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Go Plastic: Breast Augmentation

And when it comes to making bigger-breast fantasies a reality, the plastic surgery business is certainly booming. Doctors say that more women are taking the plastic surgery route in the wake of reality shows like MTV's I Want A Famous Face and Extreme Makeover. These depict cosinetic surgery as a common, although drastic, procedure for beautifying oneself.

As a result, breast augmentation is no longer just the domain of wealthy trying to control the wandering eye of cheating-prone husbands. Now it has become a procedure favored by "girls as young as 16 to grandmothers in their 60s" who fork out US$9,000 to US$10,000 for bigger and more beautiful breasts, says Dr Woffles, a plastic surgeon who performs 70 to 100 breast-enlargement procedures a year, with a full B to C cup being the most requested sizes.

The average cost of breast augmentation ranges from US$2,000 to US$12,000, depending on the type of implant used, the experience of the surgeon and the type of surgical facilities preferred. Advances in plastic surgery techniques have also made augmentation more attractive. Gone are the days of the gravity-defying rigid "torpedo" look. The latest, softer implants, made of silicone cohesive gel and polyurethane, are gaining popularity, according to experts.

Indeed, Dr Woffles says, "Patients come into my clinic asking for the `gummy bear'. He is referring to cohesive silicone gel implants which feel soft like a human breast but which remain firm so that in the case of a rupture, the gel will not spill into the body. However, these "gummy bear" implants are three times more expensive than regular silicone implants.

Whether a patient is a yummy mummy "gummy bear" type, or one who prefers her twin peaks to be silicone, Dr Woffles extols: "Breast augmentation is the most liberating and confidence-boosting procedure for a lady. "Double-eyelid surgery focuses solely on appearance, while breast augmentation is about sensuality, signalling that a woman is sexually confident and a good mate."

The notion of a bigger bust for a boost in self-esteem is also echoed by a patient who underwent breast augmentation surgery in January. "I have no regrets because my confidence is back," says the 36-year-old housewife and mother of three who declined to be named. She went from a B to C cup while her husband was overseas on business, so as to surprise him upon his return.

"After so long of not feeling firm, now I feel like a complete woman after the augmentation and feel young again." Breast augmentation itself is a surgical procedure involving the insertion of an implant behind each breast to increase a woman's bust-line by one or more bra cup sizes. The first such procedure was done in 1890 and involved paraffin injections which led to infections, hardening of the breasts and lumps forming.

In the 1920s, doctors tried transplanting fat from the tummy and buttocks to breasts. But this was also unsuccessful because the body would quickly re-absorb the fat, leaving the breasts lumpy and asymmetrical. The first silicone breast implant was developed in 1961 and although the procedure has not changed much over the years, there have been developments in the various implants used.

These have included soya bean-oil implants, which were discontinued after tests showed potential health risks, and saline implants, which are less frequently used because of rippling - a wavy wrinkling of the skin around the implants - and potential leaks, according to experts. As for traditional silicone implants, there have been concerns about their tendency to leak or rupture, leading to infections, hardening, and breast tissue scarring.

But in 1999, the Institute of Medicine in the United States issued a report that concluded traditional silicone breast implants do not cause major illnesses. Dr Woffles notes: "Breast implants have been available on the market for more then 40 years. "Doctors are more experienced in breasts implants and know how to prevent and treat any possible complications, and therefore more people are asking for implants to make the breast fuller and give a nice skin tone around the breasts."

Pros And Cons

You Look Better

"The pros of breast augmentation are mainly cosmetic in nature - larger and perkier breasts are perceived as desirable and aesthetically pleasing in our society," says experts.

Your Self Image Is Improved

"Sometimes I wish I went for a D!" says a housewife who had her breasts augmented from a B to-C cup. She says her relationship with her husband has improved, and things are sizzling between the sheets. "I've seen the transformation in so many people," says Dr Woffles. "They were introverted Plain Janes, wearing big; baggy clothes when they walked in, but they walk with their heads held high after the augmentation."

Breast-Related Problems Are Fixed

Augmentation can also help to make breast more proportionate to the body, correct shrunken boobs resulting from pregnancy, breast-feeding or ageing and reconstruct breast contour after a.mastectomy.

As With Any Other Kind Of Surgical Procedure Breast Augmentation Comes With Risks.  These Include:

Capsular Contracture Or Hardening

This is when the body creates a "capsule'° when a foreign object enters it in order to protect itself from it. After all, an implant is a foreign body. Where the scar tissue around the implant begins to tighten,.the breast begins to harden.

Difficulty When You Go For A Mammogram

A mammogram is an X-ray photograph of the breast. When a woman has breast implants, they generally obscure the view partially of some breast tissue. So this means they could interfere with detecting cancerous lumps. If you hive implants, then you need to have your mammogram done by a mammography technologist. While there have been scares over potential risks to getting cancer, "at this time; there is no scientific at women with saline-filled breast implants susceptible to cancer than other women", United States-based Cosmetic Surgery Magazine has reported.


Scarring is a big worry for women thinking of upsizing. While having no scars is impossible, what a good plastic surgeon should do is minimise their appearance as much as possible. With the right surgeon, scarring should be less of an issue.

Pain And Discomfort

Breast pain, discomrort and fatigue are common during the first 48 hours after surgery. The breasts are usually bruised, swollen and sensitive and painkillers will be needed. "In the first few days, there was this engorged feeling in my chest and I asked myself, "Why am I putting myself through this?," says a housewife who went for the augmentation surgery one Friday morning. "But by Monday, I was sending my kids to school. Now I have no regrets."


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