Breast Augmentation is a surgical procedure used to increase the size and/or alter the shape of a woman's breasts through the use of artificial breast implants. Women may choose to have this operation either as a reconstructive technique following breast surgery, to balance different sized breasts, or to enhance the contours of the body. Whatever the specific purpose, women who undergo breast augmentation can expect larger, firmer, and more visually satisfying breasts.
The surgery begins with an incision, made either in the crease of the breast, the armpit, or the perimeter of the areola (the dark skin surrounding the nipple). The placement of the incision will vary according to body type and the specifics of each procedure. The surgeon enters through the incision and creates a pocket, either underneath the breast tissue or under the chest wall muscle. The implant is placed in either location, centered directly behind the nipple. Finally, the original incision is sutured.
Once the incisions have been closed and taped, the breasts are wrapped and supported by a gauze bandage. Patients are fitted with a surgical bra that provides support for up to several weeks. Postoperative fatigue, soreness, and discomfort may be greatly reduced through medication. Swelling gradually subsides and becomes undetectable in a month's time. Stitches are removed within seven to ten days.
As with any surgical procedure, complications, although rare, do exist. The biggest fear is a leak in the surgical implant. The FDA currently prohibits the use of silicone filled implants except for women involved in specific medical studies. Therefore, in a normal procedure, a leak would involve only a saline water solution. Capsular contraction (a tightening of the scar or capsule surrounding the implant) can occur following a breast augmentation procedure. If this happens, the surgeon either "scores" the scar tissue or removes the implant and re-inserts another. Other complications include excessive bleeding and infection in the area surrounding the implant. Scars may be evident for several months but gradually fade. In some cases, the nipples may become hypersensitive or under sensitive for a period of time after the surgery. In rare instances, the breasts may produce milk for several days afterwards. To maximize the success of surgery and minimize the risk of complication, always follow your doctor's instructions for surgical preparation and postoperative care.
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