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It is a personal decision to have breast enhancement. There are different reasons to want such a change. Most women are after a more attractive body shape, while others seek ways to regain their original figure back after pregnancy. Also, the manipulation is used to give their confidence a significant boost.
Regardless of the reasons, breast enhancement surgery is one of the most sought-after cosmetic procedures. Also known as augmentation mammoplasty, it boasts high satisfaction rate among patients. In fact, in recent years, the stigma around it has gradually declined, as a growing number of women become more open about going under the knife.
If you are interested in the possibility of getting such a procedure for yourself, this article is a must-read. It will help you have a better understanding of the process and debunk the myths surrounding breast augmentation surgery.
This article is composed of three parts:
- Part 1: All you need to know about breast enhancement and breast implant surgery.
- Part 2: Breast Enhancement Surgery Vs. Less Invasive Procedures.
- Part 3: Debunking myths on breast enhancement surgery.
Part 1: All you need to know about breast implants and breast enhancement procedure.
How does breast enhancement work?
Breast enhancement is a cosmetic procedure that involves the insertion of breast implants to increase the size and shape of the bust. In addition, it helps to achieve better symmetry, as the implant fills the space. There are three known ways of implant insertion:
- Transaxillary incision: The incision is made under the armpit, so the function of the breast tissue will not be affected.
- Inframammary incision: The cut is administered under the breast. That way it is easier for your doctor to directly view the tissue where the implant will be placed. This type of incision has a shorter recovery time.
- Areola incision: The incision is made around the nipple and areola. This helps to hide the scar tissue after the wounds have healed.
The breast implants can also be classified depending on the location of placement:
- Under the chest muscle
- Between the muscle and tissue
- Directly under the mammary
The incision type and placement location may influence the final outcome and functionality of the tissue. Your doctor will be the one who will have a final say on what type of incision and where to place the implants. Therefore, it is crucial that you discuss everything with them first.
What are the different types of breast enhancement surgeries?
As of date, there are three main breast augmentation options:
- Fat Transfer
How it Works:
From the name itself, this procedure involves the transfer of your own tissue to your breasts. It is also commonly called fat grafting. To qualify for it, you must have enough good quality fat (at least 150-250cc) for transfer. More often than not, fat is harvested from the stomach and inner thighs.
- Minimally invasive so there are less scarring, downtime, and discomfort.
- A "natural procedure" because no synthetic material is inserted into the body.
- Enhances breast size while reducing undesirable fats.
- Can be used in combination with silicone gel to achieve softer breasts.
- Smooth surface; moderate increase in breast size so it looks more natural.
- Repeated procedures can be carried out to achieve the desired results (with a 8-12 week interval).
- Not suitable for women who do not have enough body fat.
- May cost more due to the extra time and care involved in the procedure.
- Can only increase breast cup size up to one size bigger.
- The body may tend to absorb the transferred fat over time.
- Silicone Breast Implants
How it Works:
Silicone breast implants are the most preferred breast enhancement procedure in Singapore. This is because they can give a more definite shape and size increase. Depending on the desired size, items made of a silicone material will be placed in your breast through an incision. Cohesive gel, which is a type of silicone-based breast implants, is a lot more durable and rarely changes shape.
- Ultra soft and gives a natural feel.
- Can increase breast cup size to three to four times of the original.
- Implant rippling (folds and wrinkles) is uncommon compared to saline implants.
- Safe and has not been linked to cancer or other diseases.
- Firmer gels give a better shape and may last longer.
- Since silicone implants are pre-filled, longer incisions are required.
- Ruptures or leakage are hard to detect because the gel does not collapse.
- For the above reason, regular follow-ups and examinations with your doctor are required. Only this will make sure the implants are intact and functioning well.
- Saline Breast Implants
How it Works:
Through an incision, a silicone shell is inserted into the breast and then filled with saline solution (sterile salt water). The amount of fluid to be injected will depend on your desired size. Today, saline implants are less preferred compared to silicone ones.
