What is an Aesthetic Breast Surgery?
Aesthetic breast surgery includes surgical procedures that are primarily performed to improve the aesthetic appearance of your breasts. It is performed by a plastic surgeon and usually involves placement of breast implant of a suitable size. The different aesthetic breast surgeries include augmentation mammoplasty or breast augmentation, reduction mammoplasty or breast reduction, mastopexy or breast lift, breast reduction by liposuction, and breast enhancement through autologous fat grafts (grafts obtained from the thighs, arms, or buttocks).
Aesthetic breast surgery aims to enhance the appearance of your breasts by giving them the desired shape, size, firmness, and symmetry, and thereby boost your confidence.
What are the Indications for Aesthetic Breast Surgery?
Aesthetic breast surgery is recommended to improve the appearance of your breasts. You are a good candidate for aesthetic breast surgery if you have:
- Inadequate breast development
- Breast hypertrophy or overdeveloped breasts
- Sagging breasts due to breastfeeding, pregnancy, or developmental defect
- Changes in breast shape or appearance due to weight gain, weight loss, aging
- Asymmetrical breasts
- Breast cancer survivor
Pre-Surgical Preparation for Aesthetic Breast Surgery
Pre-surgical preparation for aesthetic breast surgery includes the following:
- A thorough examination by your surgeon to check for any medical issues that need to be addressed prior to surgery.
- You may be required to obtain a mammogram to help detect any breast abnormalities.
- Refrain from taking anti-inflammatory drugs, blood thinners, or aspirin as they may increase the risk of bleeding during surgery.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption before and after the surgery for a specific period of time, as this may hamper proper healing and increase your chances of areolar or nipple damage, tissue necrosis, and other complications.
- You will also be given other instructions related to diet and lifestyle changes to ensure a successful surgery.
- The site of breast incision is marked and if implants are to be placed, removed, replaced, or reshaped, then the appropriate size of the implant is determined by taking your breast measurements.
- The type of implant, either silicone or saline is also determined prior to the procedure.
Aesthetic Breast Surgery Procedure
Aesthetic breast surgery can be performed either in an outpatient or hospital setting. You are placed on the operating table on your back in the supine position. The choice of anesthesia is decided by the surgeon based on the candidate’s age, health, and medical history.
The procedure for each individual surgery is given below.
Augmentation Mammoplasty or Breast Augmentation
Your surgeon will make an incision through any one of these approaches:
- Inframammary: along the crease under your breast; it is the most common approach
- Axillary: under your arm or beneath your armpit
- Periareolar: around your nipple
- After making the incision, your surgeon creates a pocket either behind or in front of the pectoral muscle (outermost muscle of the chest wall) to place the implant. This is done by separating your breast tissue from the muscles and connective tissue of your chest.
- The implant is inserted into the pocket and placed centrally behind your nipple.
- After the implant has been placed properly, the incision is sutured (stitched) and covered with a bandage and surgical tape.
Reduction Mammoplasty or Breast Reduction
Breast reduction surgery involves the removal of excess fat, tissue, and skin from your breasts.
Based on the size and composition of the breasts, your surgeon may employ various techniques to carry out the procedure: liposuction, vertical or “lollipop”, or inverted-T (“Anchor”) breast reduction.
In general, your surgeon will take the following steps:
- Use a marker to draw guidelines on the breasts to carry out the incisions
- Make a surgical cut accordingly around the areola and downward on each breast similar to a keyhole
- Remove extra fat, tissue, and skin to decrease the size of each breast
- Reposition the areola and nipple and reshape the breast
- May place a drainage tube under each arm to drain excess fluid or blood
- Close the incisions with sutures and wrap the breasts in a special gauze
The surgery may take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours depending on the complexity.
Mastopexy or Breast Lift
Post-anaesthesia, your surgeon will:
- Make an incision (cut) around the areola. The cut will run along the breast creases, vertically and horizontally
- Lift and reshape your breasts and move your areolae to the correct position
- Remove extra breast skin to give your breasts a firmer look
- Close the incisions with stitches, sutures, surgical tape or skin adhesives
The procedure typically lasts for two to three hours.
Breast Reduction by Liposuction
Liposuction will reduce excessively stubborn localized breast fatty areas. The general steps include:
- One or two small incisions are made in the breast skin.
- A thin metal tube called a cannula is inserted through the incisions into the fatty area and by working the tube back and forth, the fat is melted and removed through an attached suction machine or suction syringe.
- The empty spaces created in your breast are then collapsed by strapping them with an elastic tape or compression garment to create a new contour. This helps minimize bruising and swelling and provide support for the skin which will be relatively loose after the operation, particularly when the swelling settles down.
- The incisions are sutured and the operated breast is covered with a waterproof dressing.
Recovery and Post-Surgical Care for Aesthetic Breast Surgery
Most people can go home within a couple of days after the surgery if no complications are noted.
- You may notice sensitivity, tenderness, swelling, and bruises over the operated breast. Pain and anti-inflammatory medications are provided as needed.
- Your surgeon may provide you with antibiotics to prevent the risk of infection.
- Refrain from any physical activity using your upper body for at least 2 to 4 weeks to promote healing.
- Avoid heavy lifting or any strenuous activities as you recover.
- You are recommended to wear a supportive bra for at least 2 days post-procedure.
- Your surgeon will provide you with instructions on diet, wound care, and when you can begin to shower.
- You may need to take off from work for at least a week to facilitate recovery.
- You will be able to resume normal activities within a couple of weeks but may have certain activity restrictions.
A periodic follow-up will be scheduled to monitor your overall progress.
What are the Risks and Complications of Aesthetic Breast Surgery?
As with any surgical procedure, aesthetic breast surgery may also have certain risks and complications such as:
- Risk of implant or gel migration
- Areola distortion
- Necrosis or tissue death
- Loss of sensation in the breasts or nipples
- Formation of blood clots
What are the Benefits and Advantages of Aesthetic Breast Surgery?
Some of the benefits of aesthetic breast surgery include:
- Improved physical appearance
- Enhanced self-esteem and confidence
- Offers a better quality of life