While most of us might be aware of what breast augmentation means, a majority of us would not know what it actually entails. Many of us would not know the terms that are generally associated with the procedure, neither would they know what they need to ask the surgeon, before deciding whether they need the surgery or not.
In this article and the next one, we will try to look at some of the most important facets of a breast augmentation procedure.
Firstly, let’s look at some of the most important terms associated with this type of procedure:
- Augmentation mammoplasty or breast augmentation: These are terms that are often associated with enlargement of breasts. Some of the other most commonly used terms to refer to the same surgery include breast enlargement and breast enhancement. While many people think that breast reconstruction is the same thing, there is a difference between the procedures.
- Breast implants: These are medical devices, which are created in a manner that when carefully inserted into the breasts, there is obvious enlargement of the same. These implants can be used either to enlarge existing breasts or reconstruct them. These days there are a variety of implants including saline and silicone ones. The saline ones are filled with salt water, while the silicone ones have a specially formulated elastic gel within them.
- Submuscular or subpectoral placement: When the breast implants are placed underneath the pectoral muscle, it is known as a submuscular or subpectoral placement. The region in question in this type of placement is right between the chest wall and the breast tissue.
- Submammary or subglandular placement: In this type of implant placement, the medical devices are placed directly behind the breast tissue, above the pectoral muscle, rather than below it.
- Incisions: At the end of the day, breast enhancement is a surgery and incisions do have to be made. However, there are several types of incisions, and which one will be made depends on what your surgeon has in mind for you. The periareolar incision, as the name suggests is when the incision is made around the areola, which is the darker coloured pigmented skin, which surrounds the nipple. In the transaxillary incision, the cut is made in underarm, whereas in an inframammary incision, it is under the breast, within the natural fold.
- Anaesthesia: There are two types of anaesthesia that can be used – general and local. In the former type, medicine or gases are given to relax and numb the entire body. In many cases, people under general anaesthesia feel no pain or are not conscious at all. In the local version, the anaesthetic is injected only the area where the surgical procedure will be performed, and this is the only area which will be numb and hence, free of pain.
- Intravenous sedation: This method is a little different than anaesthesia, because the medication is injected into the veins, and allows you to drift off into a sleep, not realising much of the pain.
- Mammogram: This is basically an x-ray of the breast, and it allows the doctors to see if there are any tumours, masses or other unhealthy growths, which would enable to decide the best course of action for you.
- Ultrasound: This is yet another diagnostic method that is used by doctors to ensure that you are the right candidate for a breast enhancement procedure. In this method, sound waves of a high frequency are projected into the body and the echoes that return allow for the creation of an accurate internal image.
- MRI: An acronym for magnetic resonance imaging, this is another painless test that is actually quite similar to an x-ray, but allows for the visualisation of tissues.
- Hematoma: When you go to a good surgeon for your breast enhancement, a hematoma is close to impossible; however, in simple terms, this is a condition when the blood pools beneath the skin.
- Capsular contracture: This is a complication that can occur during a breast enhancement surgery – normally, when an implant is placed inside the breast, scar tissue surrounds it and gives it a natural protection. However, in certain cases, the same scar tissue can becomes firm and start squeezing the implant, leading to serious problems.
Now that you know most of the common terms associated with breast enhancement, you should also be aware of what questions you should ask your surgeon, prior to making a decision.
- Ensure that you ask your surgeon about their credentials, including where they have studied, if they have all the requisite licenses and certifications, which board they are associated with and certified from and of course, their experience.
- It would also be wise to ask if they have any specialisations. Choose someone who has a specialisation in breast enhancement procedures.
- It is important that you confirm where the procedure will be conducted – if the same is being done at a hospital, enquire whether your surgeon has operating privileges there. However, if the surgeon is conducting the procedure in his/her own office, it is important that you ascertain that all the required facilities will be on hand. You can even ask to look around the operating room.
- It is just as important that you ask about the possible risks and complications that are associated with such a procedure. You should also try to educate yourself about the realistic outcomes, and if your surgeon is promising you the moon, it might be better to look for someone else.
At the end of the day, breast augmentation is a cosmetic procedure and one which should be opted for, after much consideration. In the continuing article, we will look at some more aspects of the procedure.