious illnesses.
Who is not an ideal candidate for breast augmentation?
Breast augmentation non-candidates are those who are:
Pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you have breast cancer or an abnormal mammogram.
If you are ill or battling an infection.
If you have unrealistic expectations for post-surgery results.
What are the risks of breast aumentation surgery?
Risks or side effects of breast augmentation surgery involving breast implants include:
Implant leakage or rupture
Seroma (fluid buildup)
Capsular contracture (the formation of hard, painful scar tissue around the implant)
Visible skin wrinkling over the implant
The FDA believes that women with breast implants might have a very low but increased risk of developing ALCL. Textured implants have been linked to BIA-ALCL, a type of lymphoma, though the incidence has topped at 1%.
On the other hand, women have experienced cognitive issues, chronic fatigue, and joint pain—known as breast implant illness (BII).
In general, possible breast augmentation surgery risks include:
Scar tissue that distorts the shape of the breast implant (capsular contracture)
Changes in nipple or breast feeling
Changes in nipple and breast sensation
Implant leakage or rupture
Correcting these complications might require more surgery, either to remove or replace the implants.
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
The Institute of Medicine have found no link between breast implants and autoimmune or other systemic diseases.
How is the breast augmentation surgery like?
Intravenous sedation or general anesthesia is administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure.
Your surgeon will start by making an incision around the nipple (peri-areolar incision), in the fold under your breast (inframammary fold), or in the armpit (axillary incision). These cuts are made in inconspicuous areas to minimize visible scarring.
Incisions vary based on the type of breast implant, degree of enlargement desired, your particular anatomy and patient-surgeon preference.
Insertion and placing
Following the incision, the breast implant is inserted into a pocket either under the pectoral muscle or directly behind the breast tissue, over the pectoral muscle (a submammary/ subglandular placement)
The method for inserting and positioning breast implants depends on the type of implant, degree of enlargement desired, your body type and your surgeon's recommendations.
Incisions are closed with layered sutures in the breast tissue, skin adhesive, and surgical tape to close the skin.
What should I expect during my breast augmentation recovery?
It is completely normal for the implants to feel hard and sit in a high position, causing the nipples to point downward.
The surgery takes a toll on the body. You'll likely feel tired and sore right after.
The following is a time table with basic and general milestones of the breast augmentation recovery process:
For your recovery, your breasts will be wrapped in gauze dressings and an elastic bandage or support bra to minimize swelling and support the breasts as they heal.
Before leaving the health center, you will be given specific postoperative instructions and schedule a follow-up appointment with your plastic surgeon.
On the first 2-3 days after surgery most patients experience light to moderate pain which can be managed through pain medication.
In the first week after surgery, most patients are able to perform moderate to light activity, and avoid but not bending or lifting any considerable weight, in order to avoid bleeding into the pockets around the breast implants. You will return for a post-op appointment to have your incisions and breasts inspected.
Most plastic surgeons will allow patients to shower 24 hours after surgery, but they will request that still water be avoided for 2 weeks after surgery.
A supportive post-surgical bra, sports bra or wide, elastic bandage around your breasts for help with support and positioning during recovery is usually recommended.
Most women begin feeling pretty normal and can perform many normal daily activities without any pain after two weeks of surgery. Any vigorous exercise should continue to be avoided.
A month after surgery most patients feel well enough to gently begin normal exercise (although exercises that specifically target the chest should still be avoided).
At about the 6-week mark the completion of the recovery process as the breasts begin to fully settle.
Scarring after breast augmentation surgery is often permanent. However, a skilled plastic surgeon will place the incision in low visibility areas like under the breast fold, around the areola line or within the armpit.
What results should I expect after a breast augmentation surgery?
The results vary for everyone.
In general, after six weeks your breast implants will gradually settle into their proper place, It takes about three months for the final results to show.
You should expect rounder, perkier, youthful, and bigger breasts.
Is breast augmentation covered by insurance?
Breast augmentation is not covered by insurance, because it is elective, cosmetic surgery.
How much does breast augmentation surgery costs?
In the Dominican Republic, breast augmentation procedures range from 3,800 to 4,500 for an all-inclusive package that includes the recovery house, local transportation, and hospital accommodations.
What are the treatment options for breast augmentation?
Here are some treatment options and providers in the Dominican Republic to choose from.
Breast lift with implants
Find a Doctor in the DR