Breast augmentation may also be called augmentation mammoplasty, but it’s more commonly referred to by its colloquial nicknames, breast implant surgery or “boob job.” It’s essentially the process of placing implants under the breast muscles or tissues to enhance the size and/or shape of the breast.
Breast augmentation surgery has become increasingly popular over the last two decades. It’s a whopping 16 times more popular now than it was in 2000. With 313,735 breast augmentation surgeries in 2018, it’s the most popular elective surgery out there.
A breast augmentation surgery may be done to enlarge breasts, restore symmetry, restore the breasts after a mastectomy, or in some cases, to reduce the size. No matter your reasoning, if you’re considering the procedure, consider a few important things first.
Type of Incision
When discussing the procedure with a certified plastic surgeon, one of the first things you’ll want to think about is the invasiveness of the procedure and the scarring afterward. Most surgeries are minimally invasive and leave minimal scarring, but there are variances based on the procedure you choose.
The four most common incisions are:
Transaxillary: This is a popular type of surgery for those who want minimal visibility for the incision site. It’s done in the armpit with the assistance of an endoscope to make a precise dissection and minimize bleeding. It can only be done when using saline implants.
Inframammary: This is one of the most common types of incisions as it’s performed in the crease of the breast. This gives the surgeon the most control over the implant. It’s best for those who don’t have a bad history of scarring.
Areolar: To hide the scarring, you might opt to do the incision in the lower half of the areola. This location uniquely hides the scarring, but it’s usually reserved for a breast lift or mastopexy. It’s also great for those who are prone to raised, noticeable scars.
Trans-Umbilical: This type of incision is often referred to by the acronym TUBA. Like the transaxillary incision, it’s done away from the breast, but TUBA is done in the naval. It also minimizes scarring in the breast area, but it can increase the likelihood of an asymmetrical result.
Your medical history and preference on scarring will dictate how the procedure is done. Be open and honest with your surgeon to guarantee that you get the best result.
Size and Shape of the Implants
The size is often the most important factor to consider when getting a breast augmentation, and there are specific factors to discuss with your surgeon.
First, consider the look. You’ll want an enhanced size without being disproportionate to your body. Most surgeons will let you try on implant sizers to see how they would look. They may also be able to provide recommendations based on your height and weight.
You’ll also want to consider your comfort level. Breasts that are too large might cause strain on your back or neck. Regardless of the increase, you’ll likely have to adjust your posture and get used to the weight.
For the shape, you can choose between round or anatomical. Round breast implants are symmetrical in circumference with no natural malformations. These can still look perfectly natural, despite the added symmetry.
When doing an anatomical or contoured breast implant, the surgeon will consider the shape of your natural breasts. The finished product will usually have an oval shape when viewed from the front and have more volume when viewed from the side. These can look more natural, but they have a higher likelihood of shifting and causing asymmetry.
Saline vs. Silicone
Last, but not least, factor in the type of implant you’ll want done. You can choose between saline or silicone. Both have their pros and cons, and you’ll want to discuss the options in great length with the surgeon before deciding.
Saline implants are pockets filled with sterile saltwater. The pocket is placed under the breast tissue or muscle and then filled with saline to the desired amount. It’s a great procedure for customization and accuracy because it’s easy to shift the size and gain symmetry. It also has a slightly smaller incision, but it can feel less natural.
Silicone implants are composed of silicone gel that feels more like the real breast. The implants are placed in the body fully filled, so there’s a larger incision. It’s also more expensive at around $1000 more apiece.
These are the most common types of implants you can choose, but you’ll want to discuss all the options with your surgeon to ensure you get the right look and feel for you.