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Breast Augmentation

Breast Augmentation (Breast Enlargement) is a procedure sought by more and more women every day. Advances in breast implant technology, as well as the surgical techniques to place them, have made breast augmentation a safe and popular cosmetic procedure.

Breast augmentation can result in a more flattering and better-proportioned figure. It can expand clothing options. It also has the potential to enhance a woman’s confidence and self-esteem.

The decision to have breast augmentation is very personal. Each woman’s decision is unique and is based on her individual needs, wishes and expectations. A well-informed decision is critical since breast augmentation may not be a one-time surgery. A consultation with Dr. Delgado will provide the necessary information to arrive at a decision that is both thoughtful and thoroughly researched.

WHO IS A CANDIDATE?

Women who are 18-21 years of age are candidates for saline breast implants. Women who are 22 or older are eligible for either silicone or saline implants. The FDA (Food & Drug Administration) and the plastic surgery community have done extensive research proving the safety of silicone implants. Studies now support that silicone implants match saline implants in terms of safety.

There are many reasons or conditions to have breast augmentation. These are some of the more common:

  • The breasts are too small, which is the most common reason.
  • One of the breasts is significantly different from the other breast.
  • The breasts have become smaller and lost elasticity; common after pregnancy and breastfeeding, but also a result of aging.
  • Weight loss has changed the shape and size of the breasts.
  • Reluctance to wear a swimsuit or a tight-fitting garment.

In addition, a woman must be emotionally mature and fully understand her motivations for wanting breast augmentation. This should be a personal decision and not one based on another person’s desires. Expectations need to be realistic, with the understanding that the procedure will bring great improvement, but not necessarily perfection.

BREAST IMPLANTS

There is no ‘perfect’ breast implant. All breast implants have their advantages and disadvantages. There are essentially two breast implants used today: saline-filled breast implants and silicone-filled breast implants. Both breast implants have an outer pliable envelope, or shell, which is made of silicone. The contents of the shell are either saline (saltwater) or silicone gel. For saline breast implants, the silicone shell is filled with saline at the time of surgery. Saline breast implants have been used for decades: they are safe and effective.

The advantages of saline breast implants are:

  • If a leak does occur, the saline (saltwater) is safely absorbed
  • Saline breast implants are filled after insertion, therefore, more adjustments can be made for volume discrepancies
  • In general, smaller incisions can be used
  • Saline breast implants are less expensive

The disadvantages of saline breast implants:

  • Slightly firmer than silicone breast implants
  • Mild rippling or scalloping (of the bottom edge of the implant)
  • In general, not ideal for over the muscle in small breasts, thin women, due to more potential obvious rippling

Silicone breast implants have been approved for general usage since November of 2006. The restriction is that a woman must be at least 22 years of age. In addition, it is suggested by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration), though not required, that an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) be done at the three year mark after augmentation and every two years thereafter, to rule out potential leakage.

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Silicone breast implants have evolved into a safer product as a result of two major improvements. Today’s silicone breast implants have a much thicker outer shell and they contain a much more cohesive gel than earlier versions. The latter means that the silicone contents are more solid or viscous, as opposed to the more liquid versions of their predecessors. For example, if a modern silicone breast implant is cut with a pair of scissors and squeezed, the silicone material will go out and then retract back inward into the silicone shell.

The advantages of silicone breast implants are:

  • A softer, more natural feel (the greatest advantage)
  • No wrinkles or “scalloping” of the edges; therefore, they can easily be used on top of the muscle.

The disadvantages of silicone breast implants are:

  • A leak or rupture may occur unknowingly
  • Silicone implants are prefilled and, therefore, the size cannot be adjusted
  • An MRI may be required in the future
  • They are more expensive than saline implants

On the horizon for approval in the United States is a new “gummy bear” type of silicone breast implant. This version contains an even more cohesive gel, much like the popular gummy bear candy, than the silicone breast implants currently available in this country.

  • As a general statement, women with saline breast implants, who then change over to silicone, do prefer the silicone breast implants for their more natural feel. The breast implant companies now offer a variety of shapes and sizes to customize the fit for each woman’s body. Based on a woman’s individual anatomical dimensions, Dr. Delgado will advise an appropriate range of options for the size and shape of implants.
  • Breast implant surgery can be combined with other procedures such as facial surgery or body contouring.

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