Breast surgery can be typically be divided into three basic categories: Reduction, augmentation, and reconstruction. Each of these has a specific purpose. Your needs and the look you want to achieve will be the driving factors for the one you select.
Types of Breast Surgeries
- Breast Augmentation
This surgery is performed to enhance the contour, appearance, and size of a woman’s breasts. Most women consider augmentation mammoplasty/ breast augmentation for various reasons. Some feel their breasts are excessively small compared to the body contour, while others want augmentation after a size loss post-pregnancy and lactation. Some others opt for it to correct some asymmetry in their breast size.
Breast augmentation is always performed with implants that can be under/over the pectoralis muscle in the chest. The incision during the surgery can be made in the lower breast, areola, or the axilla or armpit. Breast augmentation can also be done with the assistance of an endoscope. However, you must be aware that breast implants might interfere with cancer detection.
Sometimes, breast compression during a mammography might cause the implant to rupture. Breast implants are silicone shells filled with silicone gel or saline (salt water solution). You can determine your desired size by fitting the trial implant. Currently, the saline-filled implants are recommended on an unrestricted basis while silicone gel-filled implants are available only to those participating in various approved studies.
- Breast lifts
Some women have skin that isn’t resilient or strong enough to support the entire weight of the breasts, causing them to sag. This typically happens when the skin is more compared to the breast tissue.
In some women, the skin is not reliable or resilient enough to support the weight of the breast, causing the breasts to sag. With this condition, called ptosis, there is too much looseness in the breast. A procedure called mastopexy is required to remove the excess skin and give the breasts a lift.
- Breast reconstruction
This procedure seeks to recreate breasts with the desired volume, appearance, and contour. The nipple-areola components are also recreated. The ability to breastfeed & normal breast sensation are lost when the milk glands and ducts/ sensory nerves have been significantly injured or removed
The contour, volume, and appearance of the breasts can also be recreated with implants/ with the patient’s tissue. In case an implant is used, that implant will be sized to match the other breast. It is also possible to recreate a breast using the woman’s tissue. In some cases, a section of the lower abdominal wall may be used. Some other tissue options for autologous (patient’s own tissue) reconstruction are the segment of a buttock or back muscle & skin.
- Breast reduction
Pendulous and large breasts that are heavy can be extremely uncomfortable. All the excess weight can, over time, cause back pain, neck pain, bra strap indentations, weakness, and numbness or skin irritation. Breast reduction is called reduction mammoplasty. In this procedure, excess skin, fat as well as glandular tissue is removed, and there can be extensive scarring. However, there is no impact on milk production, nipple-areola sensation, and normal breast sensation.
Possible side effects of this procedure are lumpiness from the scar tissue, pain, and the inability also to breastfeed. This reduction procedure reduces breast contours, volume, and appearance while preserving breast function and sensation. After breast reduction, most women report a notable improvement in their symptoms.
Get all the information you can about what is involved in these procedures, what the benefits and risks are. It’s also a good idea to understand what the alternatives are during a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon.