According to the latest American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) statistics, 15.6 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were performed last year in the United States; out of those many millions, over 286,000 were breast augmentation procedures. The motivation behind this consistent trend can range from women wanting to fill out their clothing to addressing physical effects the breasts can experience during pregnancy and breastfeeding or simply for a confidence booster. While many factors remain constant with most plastic surgery procedures, here’s a look into a new trend in breast augmentation techniques that has evolved into a viable option for achieving larger, fuller and natural-looking breasts.
The key component to breast enhancement has long involved the use of breast implants to augment the size of the breasts. The main FDA-approved players in breast implants include:
- Saline implants – made of a silicone outer shell filled with sterile saline solution, many patients choose saline implants because they enjoy the look and feel and prefer their shell to be filled after the implant is inserted (this allows for alternative incision options including under the armpit, around the areola, along the bottom of the breast or around the naval).
- Silicone implants – made of the same silicone outer shell as saline breast implants except these implants are pre-filled with a predetermined amount of silicone gel. Some patients prefer these types of implants for their more natural look and also because they are more stable in their form.
- Gummy bear implants – comprised of a highly-cohesive silicone gel substance that improves shape retention (less rippling like silicone) and ultimately allowing a softer, more natural feel.
Regardless of the type of implant chosen, the technique remains generally the same: an incision is made in a predetermined place on the body then the implant is inserted and either filled to the desired size or positioned above/beneath the chest muscle (all dependent on the type of implant used, your body type and ultimate goal). Now, fat transfer offers a different approach.
Breast augmentation with fat transfer begins by using liposuction to remove unwanted fat from one area of the body, typically the abdomen, back, buttocks, or thighs, before it is sent through a purification process. Once purified, the removed fat is re-injected in the breasts to add volume. The injections themselves can be administered using local anesthetic, making this a minimally-invasive procedure, and carries less risk of an infection largely in part because the materials used to augment are taken from your own body rather than using a foreign object (synthetic implants). On top of that, many argue that the newly added tissue is more soft and free-moving in comparison to breast implants and creates a more natural look and feel. The downsides to this type of breast augmentation procedure are that the desired results are not guaranteed. The fat needs adequate space within the breasts to survive and there is a possibility that some of the fat will be absorbed back into the body, potentially creating breast asymmetry, a need for breast revision procedures or resulting in smaller breasts that the patient originally hoped for.
Before you decide on a specific type of breast augmentation procedure it’s best to do your research so that you can maintain realistic expectations about the type of results you can possibly see. If you’re interested in discussing your breast enhancement options, feel free to contact Southern Plastic Surgery to set up a consultation. In the meantime, stay connected with me, Dr. David Whiteman, on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery trends, specials and updates.