Breasts are among the most important symbols of womanhood and the most essential body parts for motherhood. Having beautiful and well-shaped breasts is undoubtedly desired by most women in every phase of their life.
Who are eligible for breast augmentation?
Breasts remaining small as of the adolescence period, losing volume/becoming smaller after pregnancy or being lost due to surgery, e.g. to treat breast cancer may lead to a feeling of deficiency and inadequacy in terms of feminine image, thereby resulting in certain physical and psychological problems. Similarly, deformities in breasts and differences in volume and shape leading to asymmetry between the two breasts as a result of certain diseases may also cause certain troubles.
In order to overcome such problems and have more voluminous, symmterical, full and beautiful breasts, breast augmentation surgery is generally performed via the use of silicone prostheses.
What are the characteristics of breast prostheses?
Breast prostheses are products with an outer membrane made of silicone and an inner core made of serum or silicon gel. They are available in various forms: prostheses with rough or smooth outer membranes, round or teardrop-shaped ones as well as those containing serum or gel. Similarly, they also vary in terms of volume, base diameter and height. It has been identified that the capsule to be formed around the prostheses with rough surfaces would be weaker. Teardrop-shaped prostheses are also known as anatomic prostheses since their lower parts are more voluminous while their upper parts are more shallow, which make them look like a natural breast. All these variables have their particular pros and cons. As regards which one can suitably be used, it is an important decision to be made by the surgeon following a one-to-one discussion with the patient.
How is a breast prosthesis placed?
To place the breast prostheses, either the inframammary fold or the areola site is mostly preferred. More rarely, the armpit or abdomen can also be used. I personally have not placed prostheses through the nipple due to the potential harm to breast canals from an incision at the tip of the nipple and a tunnel to be prepared by accessing the breast from this point. Even though the armpits look very advantageous in terms of any marks, it is technically troublesome to detach the adhesions in the inner parts of the pectoralis major muscle from that site. If these adhesions cannot be detached as necessary, the prosthesis may remain on the side. As for the abdominal site, it is possible to place a prosthesis from here only as inflated by serum using the endoscopic method. I personally prefer to place the prosthesis through a 4 cm incision that I make on the inframammary fold in my own procedures. It is much easier and safer to gain control of all the tissues and areas from this site.
Where is a breast prosthesis placed?
To place the prosthesis, there is the need to create pockets in different planes depending on the patients' breast shapes and volumes. It is necessary to create a pocket of appropriate size sometimes below and sometimes above the pectoral muscle. Occasionally, it may be necessary to create a pocket that is called “dual plane” in such a way that half the prosthesis is below and the other half is above the muscle.
Which size of prosthesis is suitable for me?
While deciding on which volume of prosthesis is to be placed, several variables such as the patient's expectations, breast shape and current volume, shape and size of the thoracic cage and shoulders as well as breast skin characteristics are evaluated and taken into account. During surgery, a series of prosthesis-like material in different volumes called “sizer” is used in order to decide on the correct volume measurements. Having a discussion with the patient before surgery is obviously very valuable given that all these variables need to be shared with the patient in detail and a correct decision can be taken about how to proceed.
What does the post-operative recovery period look like?
Breast augmentation surgery generally takes 1.5-2 hours under general anesthesia. There is pain in breasts for three days on average following surgery. This pain can be relieved by taking painkillers. The patient can be mobilized on the following day. The drains placed on the armpit during surgery are removed the following morning. While both breasts are secured with tapes for the first 3-4 days as wrapped with an elastic bandage, these bandages are removed at the end of this period and the patient begins to wear a medical bra. The patient can start to take a shower 3-4 days later. It is appropriate to take leave of absence from school or work for about one week. It is necessary to avoid rigorous movements and sports for about 3-4 weeks. After one month has elapsed, the patient can go back to normal life.
There may be a loss of sensation or extreme sensitivity especially in the nipples during the first months. The breasts may feel hard to touch. The surgical scar may be slightly red. The sensation goes back to normal over time. The breasts become softer and the surgical scar becomes less prominent.
Would breast prosthesis help correct breast sagging problems?
Breast augmentation surgery may help overcome very slight breast sagging problems. However, it may be necessary to perform a mastopexy surgery in addition when it comes to moderate or significant breast sagging problems. This is naturally a decision to be made by the surgeon and any additional explanations are certainly provided in such a case.
Would I develop breast cancer?
It was established by the FDA in November, 2006 that breast prosthesis would not lead to any diseases or cancer and this surgery has been performed safely for many years. A woman with a breast prosthesis has the same risk for breast cancer as a woman without a breast prosthesis.
What if I have a baby?
The presence of a breast prosthesis does not have any negative effects on pregnancy and breastfeeding. Removal of breast prostheses of pregnant women is performed only if it is out of their own volition.
How many years would my prosthesis last?
A significant part of the breast prostheses launched on the market in recent years are produced in such a way as to last for lifetime. However, it should be kept in mind that it may be possibly necessary to replace the prosthesis after a period of around 15-20 years since it gets old as everything else.
How can I have my routine breast examinations done after the prosthesis is placed?
It is not very suitable to perform the routine breast follow-up with mammography following prosthesis placement. Follow-up with ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (even better) is rather recommended.