Is breast implant surgery the same as breast augmentation?

Is breast implant surgery the same as breast augmentation?

05th Apr 2021


Over 300,000 women have undergone breast augmentation with implants, and this number is only in the US in 2017. The plastic surgery industry has continued to grow steadily even during the recession. Breast augmentation has become even somehow more affordable due to the progress of medicine and of the multitude of practices opening. Nowadays, it has become a popular question on whether breast augmentation is the same as breast implant surgery.

Breast enhancement techniques

Women who want their breasts to be considerably bigger will most probably need breast implant surgery. Women who want their breasts to be enhanced up to one cup have two options.

If we study the significance of the word augmentation, it means “the process of making greater in size or amount.” To understand why most people associate implants with augmentation, we need to talk a bit about the means of enhancing your breasts.

If you want to get bigger breasts, then you have two options at your disposal: fat transfer and implants. All other options that you might see advertised on the Internet like creams, pills, or other various concoctions do not work. You will only give your money and even endanger your health by using these products that are not approved and have never proven to be efficient in any way.

Fat grafting or fat transfer is a procedure in which fat from another part of your body (usually one that has more than you want) is extracted and then injected into your breasts. This means that you will first undergo liposuction to harvest the necessary fat, usually taken from your hips or tummy. After this, the resulting substance will be filtered in order to remove any non-fat cells. Then, the fat will be injected into your breasts. 

There are some important things that one should know about fat transfer augmentation. First, this procedure is rather new, so not many surgeons perform it. It has also not been tested enough, meaning there are no precedents, so no one can know what the long-term risks or possible complications are. Fat grafting can also produce calcification that might impede a correct reading of a mammogram and therefore prevent the discovery of breast cancer at its earliest stage. 

Since it is such a new procedure and only a few doctors are specialized to do it, its price is quite high, so only some patients can afford it. One very important aspect of this surgery is that you cannot really call it a breast augmentation, but rather a breast enhancement. Around 30% of the fat cells that are injected into your breasts will die, and some others will be absorbed by your body (if not at once then over time). Furthermore, the doctor has to be very careful when making the injection, as too much fat injected at once can cause serious issues like lumps and nodules. Therefore, it is an enhancement because it cannot offer you a real augmentation of your breasts, but rather just a minor improvement. You can go over one cup or more with fat grating, and that’s if you are lucky.

Most people associate breast augmentation with implants. Implants are medical devices of different sizes that once inserted into your breasts through surgery will surely make your breasts bigger. It does not need to be disproportionally bigger, but with implants, you have more chances for your boobs to look natural and big.

Breast implants: Types and surgery

There is a fear of implants, a fear that is still valid these days. 

Women wanted to get very big implants back in the day. Mistakes were done, and people ended up not being satisfied. An all-natural wave then started, with everyone claiming implants aren’t safe and can lead to cancer or some autoimmune disease. As a result, FDA forbade the use of silicone implants in the US in 1992. 

After some time, silicone gel-filled implants were allowed to be used but only for reconstruction purposes (in case of a mastectomy due to breast cancer) and revision surgery (to correct previous mistakes made during breast augmentation with implants). It was only in 2006 when the FDA concluded its extended study on the dangers of silicone implants. They did not find any connection between any autoimmune disease or cancer and implants. They have approved the use of some silicone implants of some producers. Certified surgeons now only work with approved implants. Surprisingly, saline implants were approved for use some years before silicone. 

There are two main types of implants that are on the market today: saline implants and silicone implants. Both are made of an outer silicone shell. The difference in compounding elements comes in the substance they are filled with. Saline implants are filled with sterile saline water. This has the advantage of being just water, so if it breaks, there will be just water spreading into your body. Rupture will be then noticed fast since water is liquid, and the breast will look deflated in a very short time. These implants tend to ripple very quickly and their lifetime is kind of short, (mostly a five-year span) so after this time, you will have to change them. More so, they do not feel like real breasts, and they tend to have a different consistency than natural ones. 

Silicone implants are filled with a silicone gel. This is a next generation silicone, a cohesive one that is said not to spread even in the case of rupture. The big fear with silicone implants is silent rupture, meaning that the implant can break and you will not have any noticeable symptom. Silicone is like a gel so it will not spill at once but little by little, so you might not notice that it has started spreading into your body. 

New technology in making silicone implants claims that there is a very small chance for this to happen nowadays. This is because the silicone gel used is so cohesive that chances of leaking are very small to none. Silicone implants are guaranteed for up to 15 years, but there are many surgeons that say they can be good up to 20 years or more. 

One other fear related to implants is the possibility of it interfering with a mammogram. Surgery technique have improved greatly that now implants are placed below the glandular tissue, and most times even below the pectoralis muscle. Therefore, the tissue that might be affected by tumors is always exposed as it is never below the implants. Furthermore, there are so many women who have implants today that most radiologists know how to handle mammography with implants to avoid any possible rupture.

Breast implant surgery might be scary since it is a surgery. The good news is that it is a very common surgery and considered an easy one by plastic surgeons. It is done under general anesthesia, but it does not require you to stay in a hospital for too long, not even one night. In normal conditions, you will go home some hours after the surgery. You will just need to wake up from the anesthesia and then monitored for a couple of hours to be sure you are okay before you go. 

The surgery lasts for one up to two hours. The surgeon will make an incision around the areola, in the armpit, or below your breasts in the crease between your chest and breasts. The last one is usually preferred by surgeons since the scar is not likely to show and it offers them a very good view of the pocket to insert the implants. The surgeon will then make a pocket by separating the glandular tissue from the pectoralis muscle, or both glandular tissue and muscle from the chest tissue. In this pocket, he or she will insert the implant, put it well in place, and then close the incision with stitches. You will then be covered in bandages. 

During recovery that can last up to two weeks, you will experience pain. The important fact is that pain will disappear after the first 3 to 4 days, and you will be given a prescription for pain medicine. You will need to rest completely for about 2 days, and this means you will need someone to help you with everything before resuming your daily routine gradually. You can go back to work in one week if your work does not suppose any strenuous activities, and you will be able to resume your exercise routine in about 6 weeks from the surgery.


If you want bigger breasts, there is only one tested way to get them: implants. When people talk about breast augmentation, they will usually refer to breast implant surgery. There is no other tested way to make your breasts bigger in a natural and efficient way. Sure, you can try creams and pills, but in the end, you will get to the same conclusion. If you want an enhancement of your boobs and you are somewhat rich, you can try fat grafting too. But if you want a considerable augmentation of your boobs, then implants are your answer.

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