Nowadays, breast enhancement surgery comes in many forms including breast augmentation, mastopexy (raising the sagging bust), and reduction mammaplasty (decreasing its size). And while each kind uses different techniques, their goal is the same: to improve the appearance of the bosom.
In 2011, breast augmentation was the most popular cosmetic surgery in the US, with about 307,000 procedures performed during the period. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration has only approved saline and silicone breast implants for this surgery.
As its name suggests, breast augmentation is traditionally used to increase the bust, but with the introduction of new implant designs, it has become possible to use the procedure in creating a more prominent cleavage, and address certain types of breast deformity such as pigeon chest.
In some cases, breast implants are used to reconstruct the breasts after mastectomy or cancer surgery, although they can only be helpful if there is an ample amount of tissue left. By using the devices, women can avoid unfavorable scarring associated with tissue-based breast reconstruction, and weakening of the donor site (e.g., buttocks, abdomen, back).
Another type of breast enhancement surgery is mastopexy in which the sagging breasts are raised to make them appear more appealing and youthful. Contrary to popular belief, the procedure is not only popular among aging women but also on massive weight loss patients who often develop sagging, elongated breasts.
For some, mastopexy involves reducing the size of areola (pigmented part of skin surrounding the nipple) to complement the “perky” and youthful appearance of the breasts. Doing this additional procedure does not necessarily mean more scars because doctors simply use the peri-areola incision.
While mastopexy can lift the sagging breasts, patients should take note that it cannot create volume especially in the upper and medial cleavage. For this reason, many plastic surgeons suggest breast implants as a way to further enhance the appearance of the bosom, resulting to a prominent cleavage.
Brest reduction is another type of breast enhancement surgery, although women with medical problems caused by extremely large bust size will more likely see this as a reconstructive procedure. If performed as a way to improve body function and address discomfort, insurance reimbursement is possible.
By contrast, breast reduction which is performed purely to enhance one’s appearance is not covered by insurance, as with any cosmetic surgeries. In fact, most insurance companies require at least 300 grams of fats and tissue to be removed from each breast before the procedure is considered reconstructive.