A woman’s breasts are a symbol of her femininity, beauty and grace. A woman’s self-confidence is dependent on her appearance, including the size and shape of her breasts. Psychologically speaking, women with fuller breasts are more self-assured than those with smaller breast sizes.
This may be one of the many reasons why a lot of women today are opting for breast augmentation surgeries.
I am Dr. Ashish Davalbhakta, Chief Aesthetics Surgeon at Aesthetics Medispa, Pune and I have performed more than 5000 cosmetic surgical procedures. I see many modern women who choose to undergo breast implant surgery in India as well as my patients from Australia, USA, Canada and UK. These women go on to lead happier and more confident lives after the procedure. (Check the results here.)
In this blog, we will be discussing everything about breast augmentation surgery – what is the surgery about, ideal candidates, the cost, risks and any other major concerns patients have before opting for this procedure.
What Is Breast Augmentation Surgery?
Breast Augmentation or Augmentation Mammoplasty is a surgical procedure performed on a patient to increase the size of her breasts. In common terms, breast augmentation is also referred to as “boob job” or Breast Enlargement surgery.
Under an Augmentation Mammoplasty, the plastic surgeon will increase the size of the breasts by using saline/silicone implants inside a patient’s breasts.
Why Do Women Undergo Breast Augmentation?
Undergoing an augmentation mammoplasty is a very personal choice for a woman. One patient’s thinking could be entirely different from another patient’s.
But generally, the following are some of the major reasons why women undergo breast augmentation:
- To increase the fullness of their breasts.
- To get a symmetrical look (in case one of the breasts is smaller or more elongated than the other).
- To reconstruct their breasts after a mastectomy.
- To retain their pre-pregnancy breasts after giving birth.
- To improve the aesthetic balance between their breasts and hips.
- To increase their self-confidence and beauty.
Who Is An Ideal Candidate For Breast Augmentation Surgery?
If you fit into the below-listed criteria, then you are definitely an ideal candidate for a breast augmentation surgery:
- You are a healthy woman.
- You are a non-smoker.
- You are not pregnant or currently breastfeeding.
- Your breasts have fully developed.
- You are not happy with the appearance or size or shape of your breasts.
As a cosmetic surgeon at Aesthetics Medispa, Pune, I always let my patients know that getting a breast enlargement done is not a good idea if you are succumbing to peer or societal pressure. Undergoing this procedure should be a well-thought decision that you make for yourself.
Who Is The Right Doctor For Breast Augmentation Surgery In India?
This surgical procedure affects one of the vital organs of your body and your overall appearance. Therefore, choose your cosmetic surgeon wisely.
Following are some pointers that might help you in your decision:
- First of all, as per the Indian Medical Association, the qualifications of the doctor should include an M.Ch in Plastic Surgery to perform a breast enlargement surgery.
- Experience is another factor that must be taken into consideration when choosing the doctor. The higher the number of years of experience, the easier it is to trust the surgeon.
- Check what technology is available with the doctor and how well equipped his clinic is. If the doctor is using the latest technology then probably the results will be better and natural-looking.
- Review the testimonials of past patients. Most patients post their reviews on social media pages or Google or even the website of the doctor. Go through them to understand the quality of his/her work and what the ultimate results look like.
- The cost of breast augmentation surgery in India could also play a major role in choosing the right doctor for you. Depending on the amount of money you are ready to spend, choose a surgeon who falls in your budget range.
- A vital element that is often not listed, is your personal equation with the doctor. It is very important that you feel comfortable with the surgeon and trust his judgement and course of action. This comfort level is intangible and cannot be measured, but it does affect your choice and your ultimate happiness.
The Questions You Need To Ask At The Consultation
The time you spend with your doctor at a one on one consultation is invaluable. Make the most of this time to establish a healthy rapport between you and the doctor, set realistic expectations and gain a macro-level perspective of the procedure.
During this consultation, the doctor will also take measurements and pictures of your breasts. You will also discuss the type of breast implants and the ultimate projection after the surgery.
At Aesthetics Medispa, we use pre-operative sizing techniques such as the “BioDimensional Planning system for Matrix Implants”, Tebbitts method of sizing, or 3D sizing using Crisalix software to assess the breast implant size most suitable for you. Digital simulation software may also aid in making a decision.
Here are some questions that you can ask at the consultation:
- Am I a fit candidate for this surgery?
- What should I expect from this surgery?
