Breast Augmentation Cost, Silicone Breast Implants and Breast Enlargement for Breast Enhancement
Prices for plastic surgery in Thailand are very affordable.
Breast augmentation using silicone breast implants costs only US$3000 — including one night's stay in an hospital.
From 1992 to 2002 there was nearly a 600% increase in the number of women getting breast augmentations.
Breast augmentation has become the second most commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedure after liposuction and usually includes:
- Food during stay
- Both surgeon and nurse fees
- Post-op aftercare & follow-up
- Free airport pickup (upon request, directly to hospital)
- Anesthesia fee
- Room during stay at hospital
Silicone breast implants have been used since 1964 for breast augmentation and more than 2 million have been implanted worldwide. More than 10 million persons in the USA alone have some type of implant, such as finger joints or pacemakers, and many of these implants are made, at least in part, from silicone, including ventriculocaval shunts, tendon sheaths, intraocular lenses, cochlear implants, implantable pumps and defibrillators.
There is extensive presence of, and wide exposure of citizens of developed countries to silicones in foods, cosmetics, lubricants for machinery, hypodermic syringes and other products, insulators and a wide array of consumer products.
Silicone breast implants for breast augmentation made by Allergan Corporation (formerly called Inamed and before that McGhan) and Mentor Corporation (now Coloplast) were approved by the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 17 November 2006. "A number of independent studies have examined whether silicone gel-filled breast implants are associated with connective tissue disease or cancer. The studies, including a report by the Institute of Medicine, have concluded there is no convincing evidence that breast implants are associated with either of these diseases."
It was not until 1976 that legislation was passed giving the FDA responsibility to oversee the safety of medical devices such as breast implants for breast enlargement. In fact, the FDA never "banned" silicone breast implants but rather asked for a "voluntary moratorium" on using them for breast enhancement until long-term safety data could be compiled. However, toxicologic testing with silicone goes back almost 50 years and silicone has "an enviable record of safety, having been shown consistently to be inert with respect to systemic effects ... there are no consistent data to suggest systemic inflammation or systemic induction of anti-silicone or autoreactive responses in women with silicone breast implants."
Now there is plenty of "rigorous and relevant scientific information" from studies which average a 12-year follow-up among more than 7,000 women with silicone breast implants and others which have follow-up times ranging from 23-30 years after breast augmentation. Associate Professor S B Renwick, Director of the Sydney Breast Cancer Institute concludes: "scientific studies have confirmed that there is no significant increase in risk of subsequent breast cancer, connective-tissue disease or symptoms in women with silicone gel-filled breast implants."
"The "silicone scare" and court cases regarding implants occurred (damages awarded by USA courts in 1995 bankrupted major breast implant manufacturer Dow Corning) because "silicone breast implants were widely used before there was any requirement for premarket assessment of toxicity and complications or any form of prior approval or licensing for all medical devices" and according to Associate Professor Renwick: "anecdote and fear prevailed over science and were successful".
The report on the "Safety of Silicone Breast Implants" done by the USA Institute of Medicine's Division of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention under the auspices of the National Research Council of America's National Academy of Sciences: "represents an analysis of the most rigorous and relevant scientific information currently available".
Some of the key points of the Institute of Medicine study of breast augmentation using silicone breast implants referred to by the FDA include:
- "Toxicology studies of silicones and other substances known to be in breast implants does not provide a basis for health concerns."
- "No elevated relative risk or odds ratio for an association of implants with disease was found."
- "There is no increase in primary or recurrent breast cancer in implanted women."
- "No association was evident between breast implants and any of the individual connective tissue diseases, all definite connective diseases combined, or the other autoimmune/rheumatic conditions."
- "There are more than 1.5 million adult women of all ages in the United States with silicone breast implants, some of these women would be expected to develop connective tissue diseases, cancer, neurological diseases or other systemic complaints or conditions. Evidence suggests that such diseases or conditions are no more common in women with breast implants than in women without implants."
- "In most instances the silicone breast implants are not causally related to these illnesses since such illnesses appear to occur at about the same frequency in women with silicone breast implants and in women without implants."
- "There does not appear to be even suggestive evidence of a novel syndrome in women with breast implants. In fact, epidemiological evidence suggests that there is no novel syndrome."
- "No evidence of elevated silicone in breast milk or any other substance that would be deleterious to infants ... all mothers with implants should attempt breast feeding."
- "Animal studies do not lend support to silicone as a cause of neurologic disease."
Breast Augmentation Overview
Thailand's approximately 250 certified plastic surgeons are members of the Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of Thailand founded in 1971. The Society is a member of the International Confederation for Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery and the ASEAN Federation of Plastic Surgery. These Thai plastic surgeons also are members of the Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons of Thailand founded in 1977.
