Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Breast Augmentation: Is it right for you?

Breast Augmentation: Is it right for you?
by Dr. Diane Gibby • M.D., P.A., F.A.C.S 
 Breast Augmentation (augmentation mammoplasty) is a surgical procedure to enhance the size and shape of a woman's breast. Women may choose this procedure for several reasons: to enhance their body contour; to correct a reduction in breast size after pregnancy; to balance a difference in breast size; or as a reconstructive technique following breast surgery.

To increase breast size, saline or silicone implants may be used, although the use of silicone implants are under stricter guidelines by the FDA. This procedure is performed either in an office facility, outpatient surgical center or hospital, and may be performed under general, or local anesthesia with IV sedation. The incision necessary for the implant can be made in the crease at the lower breast fold, around the areola, or in the armpit.

Working through the incision, the breast tissue and skin will be lifted to create a pocket either directly behind the breast tissue or underneath the chest wall muscle. Placing the implants behind the chest muscle may reduce the potential for capsular contracture. This placement may also interfere less with breast examination by mammogram than if the implant is directly behind the breast tissue.

The surgery usually takes one to two hours to complete. Stitches are used to close the incisions, and a gauze bandage is applied over the breast. The patient will probably feel tired and sore for a few days following surgery, but should be up and around in 24 to 48 hours.

Stitches are removed in five to seven days, but the swelling in the breasts may take three to five weeks to disappear. A woman should be able to return to work within a few days depending on the level of activity required at her job.

Breast implants do have the potential for complications. These risks include infection (requiring removal of the implant) and capsular contracture (scar tissue), which may develop around the implant, distorting the shape of the breast and potentially causing breast pain. The chance of rupture or deflation of implants is low, but does increase with the age of the implants. Any woman opting to proceed with breast implant surgery should understand revisional surgery might be necessary to treat potential problems associated with implants.

Routine mammograms should be continued after breast augmentation fo women in the appropriate age group. It is also very important that breast self-examinations be done on a monthly basis. These exams may require a little more diligence because the implant must be pushed up and away from the surrounding tissue, so any abnormalities can be detected.

While women shouldn't let their breast size define them, it can make a difference in how they perceive themselves and can directly affect a woman's self-esteem. Having a breast augmentation is a very personal choice, and as with any cosmetic procedure, risks and benefits should be considered carefully before proceeding.

For more information see http://www.drgibby.com

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