Is There A Difference Between Breast Augmentation and Breast Enlargement?

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

When thinking about plastic surgery, the terminology for breast enhancement varies, specifically when it comes to changing the initial structure of the breast. Breast augmentation and breast enlargement are basically the same thing. Breast augmentation is the medical terminology, and breast enlargement is the standard terminology.

What exactly is breast augmentation?

Breast augmentation or enlargement is done to increase and enhance the shape and size of the breast for a number of reasons. On a woman, the breasts are a very important part of the anatomy and can help exude confidence and boost self-esteem.

Why get breast augmentation?

Women undergo breast augmentation for a number of reasons. When the breasts start losing their shape, breast augmentation is a viable alternative for recreating a youthful appearance in the chest area. Women also undergo changes, or are not satisfied with their outer appearance, and this is a quick and easy solution for enhancement. Here are a few other reasons:

  • To restore proper alignment
  • To increase the size and shape of breasts that are small
  • To restore shape and fullness after giving birth or losing weight
  • To restore breasts after a serious illness, like cancer

How can the breasts be enlarged?

breast implants

Breast enlargement is usually done with implants. These implants vary in size, shape and consistency and are placed inside of the breast to increase the form and shape. There are three basic types of implants:

  • Saline- Saline implants are filled with saline solution. The amount of solution can be modified to enhance or change the shape, feel and consistency of the breast. If the implant leaks, the risk is minimal, as the saline will be absorbed and passed through the body naturally.
  • Silicone- These implants are filled with a gel inside a silicone shell. This carries a higher risk, should it start leaking. They need to be checked regularly through an ultrasound or MRI to make sure there is no leakage.
  • Alternative composite- These implants are filled with other types of natural-based materials. They should also be checked on a regular basis.

What happens during a breast augmentation/enlargement?

The process is three-fold and requires anesthesia. Here is a general breakdown:

  • There is an incision, either in the crease under the breast, the armpit or around the nipple. This is determined by the plastic surgeon based on a number of factors such as how large the implants will be, type of implant and the best option for the patient.
  • The implant is placed into the breast, either under the pectoral muscle or behind the breast tissue over the pectoral muscle.
  • The incision is then closed with stitches and reinforced with sutures and surgical tape.

How long is the recovery period?

This depends on the patient. Because it is surgery, there will be pain and swelling. A general recovery period is about six weeks without heavy lifting or activities that may stress the area. The patient will be instructed on what type of bra to wear and how to care for the stitches until the follow-up.

Are there risks involved?

With any surgery, there are risks involved. A lot of problems may be alleviated by following the recovery instructions. Some complications that may occur include: pain, infection, ruptures, leakage, bleeding and an accumulation of fluid. If any of these symptoms arise, seek medical attention immediately.<