- What precautions should I take in the days leading up to the surgery?
- What will be my average recovery time?
- What care should I take to get optimum results from this surgery?
- What steps will I need to take to maintain my breasts after the surgery?
- Are there any risks and safety concerns that I need to be aware of?
- What is the cost of breast augmentation surgery?
- Will breast implants affect my ability to breastfeed in the future?
- Will the shape of the breasts change after pregnancy?
Apart from this, feel free to ask your doctor any doubts or questions that make you hesitate. It is always better to proceed with a clear frame of mind.
What Are The Different Types Of Breast Implants?
Thanks to advancement in medical science and technology, new patients have an option of choosing which type of breast implant they want for their procedure. Each implant has different advantages and different costs. Depending on your budget and your ultimate objective you can choose the right fit for yourself.
- Saline Implants
Saline implants are made of sterile salt-water. They provide a uniform shape and size to the breasts. They are approved by leading global medical bodies such as USA’s FDA and the IMA for breast augmentation procedure.
The best part about these implants is that, in case there is a leak, the salt-water is absorbed by the body and naturally expelled through urine. Therefore, you do not need to worry about the risks due to leakage.
- Structured Saline Implants
These implants are an upgraded version of the normal saline implants. They contain the same sterile salt-water, but additionally, they have a more well-defined internal structure.
This structure makes the implant blend in more naturally with the breasts.
- Silicone Implants
Silicone breast implants are one of the most popular choices of implants when it comes to breast augmentation. The silicone gel has a texture that is more in line with the natural breast tissue. Hence, the look and feel of these implants are better than the saline implants.
In case silicone implant leaks you may need to consult your surgeon immediately. Since silicone is not a type of material that can be absorbed by the human body.
- Cohesive Silicone Gel Implants
Again, much like the structured saline implants, cohesive silicone gel implants are an upgraded version of the normal silicone implants. They have a strong internal structure that makes breasts appear fuller and rounder. The gel makes the implants leak proof. Hence, these implants are popular.
What Happens Before The Procedure?
Okay, now that you have decided to undergo the surgery, your doctor has set a date for the procedure. In the days leading up to the procedure, your doctor will ask you to stop smoking (if you are a smoker) and may ask you to discontinue some of the medicines you are taking.
You will also need to undergo some routine blood and urine tests, to measure your parameters and estimate the anaesthesia necessary for your body. Your cosmetic surgeon may advise you to take a mammogram to establish a baseline before surgery.
Make sure you arrive at the clinic or hospital in loose-fitting clothes (avoid over the head shirts/dresses) on the day of the surgery. Please bring someone with you because you will need help with getting home safely.
What Happens During The Procedure?
First of all, the doctor and the anaesthetist will administer general anaesthesia on your body. This is done for your comfort and safety during the surgery.
The next step is to make an incision. The position of the incision will be discussed by the doctor with you during the consultation. The three places where an incision can be made for a breast augmentation procedure are – the areolar curve (beneath the nipples), the inframammary fold (the area beneath the fold of the breasts) and the axillary area (the armpits).
The position of the incision determines the visible scarring and the pocket size of the implants.
Once the incision is made, the implants will be placed directly under the pectoral muscle or behind the breast tissue.
The incision, the type of breast implant and the position of the implant will be unique to each patient. Since every patient has different needs and expects different results from the surgery.
Once the placement is done, the surgeon will close the incision with sutures, skin adhesive and surgical tape.
Over time the scarring will fade but not completely.
How Are Breasts Enlarged?
Implants made of medical-grade, bio-compatible silicon are used for augmentation. The outer shell is made of either textured or smooth silicone with saline, silicone gel or cohesive silicone gel as its content.
The implants may have a smooth or textured surface. Smooth-surfaced implants are more mobile, while textured ones are likely to be restricted in mobility, as the tissues grip the surface better. The advantage of cohesive gel implants is that they can be shaped like a breast. This is why they are called as anatomical implants.
Saline and silicone gel implants have a higher risk of leaking and subsequently deflating. Cohesive gel silicone implants are of semi-solid consistency and retain their shape even if cut open.
What To Expect During Recovery?
The recovery period after the surgery is vital. The quality of your recovery determines the results of the surgery. So please ensure that you follow your surgeon’s instructions 100% during the recovery time.
At first, the doctor will monitor your overall health parameters once you are of the operation theatre. You will be discharged only when the doctor deems you fit to go.
