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Breast enhancement
Fast Facts

What is it? Surgical implants to enhance the size and shape of breasts include silicone, saline, cohesive gel ('gummy bear'), and hydrogel implants.

Normal healing time: 5-7 days for recovery, with another week or two before resuming strenuous physical activity such as heavy lifting.

Average price in the US: $5,000 - $8,000.

Mammoplasty, or breast augmentation surgery, is one of the most frequently requested procedures by women around the world.

They may want to enhance their appearance, correct the size or shape of their breasts, "lift" sagging breasts or for reconstruction after breast cancer surgery.

Some still think of breast surgery as a "boob job" — something that aspiring exotic dancers do to enhance their careers. Or, as singer Dolly Parton once observed: "I'm in showbiz. I look at my boobs like they're show horses or show dogs. You've got to keep them groomed."

But the truth is that most of the people who have breast enhancement surgery are simply looking for a way to improve their appearance.

It is popular procedure with mature women who want to recover a more youthful figure, or for women who opt for breast enhancement surgery to help regain their pre-pregnancy figure. One survey found that 65% of the women polled were 35 years of age or older, married and mothers.

In the same survey, close to 90% of the women who participated agreed that, "Breast augmentation is a personal choice that helps women achieve the confidence and well-being to flourish in other areas of their lives."

Joshua Levine, the CEO of Mentor, the company conducting the survey, stated, "The survey results confirm what we have known for years: breast augmentation patients are intelligent, thoughtful women completely capable of making informed decisions."

Today there are many options for women who must improve their bust. Gone are the days when exercise and "falsies" were the only means to provide a fuller, youthful bust line.

Each year, worldwide approximately 2 million women have breast implants which come in several types. Silicone implants were used beginning in the early 1960's, but were banned in the U.S. in 1992 over concerns about silicone leakage into the body.

  • The implant manufacturers have made improvements to the materials and today, the FDA has approved the use of silicone implants once again as a safe and effective option.

  • If you are still nervous about the silicone implants, saline implants are an alternative to silicone and, although made up of a silicon shell, are injected with a saline solution to give a natural feel and shape.

  • Cohesive gel (‘gummy bear’) is another option widely available around the world and approved in the US in 2012 featuring a gel that has a "memory" for retaining the implant shape and is soft and supple.

  • Hydrogel breast implants combines saline solution with the added strength of a tear resistant shell, although they, too, have now been banned in some countries as unsafe due to apparent leakage. They have never been approved in the U.S.

With all of these appliances, there is some chance of shifting or leakage. Although rare, breast implant risks are involved with any breast augmentation surgery, so talk to your doctor to discuss the risks and benefits before your choose to undergo the procedure. Your doctor can tell you what to watch for to make sure that you recognize any problems during he healing process or afterward.

Make sure that you have a list of questions that may concern you when you speak to your plastic surgeon. Many younger women are concerned with whether they will be able to breast feed after having augmentation surgery. Ask all of your questions before you decide on the surgery to improve the likelihood that you will have reasonable expectations and be happy with the results.

More information about breast implants around the Web:

On the Net, check out additional news and information, pictures and illustrations, questions to ask your doctor, facts on how the operation is performed, post-operative care and recuperation, along with the possible risks - and the benefits - of breast enhancement....


Breast Implants - Extensive information on the topic from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration including a complete consumer handbook, research and studies, photos and illustrations, possible complications, related links.

Imaganis - Breast Augmentation - Good overview, plus topics to discuss with your doctor, description of surgical procedures, types of implants, post-operative care, side effects, and related links and resources.

Breast Augmentation and Breast Implants Information Web - Read other visitors first-person accounts about their breast implant surgeries, plus information on costs, links to government studies and related resources, FAQs, photos.

Breast Implants - Wikipedia - Excellent, illustrated guide including facts & information on saline and silicone gel implants, incision types, related risks and complications, plus extensive references and resources for further information.

This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.

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