What's the most popular cosmetic surgery in the United States? Breast augmentation procedures significantly outpace surgical enhancements of other body areas, with recent research showing that nearly all women who've gone under the knife feel the results met or exceeded their expectations, echoing what patients of Advanced Dermatology P.C. are telling plastic surgeon Robert Kraft, M.D. "Women come to us unhappy with the small size of their breasts and say they feel self-conscious when wearing form-fitting tops or swimwear," says Kraft. According to Joshua Fox, M.D., F.A.A.D., founder of Advanced Dermatology (New York City), "After breast augmentation, their confidence level soars and they love their new shape."
Research published in May 2013 in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery indicates that 98 percent of women undergoing breast augmentation—which soared by 35 percent since 2000, to 286,000 operations in 2012—showed the results met or surpassed their hopes. They also reported improvements in self-esteem and quality of life, with 85 percent rating their new breast size "just right." "Patient satisfaction tells us all we need to know about the success of breast augmentation surgery," says Kraft, who's board-certified and is a founding member of the New York State Association of Plastic Surgeons and is President of the Queens Medical Society. "Not only is it a highly safe procedure, but it helps women feel beautiful inside and out."
What's involved in breast augmentation?
Most people know that breast augmentation surgery, known medically as augmentation mammoplasty, results in bigger breasts. But many don't know what's involved in the procedure, Dr. Kraft says, or even all the reasons why it might be desirable. Breast augmentation used cosmetically to:
- Enlarge small breasts that most commonly result from heredity
- Restore breast volume lost after pregnancy, breast-feeding or weight loss
- Achieve better symmetry when breasts are noticeably uneven in size and/or shape
What breast augmentation can't do, Kraft notes, is correct badly drooping breasts, which require an operation called a breast lift - which can be done along with breast augmentation - to re-position them.
Two types of breast implants are used in breast augmentations: saline or silicone gel. Each has pros and cons, but surgeons work with each patient to determine which choice is best for them. Once that's decided, Kraft uses one of two incisions for the surgery:
- Periareolar incision: Made around the edge of the areola, this incision leaves the least-visible scars but may affect a woman's ability to breastfeed in the future.
- Inframammary incision: Considered the fastest, simplest and most popular of the incision options, this incision is best for patients with fuller breasts that effectively cover the scar when standing but may be visible when lying down.
Implants may be placed either over or under the muscle depending on how thin the patient is.
Preparing for breast augmentation surgery
Before breast augmentation surgery, a plastic surgeon will examine the patient's breasts, review their medical history and take medical photographs to compare pre- and post-surgery results. Beyond physical preparations for surgery, Kraft recommends that women also be psychologically prepared to understand that implants typically need to be replaced over time, since aging, gravity, hormonal factors and weight loss or gain can change the appearance of their breasts, or the implants may develop a leak.
Breast augmentation surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis using general anesthesia to keep patients comfortable for the 1- to 2-hour procedure. Temporary pain, swelling and other surgical complications may occur, but the 2013 Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery study found that patients felt they were completely "back to normal" about 25 days after surgery. "Best of all, the results are immediate," says Kraft. "Women can tell right away after breast augmentation surgery how much bigger and fuller their breasts appear. It's a feeling of satisfaction for them that's like no other."
Advanced Dermatology P.C. and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New Jersey) is one of the leading dermatology centers in the nation, offering highly experienced physicians in the fields of cosmetic and laser dermatology as well as plastic surgery and state-of-the-art medical technologies. Robert Kraft, M.D., is board certified and performs breast augmentation, reduction and lift; abdominoplasty and liposuction; and the full range of facial aesthetic procedures at Advanced Dermatology P.C., with 13 locations in New York and New Jersey. Joshua L. Fox, M.D., F.A.A.D., is the founder and medical director at Advanced Dermatology P.C. He is a leading authority in the field of dermatology with expertise in skin cancer, cosmetic surgery and laser procedures and is program director of a fellowship in laser and cosmetic surgery.