- Can be adjusted during operation to achieve equally sized breasts.
- Can be adjusted even after the operation (usually with breast reconstruction).
- Does not require a large or long incision.
- Saline implants are full of water so that ruptures are easy to detect. If this happens, the water will leak out and the implants will deflate.
- Can cost less than silicone breast implants.
- Implant rippling (folds and wrinkles) can be visible and felt.
- Since the consistency is water-like, breasts may appear less firm.
- Breast deflation is more like to occur when breast implants rupture.
- Heavier compared to silicone implants.
- Considered as old technology.
If you are wondering whether saline or silicone gel filled breast implants will be a better material for you, have a discussion with your doctor.
How much bigger can your bust get after breast augmentation surgery?
Like any medical procedure, the final results are highly dependent on the individual and can differ from person to person. The size of the breasts after the procedure can be determined by a lot of factors such as:
- Your desired size.
- Your overall body frame.
- The percentage of breast tissue you currently possess.
- Skin laxity
- Present breast size, shape and symmetry
Usually, doctors advise that you shouldn’t go more than twice the size of your current breast size. Going beyond this may increase the risk of complications and will require a longer downtime.
In addition to enhancing the size, depending on your doctor’s recommendations, you can choose to have a narrower cleavage, more side boob, or perkier breasts. These different factors can influence the final size and volume of breast implants.
What's the most common breast implant shape chosen in Singapore?
The two most common breast implant shapes are:
- Round shape
These are typically recommended for women with looser tissues who want a sturdier implant that remains soft to the touch. It is important to note that round shaped breast implants may give you a fuller look but also appear more artificial.
- Teardrop shape
On the other hand, tear drop shaped breast implants are recommended for women with breast tissues that are relatively tight. Those who wish to have a more proportional and natural-looking bust will benefit from this procedure. They are also called "gummy bear" or cohesive gel implants.
Moreover, they are specifically designed to imitate the natural shape of the chest. Yet because of that, they have the tendency to flip or turn and can sometimes produce exactly the opposite to the intended effect.
This is why some of these come with a textured shell, which encourages the nearby tissue to grow into it. Because of that, drainage tubes may be required after the procedure.
What should I expect during a breast augmentation procedure?
Excluding consultation time, the entire breast enhancement process takes between 50 to 90 minutes. Here is the general step by step process during breast enhancement surgery:
- General anesthesia will be administered to your body to put you in deep sleep.
- Your doctor makes an incision so the breast implants can be inserted with the use of a special sleeve.
- The items are placed inside the tissue and properly positioned, then, the cut is closed using absorbable sutures.
- A specialised waterproof dressing is then placed over the wound to allow you to take a bath without getting it wet.
Will there be pain during and after breast enhancement surgery?
Technically, since you will be given general anaesthesia, you will not feel anything during the operation. You will be put into a deep sleep and once you awake, the procedure will have been over already.
Since this is an invasive manipulation, you should expect discomfort and mild pain around the incision area. There is no need to worry because they are mostly tolerable. In fact, patients say that they are able to walk out of the day surgery without any help.
Note that you may experience occasional pain, swelling and bruising. This will last over the next couple of weeks while the wound is still healing. This, however, will not stop you from doing your everyday routines.
In addition, some patients also feel out of breath during the first few days every time they lie flat. Don’t worry because this is quite common due to the weight of the breast implant. You will get used to it in no time.
What postoperative care should I consider?
The following weeks post-surgery are the most important time for a better and faster recovery. Typically, patients are advised to:
- Limit movement in their arms or move as slowly as possible without shifting unexpectedly.
- Avoid sudden irregular movements to prevent the implants from displacing
- Massage the treatment area to promote healing
- Practice religious disinfection on the incision site, especially after surgical tape is removed
- Not irritate or rub in the wound
- Take the week off to allow better recovery
How long will it take for my breast implants to look natural?
