What is breast augmentation?
Breast augmentation involves using breast implants to increase the size and improve the shape of the breasts.
Who seeks breast augmentation?
Breast augmentation is desired by women who wish to enhance their breasts because they are too small, or by women who have lost breast volume and shape after pregnancy and breast feeding.
Silicone or saline?
Silicone breast implants are the preferred choice of implant material, as they look and feel more natural compared to the alternative, saline implants. Silicone implants are safe, and do not increase the risk of breast cancer or other diseases.
What kind of silicone implants?
Implants which contain silicone gel are recommended as the silicone gel is highly cohesive and they retain their shape well in the long term (i.e. they are form stable). The fact that the silicone is a gel and not a liquid also means that in the extremely unlikely event of rupture of the implant shell, the silicone gel will not leak out of the implant. The implant will therefore not lose any volume or shape. Thus, implant rupture, a rare event in any case, will have no adverse consequences.
Round or anatomical?
Silicone breast implants are available in two basic designs: round and anatomical. The round implant is shaped like a dome, equally full in its upper and lower parts (poles). The anatomical implant is shaped like a tear drop, less full in its upper pole and more full in its lower pole.
The round implant tends to produce additional fullness in the upper pole of the breast that a natural breast does not have.
On the other hand, the anatomical implant is shaped more like a natural breast, therefore it produces a natural profile in the upper pole of the breast without excessive fullness. Most of the fullness is in the lower pole of the breast, just like in a natural breast.
In fact, in recent years, breast augmentation has undergone a paradigm shift with the emphasis now on shape rather than just volume, thanks to the availability of the tear drop shaped anatomical silicone implant.
Anatomical implants have given an unprecedented degree of versatility, because for each size (volume), there is a wide range of shapes available. Three dimensions determine the shape of the implant: width, height, and projection. Each of these parameters can be varied so that the implants selected can be highly customized for each patient according to her own unique breast and chest wall anatomy. Furthermore, this versatility allows us to correct asymmetries between right and left sides much more effectively than before.
How do we decide on size and shape?
Preoperative planning and implant selection are key steps in determining a successful outcome. In this detailed process, your chest and breasts will be carefully examined qualitatively and quantitatively. Several key dimensions of your chest and breasts will be measured.
Based on these measurements as well as your own desires in terms of bra cup size, the most suitable design and size of anatomical implant are selected so that your breasts will be enhanced with a natural looking shape and an appropriate volume, and will be proportionate to the rest of your body. You will then get to try on these implants by placing them in your bra and evaluating your appearance the mirror. This helps you to decide if you are comfortable with the implant size and shape that has been selected.
What about Vectra?
Vectra is an advanced three dimensional breast imaging system that photographically captures your breast images, then produces new images to show what your breasts will look like with different sets of implants selected by you and your plastic surgeon. This allows you to compare different choices of implant (different sizes and shapes) before deciding which pair of implants is preferred. Vectra therefore performs virtual surgery on your breasts and shows you the virtual results to help you with your decision making.
With breast implants, size matters but it is not the only thing. It is also important that the implants look natural and are safe. Silicone gel anatomical implants are shaped like natural breasts and retain their shape well. Breast augmentation is a procedure with long lasting consequences and the ability to visualise different breast sizes and compare them before making a decision will often result in better outcomes and patient satisfaction.
This article is written by Dr Martin Huang, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, a Pacific Healthcare clinic.