A More Shapely Bosom

What you need to know about breast enhancement.

Breast augmentation, also known as breast enhancement or augmentation mammoplasty, refers to procedures that enhance the volume and shape of the breasts. It is one of the most requested and frequently performed aesthetic surgery procedures.

- This Quarterly April 2016 -

The top 5 reasons women choose to undergo this procedure are:

  • To look better in clothes and swimwear
  • To throw away their padded bras
  • To restore breast volume lost after childbirth, breastfeeding or weight loss
  • To boost their self-esteem and confidence
  • To please their partner

Various methods can be used to enhance the size and shape of breasts.

The most common ones are:

  • Fillers – This is a non-invasive procedure which involves injecting compounds into the breast and is more suitable for ladies who only want a modest increase in size. However, the disadvantages of this procedure are problems associated with infection, migration and interference with cancer screening. With these potential risks in mind, most surgeons would advise against breast fillers.

  • Fat transfer – This involves the harvest of fat through liposuction preferably from the thighs or tummy. After a process of preparation and refinement, the fat cells are injected into the breasts. The procedure is performed under local anaesthesia with light sedation or under general anaesthesia and takes two to four hours. The advantages of the procedure are that no foreign materials are used and scars are small. This is an option for women who desire a moderate increase in breast size and would prefer naturalfeeling results. The disadvantage of this method is that most patients do not have sufficient fat for a significant enhancement. There is also the possibility that the volume or shape of the breasts could change over time, especially if the lady’s weight fluctuates.

  • Breast Implants – Implants are a very durable and predictable method of enhancing breast volume and shape. The popular styles of implants are either round or teardrop-shaped and are filled with either silicone gel or saline (salt water). The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia and takes between one to two hours.

When performing the procedure, the surgeon creates a preciselysized pocket in the breast area, either below or above the chest muscle; after which he carefully inserts the pre-selected implant. Patients are required to wear a postoperative bra after the operation for nine days. The benefits of implants is that they allow for a wide range of volumes and cup sizes. This usually allows for larger breast enhancements than fat transfer, particularly in slim ladies. The volume and shape are also durable over time. The main disadvantage of implants is that there is a longer scar of about 3cm to 4cm; but this is usually placed in a hidden location and fades over time.

Another concern for some patients is the presence of a foreign material. It is reassuring that the major manufacturers of modern breast implants are so certain of their quality that the implants come with lifetime warranties against rupture. Breast implants usually do not interfere with breast cancer screening, although it is useful to alert the radiologist beforehand so that they can make the necessary adjustments to their procedure.

Breast augmentation gives long-term results; before deciding, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is my ideal size? Keep in mind that most Asian women have small frames, so the volumes required are usually not large to achieve natural, aesthetically-pleasing results.
  • Am I more suited to fat transfer or implants?
  • Do I want to breastfeed in the future? Rest assured, both fat transfer and implants will not interfere with future breastfeeding.