More commonly known as breast enhancement, breast augmentation has long been a popular surgical procedure among women. Women may seek a plastic surgeon in order to achieve an aesthetic goal, and in some cases, women who have lost breast tissue to cancer may use an implant as a prosthetic. Whatever the reasoning, a patient must work closely with their surgeon to determine a multitude of options.
One such major decision concerns the filler the implants will contain. The two most predominant fillers are that of saline and that of silicone, both of which have their advantages and disadvantages. Implants filled with a saline solution are more prone to leaking if the shell of the implant is ruptured, but its contents can be safely absorbed by the body should this scenario occur. On the other hand, silicone implants look and feel more natural, but silicone must be surgically removed if it leaks into the cavity outside the implant. Modern innovation has created silicone implants that are more resistant to leaking, and so silicone remains the most popular choice.
Additionally, the selected size of the implant has a great impact on post-surgery appearance, as well as the range of possible complications. The size must be suitable for the weight, height, and body type of the patient; otherwise, the end result might appear unrealistic, and further surgery might be required to correct the mistake.
The patient is also able to choose, for the most part, where the surgical incisions will be made and where the implant will be placed. Each incision point has its own advantages and disadvantages, and so it is highly dependent on the preferences of the patient. Mothers and expecting mothers, for example, may choose to undergo an inframammary incision, which limits future difficulties with breastfeeding by avoiding the milk ducts. This incision also minimizes noticeable scarring, since it takes place beneath the lower breast fold.
The placement of the implant, in relation to muscular and glandular tissue, also has an impact on recovery time. Women who are more physically active tend to prefer implants placed above the pectoralis muscle, curtailing the amount of time spent recovering. Less athletic women, who can delegate more time to recovery, are recommended implants which go below that same muscle.
For those women highly conscious of surgical scars, a periareolar incision is a suitable option. This incision follows the border of the nipple, camouflaging scar tissue with the natural disparity in coloration. Unfortunately, this option is also highly likely to result in difficulty breastfeeding. A transumbilical incision, on the other hand, avoids that possibility while hiding scar tissue inside the bellybutton. Transaxillary incisions hide scars beneath the arms, but both these and transumbilical incisions run a risk of imperfect implant placement.