Breast Augmentation

Every woman has breasts, and it’s important to understand that all breasts come in different shapes and sizes. An important part of maintaining a healthy body image is accepting your body the way it is, including the appearance of your breasts, but every woman knows that sometimes that’s easier said than done. If you’re unhappy with the look of your breasts, you may have already considering breast augmentation. Before you decide, it’s important to get all of the facts.

What is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation is the term for a group of cosmetic surgical procedures that alter the natural size or shape of a woman’s breasts. The reasons for a woman wanting to have breast augmentation surgery can include:

  • Dissatisfaction with size of breasts – some women feel that their breasts are too small, others have breasts that are too large. Overly large breasts can lead to back pain and other painful symptoms.
  • Reconstruction after breast surgery
  • Correction of a difference in breast size.
  • To restore the original size, shape, or position of breasts after pregnancy.

How it’s Done
Breast enlargement surgery is done by making an incision in the skin, creating a space under the breast tissue and then inserting an implant underneath. Implants can be made of silicon or saline solution and are designed to feel similar to natural breast tissue.

Implants can be placed in different ways, depending on the natural shape of the breast. The doctor may choose to put them under the breast tissue, or under the muscle of the chest.

Incisions are usually made under the armpit, around the nipple or in the fold below the breast. The location of the incision will also depend on the anatomy of the breast tissue and the best way to minimize scarring.

Breast Augmentation Statistics
The number of women choosing to have breast augmentation surgery has been on the rise for the last 20 years. In 1989, Dow Corning Corporation conducted a survey of 40,000 households. Based on the responses, it was estimated that 8.08 of every 1,000 women in the United States had some kind of breast implant, about 60% of which were solely for cosmetic purposes.

By 1992, an estimated 32,000 women received breast implants. In 2002 that number jumped to 225,000, an increase of 600%. In 2004, 334,052 women had breast augmentation surgery, making it the second most popular type of plastic surgery, behind liposuction, in the U.S.

Possible Complications
Breast implants do not come without risks. The FDA warns that the life of a breast implant is unlikely to exceed your own life expectancy and due to a rupture, or other complication, most implants will have to be removed or replaced. Having implants removed can result in loss of natural breast tissue, puckering, dimpling or wrinkling.

Other possible complications associated with breast implants include:

  • Necrosis – the death of living tissue
  • Breast pain
  • Atrophy of the breast tissue
  • Irritation and inflammation of the surrounding areas
  • Scarring
  • Bruising or redness
  • Changes in nipple and breast sensation
  • Rippling and wrinkling
  • Calcium deposits
  • Infections and/or toxic shock syndrome
  • Displacement
  • Asymmetry

Though it has been suggested in the past, it is important to note that breast implants do not increase the risk of breast cancer. Nor do they hinder the detection, or treatment of breast cancer. The chances of surviving with implants are the same as those for women who do not have implants.

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