Difference Between Breast Augmentation and Breast Implants

Breast augmentation and breast implants are nowadays becoming more and more common due to the advances in cosmetic surgical procedures. Women alter the shape, size, and fullness of their breasts for cosmetic reasons either after disfiguring conditions like malignancy or otherwise. It is important to understand the basics in cosmetic breast surgery to get a clear idea about this common topic of discussion. The first and the foremost fact is that breast augmentation is done by placing a breast implant in the female breast.

Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation is also known as augmentation mammoplasty. Breast augmentation is a cosmetic surgical procedure used to increase the size, shape and the fullness of breasts. Common indications for breast augmentation surgery are naturally small breasts (to increase the size), cosmetic changes of breast after pregnancy, asymmetry of breasts and breast restoration after cancer surgery. Women feel a definite rise in self-esteem and get positive ideas about their sexuality after breast restoration or breast augmentation. Current experience and statistics suggest that breast augmentation has been embraced by the public, and the results of breast augmentation surgery exceed expectations.

Breast augmentation has many approaches. The incision may be placed under the breasts, around the areola, in the armpit, at the umbilicus or on the abdomen. Trans-umbilical approach is very rarely employed nowadays. A pocket needs to be made for the implant to sit in. This pocket is aptly named; the implant pocket. There are 4 common pocket sites. Sub-glandular pocket lies between the breast glandular tissue and the pectoralis major muscle. Sub-fascial pocket lies under the pectoralis major muscle fascia. Sub-pectoralis and sub-muscular pockets lie under the pectoralis major. There are non-implantation surgical methods. Autologous fat grafting is a very common method. In general, all these surgical approaches take similar time duration to perform and the time taken for recovery is almost always the same. There can be many complications like implant rupture, breast capsular contractures and need of revision surgery. Fat injection and external tissue expansion are a few other popular methods of breast augmentation surgery.

Breast Implants

Breast implants are devices installed in the breast during breast augmentation surgery to alter the size, shape, texture and contour of the female breast. There are three main types of breast implants; silicone, saline and composite. During breast reconstruction surgery, a temporary breast implant called a tissue expander is placed in the breast to make a pocket into which the actual breast implant goes later. Saline implants have a silicone envelope filled with 0-9% NaCl (iso osmolar saline solution). This is better if women who have some breast tissue, because complications like lower breast pole stretch, rippling skin, and noticeability of the implant at a glance and to touch are common in women with very little breast tissue. Silicone devices have a silicone envelope filled with a silicone gel. Modern devices are filled with a semi-solid gel, unlike earlier ones.

Rupture of the implant and capsular contractures were once very common. However, complications are much less with modern devices. It is very important to know that a woman can breast feed while on a breast prosthesis. Because many implants are radio opaque, this may interfere with mammograms.

What is the difference between Breast Augmentation and Breast Implants?

• Breast augmentation is the process of improving the breasts cosmetically while breast implants are one way of achieving a larger breast volume.