What is Breast Augmentation, Breast Implants, or a Boob Job?
What is Breast Enlargement Surgery, a.k.a. Breast Augmentation or Implants?
Breast enlargement surgery is a breast surgery procedure that aims to increase the size and shape of the breasts through the placement of breast implants. It is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in the United States.
Why is Breast Enhancement So Popular?
According to statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 329,000 breast augmentation procedures were performed last year, making it the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in 2006, the very first time it became so.
Whether they admit it or not, women have wanted bigger breasts for centuries. More often than not, most women are a bit insecure about the appearance of their chests, feeling that their breasts are too small or that their breasts are uneven. And the barrage of images of voluptuous women in the media further motivate these same women to do something to improve on nature, like undergoing breast augmentation surgery. While many have been apprehensive about getting a boob job because of safety concerns, the advent of improved surgical methods and breast-implant technology have convinced more and more women to get it done, as the procedure has become more refined, providing better post-surgical results than years ago.
Another possible reason why breast augmentation is increasingly becoming more popular is the fact that cosmetic surgery loans are now readily available for anyone who wants to get a cosmetic surgery procedure done. Before, only a privileged few can afford its costs, but that isn’t the case anymore. These days, members of the working class and income earners can easily get the nose, face or breasts that they’ve always wanted with cosmetic surgery financing.
How Many People Undergo Breast Augmentation each Year?
Over the years, the popularity of breast enhancement procedures has been steadily rising. In 2004, only 264,041 breast enlargement operations were done, compared to the 324,891 liposuction procedures performed that year. And while the number of breast augmentations rose to 291,000 the following year, the procedure remained in 3rd place among the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in 2005, behind liposuction, with 324,000, and nose reshaping (rhinoplasty), with 298,000.
A major shift, however, took place in 2006, as breast augmentation zoomed to the top of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures list, with 329,000 operations performed. Liposuction, meanwhile, has dropped to third place, with 303,000; followed by numerous popular facial plastic surgery procedures.
It remains to be seen whether this trend will continue for 2007, but with women now given more options regarding breast enhancement with the November 2006 approval of silicone gel breast implants by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it appears that breast augmentation is headed towards greater heights this year.
Is there Really Male Breast Augmentation? Is it Just for Sex Change Type Purposes?
Most people believe only women can get breast augmentations done. The truth of the matter is, there are actually a number of men who request for breast augmentation procedures. While it is typical for men who undergo sex reassignment surgery to also ask for breast implants, men who work as female impersonators, or are just gender-benders of cross-dressers also go for breast augmentation, as the more womanly appearance provided by breast implants also helps them in their trade.
However, men who get boob jobs are not limited to transsexuals or cross-dressers. There are men who ask for implants to help sculpt and provide definition to the chest area. Also known as pectoral implants, male breast implants are quite different from female breast implants, as they are made of solid silicone. More often than not, the men who get this type of breast augmentation done find it difficult to get the pectoral muscle definition they want just by exercise alone. Men who have injuries or defects that affect the pectoral muscles also have the option to go for male breast implants to disguise them.
There is also a record of a man who got breast implants because of a bet. Brian Zembic, a high-stakes gambler from Canada, bet $100,000 in 1997 to get breast implants and keep them for a year. He won the bet, and still had the implants as of 2006.
History of Breast Implants and Enlargement Procedures
Before the breast implant as we know it was invented, a number of breast augmentation procedures and techniques were already being performed since the turn of the 20th century. In the 1940s and 1950s, there were even breast augmentation procedures done in Japan and Las Vegas that included injecting non-medical grade silicon, paraffin and sponges into patients’ breasts. Needless to say, these practices were quite dangerous.
The first silicone breast prosthesis was developed in 1961 by two Texas-based plastic surgeons, Thomas Cronin and Frank Gerow, in partnership with the Dow Corning Corporation. The following year, the first woman was implanted with the recent invention, which was made of a silicone rubber envelope and filled with silicone gel.
In 1964, Arion introduced saline implants, which, as its name suggests, are filled with salt water instead of silicone. And unlike silicone breast implants, this type of breast implant can be inserted empty into the body, then filled with saline according to what size breast the patient wants. It has since become the most common implant used in the United States, partly because of the ban on silicone implants implemented by the FDA in 1992.
The ban stemmed from a study conducted by the FDA, which determined that breast implants could possibly be linked to both breast cancer and connective tissue disease (CTD). Earlier and subsequent studies also made claims that the silicone breast implants caused systemic health problems, and pretty soon Dow Corning, the biggest manufacturer of silicone implants, found itself at the receiving end of many lawsuits, which culminated in a 1998 multi-billion dollar class action settlement which forced the company into bankruptcy.
The FDA, however, lifted the ban on silicone breast implant ban in November 2006 after studies found they were safe.
At present, the leading manufacturers of breast implants include Dow Corning, INAMED Aesthetics, Mentor Corporation, Poly Implants Prostheses/USA, Silimed, L.L.C., Novamed Medical, MediCor Ltd., Hutchison International, Inc. and Eurosilicone.
What are the Costs, Recovery Times, and Future Concerns for Breast Implant Patients?
The costs of breast augmentation vary depending on various factors, including expertise of the cosmetic surgeon and geographic location. Breast augmentation in Thailand, for example, can be considerably cheaper than breast augmentation in Los Angeles for example, although there are also differences in costs among plastic surgery clinics within the United States. On the average, a breast augmentation procedure may cost anywhere between $4,000 to $6,000, covering such charges as physician’s fees, anesthesiologist's services, operating room fees, and lab fees.
Just like in any surgical procedure, people who have undergone breast augmentation need to take some time to recover from the operation. Usually, it takes a patient at least a week to recover from the surgery. Within seven and ten days, the patient will also have to return to the doctor to have her stitches removed. The patient should also expect some amount of swelling, which subsides over several weeks. A full return to regular activities can usually be done in two weeks.
While breast augmentation can increase the size and enhance the shape of breasts, it should be kept in mind that it does not make them immune to the effects of gravity, pregnancy and aging. Over time, these factors will take its toll even on surgically-enhanced breasts, and the patient might then consider having a revision of the implants or a breast lift. It is recommended that people with breast implants should go for regular visits with their plastic surgeon to ensure satisfaction as the years go by.
So, Breast Implants aren't just for Strippers and Porn Stars then, are they?
If Brian Zembic could get implants, why shouldn’t everybody else? However, you should always remember that going under a plastic surgeon’s knife is a MAJOR decision, and therefore should not be taken lightly, like so many strippers, porn stars and celebrities do. When contemplating cosmetic surgery, the decision should always be an educated one, where you know and have weighed all the benefits and risks.
So now you should understand that Breast implants are used during augmentation to increase the size and shape of the breast. When considering a breast augmentation to enhance your image, there are a variety of factors to evaluate. Contact a board certified plastic surgeon only.
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