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Mammoplasty (breast cosmetic surgery)

What is mammoplasty?

Mammoplasty is cosmetic surgery performed on the breasts. These procedures include breast enlargement or augmentation, breast reduction and breast reconstruction.

Breast augmentation (augmentation mammoplasty)

Breast enlargement or augmentation is performed to enhance the appearance, size and contour of a woman's breasts. Women consider breast augmentation for many different reasons. For example, some women feel their breasts are too small, while others want augmentation because their breasts change after pregnancy and others want to correct a difference in the size between their breasts.

Breast augmentation is performed with implants that can be placed under a chest muscle or over a chest muscle. The incision can be placed in the axilla ( armpit), areola (the brown or pink tissue around the nipple) or lower breast fold. In general, all breast augmentations are minimally invasive procedures. For augmentations in which the incision is made in the armpit, an endoscope (thin tube with a small camera and light) may be used during the procedure.

Breast implants are made up of a silicone shell filled with either saline (a salt water solution) or silicone gel. A woman determines her desired size by fitting trial implants.

Breast augmentation is a relatively straightforward procedure. As with any surgery, there is some uncertainty and risk associated with this surgery. The cosmetic surgery industry came under intense scrutiny after the faulty PIP implant scandal and as a result of this some clinics went out of business or refused to help by the time the problems emerged.

Discuss any concerns and expectations you have with your doctor.

Breast implants can interfere with breast screening mammograms. Make sure the radiographer or nurse knows if you have breast implants.

Breast reduction

Breast reduction surgery can help women with large, heavy breasts who experience significant discomfort including neck pain, back pain numbness or weakness due to the weight of their breasts. During this procedure, excess skin, fat and breast tissue is removed.

After surgery, breast reduction can cause a change in breast sensation as well as affecting the ability to breastfeed.

After breast reduction, most women report relief from the symptoms caused by having oversized breasts.

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