The Society provides much of the following information for persons coming to Thailand for breast augmentation, technically known as augmentation mammoplasty, to give a basic understanding of the surgery, when it can help, how it's performed and the results you can expect. Ask your surgeon any questions not answered here.
Breast augmentation using breast implants changes the size and shape of a woman’s breast to:
- Enhance the body contours of a woman who feels her breasts are too small;
- Correct a reduction in breast volume after pregnancy;
- Balance a difference in breast size; and
- Reconstruct a breast after other breast surgery.
By inserting a breast implant behind each breast, Thai plastic surgeons are able to increase a woman’s bust line by one or more bra cup sizes.
Best Candidates for Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but it won’t necessarily change your looks to match your ideal, or cause other people to treat you differently. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.
The breast candidates for breast augmentation are women who are looking for improvement, not perfection, in the way they look. If you’re physically healthy and realistic in your expectations, you may be a good candidate.
Silicone Breast Implants vs Saline Implants
A breast implant is a silicone shell filled with either silicone gel or a salt-water solution known as saline.
Silicone breast implants appear to be nearly four times as popular as saline implants. You can get either type in Thailand. Some surgeons also have "gummy bear" silicone implants.
Breast augmentation is relatively straightforward but, as with any operation, there are risks associated with surgery in general and specific complications associated with this procedure. There are pros and cons of both saline and silicone implants, and each woman needs to consider these differences in consultation with her surgeon.
The most common problem is capsular contracture which occurs if the scar or capsule around the implant begins to tighten. This squeezing of the soft implant can cause the breast to feel hard. Capsular contracture can be treated in several ways, and sometimes requires either removal or “scoring” of the scar tissue, or perhaps removal or replacement of the implant. As with any surgical procedure, if there is excessive bleeding following the operation it may cause some swelling and pain. If excessive bleeding continues, another operation may be needed to control the bleeding and remove the accumulated blood (hematoma).
A small percentage of women develop an infection around an implant. This may occur at any time, but is most often seen within a week after surgery. In some cases, the implant may need to be removed for several months until the infection clears. A new breast implant can then be inserted.
Some women report that their nipples become oversensitive, undersensitive, or even numb. You may also notice small patches of numbness near your incisions. These symptoms usually disappear with time, but may be permanent in some patients.
There is no evidence that breast implants will affect fertility, pregnancy, or your ability to nurse. However, if you have nursed a baby within the year before augmentation, you may produce milk for a few days after surgery. This may cause some discomfort, but can be treated with medication prescribed by your surgeon.
Implants do not last forever and risks accumulate over time. Most women should expect to have more than one implant.
On the average, breast implants last about a decade at which point 10-15% begin to leak or experience some other type of device failure that requires it be removed or exchanged for a new one. Silicone implants have not been proven to cause any more problems than saline implants. Studies by the Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School and the Institute of Medicine (mentioned above) all found no evidence that leaked silicone from gel implants causes autoimmune, connective tissue or systemic diseases, although they did report localized problems of pain and the potential for scarring at the site of the implant.
Breast implant rupture can occur as a result of injury or even from the normal compression and movement of your breast and implant, causing the breast implant shell to leak. Studies of ruptures over the past 40 years have enabled manufacturers to continually improve them, resulting in a steady decline in occurrences and a longer useful life for the device. Newer models of breast implants last longer than previous models.
If a saline-filled implant breaks, the implant will deflate in a few hours and the salt water will be harmlessly absorbed by the body if it is sterile saline. If a break occurs in a gel-filled implant, however, one of two things may occur. If the shell breaks but the scar capsule around the implant dose not, you may not detect any change. It is quite rare for silicone to leak out beyond this natural body barrier. If the scar also breaks or tears, especially following extreme pressure, silicone gel may move into surrounding tissue. The gel may collect in the breast and cause a new scar to form around it, or it may migrate to another area of the body. There is no evidence that such free gel poses any threats. There may be a change in the shape or firmness of the breast. Both types of breaks may require a second operation and removal (explantation) or replacement of the leaking implant. In some cases, it may be impossible to remove all silicone gel in the breast tissue. It is important to remove a ruptured implant as soon as possible.
Although there is no evidence that breast implants cause breast cancer, they do change the way mammography is done to detect cancer. When a woman with breast implants gets a mammogram, she must go to an imaging center with technicians experienced in the special techniques required to get a reliable x-ray of a breast with an implant and request "comprehensive" or "diagnostic" mammography instead of the regular screening mammography.
Additional views will be required. Images may be harder to interpret because cancers can be obscured by the implant. Extensive scarring and calcium deposits in tissue surrounding an implant can mimic cancer, making them difficult to distinguish from tumors on a mammogram. Women with silicone breast implants should get their first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam of their breasts three years after implant surgery and get a follow-up MRI every two years after that.
Silicone implants require larger incisions (4-6 cm.) than saline implants (about 2 cm.) because silicone devices are prefilled. You might experience wrinkling, dimpling, puckering or other cosmetic changes to your breasts as a result of getting breast implants.
