One of the most commonly requested procedures I get asked for as a plastic surgeon is breast enhancement. This should come as no surprise: after all, a woman’s breasts are the most overt expression of her femininity, and women who have poorly developed breasts may be particularly self-conscious about it, feeling as if they were somehow less of a woman because they have small or misshapen breasts. They become embarrassed when buying undergarments and swimwear, and worry about what other people may say or think about them, causing stress and anxiety that keeps them from leading a full and healthy social life.
Studies have shown that women report improved social and sexual life, self-confidence and increased self-esteem after undergoing breast enhancement surgery. Likewise, most women (even those who experience complications with their implants) also report long-term satisfaction with the result of their breast enhancements, indicating that the procedure does significantly improve a patient’s quality of life.
Traditionally, breast enhancement surgery is most usually performed through the insertion of silicone implants in the breast. Despite the numerous advances in medical science, silicone has still remained the gold standard in implant surgery due to its exceedingly natural look and the feel it imparts to the breast. A well-placed silicone implant can make a woman’s augmented breasts virtually indistinguishable from another woman’s natural breasts.
The most popular form of silicone gel used today for breast enhancement is cohesive silicone, colloquially referred to as “gummy bear” implant because of its sticky, gummy constituency. With a greater material memory, cohesive silicone implants are not only more versatile but also safer to use.
Even if such an implant were to rupture or leak, thanks to the material memory the gel is unlikely to leak into the tissues of the breast therefore making it easier to safely remove and replace the affected implant.
However, implant surgery is no longer the only option for breast enhancement.
Today, there is a revolutionary new alternative in the form of fat transplant to the breasts. This is essentially a two-for-one procedure that combines liposuction with simultaneous breast enhancement. The plastic surgeon first takes some fat from the patient’s body (usually from around the tummy, thighs or buttocks), processes it and then immediately re-injects it into the patient’s breasts to make them larger, fuller and rounder. The size and shape can be fine-tuned and adjusted depending on the volume of fat available. This is especially beneficial for women who have breasts that are of unequal size.
This minimally invasive procedure is medically advantageous – as there are no implants and no need for any surgery; there is therefore significantly fewer complications and no worries about surgical scars. This “scarless” technique is also quite possibly the fulfilment of many a woman’s dream: to be able to move fat from one place of her body and put to good use in another! It’s also important to select a plastic surgeon who is very experienced and skilled in the techniques of liposculpture so that the donor areas will look smooth and aesthetic pleasing as well. That’s why I term it “B-to-B” enhancement…A fuller breast and a shapelier body, all in one sitting!
However, not every woman is suitable for this fat grafting procedure. Women who do not have enough fat, for instance, will not be able to benefit from it. We can even use this technique for breast reconstruction in patients who have undergone mastectomy for breast cancer or as a replacement for those women who choose not to have their implants anymore but still would like to keep their breast shapes.
Speak to your plastic surgeon if you have an interest in undergoing breast enhancement: he will be better able to guide you through the process and offer a customised solution where your expectations are met in an appropriate and realistic fashion.