Breast augmentation is one of the most frequently performed cosmetic surgery procedures in the United States. Breast augmentation can help balance breast size, compensate for the reduced breast mass that can occur following breast cancer surgery or pregnancy, enlarge breast size and correct a hereditary breast defect. Under an experienced, well known doctors’ care, patients can enjoy great looking, breast that feels completely natural.
There are two forms of breast implants; saline and silicone. Both implant options are designed with an outer silicone shell, however the two deviate in material and consistency.
Saline Breast Implants
Saline implants contain sterilized salt water and if for some reason the implant shell leaks, the implant will collapse and the saline will be absorbed and expelled by the body naturally. Saline breast implants provide an unvarying shape, feel and firmness and are FDA approved to be used in women 18 years of age or older.
Silicone Breast Implants
Silicone breast implants contain a sticky, thick silicone gel that closely imitates the feel of real human fat. The majority of females are of the opinion that silicone breast implants look and feel much more like natural breast tissue than saline implants. If the silicone implants leak, the gel in some cases remains in the implant’s shell, or in some cases escapes into the implant’s pocket area but either way the leaking silicone implant won’t collapse. If you decide to have silicone implants, you may be required to see your plastic surgeon on a regular basis to ensure that the implants are functioning appropriately and in some cases an MRI screening or an ultrasound can be performed to assess their condition. Silicone breast implants have also been FDA approved for augmentation, however in this case they’re approved for women 22 years old and up.
Both silicone and saline breast implants present similar risks, including:
Breast pain and/or infection
Changes in breast and nipple sensation which is usually a temporary side effect
Scar tissue formation that alters the shape of the breast implants
Implant rupture or leakage. Treatment for this side effect varies depending on if the implant is silicone or saline.
Repairing any of these issues may require additional surgery, either to remove or replace the breast implants.
About the Surgery
As you begin your search for a surgeon, be sure to choose one who has years of experience and a great reputation. Before you have the surgery, you’ll meet with your surgeon for an evaluation, letting the doctor know exactly what you want and asking for feedback. Your surgeon might ask that you stop taking specified medications a few days or weeks prior to your surgery.
Breast augmentation can be performed as an outpatient procedure, or you can choose to stay the night in the hospital, a good idea if you live alone. The procedure typically only takes one to two hours under general anesthesia, making it a pain free procedure that takes place while you’re asleep.
The actual cost of breast augmentation largely depends on the doctor, the location and the version of breast implant used. As a general rule, the surgery can range between $5000 to $10,000 (in some cases higher) and since it’s seen as a cosmetic procedure, it usually isn’t covered by health insurance.