Few women experience these complications. Few implants rupture or break. Despite complications, most women who have received breast implants report they are satisfied with the results. Discuss each of the issues mentioned above with your physician to make sure you understand the risks and consequences of breast augmentation. It is your responsibility to educate yourself about the risks and possible complications of any surgery and the Pre-Registration Form asks if you have done this prior to your plastic surgery.
Planning Your Breast Augmentation
In your pre-op consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your health and explain which surgical techniques are most appropriate for you, based on the condition of your breasts and skin tone. If your breasts are sagging, your doctor may also recommend a breast lift. Be sure to discuss your expectations frankly with your surgeon. He or she should be equally frank with you, describing your alternatives and the risks and limitations of each. You may want to ask your surgeon for a copy of the manufacturer's insert that comes with the implant to be uses to help ensure you are fully informed about it. And, be sure to tell your surgeon if you smoke, and if you are taking any medications, vitamins, drugs or health supplements. Stop smoking at least two weeks before your surgery and continue to abstain at least until you are completely healed.
Many breast implant recipients feel that silicone implants have a more natural look and feel than saline implants because silicone gel has a viscosity similar to human fat which is a large component of female breast tissue. If the implant is inserted above the chest muscle, just under the skin as with breast reconstruction, silicone implants usually do look more natural. If the implant is being inserted under the muscle, the texture of the implant is not as apparent and is not a major factor.
Your surgeon should also explain the type of anesthesia to be used and confirm the costs involved. Because most insurance companies do not consider breast augmentation to be medically necessary, carriers generally do not cover the cost of this procedure.
Preparing for Breast Enlargement Surgery
Your surgeon will give you instructions to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications.
All the plastic surgeons to which Medical-Tourism-in-Thailand.COM refers patients, perform breast augmentation as an in-patient procedure at an international hospital and include an overnight stay in the facility in their package price.
Most Thai plastic surgeons perform breast augmentation using a general anesthesia, so you’ll sleep through the entire operation. Some surgeons may use a local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy, so you’ll be relaxed but awake, and may feel some discomfort. Tell the surgeon your preference.
The Actual Breast Augmentation Surgery
The method of inserting and positioning your implant will depend on your anatomy and your surgeon’s recommendation. The incision can be made either in the crease where the breast meets the chest, around the areola ( the dark skin surrounding the nipple), or in the axilla. Every effort will be made to assure that the incision is placed so resulting scars will be as inconspicuous as possible. Some surgeons enter the body through the navel or the arm pit.
Working through the incision, the surgeon will lift your breast tissue and skin to create a pocket, either directly behind the breast tissue or underneath your chest wall muscle (the pectoral muscle). The implants are then centered beneath your nipples.
Some surgeons believe that putting the implants behind your chest muscle may reduce the potential for capsular contracture. Drainage tubes may be used for several days following the surgery. This placement may also interfere less with breast examination by mammogram than if the implant is placed directly behind the breast tissue. Placement behind the muscle however, may be more painful for a few days after surgery than placement directly under the breast tissue. Discuss the pros and cons of these alternatives with your doctor before surgery to make sure you fully understand the implications of the procedure recommended to you.
The surgery usually takes 1-2 hours to complete. Stitches are used to close the incisions which may also be taped for greater support. A gauze bandage may be applied over your breasts to help with healing.
After Breast Enlargement Surgery
You’re likely to feel tired and sore for a few days following your surgery, but you’ll be up and around in 24-48 hours. Most of your discomfort can be controlled by medication prescribed by your doctor. Thai plastic surgeons often want to exam patients three days after the surgery to remove gauze dressings, if you have them, and you may be given a surgical bra to wear for the next seven days until your stitches are taken out. Follow the guidelines of your surgeon.
You may also experience a burning sensation in your nipples for about two weeks, but this will subside as bruising fades. Swelling in your breasts may take 3-5 weeks to disappear and soreness 3-4 weeks.
You should be able to return to work within a few days, depending on the level of activity required for your job. Follow your surgeon’s advice regarding when to begin exercises and normal activities. Your breasts will probably be sensitive to direct stimulation for two to three weeks, so you should avoid much physical contact. After that, breast contact is fine once your breasts are no longer sore.
Your scars will be firm and pink for at least six weeks. Then they may remain the same size for several months, or even appear to widen. After several months, your scars will begin to fade, although they are unlikely to ever disappear completely.
For many women, the result of breast augmentation can be satisfying, even exhilarating, as they learn to appreciate their fuller appearance. Regular examination by your plastic surgeon and routine mammograms and MRI at prescribed intervals will help assure that any complications, if they occur, can be detected early and treated.
Your decision to have breast augmentation is a highly personal one that not everyone will understand. The important thing is how you feel about it. If you’ve met your goals, then your surgery is a success.