Breast augmentation to enlarge breasts is the second most popular cosmetic procedure after liposuction. While there are women who request a breast reduction procedure each year, far more request a breast enlargement. Informally known as a boob job, here is some information about breast augmentation to help you with your decision on whether or not to have this procedure done.

Saline vs. Silicone Gel Implants

These are the two types of implants that are currently approved for breast augmentation. There is no perfect breast implant. You just have to decide what works best for you. You must be at least 22 years of age to request breast implant surgery which is thought to be due to the fact that by this age, the breasts should have fully grown.

Saline Implants

These feature silicone rubber outer shells that are filled with saline (sterile salt water). Some consider saline implants to be just water balloons and feel like them too.

Advantages of Saline Breast Implants

Firstly, only a small incision is needed in order to insert the implant and then inflate it with saline. Secondly, if the implant raptures, this is much easier for a plastic surgeon to deal with than a gel implant.

Disadvantages of Saline Breast Implants

Saline implants feel less natural and the wrinkling of the implant is much more visible with saline than with a gel implant.

Silicone Gel Implants

These feature silicone rubber outer shells that are filled with plastic gel. The gel and shell are made using variants of the same chemical.

Advantages of Silicone Gel Breast Implants

The advantages of this type of implant is that gel implants feel more natural than saline and there is less wrinkling of the gel implant.

Disadvantages of Silicone Gel Breast Implants

When the implant raptures, the gel will spread and the effects are still debatable compared to saline implant rapture which allows the body to easily absorb the salt water. Another disadvantage is that it requires a longer incision than the saline implant.

Both saline and silicone gel implants can be created with textured or smooth surfaces. The implants can also be round or shaped although round implants are preferred by most cosmetic surgeons. Silicone is also a safe material to use and is used in various aspects of everyday life.

Over or Under the Pectoralis Muscle

The pectoralis muscle is the thick muscle found in the chest. Breasts grow over this muscle. For a breast implant cosmetic procedure, the implant can either be placed over the muscle or under the muscle by the plastic surgeon. However, for saline implants, it may be better to place it under the muscle since placing it over the muscle may lead to more wrinkles than the implant especially if it is a textured implant.

Placing it under this muscle also allows for the blood supply to the nipple to be preserved since the nipple is connected to the blood vessels that penetrate this muscle. This will also allow for a possible future breast life to be much easier to perform than if the implant was placed on front of this muscle.

However, the disadvantage of placing it under the muscle is that the implant may be able to bulge high up in the chest which gives off an unnatural breast look. Also, if the muscle contracts, it can cause the breasts to look flat which can be embarrassing.

In order to place the implant, a pocket will be created for the implant under or over this pectoralis muscle.

Breast Augmentation Procedure

The plastic surgeon can create the incision for the implant anywhere such as the breast area, under the armpit, on the abdomen, etc. Many plastic surgeons prefer making the incision along the breast crease so that the resulting scar is not very obvious as it would be with an incision made around the areola, the armpit, abdomen, etc.

Before the procedure, a mammogram should be performed since having implants can affect mammograms so a before mammogram is necessary upon which to base the results of later mammograms after the augmentation. A second mammogram may also be performed just before the surgical procedure.

Aspirin should be stopped about a week before the procedure. Any birth control used should also be stopped about a month prior to the surgery to decrease the risk of blood clots.

Before the surgery, the plastic surgeon will place a mark to show where he or she will place the pocket for the breast implant.

After the breast augmentation procedure, a bra that is restrictive will be used to hold the sterile gauze in place. The plastic surgeon will then remove the stitches about a week after the procedure.

The patient may return to work after two to seven days following the boob job. There will be severe pain for up to four days if the implant is placed under the pectoralis muscle. If the implant was placed over the muscle, there will be less pain.

Exercise will be prohibited for up to three weeks post surgery to reduce the risk of bleeding. Upper body exercises can be resumed only after about six weeks post surgery.

Boob Job Risks

1. As with any procedure, there is always a risk of infection as well as bleeding after the breast augmentation.

2. Blood clots may develop although many plastic surgeons try to minimize this risk.

3. As with most procedures, there is always the risk of death.

4. Breast augmentation specific risks include scarring around the implant. Since the implant will be considered a foreign object by the brain, the scarring around the implant is its attempt to isolate the implant from the rest of the body.

5. This scarring will cause the implant to harden in about 15 percent of breast augmentation procedures causing deformed looking breasts in about 5 percent of these cases. Painful breasts can also result from this scarring in about 2 percent of these cases.

6. The implants will wrinkle which is quite common especially if you use textured saline implants.

7. Deflation of the implant may occur especially of you get very large implants.

8. If worried about breast augmentation and breastfeeding feeding, do be aware that this is still possible after surgery. There may be some issues if the incision is made around the areola or if infection results.

9. Bad implant positioning may become obvious after breast augmentation. Some implants may drift to the center or to the sides of the chest.

10. While nipple sensation should remain normal after a boob job, there is always a risk that the nipples may have no sensation, decreased sensation or become overly sensitive.

11. All breast implants block mammograms so an MRI is recommended for women with implants as an MRI will pick up the implant as well as other breast tissue. However, MRIs are ten times more expensive than mammograms and are usually not covered by insurance.

How Much Does a Boob Job Cost?

Boob job price will vary from one plastic surgeon to another but the average cost for a breastfeeding augmentation is about $ 4,000 with about $ 1,000 extra for the saline implants and a bit more for silicone gel implants.

Breast Implant Removal

Many women at a later time may decide to have the implants removed. Do be aware that the breast will not revert back to the original. Since skin stretches to accommodate the implant, when the implant is removed, the breast will be droopier and may have more stretch marks. A lot of the scar tissue that surrounded the implant will be removed by the surgeon but the surgical scars will still remain.