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Breast Augmentation Part 1

Reasons a woman might desire a breast enhancement operation include small breasts, sagging breasts, loss of breast fullness after breast feeding, and to fit better in clothes, strapless dresses and swimming suits. A woman should only undertake a breast augmentation, or for that matter any cosmetic plastic surgery operation for herself.

Breast augmentation is almost always performed in a hospital or outpatient surgery center, where general anesthesia is available. If it is being performed in a doctor's office or in an office operating room attached to a doctor's office, be suspicious of the surgeon's credentials since office based surgery is totally unsupervised from peer and government regulation and scrutiny. However, some plastic surgeons have accredited office-based operating rooms.

A breast augmentation takes about 2 hours to perform, is usually performed under general anesthesia, requires several hours of recovery, and most patients go home the same day of surgery. Although post-operative instructions vary from plastic surgeon to plastic surgeon, in general, women are very limited in activities during the first week, return to work at 5-7 days, allowed to perform light non-arm activities in the first month, and return to most physical activities after one month. Don't plan to have a breast augmentation and then go on a beach vacation two weeks later. Plan ahead.

Although there are some risks to the operation they are uncommon. Such risks include bleeding, infection, numbness, inability to breast feed, asymmetry, unhappiness with size and/or shape, implant ripples, implant leaks or ruptures, and scar. Almost all patients who undergo breast augmentation are happy and few experience risks or complications.

The only implant that is available for first-time breast augmentations are the saline implants. Saline implants are made of silicone rubber on the outside and are filled with saline at the time of surgery. Saline implants tend to have more ripples than silicone gel implants and tend to be rounder appearing. Saline implants can also rupture or leak, resulting in complete loss of volume necessitating a replacement operation. If the leak or rupture is within 5-10 years, the implant manufacturers will often provide a new implant free of charge and some money towards a 2nd operation. Silicone gel implants are only available through an FDA study for women undergoing breast cancer reconstruction, redo breast augmentations, and if a breast lift is also being performed alongside the augmentation, provided the woman meets the indications.

Breast augmentations should be performed only by plastic surgeons certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (call 1-888-4-PLASTIC).

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