A Complete Guide to Breast Implants
Breast augmentation or breast enlargement procedures are one of the most popular types of cosmetic surgery in Australia. They are designed to enhance the size and shape of your breasts for a larger, shapelier and natural-looking bust.
Popular with women from their 20’s right through to their 40s and 50s, a breast augmentation can boost your body image and self-confidence by complementing your natural curves and making you look and feel your best.
Breast implants vary in what they are made of, their size, shape and surface texture. The way the actual cosmetic procedure is performed will depend on the implants you choose and where they will be placed.
Breast implants are filled with either saline (salt water) or silicone gel. Saline filled implants feel a bit like a water bed, and have a higher risk of causing a visible ripple effect under the skin. Silicone filled implants have a much lower change of rippling, hold their shape better and have a more natural-looking appearance.
Silicone implants are much more popular than saline implants for breast enlargement procedures today, but most cosmetic surgeons still offer both options.
Implants are available in many different sizes and dimensions to help you achieve the look you want. It’s very important that your breast implants look natural for your frame and balance your body, rather than look excessively large and as a result, quite fake.
Everyone has differently shaped bodies and breasts, and a professional will be able to advise on the size of implants that are right for you.
You also need to consider whether you want round or anatomical (tear drop) shaped implants. In most cases, anatomical shaped implants will be more versatile by being able to provide more height and shape to the breast.
Breast implants can have either a smooth or a textured surface. Smooth surfaced implants feel softer than textured ones, but have a higher chance of movement after they have been inserted. Textured implants allow the breast tissue to adhere to the rougher surface, limiting the chance of movement.
Implants are placed either under the pectoral muscle, or directly behind the breast tissue and over the pectoral muscle. Placing it under the pectoral muscle gives a more natural-looking result because the soft tissue covers the implant, however recovery usually takes longer and is more uncomfortable because the muscles are disturbed.
Placing the implant over the pectoral muscle allows for a more comfortable recovery and faster procedure time, but is usually only advised if you already have a decent volume of breast tissue present.
Both methods present different end results, and your cosmetic surgeon will be able to recommend the best option for you depending on the implant you choose and the overall look you want to achieve.
Breast augmentation procedures are performed under general anaesthetic and usually take between 1-2 hours. The operation itself is quite simple, but the best results will depend on proper planning, measurement and marking by the surgeon before any incisions are made.
Once you are under anaesthetic, short incisions will be made approximately 4cm long. There are a few places where the incision can be made to make sure the scars are inconspicuous, and your surgeon will discuss these with you and recommend the best ones for your body shape and desired outcome.
A specially designed funnel is used to insert the implant into your breast pocket, and once they are in place the incision is closed with dissolving stitches and covered with a waterproof dressing. It’s not common for drain tubes to be required in standard breast augmentation procedures.
Like with any surgical procedure, a breast enlargement comes with a number of potential risks that you need to be fully aware of before committing to it. While the risk of complications in healthy patients is very small, it’s still important to be mindful.
Your surgeon will be able to go into more detail during your consultation, but the main risks to consider are general complications such as post-operative bleeding, inflection or thickening of scars; and specific complications like the breast implants sitting too high or low, or your breasts looking noticeably different.
You should also keep in mind that implants don’t last forever; their average life span is around 10-15 years, and they can sometimes leak or rupture over time. When saline filled implants break, they will deflate and you’ll be able to tell right away. When silicone implants break, your breasts will harden. If you think an implant has broken, your surgeon will arrange an MRI scan to make sure and if it is broken it will need to be removed and replaced.
Recovery times will be different for each person, but most people can usually return to work and normal activities within 1-2 weeks, while returning to sports and strenuous activities can take anywhere up to 2-4 weeks.
You are likely to experience some swelling, bruising, numbness and tightness, and pain levels will vary. Some people may need painkillers every hour for the first day or two, which others may need pain medication for up to 4 or 5 days after the procedure. The swelling and bruising will subside over the first 4 weeks, and you’ll gradually get normal sensations back over the first 4 months.
Your surgeon will keep a close eye on you in the weeks following the operation, to make sure you are recovering and healing well.
The Next Step
If you’re considering a cosmetic procedure, it’s very important that you do your research. Not only is it a significant investment, but it’s also a permanent change – so make sure you’re absolutely certain about your decision. Research and prepare, and then book a consultation with a reputable and trusted cosmetic surgeon who can answer all of your questions and concerns.
To make it even easier, Oz Beauty Quotes can connect you with our large directory of cosmetic professionals to help you find one near you.