Many women experience changes in the size and volume of their breasts after pregnancy and breastfeeding. Others are dissatisfied with the size of their original natural breasts and would like to increase their size for aesthetic reasons. A breast augmentation, (see image gallery) or the insertion of breast implants, can help women achieve the more full look they desire.
A breast augmentation is a personal and individual procedure. During your initial consultation, Dr. Wallman or Dr. Kao will examine your breasts to evaluate your current size, the elasticity of your skin and the placement of your nipples and areolas. At this time, you can discuss your goals to increase the size and restore the shape and volume of your breasts.
A breast augmentation generally involves making an incision of about 3.5 to 5 cm to insert the implant into your breast. This incision can be made in several places, most commonly the underside of your breast at the fold. Dr. Kao and Dr. Wallman will discuss with you the best possible incision point to achieve your goals.
Some women choose saline filled implants. Saline is a water and salt based liquid that is completely natural to the body. Implants are placed in the breast and then filled with the saline solution. Before insertion, the implants are covered with an antibiotic solution to minimize the likelihood of infection.
Silicone gel implants are also available in Canada. These implants are made of a solid gel are called “gummy bear” implants because inside, they look and feel like gummy bears. Dr. Wallman and Dr. Kao will discuss with you what choice of implant will best help to achieve your desired results.
Once the incision is made, Dr. Kao or Dr. Wallman will create a pocket to place the implant. Depending on your size and shape of your breasts, this pocket will either be made directly behind the breast tissue or beneath your pectoral (chest) muscles. The implant is then inserted to complete the procedure.
Most women return to work and their usual activities in about one to two weeks following the insertion of implants. Following the procedure, it is normal to experience swelling and bruising. However, this will dissipate quickly.
Other potential complications include infection, blood accumulation in the breast which may require draining or side effects from anaesthesia.
As part of the natural healing process, scar tissue forms around the implant. In a small percentage of women, the scar tissue becomes firm and tight. This is called a ‘capsular contracture’ and may result in the implant being compressed, causing the breast to feel more firm than usual. This can be treated through the removal of the scar tissue or, in more rare cases, the removal and reinsertion of a new implant.
Breast augmentation does not usually affect a woman’s ability to breast feed, unless nipple sensation is reduced, however some women do report changes in the sensitivity of the breast and nipples. It is important for women with implants during their routine mammograms to inform their health care practitioners of their implants as they may require additional imaging to capture a full view of their breasts.