A breast enhancement could be any number of plastic surgery procedures designed to improve the fullness, shape, or projection of your breasts. Women who are unhappy with their breasts—whether due to genetics, childbirth and breastfeeding, weight loss or gain, illness, or any other reason—are ideal candidates for a breast enhancement (or augmentation; more on that later).
If the above describes you and you want to improve the look and feel of your breasts, you may want to start out by learning more about your options.
Today we give you a brief overview of the three most common breast procedures to help you get a better idea of what to expect.
But before that, let’s start by explaining the terminology.
What Is a Breast Augmentation?
The most common breast procedure is a breast augmentation. A breast augmentation almost always refers to the placement of implants to increase – or augment – the size of the breasts.
However, you can also augment/increase the size of your breasts without implants. One such procedure is fat transfer. We will discuss both implants and fat transfer below.
Breast lifts are generally not included in the breast augmentation category. Even though they can be very effective in enhancing the look of your breasts, they do not technically augment them. We will also discuss breast lifts below.
Here is what we will cover today:
- Breast Implants (surgical procedure, increases volume)
- Breast Lift (surgical procedure, keeps the same volume)
- Fat Transfer to Breast (minimally-invasive procedure, increases volume)
Let’s get started!
With more than 200,000 procedures performed each year for the past two decades (according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons), breast implants are consistently the most popular form of breast augmentation in the United States. Not to mention, they’re also the most popular form of plastic surgery, period.
Breast implants are effective for women who are unhappy with the fullness of their breasts or women with two different sized breasts (whether due to genetics or a mastectomy). The placement of implants requires a simple surgical procedure that is typically performed under IV sedation.
Implants can vary in three particular areas: material, insertion method, and placement.
Breast Implant Material
Today, breast implants are typically either filled with silicone or saline. Silicone implants most closely approach the feel of natural breast tissue. Saline implants are filled with sterile salt water and are generally more cost-effective than silicone implants.
Each type of implant has its own pros and cons. Read Breast Implants: Saline or Silicone? to get a better idea how to choose between the two.
Breast Implant Insertion Method
Depending on your body, the implant type and size, and your and your surgeon’s preferences, your breast implants could be inserted one of three ways. These include through a cut under the breasts, underneath the arms, or around the nipples.
Breast Implant Placement
Breast implant techniques have evolved in several ways over the years. Today, your breast implants can be placed either behind the breast tissue but in front of the pectoral muscle (subglandular placement) or behind the pectoral muscle (submuscular placement). Your plastic surgeon can help you decide on the right placement for your body.
Though small size is one of the most frequent complaints about breasts, sagging or unshapely breasts are also often the reason women seek breast surgery. Age, childbirth, breastfeeding, and genetic factors can all contribute to sagging breasts. Fortunately, you can fight back against gravity and enjoy perky breasts once again through a breast lift procedure.
Just like the placement of implants, a breast lift is a surgical procedure performed under IV sedation.
There are a variety of techniques for breast lifts using different types or shapes of incision. The one used by your breast surgeon will depend largely on your body type and the degree of sagging.
Because lifting the breasts can give the illusion of larger breasts, a breast lift may be performed as a standalone procedure. This is also called an auto-augmentation breast lift. However, it can also easily combined with breast implants to achieve both lift and more volume. Which one is best for you will depend on your overall goals for your breasts and your doctor’s recommendation.
Fat Transfer to Breast
The third option to enhance your breasts is the only one among the three that is minimally-invasive, meaning a less-invasive form of surgery. Fat transfer to breast allows women to fill and contour their breasts in the most natural way possible. It is ideal for the woman who wants to enhance her breasts and who also has excess fat elsewhere on her body. To get good results from fat transfer, your breasts should already have a good shape and skin tone, and you should be aware that you’ll only see a modest increase in volume.
To harvest the fat that is used as a natural filler for the breasts, your doctor uses liposuction—typically a combination of water-based and laser or radio frequency assisted liposuction—to gently remove fat from your problem areas. This could be your waist, your thighs, or even your upper arms, or a combination of several areas. This excess fat gets moved through a machine that ensures its quality and keeps it safe from contaminants. The fat can then be inserted directly into your breasts to fill and shape them to your liking.
Fat transfer is a method that appeals to women who do not like the idea of implants, who are looking for a quicker recovery time, or who are hesitant about going under the knife. It can also be combined with breast implants to smooth out small irregularities. However, a word of caution: Many women are not ideal candidates for a fat transfer to breast procedure and will achieve better results with breast implants.
Whether you’re interested in a breast augmentation with implants, a breast lift, or fat transfer, your first step to making your breasts look beautiful is to schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon. Contact us today to start the conversation!