Augmentation mammaplasty (breast enlargement) is performed to increase breast size and/or fix breast asymmetry. Candidates include women who want larger breasts, and those who want to restore the breast volume often lost as a result of pregnancy or significant weight loss. Breasts can be enlarged with implants or by fat transplantation. Augmentation mammaplasty is not a substitute for mastopexy, which is a procedure to "lift" breasts that sag significantly.
Mastopexy (breast lift) is a surgical procedure for lifting and reshaping sagging breasts. Aging, pregnancy, weight loss and gravity can all cause breasts to sag. By trimming excess skin and tightening supporting tissue, breasts can be made to sit higher on the chest and be firmer to the touch. In addition, the nipple and areola can be repositioned or resized to further enhance breast appearance. Because mastopexy does not change breast size, it is often combined with breast augmentation or reduction.
Women who are unhappy about having large breasts and/or want to treat symptoms such as back pain, breathing problems and poor posture, may benefit from reduction mammaplasty (breast reduction), during which fat, glandular tissue and skin are removed from the breasts. The resultant smaller breasts increase patient comfort, and look more in proportion to the rest of the body. Ideal candidates for reduction mammaplasty are women with oversized breasts that are causing medical problems, low self-esteem, and/or physical or social discomfort. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding cannot undergo reduction mammaplasty.
Breast reconstruction is performed on women who have lost one or both breasts to mastectomy, or who lack breasts due to congenital or developmental abnormalities. The goal of breast reconstruction is to create a breast and nipple that resemble the natural breast as closely as possible in shape, size and position. A long as a woman is healthy, age is not a factor in whether she is a good candidate for breast reconstruction. However, women with health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, and those who smoke, are advised to wait rather than have breast reconstruction immediately following mastectomy.
Breast reconstruction surgery replaces the breast that is removed when a woman has a mastectomy to treat breast cancer. Although breast reconstruction often involves inserting a synthetic implant, there is an alternative, more natural treatment for rebuilding the breast(s).
Women who opt for breast augmentation (breast enlargement) with implants may not be happy with the results for a number of reasons: The implants' shape, size and/or placement may be problematic, or postsurgical complications, such as leaking, wrinkling, implant displacement, capsular contracture or symmastia, may have occurred. Although considered safe, revision surgery to correct problems with breast implants may be more complicated, cost more and take longer to recover from than the initial surgery.