Breast implantations are performed for breast reconstructive or augmentation purposes because of certain reasons such as:
- Post mastectomy as a treatment for breast cancer or preventive treatment against breast cancer
- For cosmetic purposes to make the breasts look bigger and fuller
- Saline-filled implants: In this, silicone shells are filled with sterile saline (saltwater). Some are pre-filled, and others are filled during the implant operation.
- Silicone gel-filled implants: In this, silicone shells are filled with silicone (a plastic gel). Although many women say that silicone gel implants feel more like real breasts than saline implants, they possess more risk of leakage and subsequent complications.
Both types have their advantages and disadvantages. You must talk to your surgeon and make an informed choice.
- Risk and complications: There is a possibility of rupture and leakage from breast implants. If the saline implant ruptures, saline water gets safely absorbed by the body and the implant deflates. However, silicone may leak outside the shell and cause painful complications. The important thing is when silicone breast implants rupture, they may not show any immediate symptoms, and this is known as silent rupture.
- Age limit: Because the breasts continue to develop until women reach their late teens or early 20s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires women to be at least 18 years old to get breast augmentation with saline-filled implants and at least 22 years old to receive silicone implants.
How much does it cost?
The cost of breast implants depends on the location and type of implants used. It may also be varied based on surgeons’ skills and procedure techniques used. Generally, these types of surgeries range from $5,000 to $10,000. The health insurance does not cover surgeries because these surgeries are performed for cosmetic purposes.
What happens during breast implantation surgery?
Before breast implantation, your surgeon will perform medical evaluation and ask you about your preferences. They will request you to stop using certain medications such as anti-blood-clotting medications a few days or weeks before surgery.
There are certain surgical techniques in which you can perform your breast augmentation on an outpatient basis. The procedure time is just 2-2.5 hours.
- The surgeon will perform the surgery under general anesthesia, during which you will fall asleep and will not feel any pain.
- The surgeon will make a cut under your breast, under your arms, or around your nipples depending on your preferences, implant type, your body type, and requirements.
- Then, the surgeon will place the breast implants inside the pockets made above or below your chest muscles.
- The surgeon will close the cuts with sutures or surgical tape after the procedure is completed.
What to expect after breast implantation surgery?
After breast implantation, you can expect the following things:
- Hospital stay: You will require a short hospital stay, depending on the procedure type and your condition.
- Dressing and draining of the wound: The surgeon will cover your breasts with a gauze and drainage tube. They will remove this in a few days, and you may need to wear a surgical bra until full recovery.
- Swelling and scars: You will probably have some swelling in the area where the surgery was performed. The swelling will improve, and the scar will fade overtime.
- Pain-relievers: Your doctor may prescribe some pain relievers such as acetaminophen to relieve discomfort.
- Precautions: Avoid any heavy lifting for up to 6 weeks after getting breast implantation surgery.
How to take care of breast implants after the surgery?
- Implant replacement: These breast implants are not designed to last a lifetime. Therefore, you may require to replace them whenever there are any complications such as asymmetrical or abnormal shapes and sizes of your breasts over the time.
- Safety reassurance: If you have silicone gel-filled implants, you will need a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan 3 years after the implant surgery and then after every 2 years to receive reassurance of implant safety and check for any ruptures. If any rupture is suspected in the implants, you will need to remove or replace them.
- Difficult to locate the breast cancer tissue: Breast implants can make any breast cancer tissue difficult to locate on a mammogram (testing of your breasts for any tumors/cancerous growth). Therefore, the risk of breast cancer increases after these breast implants.
- Breastfeeding issues: Some nursing mothers who underwent breast implantation may face difficulty in breastfeeding.