The anatomy of the breasts and breast augmentation

The anatomy of the breasts and breast augmentation

31st Mar 2019

The anatomy of the breasts and breast augmentation



Breast augmentation surgery is the second most common cosmetic procedure in the US after liposuction. Women with smaller breasts use the procedure to increase their breast size. The breasts are one of the most important aesthetic areas of the female body, which is why many women experience self-esteem issues when their breasts are not in tune with modern trends. The modern standards of physical beauty require women to have bigger breasts.

Breast augmentation surgery effectively enhances the breasts by making them bigger and voluptuous. To understand how the procedure enhances the breasts, it is important to understand the anatomy of the female breast. The breasts are made of fat, glandular tissue, pectoral muscles, ligaments, and skin. If any of these elements do not develop completely or if they become weak, it makes the breasts smaller.


The anatomy of the female breast

Female breasts are naturally tear-shaped and are made primarily of fat and glandular tissue. The pectoral muscles, ligaments, and skin hold the breast in place, making them look youthful and aesthetically welcoming. When it comes to the structure of the breast, it is technically divided into two parts: the area responsible for milk production and the fat and ligaments.

The area of the breast that produces milk is made of about 15 to 25 lobes that are organized methodically in the middle of the breast. Each of the lobes is made up of groups of lobules, which imitate the shape of grapes held together. The lobules merge into the bulbs that produce milk. Also, the lobes are linked with the arrangement of the milk ducts that transport the milk to the nipples.

The nipples are enclosed by the areolas, which is the dark skin on the exterior of the breast. When it comes to the structure of the breast, it is made primarily of fat. The breasts do not contain muscle, but there is an arrangement of muscles called pectoral muscles under the breasts. The pectoral muscles work in collaboration with the ligament, and combined they behave like a natural bra, providing support to the breasts and keeping the breasts lifted.

The shape of the breasts differs from one woman to another, depending on genetic factors. Your genes determine how your breast shape will appear. Furthermore, the size of the breasts also depends on your genes to a greater degree. Other elements that can determine your breast shape and size include your lifestyle and weight, the use of certain medications, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and certain illnesses.


Breast augmentation

Breast augmentation is a plastic surgery procedure that is used to add projection and volume to smaller breasts. If your breasts lack volume and projection, you may consider breast augmentation. The effectiveness of the surgery depends on your breast anatomy and shape.

There are two types of breast augmentation procedures: breast implant surgery and fat transfer to the breasts. Which of these procedures you may qualify for also depends on your breast anatomy, aesthetic goals, and the specific aesthetic flaws in your breasts.

Breast implant surgery involves the insertion and placement of implants inside the breasts. Breast implants are artificial objects and come in two different types: silicone and saline. The silicone implant is composed of a silicone shell that comes pre-filled with a silicone gel. The saline implant is made of a silicone shell that is filled with saline solution after inserting it inside the breasts.

On the other hand, fat transfer surgery involves the use of your body fat to deliver you the desired results. The surgery is focused more on making your breasts shapelier than bigger. This is recommended when your breasts are smaller due to the lack of fat, you have excess fat in other localized areas of your body, and you desire to have shapelier and mildly projected breasts rather than large breasts.

Based on your breast anatomy and shape and your aesthetic goals, the plastic surgeon will recommend you the type of surgery and implant. Breast implants come in different sizes and profiles.


Breast implant shape and your breast anatomy

When it comes to breast implants, size and profile alone are not the only critical factors. To deliver you the desired breast contour, implant manufacturers make round or shaped implants. Round implants are the most common breast implants. Most patients select round implants since they deliver the maximum volume and make the cleavage prominent. On the other hand, round implants do not make your breasts look natural if your breasts have a certain anatomy.

Shaped implants come in a teardrop shape. This type of implant imitates the anatomy of the breasts to a greater degree since the breasts are naturally teardrop shaped. Teardrop implants were made initially to reconstruct breasts that have experienced trauma or have become deformed due to surgeries or certain illnesses. However, today they are widely used for cosmetic purposes for patients who desire to have a natural look but bigger and projected breasts. Whether you are a good candidate for the round or shaped implant depends on various factors, including:

–    The volume of tissue that the plastic surgeon has to tamper with during the surgery

–    The patient’s existing breast and body anatomy and outline

–    The location where the doctor plans to place the breast implant

It is important to remember that the placement of the breast implant will affect the ultimate outcomes. You must discuss the breast implant placement options with the surgeon during the pre-operative consultation.


Implant texture and breast anatomy

Breast implant surgery involves incisions. The implants are inserted and placed inside the breasts through those incisions. The incision will ultimately develop into scars after the procedure. The surgery is not possible without scarring. In fact, scarring is a normal side effect of the surgery. The scar will gradually fade but will not disappear. However, there is a risk that capsular contracture may happen, which is a condition that involves continuous contraction of the scar tissue.

Breast implants come with two types of exterior surfaces: textured and smooth. Textured breast implants involve lower risk of capsular contracture. The texture on the surface of the implants lets the scar tissue stick to the breast implants.  It also keeps the implant from moving or rotating.

On the other hand, smooth breast implants are free to move inside the implant pocket. While it can make the breasts look and feel more natural, the risk of capsular contracture is higher here. Which implant texture is best for you will be determined during the pre-operative consultation. The doctor will take your existing breast anatomy into account when making a decision.


Implant profile and placement and your breast anatomy

Breast implants come in different profiles, which indicates the level of projection the implant will add to your breasts after the surgery. The implants are available in low, moderate, high, and ultra-high profiles. The plastic surgeon will examine your breast anatomy and shape to recommend you the best implant profile.

Moreover, there are two options to place the implants: under the breast muscle and over the breast muscle. The breast implant placement best for you also depends on your breast anatomy. For example, if your breasts have less tissue, placing the implants over the breast muscle will not deliver better results. In such a case, the implants should be placed under the breast muscle.


Fat transfer to the breasts

The fat transfer surgery is recommended for patients who desire to have shapelier breasts. If you want to achieve bigger breasts, you should consider implants instead. Fat transfer surgery involves three major steps: fat extraction, fat processing, and fat grafting. Based on your existing breast anatomy, the plastic surgeon will use liposuction to remove a particular volume of fat from your breasts.

In the second step, the fat is processed and the impurities and dead fat cells are removed. In the last part of the procedure, the surgeon will carefully inject the fat cells into your breasts with a special needle by keeping your aesthetic goals and breast anatomy in view. As a result of the surgery, your breasts will become shapelier and contoured.



Breast augmentation surgery is a plastic surgery procedure that effectively contours the breasts. There are two types of breast augmentation procedures that have been discussed. Furthermore, there are certain technicalities involved in both procedures. The surgical techniques depend on your existing breast anatomy. The type, size, profile, and shape of the implants will also be chosen by your breast anatomy. If you are a candidate for the fat transfer surgery, the volume of the fat and the contouring techniques will be determined by your breast anatomy and aesthetic goals.


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