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Every woman understands the changes that her breasts go through over time. Pregnancy, childbirth, weight gain or weight loss – eventually, these life experiences take their toll on a woman physically and emotionally. Some women may feel uncomfortable and self-conscious about these unwanted and unflattering changes.
Having breast augmentation is a way to help women feel better about their bodies and boost their confidence. These days, breast augmentation is nearly as commonplace as going for a visit to the dentist. Breast augmentation surgery is still the most common surgical procedure, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, having gone up 31% from the year 2000 to 2015.
Doctors have also noticed an increasing number of women wanting smaller implant sizes with a more natural shape – no more rock-hard, D-cup sizes that seem so obviously artificial. More natural-looking breasts can now be achieved with the latest innovations in breast augmentation implants.
Innovations in Breast Implants and Techniques
“Gummy Bear Implants” are a form of silicone implant technology currently gaining popularity in the industry. This innovation has been around for 30 years internationally, but has only recently found its way into plastic surgery facilities in the United States. Instead of liquid saline, the implant is filled with a silicone cohesive gel that keeps its form even if cut, much like a real gummy bear. This means it holds its shape better and won’t wrinkle or move around as much as saline solution would. This also means that if the implant were to leak or rupture, the gel would remain within its implant casing and not seep into the body, causing possible medical complications. This is important because any leaks would require further surgery to replace the faulty implant as well as repair any other surrounding tissues that were affected. This was the reason why doctors used to recommend getting saline implant replacements every 10 years.
With these new cohesive gel implants, such as the newly FDA-approved Inspira implant from Allergan’s Natrelle line, no replacement is needed unless so desired by the client. Clients can also ask their doctors to show them the different types of implants that come in different shapes (teardrop, round), sizes, and stiffness (some manufacturers make the gel firmer or softer). Gummy bear implant breast augmentations usually costs between $8,000 – $10,000.
Rapid Recovery Breast Augmentation is a term for a surgical technique that is minimally invasive; it is an under-the-muscle augmentation that allows for recovery in as little over 24 hours. This is done by creating a precise pocket with nearly no bruising or bleeding, resulting in a near zero level of pain and inflammation.
The procedure is done in less than 30 minutes and most patients don’t require post-op prescription painkillers. This procedure costs a little over $10,000 – a bit higher that traditional augmentation procedures – but this technique can reduce scarring, inflammation, and other post-op complications that may require reoperation.
Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation is sometimes called a non-surgical boob job as it can be performed under local anaesthesia. While not technically a non-surgical procedure, the process of harvesting the fat, which is suctioned from the deepest parts of the target areas (thighs, arms, love handles, or back) requires that the client be asleep in order not to feel any discomfort from the procedure. This fat is then injected into the breasts to help enhance the cleavage, create a better breast side contour, or to just increase the breast size by a cup or a cup-and-a-half.
There are two good reasons why more women prefer this technique: the first is that apart from creating fuller breasts, the client also gets the added benefit of a contoured body. The second reason is the ease of mind the client gets from knowing that there are no foreign objects being inserted in her body since the fat used is her own, thus minimizing the possibility of rejection.
It should be noted that more than one procedure may be required to achieve the final desired fullness and shape since 30 – 50% of harvested fat dies before it can be transferred. The procedure could cost between $7,500 – $10,000 per treatment.
The Keller Funnel is a breast augmentation innovation that surgeons use to push a silicone implant into a much smaller incision or breast pocket. It is a no-touch technique that decreases the risk of bacterial contamination, reduces the incidence of infection, and lessens scarring.
Honeycomb Pain Relief is a term for Exparel, a relatively new release in the market. Post-op pain management is an inevitable result of any breast augmentation procedure. Patients are often prescribed strong and addictive opioids that help ease them through the painful recovery period. Exparel is a non-narcotic numbing agent that is injected directly into the surgical site. It has a honeycomb structure that, over the course of 3 days, dissolves and releases lidocaine so that there is a constant decrease in pain as the initial anaesthesia wears off.
Costs of Breast Augmentation Implants: Saline vs Silicone
There are different factors that affect the total cost of breast augmentation surgery. Among them are surgeon’s fees, anaesthesia fees, surgical center fees, follow-up care costs, prescription medication, and finally, the cost of the actual implants themselves. Breast augmentation surgery fees also vary depending on the state the client chooses to have the procedure. Surgeon’s fees may also range higher for those with more expertise, well-established practices, and solid reputations. It is crucial to find a surgeon who is not only board certified, but also willing to work with your individual needs and concerns.
How much are breast implants? The cost of the breast implants also vary according to the type to be used: saline or silicone. In general, saline implants are the less expensive type. While saline implants feel somewhat natural, they will begin to lose their saline after around 5 years, necessitating a reoperation for new implants. Saline breast augmentation cost could range between $4,500 – $5,000.
Silicone implants feel more natural and can retain their shape and size better over a much longer time. Breast augmentation using these implants could cost $1,000 – $2,000 more than using saline implants. Using newer implants like the Gummy bear type could cost between $8,000 – $10,000, depending on the complexity of the procedure. Silicone implants, in all their variants, tend to cost more because of manufacturing costs and research & development costs.
Breast Augmentation Recovery: Healing After Surgery
The recovery process begins right after the surgical procedure. There will be some pain or discomfort after the initial anaesthesia wears off. The swelling and bruising in the chest area will continue for around 3 days after surgery but this can be treated with the prescribed pain medication. Patients may also need to wear a surgical support bra or compression garment for the next 3 to 4 weeks to protect the areas of incision and to help ease and discomfort from movement. The final shape of the breasts will start to look their best after around 3 to 4 months when the skin and muscles have had a chance to relax around the implants which, by then, would have more or less settled into their proper positions.
Patients should visit their doctors for follow-up exams a week after the procedure, then after 2 to 3 weeks, and then after 3 to 6 weeks to ensure proper healing and checking on the final contour of the augmentations. More check-ups will follow at 3 months, 6 months and then 1 year after the surgery.
Throughout this recovery period, the patient must keep her doctor apprised of any notable discomfort she may feel as the doctor will also keep her advised of the restrictions or limitations on her normal daily routine.
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