They will take a while to settle down. During the recovery period, they may feel firm and sit high as the skin around them will be tightly stretched. Since muscles are involved, the swelling may take a couple of months to completely subside. (But it is not likely to interfere with your everyday routine).
Here are the developments you should expect over time:
- 2-3 months after the operation, the swelling will have subsided and tightness will be reduced. Your cleavage will start to settle into a natural position resulting in improved breast shape.
- 4-6 months after the operation, your breast should feel soft and natural-looking.
If your bust still feels firm, unnatural, and swollen after 5-6 months, it is most wise to call your doctor as soon as possible.
How much does breast enhancement surgery cost in Singapore?
In Singapore, prices for breast enhancement surgery range from $7,500- $14,500.
The following are some of the many factors that influence cost of breast enhancement surgery:
- Doctor’s fee
- Anaesthetist’s fee
- Type of breast implant
- Brand of breast implant
- Surgical equipment and consumables charge
- Pre- and postoperative medications
Are breast implants long-lasting?
Thanks to technology, the new 5th generation breast implants are designed to last for a lifetime. However, items with weaker shells can only hold on somewhere between 15-20 years.
Also, in comparison to the older saline products, the longevity of silicone ones is usually more superior.
Doctors typically recommend a yearly follow-up examination and screening.
What side effects should you watch out for?
Generally speaking, getting a breast implant does not cause long-term side effects or adverse reactions. However, you should be cautious and watch out about the following:
- Capsular contracture: A rare condition where the tissue surrounding the implant thickens up abnormally. It can cause pain and breast asymmetry.
- Rupture: Though it doesn't occur often, if left undetected or untreated, ruptures and leaks may cause severe infections.
This is why, as mentioned above, it is important to have follow-up check-ups with your doctor yearly or every two years. This will ensure that the implants are still in place and have no leakage.
What can I do if I’m not satisfied with the result of the cosmetic surgery?
Once the breast implants have settled and you are not satisfied with the way it looks, it is better to talk to your immediate. They will give you advice and recommendations on the next steps to be undertaken. Make sure to pinpoint what aspect you are dissatisfied with. Some of these can be fixed in a breeze. Others may require more significant interventions such as you undergoing a series of treatments.
How can I choose the best surgeon in Singapore?
Unfortunately, there is no 'perfect type' of breast implant. What looks good on your friend may not look good on you. This is why thorough dialogue with your doctor is highly encouraged. Based on your body type and physical assessment, an experienced and well-trained specialist will be able to provide quality recommendations to achieve your desired result.
To choose the right professional for you, these are the following points you should consider:
- Make sure you are dealing with a qualified and accredited plastic surgeon in Singapore. They should have extensive training in cosmetic breast enhancement surgery.
- Check their track record to find out the number of procedures they have performed so far. And do ask how many of them are carried out on a monthly basis.
- Make sure the clinic is properly equipped to perform breast enhancement procedures. Also, ask if they have a wide array of implants to choose from.
- Don’t hesitate to view their portfolio containing before and after pictures to get a better idea of their skills and work.
- Ensure the breast surgeon can fully help you understand the procedure you are about to undertake. Ask as many questions as you can and don’t leave any unanswered. Trustworthy doctors will not hide anything from you because your safety is their priority.
Part 2: Plastic Surgery Vs. Less Invasive Procedures.
Breast Enlargement Surgery Vs. Fillers
Breast fillers usually come in the form of injectables. Compared to surgery, they are non-invasive. However, according to previous reports, fillers might cause severe reactions of the immune system. The problem is that these can develop years after the original procedure.
Serious problems that endanger your health include severe infections and formation of cysts. Over time, fillers might also migrate to other parts of the body. This will lead to distortions and debilitating, unbearable pain.
If you have had injectables in the past and are now starting to exhibit these problems, you should call a well-trained doctor right away. In most cases, they will have to be removed through surgery.