When you are leaving the clinic the doctor will give you specific instructions on how to take care of yourself for the next couple of weeks. This will include restrictions on physical activities and taking rest. You will have to wear support garments and elastic bands during the recovery time. The doctor might also give you a breast enlargement cream to apply. You will be given medication for pain management and improving your vitals to maintain your health during this time.
You will experience soreness and swelling for a couple of weeks, but that is absolutely normal. You can generally resume your routine physical activities after 4-6 weeks. But your actual timeframe of recovery will be decided by your surgeon.
What Are The Risks Associated With This Surgery?
As with every surgical procedure, there are certain risks associated with breast augmentation too. Please note that the risks are low and rarely observed in patients. But as a patient, you need to be aware of the risks and safety issues that may arise due to this surgery.
- Anaesthesia risks
- Changes in nipple or breast sensation
- Poor scarring
- Wrong or faulty position of the implant
- Implant leakage or rupture
- The formation of tight scar tissue around the implant (capsular contracture)
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
- Wrinkling of the skin over the implant
- Persistent pain
- Possibility of revision surgery due to unimpressive results.
Patients are also not aware of the fact that breast implants do not last forever. The average life of an implant is 10 years. You may need to undergo another breast implant surgery after a decade to retain the shape of your breasts.
What Are The Risks Associated With Implants?
Implants are a foreign object that is placed in the body. There are certain risks associated with implants, but these occur very rarely in patients.
- Capsular contracture (hardening of the breast due to scar tissue) – The body lays down a layer of scar tissue around any foreign object, which in some individuals can become very hard, and can distort the implant. However, the risk of this happening is only about five to ten per cent with the newer generation of implants.
- Leak or rupture – Silicone implants may leak or rupture slowly, releasing silicone gel into surrounding tissue; saline implants may rupture suddenly and deflate, usually requiring immediate removal or replacement. Cohesive gel implants have not been found to leak.
- Temporary or significant change or loss of sensation in the nipple or breast tissue.
- Formation of calcium deposits in surrounding tissue, possibly causing pain and hardening – only a problem in silicone gel implants, if they leak.
- Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA- ALCL) – BIA-ALCL is a rare and highly treatable type of lymphoma that can develop around breast implants. BIA-ALCL occurs most frequently in patients who have breast implants with textured surfaces.
- Shifting from the original placement, giving the breast an unnatural look. Proper precautions have to be taken to prevent rotation or displacement of implants and hence firm support for the breasts is necessary after surgery.
- Interference with mammography readings, possibly delaying breast cancer detection by “hiding” a suspicious lesion. To reduce this risk, some surgeons’ advise placing implants behind the chest muscle.
The government of UK appointed the Independent Review Group (IRG) in July 1998. They have concluded that there is no conclusive evidence for any link between the use of silicon and immunological or connective tissue disorders. Recently the US FDA has also approved the use of silicone implants manufactured by Mentor.
What Is The Cost Of Breast Augmentation Surgery In India?
The cost of this surgery depends on various factors such as:
- The location of the clinic
- The experience and reputation of the doctor
- The type of implants
Therefore, we cannot write down a ballpark figure for this surgery. The actual cost estimate will be given to you by your surgeon after your consultation.
Does Health Insurance Cover Augmentation Mammoplasty?
Unfortunately, no health insurance covers this surgery because it is a cosmetic medical procedure.
As a qualified plastic surgeon with more than 20 years of experience, I have performed breast augmentation on many patients with a great success rate. This surgery has increased the self-worth in my patients. It has made them confident and bold in their personal as well as professional lives.
I hope this blog has helped you in gaining insights into this procedure. Feel free to get in touch with our clinic in case you have any queries on this topic!
Dr.Ashish Davalbhakta is the Managing Director and Chief Aesthetic Plastic Surgeon at Aesthetics Medispa. He trained as a plastic surgeon to the highest level of qualifications and became board-certified in India. Having reached the top of his training in India, he went to the UK for further experience. He has done fellowships in Hand and Microsurgery, Breast aesthetic and reconstructive surgery and Cosmetic surgery in various centers including the world-renowned plastic surgery unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge, St. Andrews Centre for Plastic Surgery, Chelmsford, The Royal Preston, Mt Vernon among others, acquiring his FRCS in 2000. He worked as a Consultant in the South Manchester University NHS Trust Hospital. He then gained experience in the US before returning back to India and started Aesthetics Medispa in 2009.