Enlarging your breasts through surgery: What you need to know


American rapper Cardi B has undergone breast augmentation surgery twice, the latest being after giving birth to her daughter in 2019. — The Recording Academy/AFP

I have always wanted to have bigger breasts as mine are quite small. I have been thinking about having breast augmentation surgery, but I am also afraid of the risks. How do I start?

First, you have to understand what breast augmentation surgery means.

Breast augmentation is also commonly referred to as “breast aug” or “boob job”.

It involves surgery using breast implants or fat transfer to increase or augment the size of your breasts.

Cosmetic surgeons also refer to breast augmentation surgery as augmentation mammoplasty (“mammo” comes from the Latin word “mamma”, which means breasts).

When fat is transferred from one area of your body to your breasts, it is knowns as fat transfer breast augmentation.

Some women undergo breast augmentation surgery to restore breast volume after severe weight loss or pregnancy.

It can also be used to achieve a more rounded breast shape for those of you who do not like sagging or sloping breasts.

Or if you have different-sized or different-shaped breasts, the surgery can help make your breasts more balanced and symmetrical.

Oh! I am so excited. I am 60 years old and have suffered from drooping breasts since menopause.

Hold on a minute. Breast augmentation surgery cannot correct very severely drooping breasts.

You may need to do a breast lift along with augmentation if your breasts are too saggy.

Can all women go for breast augmentation surgery? Or do you have to have a certain “small” breast size?

Well, if you already have natural 38DD-size breasts, it is unlikely you would want to augment your breasts further.

(Unlikely, but not impossible, as some women may indeed want to enhance them further.)

But you can possibly consider it if:

  • You are physically healthy in general – the surgeon will need to assess you, however.
  • You are not pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Your breasts are fully developed – meaning that you are not a teenager whose breasts are still growing.
  • You feel that your breasts are too small, but are realistic about what breast augmentation can do (e.g. it’s unlikely to help you win any beauty contests).
  • After pregnancy, you are unhappy with the way your breasts have lost their shape.
  • Your breasts are ageing and are no longer as elastic as they used to be.
  • You have just lost a lot of weight, and your entire body has plenty of skin folds in general, resulting in your breasts losing their turgor.
  • You have no cleavage or the upper part of your breasts have little volume.
  • Your breasts are not symmetrical.
  • Your breasts did not develop normally.
  • Your breasts have an elongated shape.
Does breast augmentation involve breast implants? If so, what type of implants are they?

There are:

> Saline breast implants

These are filled with sterile saltwater.

If the implant should ever leak, then at least it is saline that is flooding your body, which will ultimately be absorbed and expelled by your body.

These are approved for women aged 18 and older.

> Structured saline breast implants

Similar to the above, except that they contain an additional inner structure to make your new breasts feel more natural.

> Silicone breast implants

You have probably heard a lot about these.

These implants are filled with silicone gel, which feels a lot more like natural breast tissue.

If the implant leaks, the gel may escape into the implant pocket.

However, the implant will not collapse.

But you do need to visit your surgeon regularly to check that your implants are functioning properly.

These are only for women aged 22 years and older.

> Gummy bear breast implants

These maintain their shape even when the implant shell is broken (like gummy bears!).

They are made of silicone gel that is thicker and firmer than traditional silicone gel implants.

> Round breast implants

These make your breasts look fuller than the others and are the same shape all over (i.e. round).

> Smooth breast implants

These are soft and can move around naturally.

> Textured breast implants

These cause scar tissue to develop, which sticks to the implant, rendering them less mobile.

Are there any risks? I am afraid of breast cancer!

There are risks associated with the surgery itself, such as infection, scarring, skin wrinkling, bleeding, persistent pain, etc.

The majority of women who have had this surgery did not experience any serious complications.

But anaplastic large cell lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes) is a risk associated with breast augmentation surgery, mostly with textured breast implants.

Implant-related symptoms include fatigue, “brain fog”, muscle and joint pain, and rashes, but these are unusual.

Breast implants do not last for a lifetime either, and you may need augmentation again if you wish to maintain your enhanced breast size.

Dr YLM graduated as a medical doctor, and has been writing for many years on various subjects such as medicine, health, computers and entertainment. For further information, email starhealth@thestar.com.my. The information contained in this column is for general educational purposes only. Neither The Star nor the author gives any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to such information. The Star and the author disclaim all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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