What is breast augmentation?
Breast augmentation, or augmentation mammoplasty, increases the size and enhances the shape of the breasts. This can be achieved through the placement of breast implants, or the transfer of fat from another area of your body. Your surgeon will talk with you about the approach that makes sense for you based on your goals, preferences and medical history.
Augmentation can help restore breast volume after pregnancy or weight loss, balance out body proportions to achieve a fuller, more rounded shape, and make unequal breasts more symmetrical.
How breast augmentation works
If implants are right for you, your surgeon will discuss the implant options with you, including shape, texture and filling.
- Saline and structured saline implants are filled with sterile salt water; the structured version has an inner support that makes the implant feel more natural. These implants are FDA-approved for augmentation in women age 18 and up.
- Silicone implants, including form-stable implants (sometimes called “gummy bear implants”), contain a gel that feels like natural breast tissue. These implants may require regular monitoring visits with your surgeon, and are FDA-approved for augmentation in women age 22 and up.
Your surgeon’s decisions about the kind of incision needed to insert the implants, and whether your implants are placed under or over the pectoral muscle, will vary based on your anatomy, the kind of implant you choose and other factors.
If fat transfer is the method you choose, you’ll undergo liposuction to remove fat from another part of your body (typically the abdomen, hips or thighs). The fat is purified and then injected into your breast. This kind of augmentation is best for small to moderate changes in breast size. Often, multiple sessions — at six month intervals — are needed to achieve the desired volume.
How long does it take to recover from breast augmentation?
Recovery from this procedure usually takes a few weeks — but as with every surgery, recovery is highly individual. During your consultation, your doctor will talk with you about what to expect.
Frequently Asked Questions About Breast Augmentation
A. The ideal candidate is a nonsmoker, not pregnant or breastfeeding, and maintaining a healthy weight. The FDA has approved saline implants for patients 18 and older, and silicone implants for patients 22 and older.
A. This varies depending on the type, size and shape of implants you choose, but many implants last 10 to 15 years before they need to be removed and exchanged.
A. It’s a possibility, especially if you have larger implants. It usually takes about three to six months for sensation to return fully.
A. At first, your scars might be slightly raised and pinkish, both of which should diminish over time. Scars can take up to 18 months to heal fully.
A. Yes. If you have breast implants, you’ll need specialized mammogram views, so be sure to tell the mammography technician that you have implants.
A. Some women breastfeed with no problems, while others have difficulty.