Breast implantation is a surgical procedure for enlarging the breast. Breast-shaped sacks made of a silicone outer shell and filled with silicone gel or saline (salt water), called implants, are used.
Breast implantation is usually performed to make normal breasts larger for cosmetic purposes. Sometimes a woman having a breast reconstruction
after a mastectomy
will need the opposite breast enlarged to make the breasts more symmetric. Breasts that are very unequal in size due to trauma or congenital deformity may also be corrected with an enlargement procedure.
A woman in poor health or with a severe chronic disease is not a good candidate for this procedure.
A cosmetic breast enlargement is usually an outpatient procedure. It may be done under local or general anesthesia, depending on patient and physician preference. The incision is made through the armpit, under the breast, or around the areola (the darkened area around the nipple). These techniques create the most inconspicuous scars
. The implant is placed between the breast tissue and underlying chest muscle, or under the chest muscle. The operation takes approximately one to two hours. The cost of a cosmetic procedure is rarely covered by insurance. However, if enlargement is part of breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, health plans may pay for some or all of it. The surgeon's fee ranges from $2,700-$4,200 and up. The procedure may also be called breast augmentation or augmentation mammaplasty.
Before the surgery is performed, the woman should have a clear understanding of what her new breasts will look like. She and her physician should agree about the desired final result. Many surgeons find it helpful to have the patient review before and after pictures, to clarify expectations.
Driving and normal activities may be restricted for up to one week. Stitches are usually removed in seven to 10 days. Typically, a woman can resume all routines, including vigorous exercise
, in about three weeks. The scars will be red for approximately one month, but will fade to their final appearance within one or two years.
Risks which are common to any surgical procedure include bleeding, infection, anesthesia reaction, or unexpected scarring. A breast enlargement may also result in decreased sensation in the breast, or interference with breast-feeding. Implants can also make it more difficult to read and interpret mammograms, possibly delaying breast cancer
detection. Also, the implant itself can rupture and leak, or become displaced. A thick scar that normally forms around the implant, called a capsule, can become very hard. This is called capsular contracture, and may result in pain
and/or an altered appearance of the breast. The older the implant, the greater the chances that these problems will occur.
There has been intermittent publicity about possible health risks from breast implants. Most concerns have focused on silicone gel-filled implants. As of 1992, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restricted the use of this type of implant, and ordered further studies. Today only saline-filled implants are used for cosmetic breast surgery. Recent studies have shown no evidence long-term health risks from silicone implants. However, research on the possible links between these implants and autoimmune or connective tissue diseases is continuing.
Breasts of expected size and appearance would be the normal results of this surgery.
American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. 44 E. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60005. (847) 228-9900. http://www.plasticsurgery.org.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Patient discussion about Breast Implants
Q. Does anyone know if its possible to get breast implants if i have an implanted defibrillator? I have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. I'm 27 and in great health, I workout 6 days a week and I have no further symptoms.
A. Thanks for your help. In fact I have an appointment with my cardiologist in a couple of weeks and if he says its OOK I will definitely consult it with the plastic surgeon as well. However I always try to do some additional research on my own and get second opinions.
Q. Do any of you with FM have silicone breast implants, or have you ever had them? How about saline? My silicone implants expired on the surgeon's shelf before they went in my body. Both implants ruptured and disintegrated within 5 years of implantation. I was diagnosed with FM shortly after 2 surgeries to remove silicone goo.
Just wondering if anyone else has made the connection. Thank you!
A. As far as I know several studies failed to prove there is a connection between rupture of breast implants and fibromyalgia, as did the FDA conclude. Indeed I heard about one study that found this connection, but it seemed like a very problematic one.
You can read about this subject here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breast_implants#Claims_of_systemic_illness_and_disease)
Q. I have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and an ICD. Is it possible to get breast implants with an ICD? I have no further symptoms: I workout and run 6 days a week, in good shape and only 27 years old.
A. Some medical equipment can damage your ICD If you are visiting your doctor , tell him or her that you have an ICD BEFORE they do any testing or treatment.i'm pretty sure they'll find a creative way to do the implant.any way- before doing any procedure- ask the cardiologist that handles you about it.More discussions about Breast Implants
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