Mammaplasty: Breast Enlargement

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Mammaplasty: Breast Enlargement

by James B. Kahl, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Breast enlargement, also called augmentation mammaplasty, is designed to increase the size of small or underdeveloped breasts. Surgery can also restore and enhance your breast volume if it has decreased as a result of having children.

Most women who have their breasts enlarged receive saline-filled implants. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved saline-filled breast implants for breast augmentation.

The incision for placement of your implants can be made underneath your breast, just above the crease; around the lower edge of your areola (the pigmented skin surrounding your nipple); or in your armpit. A pocket is created for the implant either behind your breast tissue or behind the muscle between your breast and chest wall.

Following surgery, you may wear gauze dressing or surgical bra. There will be some swelling and discoloration that will gradually disappear. You should not engage in vigorous activities, especially raising your arms, for up to three weeks. You should be able to return to work within a week or two.

There is a great deal of scientific evidence supporting the long-term safety of breast implants. During consultation, your plastic surgeon will discuss with you the known risks associated with implants.

If you are in the appropriate age group for mammographic screening, having breast implants will not change your recommended exam schedule. Following surgery, be sure to select a technician who has experience in mammography of augmented breasts; the presence of breast implants requires modified mammographic techniques and additional x-ray views.