Erin Walsh

Breast Augmentation

History of Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation has been around for over a hundred years. Women have been interested in changing their breast size, shape and feel since the 19th century and a variety of methods have been developed over the years (“History of Breast,” 2011). Paraffin injections were the first popular way to enlarge a woman’s breasts, but doctors found there to be many complications with this type of augmentation. The injections were discontinued by the 1920s (“History of Br
Left: Saline implant Right: Silicone implant
east,” 2011). Physicians tried several different materials to augment the shape, feel and size of breasts and finally found some succes in the 1940s and 1950s. Silicone became widely common after World War II and doctors started providing silicone injections as a way to enlarge the breasts. However, injecting the material straight into the woman’s breast seemed to cause more negative side effects. These side effects caused over 50,000 women to have mastectomies (“History of Breast,” 2011). Modern breast implants now consist of a silicone shell with a firm silicone gel filling. These have been the most popular type of breast implant since being approved by the FDA in 2006. However, silicone is still debated as a safety concern for women interested in having breast enhancement surgery (“History of Breast,” 2011). Saline breast implants are the alternative option offered by plastic surgeons, but silicone is still said to feel and look more natural. In 2009, almost 10 million cosmetic procedures were done in the United States and breast augmentation was number one on the list of top ten procedures (“Breast Augmentation, 2010).

Risks and Benefits of Breast Implant Surgery
Breast augmentation poses many of the same risks as other surgeries such as pain, infection, swelling, and effects of general anesthesia (Mitchell, 2009). For breast implants specifically, there are several other risks that one should be aware of before undergoing the procedure. According to Deborah Mitchell’s The Concise Encyclopedia of Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health (2009), some of the risks of breast implant surgery include loss of sensation in the breast and nipple area, inaccurate mammograms, inability to breast-feed, rupture, and capsular contracture. However, there are benefits for breast enhancement patients. Small and unsightly breasts can take a large toll on women in terms of their confidence and self-esteem. Many women report more happiness and a better sex life after having the surgery (Mitchell, 2009). The insecurities that plague sexual activity are dramatically improved when a woman obtains the body of her dreams. In addition, breast augmentation has been proved to heal the emotional and physical distress of breast cancer patients who have received mastectomies (Mitchell, 2009). Another point that should be considered before having breas
Deflated saline implant
t implant surgery is that breast implants don’t last forever. They can “pop” or“deflate” causing asymmetry and heightened insecurities. As a result, more than one surgery is probable and infections along with other complications are more likely with each procedure. Also, MRIs are needed every three years to check for ruptures, bleeding, infection, etc. so breast implants are costly and time consuming (Mitchell, 2009).

The Procedures
Before undergoing a breast enlargement procedure, the patient must pick the size and type of breast implant desired. There are two types of implants to consider. Saline implants are filled with a salt-water solution and can be filled before hand or during surgery. Saline implants are more flexible because they are easily modified during surgery (“Breast Implant Options” 2009). The procedure for saline implants includes general anesthesia and a small incision underneath the breast in the crease, on the lower part of the areola or in the armpit. The empty implant casing is inserted into a p
Left: The implant is placed between the chest wall and breast tissue. Right: The implant is placed behind the breast tissue.
ocket behind the breast tissue or between the breast tissue and the chest wall (“Breast Implant Options” 2009). Silicone implants are filled with a gel. They are pre-filled and usually leave a larger scar due to the larger incision (“Breast Implant Options” 2009). The saline implant is placed in the same position as the saline iplant. However, the type, size of the implant and placement of incision is very much so in the hands of the plastic surgeon. Therefore, it is important to communicate with the surgeon frequently and honestly because these aspects all vary between women.

Cost of Breast Augmentation
The cost of breast augmentation varies based on several elements. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (2011), “A surgeon's cost for breast augmentation may vary based on his or her experience, the type and cost of breast implants used, as well as geographic office location.” The cost includes tests, medications, anesthesia, the implants themselves, the surgeon, the hospital stay, and the required garments (“Breast Augmentation Costs,” 2011). One of the downsides of breast augmentation surgeries is that most insurance companies consider these procedures 100% cosmetic. Therefore, they do not cover the large expenses that augmentation can accumulate. Furthermore, the insurance policies continue to associate their coverage with the fact that a woman has breast implants. In turn, they won’t cover procedures that are needed for complications or corrections (“Breast Implant Costs,” 2011). This is why choosing an insurance policy and discussing the surgery with your insurance company is absolutely vital prior to going under the knife.

Breast Augmentation and Sexual Communication
Breast augmentation surgery is becoming more and more popular as the years progress. In years past, women with breast implants were looked at as hyper sexualized, attention hungry, playboy bunnies. However, in recent years, women with artificial breasts are gaining more respect. According to (2010), “In a 2007 HealthyWomen survey, 53 percent of women say they are more accepting of breast augmentation than they used to be. Women surveyed described other women who have undergone breast augmentation surgery as confident (60 percent) and feminine (61 percent).” Breast augmentation has been discovered to improve a woman’s body esteem and sex life. Therefore, many women are getting breast enhancement surgery for themselves and not for their partners or attention from other individuals. Researchers from the Psychology department at the University of Texas at Austin performed a study comparing body image with sexual satisfaction. The items that had the strongest effect on body image were the sexual attractiveness measures. These involved facial features and breast size. These are features that are usually altered with make-up or surgery (Pujols et al, 2010). Many women have reported that their main motivation for getting breast enhancement surgery is solely to improve their body image and esteem. According to Pujols et al (2010), a positive body image is vital to high sexual satisfaction. Women that feel good about themselves during sex tend to report having an orgasm and enjoying sexual intercourse much more (Pujols et al, 2010). Some therapists even recommend breast enhancement to improve failing relationships (Sloane, 2002). Overall, women with breast implant surgery used to communicate a hyper sexualized image and gain a lot of disrespect from society. Now, women are more understood in the reasons that they are seeking out breast augmentation. Many women want to feel better about their bodies and improve their sexual relationships.

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