What are the different methods available for breast enlargement?
There are several methods commonly used for breast enlargement. These include:
Of these methods, surgical augmentation with implants offers the most reliable and predictable results, with greatest control over size and shape. Hence, it is still the ‘gold standard’ in breast enlargement.
What is the process like?
Consultation and assessment
A detailed assessment is done to understand the patient’s aesthetic goals, and to determine her suitability for the procedure. The various options such as incision, implant placement and type of implants are discussed. In addition to body dimensions, the breast is assessed for the presence of abnormalities such as breast lumps. If necessary a mammogram or ultrasound scan of the breast tissues is obtained.
Simulation and visualisation
The Crisalix system is used to create a 3D image of the patient, and can simulate the outcome with implants of different sizes and shapes. This is an essential tool for planning, allowing the patient to accurately visualise the outcome and select the most suitable implants. For more information about Crisalix 3D simulation, please click here.
Preparation for surgery
In some cases, tests such as mammograms or ultrasound may be required before surgery. Patients will be advised on medications and supplements that need to be avoided in the days before the surgery.
Breast augmentation with implants is usually an outpatient procedure, done in a day surgery facility. The surgery is done under general anaesthesia, and may take from 1.5 to 2 hours. Factoring in preparation and recovery, the patient can expect to be in the day surgery facility for about half a day.
Patients will be provided with a breast strap or bra, which will need to be worn for 2-4 weeks. Mild pain and discomfort is limited to the first few days and is controlled with oral painkillers. Most patients can expect to return work within 3-5 days, depending on the nature of their occupation. Return to an exercise routine may take longer, depending on the individual’s pace of recovery.
Where are the incisions placed?
Infra-mammary incision - made in the fold under the breast, this is the most popular and commonly used incision. It allows for accurate placement of the implant and control of the inframammary fold, with low rate of complications and low risk of contamination.
Trans-axillary incision - this is made in a skin crease in the armpit. A tunnel is made down to the breast and the implant is slid into position.
Peri-areolar incision - this semicircular incision is made along the edge of the areola.
Are the implants below or above the muscle?
After the incision is made, a pocket is created either:
Above the pectoral (chest muscle), behind the breast tissue. Also called sub-glandular placement.
Under the pectoral muscle or sub-muscular placement. This is also called dual-plane placement, as the lower part of the implant is usually not covered by the pectoral muscle.
Choice of placement depends on several factors, including:
Type of implant chosen
Thickness of the soft tissues (skin, fat and breast tissue)
Whether there is significant droopiness of the breast
Level of physical activity (sports)
What kind of implants do you use?
We use silicone gel implants from Mentor and Motiva.
Mentor implants are FDA approved, and offer reliability, durability, and a natural feel and shape. Mentor implants are offered in both round and teardrop (anatomic) shapes.
Motiva implants are the latest generation of silicone breast implants, which offer several unique features. The silicone gel is extremely soft, resulting in a very natural feel. The gel adapts its shape, moving to the lower part of the implant in the standing position, giving a more natural teardrop shape. When lying down, the gel distributes evenly within the implant - much like a natural breast.
Motiva implants also have a nano-textured shell, which results in low capsular contracture and seroma rate. Q Inside Safety Technology is another unique feature of Motiva implants - a micro-transponder containing implant information, which allow plastic surgeons and patients to have access to implant-specific data by using a hand-held reader.
Is breastfeeding possible after breast augmentation with implants?
Yes, the implants are placed behind the breast tissue, and do not affect their function.
How long do breast implants last? When do they need to be removed or replaced?
Breast implants can last from 15 to 20 years. If there are no problems such as leakage or capsular contracture (hardening), the implants do not need to be removed.
What about breast cancer?
Several studies have found no increase in the risk of breast cancer in women with breast implants. However, it’s important to be aware that certain types of breast implants with more aggressively (rougher) textured surfaces may be associated with a very rare form of lymphoma called breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). More information on this condition can be found here and here. It’s worthwhile noting that this condition is extremely rare, and treatable if detected early.