In 2020, US cosmetic surgeons performed 193,073 breast augmentation procedures. That made it the fifth-most common cosmetic surgical procedure in the US that year. In fact, it’s been one of the top five plastic surgery procedures since 2006.
So, it’s no wonder that breast implants in North America now make up a billion-dollar market. After all, breast implants and breast enhancement go hand in hand.
That doesn’t mean they’re the same, though. So, if you’ve ever wondered how exactly these two differ, read on as we explain what you need to know in this guide.
What Is Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation refers to the actual surgical process of breast enlargement. Medical professionals also call it augmentation mammoplasty.
For some women, breast augmentation is a way to make them feel more attractive or desirable. As a result, they may also experience an increase in their self-confidence.
For others, breast enhancement surgery is part of a reconstructive process. An example is the reconstruction of the breasts after their removal due to cancer. Note that breast cancer is quite common, with the average risk rate in American women being about 13%.
What About Breast Implants?
Breast implants are medical devices used in breast augmentation surgery. They are some of the mechanisms that allow surgeons to perform breast enhancement.
According to this guide on breast augmentation by Dr. Pratt, silicone is the most common type. They’re popular because they provide the closest resemblance to natural breasts. They also feel more natural and aren’t as prone to causing skin wrinkling.
While silicone implants may now be more common, the saline ones were the first to get FDA approval. The approval history of saline implants in the US traces back to the year 2000. Back then, the agency only approved products from two California-based companies.
On the other hand, silicone implants first gained FDA approval in 2006.
In any case, saline implants have a silicone outer shell and are empty upon insertion. Only after their placement do they get filled with sterile saltwater. This then gives the surgeon more control over the size and the symmetry of the results.
Are Implants the Only Way to Enhance Breasts?
No, in some patients, it’s possible to enlarge or reconstruct the breasts using fat tissues. This procedure is what you may know as fat transfer breast augmentation. However, the technical term is autologous breast augmentation.
The process involves grafting fat from other parts of the body. To harvest the fat, the patient undergoes liposuction first. From there, the surgeon injects the harvested fat into the patient’s breasts.
Choose a Board-Certified Surgeon for Breast Enhancement
Please keep in mind that while breast augmentation has become a lot safer, it still comes with risks. After all, it’s a type of surgery, and all surgical procedures have risks. As such, it’s best to choose a board-certified surgeon, whichever type of implant you decide to get.
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