Breast surgery is among the most popular of the cosmetic procedures, and can be performed for a variety of reasons, ranging from patients looking to augment or reduce the size, adjust the shape, or lift the position of their breasts.
Before making any major decisions, it is recommended you consult with a board-certified cosmetic surgeon to evaluate your particular situation and determine the best course of action to achieve your desired results. Each individual’s needs and expectations vary according to both physique and personality, and no two patients are exactly alike.
Breast augmentation, also known as augmentation mammaplasty, is designed to increase breast size, as well as correct asymmetry, in patients looking to restore lost volume from pregnancy and breastfeeding, or those who have undergone substantial weight loss. Augmentation can be achieved by using implants, or via fat transplantation.
Patients who elect to have implants may choose from silicone or saline, as well as several newer options, such as those made of a so-called “gummy bear”—consistency cohesive gel. While silicone has a more natural feel, this type of implant typically requires a larger incision. Depending upon your surgeon’s recommendations, implants can be placed behind each breast, or underneath the breast tissue or muscle. Incisions may be made in the crease or underside of the breast, around the areola, or in the armpit area.
In the case of an augmentation with fat transplantation, liposuction is used to harvest excess fat from other parts of the body, which is subsequently injected into the breasts. This is the ideal method for those looking for a less-dramatic change, who are in favor of a more natural look and feel. External expanders are placed behind the breasts in the weeks leading up to surgery to prepare for the addition of fatty tissue. In many cases, touch-up injections are necessary for complete satisfaction.
Breast lift, also known as mastopexy, is typically performed to raise and reshape those breasts that have sagged as a result of aging, pregnancy, weight loss, gravity, or any combination of these factors. While breast lifts will not alter shape or fullness, they can be supplemented with an augmentation or reduction to achieve ideal results.
The procedure, which takes anywhere from one to three hours to complete, varies in scope depending upon a patient’s specific needs. Incisions can be doughnut, lollipop, or anchor-shaped. Tissue is removed, then excess skin is trimmed to create a more refined contour. In some instances, the nipple and areola area may be repositioned or resized, as needed. This procedure is not recommended for those planning to have children, as the effects may be negated. A surgical bra is recommended for about a week, a support bra for a month.
Breast reduction is designed to reduce the size and weight of large, heavy breasts, and often aids in alleviating chronic occurrences of back, neck and shoulder pain caused by the added strain. The results help to create a more natural bodily proportion.
The procedure, which removes fat and glandular tissue and tightens skin, is not recommended for those who plan to breastfeed, as some milk ducts are removed in the process. Performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis, breast reduction requires patients to wear a surgical bra for several days as added support. Sutures will dissolve over time.
Male breast reduction is often considered as an option in the event of gynecomastia, the overdevelopment of male breasts. This can occur as the result of a hormonal imbalance, obesity, use of certain drugs, or heredity. Ideal candidates for breast reduction are those males who have firm, elastic skin able to easily reshape to the body’s natural contours.
The procedure, which is typically completed in about one hour, is performed under general anesthesia and uses liposuction, surgery, or a combination of the two. Some mild bruising, swelling and discomfort may result, which generally subsides within a week or two. Results should be permanent with proper maintenance of weight. If drugs were the cause of this condition, all usage must stop.
No matter the breast surgical procedure you select, it is important to discuss the risks and recovery protocol that may be required with your cosmetic surgeon so that you are adequately prepared. In most instances, patients will need to wear a surgical bra over their bandages for a brief period to minimize swelling and provide additional support. Average recovery time is about one week.