What Is Breast Augmentation? Basics to Know Before Making A Decision.
Breast augmentation (also known as augmentation mammoplasty) is an aesthetic procedure whereby the breasts are changed in size or in shape via placement of a form of liquid within them. Breast implants and fat transfer breast augmentation are the two basic types of breast augmentation. Implants involve the placement of bags of either saline or silicone in the breasts to modify their size and shape. Alternatively, fat from the patient’s own body can be injected into the breasts. The type of augmentation using fat from the body is called fat transfer breast augmentation.
What are the Differences Between Breast Implants and Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation?
Breast implants involve making an incision in the breast and the insertion of a bag filled with saline or silicone. The incision is then stitched close. Patients can usually go home the same day. On average, modern implants can last more than a decade, and even up to 20 years or more.
Compared to fat transfer, using saline or silicone implants for breast augmentation has the advantage of allowing more options in terms of size change. With implants, substantially larger breast size increases are possible. Breast augmentation using implants is also typically cheaper than using fat transfer.
The disadvantage of using implants on the other hand, is that there is a remote potential for the implants to rupture. It is estimated that the probability of rupture increases by one percent each year. Ruptured silicone implants will require surgery to remove the silicone from the breast, whereas saline can be absorbed by the body.
Another disadvantage of breast implants is that they can reduce the ability of doctors to spot tumour growths during mammogram by obscuring the clarity of the pictures taken. Undetected tumours can allow breast cancer to develop, complicating treatment in the future. Despite these drawbacks however, breast implants are generally considered by doctors to be safe.
Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation
During fat transfer breast augmentation, liposuction is used to remove excess body fat from a specific area of the body, and the processed fat is then injected back as a liquid into the breasts for more volume and improved shape. This procedure allows up to moderate increases in breast size, e.g. 1 cup size, making it less flexible than implants in terms of size enhancement. Its suitability for patients with low body fat levels is also more limited. There is no clear answer as to how long fat transfer augmentations can last. For some people, the results can be permanent, while for others, the transferred fat cells do not survive and eventually gets reabsorbed into the body.
Concerns regarding the effects of having a medical device inside their body are mentioned by some women. Breast fat transfer removes the possibility of breast implant issues like rippling, tearing, or capsular contracture. It also removes the potential that breast implants may require removal or replacement. Since no external materials are inserted into the body during fat transfer breast augmentation. There is hence a lower risk of infection.
Other advantages of fat transfer is that it is a scarless procedure since no incisions are made to the breasts. Furthermore, it can be performed without the need for general anesthesia. This allows a shorter recovery time for patients.
Another downside of this procedure though, is that if the transferred fats calcify, it can also interfere with mammogram screening, similar to implants.
Compared to implants, fat transfer is the more expensive option for breast augmentation.
Why Do People Undergo Breast Augmentation?
There are various reasons why people decide to undergo breast augmentation. Some of the reasons include:
- To boost their confidence
- To modify the size or shape of a breast to make both breasts more symmetrical
- To improve the breast shape after surgery or some other condition that impacted the size or shape of the breast (e.g. significant weight loss, post-pregnancy changes)
Suitable Candidates for Breast Augmentation
The US FDA states that the minimum age for breast implants is at least 18 for saline implants and 22 for silicone implants. Fat transfer breast augmentation may be suitable for people over 18 years of age. There are several reasons for this and mainly it is because the breasts have to be fully developed before undergoing any breast implants or fat transfer.
Other considerations about the suitability of a person for breast augmentation include the person:
- Being in good physical health;
- Being not pregnant or breastfeeding;
- Having realistic expectations about the outcome;
- Having breasts that are fully developed;
- Being bothered by her breast size (too small), or shape & volume;
- Having asymmetrical breasts;
- Not having serious underlying mental issues such as psychosis, or Bipolar Disorder.
Consult With A Plastic Surgeon Before Making A Decision
Before deciding on breast augmentation, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research, understand the advantages and disadvantages of each choice. You should then consult with a certified plastic surgeon to ascertain you are aware of the options, procedures, recovery, cost and potential complications. Your surgeon will make a recommendation on what might be the best option for you.
Breast Augmentation in Thailand
Thailand is known for its medical tourism, especially for aesthetic procedures. Breast augmentation is one of the most common aesthetic procedures carried out in Thailand. With highly qualified surgeons, patients can expect to receive tiptop service. Furthermore, prices charged for procedures in Thailand are competitive against those in other medical hubs such as Korea and Singapore. If you are considering breast augmentation surgery on Thailand, you may wish to consider consulting the following plastic surgeons who are members of our Expert Advisory Board:
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.