The following information is regarding breast augmentation which is important to review, understand and discuss with family and/or friends before choosing to proceed with surgery.
Goals of Breast Augmentation: The purpose of augmentation mammoplasty is to create more normal proportions in women with under developed breasts or to recreate fullness in women who have lost volume due to pregnancy or weight loss. The operation is designed to preserve breast function, specifically sensitivity, the ability to breast feed and to satisfy psychological needs. In any given patient, these goals may be only partially met.
Limitations to the Procedure: This procedure cannot stimulate normal breast tissue to increase in size, nor can it create younger skin or eliminate “stretch marks”. In addition, if sagging is severe, this cannot be eliminated with implantation alone. Asymmetries such as difference in breast shape or position, rib cage irregularities or difference in nipple areolar size may not be corrected by this procedure. Although the procedure may improve body image and a sense of well-being, the procedure cannot solve personal, marital or work-related problems.
Alternatives to the Procedure: Loss of breast volume and breast sagging are normal features of aging, and in themselves are not a disease which requires surgery. Upper body exercise will tone the pectoralis muscles giving the upper chest a fuller appearance. However, as there are no direct muscle communications to the breast tissue itself, exercise will produce little, if any, change in breast shape. Other surgical procedures are available, primarily involving transferring of skin and/or fat grafts have produced only temporary improvement in most women. More complicated procedures such as transferring skin and muscle flaps, as used in breast reconstruction, could be performed, but these are extensive surgical procedures which leave significant scars in the area from which the tissue has been transferred. Most commonly, synthetic implants are used for breast augmentation. Saline implants, either smooth or textures, are the primary implants available for implantation today.
Breast Cancer and Augmentation Mammoplasty: There is no evidence that the incidence of breast cancer is increased or decreased by the presence of breast implants. As the implants are placed behind the breast tissue, not in the breast tissue, physical examination is not affected. Mammograms can be performed on patients with breast implants, but it is important to realize that mammograms may be more difficult to perform and special views may be required. In addition, a radiologist experienced in viewing mammograms of patients with breast implants is required. For these reasons, mammograms on patients with implants may be more expensive than routine mammograms. It is also known that a small amount of breast tissue may be obscured by the presence of the implants and very early cancers may be missed in patients with implants. Silicone has been found to produce a very rare cancer (fibrosarcoma) in laboratory rats. This is not breast cancer and has not been found to occur in humans.
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