Each year, well over one million women go under the knife for the elective surgical procedure known as “breast augmentation surgery.” Over 300,000 of these procedures occur each year in the United States. Although it is common to hear about a movie star, television celebrity, model or pop diva and their latest round of cosmetic surgery, the vast number of people receiving breast augmentation are ordinary people whose livelihood is not dependent upon their physical presentation.
Most of the women getting the procedure are in their 20’s and 30’s and cite reasons including low self-esteem; unhappiness with underdeveloped breasts or loss of breast volume following pregnancy and/or breast feeding.
There are various types of breast enhancement and just as many reasons for the procedure. There is breast enlargement; breast lift and even breast reduction surgery. There are also procedures performed due to disease, such as mastectomies for cancer patients. Yet the majority of procedures continue to be elective.
Before deciding upon a procedure, a patient will typically consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to determine the goals of the surgery. This can dictate the surgical procedure that is used. There are various locations and techniques for the incision, including: below the breast; below the areola and through the axilla (armpit). Advances in surgical techniques now make it possible to look natural, without noticeable scars.
There are also advances in natural procedures, such as replacing the breast tissue with fat that is liposuctioned from another area of the body. Although this may sound like a better option, the procedure has certain drawbacks, including the dissolution of the transferred fat and even necrosis (death) of the transferred fat cells, which can then harden and calcify. Therefore, the standard procedure recommended is still silicone or saline implants.
One other caution regarding breast augmentation is the recent trend towards medical tourism. Each year, many Americans travel abroad for surgical procedures, including cosmetic surgery. However, not all foreign surgical centers employ the same standards as US hospitals and operating rooms. Although the doctors may have good training and board certification, the support staff and nurses may not be as adequate as in the United States.
Due to the high standards employed in the US, one would be much safer to get a breast augmentation surgery in Phoenix Arizona, where there are better bio-sanitary regulations governing cleanliness and sterilization to avoid bacterial infections which can complicate a procedure, than in a third world country like the Dominican Republic. There is no financial savings worth the risk of contracting a mycobacterial wound infection that could be potentially life-threatening.
After a breast augmentation surgery, there may be swelling and soreness, which can be expected with almost any surgical procedure. However, it is recommended that you avoid physical activity that could stretch sutures or put too much stress on the healing tissues. You may be advised to wear a compression bandage for a few days and also a support bra during the recovery phase. This helps the breasts retain the optimum shape and contour while healing.
Once healed, you may resume normal activities. There may be some tightness of the skin and restricted movement at first, until the elasticity returns to the healing tissues. Some breast implants are inserted under the pectoralis muscle and this may alter the function and mobility of the upper extremities a bit. It is best to consult with your physician to determine if this type of procedure is the best for you. Most implants are placed over the top of the muscle.
Before any elective surgical procedure, do your due diligence and ask your doctor about their level of certification, years in their specialty and any potential complications. Informed consent is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for any eventualities and also will give you piece of mind before undergoing a cosmetic surgery.