In Singapore, breast fillers are illegal. If you know a salon or clinic that offer such a procedure, you had better stay away or report them because it is not permitted by the law.
Breast Enhancement Surgery Vs. Breast Lift
Like breast enhancement, a breast lift is also a surgical procedure that aims to restore the shape of the boobs. Clinically known as mastopexy, the procedure restores the shape of the bust. It works by removing excess skin and lifting or reshaping the underlying breast tissue. Needless to say, this results in perkier and shapely breasts.
Breast lift, however, does not involve an increase in breast size. No implants are inserted to make that happen. Normally, this type of manipulation is sought after by women who have sagging breasts caused by pregnancy or age.
Breast Enhancement Surgery Vs. Other Non-Invasive “Breast Enlargement” Treatments
In Singapore, there are a lot of salons and spas that promise instant “breast enlargement” treatments. These include herbal breast therapies, suction cups and even laser technology. Some women resort to birth control pills and enlargement supplement in hopes that they will make a change.
Unfortunately, the only method that will increase your bust in size is surgery. Do not fall for scams that offer miracle treatments - ones that will only waste your money and will leave you disappointed. (And breast enhancing pills may actually do you harm, so don't fall for that.)
Part 3: Debunking myths on breast enhancement surgery.
Without a doubt, there are a lot of myths and hearsay circling around that intimidate other people. You might have heard rumours from friends or heard from someone else or read something online about botched jobs.
Here are some of the most popular myths about breast enhancement surgery and the truths behind them:
- Breastfeeding is not possible/allowed after the manipulation.
Truth: Breastfeeding is still very possible even after breast enlargement. It can happen if your doctor does not cut off your milk ducts. They can make an incision under your boobs to fix the problem.
You do not need to worry about getting pregnant even if you have existing implants. Breastfeeding is sage because silicone cannot mix with breast milk. The only issue you may encounter is a slight inflammation on the chest. That said, women with breast implants that are larger than normal may have reduced milk production.
- Breast implantation surgery will make your breasts look fake.
Truth: Breast enhancement done by an experienced and well-trained plastic surgeon will look and feel natural. However, it will take weeks (even months) to achieve natural results. As discussed previously, the implants will not settle right away and your bust may sit high during the first few weeks. At the sixth month mark, expect your cleavage to be looking great. What is more, the softness will be the same as that observed in natural breasts.
Remember, your doctor will play a significant role in the process. They will recommend the right products and proper procedure just for you.
- Breast implants will cause loss of breast sensitivity.
Truth: Unless your surgeon chooses to have the incision on the nipple area, loss of breast sensitivity is very rare. Occasionally, some patients feel a little numbness or oversensitivity in that region right after the operation. The good news is that everything returns to normal over time. Other people do not experience any changes at all. It will vary from person to person.
- You have to avoid certain food types after plastic and reconstructive surgery.
Truth: There is no scientific basis for this claim. Patients can eat whatever they want after surgery. However, if you are allergic to general anaesthesia or other medications, it is critical that you inform your doctor firsthand. Needless to say, this will help avoid complications during and after the operation.
- You have to replace the implants every now and then.
Truth: As discussed earlier, the newer generation of breast implants are specially designed to last for a lifetime. The only exception are occasions where ruptures are detected through medical devices. Another example is if complications and infections develop.
Please note that breast enhancement is not the same as breast reconstruction surgery, although it does involve implants. The procedure is also referred to as breast conserving surgery. It is generally needed after mastectomy, which might be part of multiple cancer treatments.
A type of breast reconstruction is delayed reconstruction. It is performed some time after the mastectomy - this could be months or years afterwards. The specialist creates a breast size and shape with the use of a tissue expander. It is necessary to help make room for the actual breast implant. Other than reshape the bust, the doctor reconnects the blood supply as well. Lastly, tissue from the abdomen or other parts of the body might be used (free flap or tissue flap).