Breast Augmentation

Overview

Breast augmentation, also known as augmentation mammoplasty, can be a cosmetic procedure or a reconstructive procedure in the case of breast reconstruction surgery. The procedure involves implants being inserted beneath the breasts to enlarge them. The implant type and size depends on factors such as how much bigger you want your breasts to be, your breast anatomy, skin thickness and elasticity, and body type.

 

Features

Breast implants can be used to:

  • Enlarge small breasts
  • Restore breast volume after weight reduction or pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Even up asymmetric breasts
  • Reconstruct a breast after mastectomy or injury

 

Procedure

The two main types of breast implant used in Australia are:

Saline implants – a silicone envelope filled with varying amounts of sterile salt water (saline). This can affect the shape, firmness and feel of the breast. If the implant shell leaks, a saline implant will collapse and the saline will be absorbed and naturally expelled by the body

Silicone implants – a silicone envelope filled with an elastic gel that feels much like natural breast tissue. If the implant leaks, the gel may remain within the implant shell or it may escape into the scar capsule (area around the implant) or even into the breast tissue. A leaking implant filled with silicone gel may not collapse

Implants are placed behind the breast, not within the breast tissue. Implants can be inserted either:

  • Between the breast tissue and the chest muscle, or
  • Behind the large chest muscle called the pectoralis major

Each position has its advantages and disadvantages. Your Specialist Plastic Surgeon can provide further details and will recommend which position is likely to be most suitable for you.

 

Notification

Some possible complications and risks associated with breast augmentation may include:

  • Surgical risks such as bleeding or infection
  • Fluid accumulation around the implant after surgery
  • Allergic reaction to suture materials, tape adhesive or other medical materials and lotions
  • Changes in breast and nipple sensation
  • Temporary or permanent areas of numbness
  • Wrinkling of the skin over the implant
  • Keloid, or lumpy scar tissue, which is pink, raised and irregularly shaped. These scars may be inflamed and itchy. There are several possible sites for the incision. Discuss this with your surgeon
  • Capsular contracture, where firm scar tissue forms around the implant causing it to lose shape and softness
  • Inappropriate implant size
  • Implant rupture or deflation
  • Asymmetry (unevenness) of the breasts
  • Calcium deposits in the scar capsule around the implant
  • Granulomas, or lumps in local lymph node tissue formed by leaking silicone
  • Breastfeeding difficulties, including reduced milk supply
  • Reduced effectiveness of breast cancer screening, since an implant may hide breast tissue (and tumors) during a mammogram
  • Movement of the implants from their original position
  • Further surgery to treat complications
  • Risks of anesthesia including allergic reaction or potentially fatal cardiovascular complications such as heart attack
  • A blood clot in the deep veins of the legs (deep vein thrombosis), which can move to the lungs (pulmonary embolus) or to the brain and may be life threatening

 

Estimated Cost

Costs associated with the procedure may include:

  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Hospital or surgical facility costs
  • Anaesthesia fees
  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Post-surgery garments
  • Medical tests