Common to the body built of Southeast Asian women are a pair of small breasts. It is no surprise that breast augmentation procedure is searched widely in the World Wide Web among Singapore women.
Hitting that search button will lead you to a lot of articles and reviews about breast augmentation. I can say that a reliable source would have to be one that is written by a plastic surgeon that has years of experience and success in performing breast enhancements. I am doubtful that all of the reviews provide accurate details as some may put in a good word for the clinic that did the procedure, especially when the blogger has received sponsorship for their breast augmentation.
I thought that it’s best to add a credible source regarding this topic, so I have decided to write my own version on how this procedure goes and all the other details that may help those who are contemplating on whether to undergo this life-changing surgery or not.
What can you expect from this post? You can expect to learn about the crucial factors that affect the costs, process, and results of breast enlargement. I based the things that I will discuss in this post on the questions that I usually get from patients who come to me for consultation in the duration of my medical practice.
But before we proceed, let us determine first if you really need to get a breast augmentation or breast lift.
Breast augmentation and breast lift, are they not the same?
Although both procedures require surgery, breast augmentation and breast lift are not exactly the same. Breast lifts are considered basing on the condition of the breast in the following areas: skin sagging and the location of the nipple.
To sum it up, a breast lift is needed small breasts that are obviously sagging with a low nipple location. If the patient wishes, the breasts may be enhanced to make them look bigger. Another condition that needs a breast lift procedure is breasts that are large in shape and size with a low nipple location in addition to extremely sagging skin. On the contrary, patients who fall under these considerations may opt to undergo breast reduction combined with a breast lift. Lastly, for women with smaller breasts, good skin elasticity and nipple location, breast augmentation instead of breast lift is recommended.
A doctor’s thorough assessment is needed to know the best routes to take when addressing the conditions mentioned above.
Introduction to Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation is a procedure that aims to enhance the appearance of the breasts by adding to their volume and improving their shape. The procedure is invasive as it is done through major surgery.
What are the steps in getting a breast augmentation procedure done?
As with any procedure, the very important step to start your breast augmentation journey is a consultation with your doctor. This is to ensure that you get the proper care during the procedure and precautions are taken in order to lessen major risks and side effects during and after the surgery. As a doctor, I always see to it to put my patient’s safety at the very top of my priority list.
Breast enhancement surgery is done in four stages:
- Application of general anaesthesia
- Incision to the skin
- Insertion of breast implant
- Suturing of the skin incision
To start the surgery, a dose of general anaesthesia is injected by the anesthesiologist to put the patient to sleep during the procedure. This is then followed up by the administration of a medication that would help ease the pain after the surgery.
I recommend requesting total intravenous anaesthesia for your surgery. This type of general anaesthesia eliminates the use of anaesthetic tubes that are usually inserted in the mouth or any machine like a ventilator.
Next, the doctor makes an incision in the skin, just under the breast. Once this is done, space is then created beneath the chest muscle with the use of electrocautery. The measurement of the space created is according to the size of the implants that will be inserted into your breasts.
After which, the implants are inserted into the breast using a special sleeve. As the implants are placed accordingly, the doctor will then proceed to stitch close the cut in the skin.
Is breast augmentation surgery painful?
You will not feel any pain during the surgery as the general anaesthesia that is administered before the procedure starts will put you to sleep. However, it’s a different story after the surgery is done. You will feel slight pain over the area where the incision has been made. You will also feel a stretching sensation around your breasts. Except for the pain and discomfort will extend up to 2 weeks during your recovery period. This should not hamper you from doing your everyday routines.
May I take a shower right after the procedure?
Unfortunately, you cannot take a shower on the same day after your procedure has been completed. However, after the surgery, a waterproof bandage will be placed over your breasts so you can bathe the following day.
Are silicone implants the only choice when getting breast augmentation in Singapore?
Fortunately, silicone breast implants are not your only choice when it comes to breast augmentation. However, the other choice may not be for everyone. This is called fat grafting.
Fat grafting is a minimally invasive way to have your breasts augmented. Two benefits can be achieved through this method: reduction of unwanted fats in some areas of your body and increasing your bust size.
For a patient to qualify for this type of breast augmentation, good quality fat amounting to 200cc is needed for an increase of a cup higher in size. The fat used for this surgery is taken from the inner thigh or the tummy area.
Because of this requirement, a lot of patients turn to silicone breast implants. These are favourable as they can enable patients to jump to at least two cup sizes (e.g. cup A to cup C) and their shape and size are more distinct compared to fat used for fat grafting.
How is fat used in a breast augmentation procedure?
Fats to be used for your breast augmentation procedure will be taken from the abdomen, thighs, and flank of the body. Small portions of fat (5 mm) will be taken from the specific areas and will be processed before being injected to the incision made beneath the lower breast fold.
Patients may feel minor aches on the parts where the fats were harvested, but the pain is tolerable. Maximum downtime for this type of breast augmentation is 2 days. Also, you can expect less scarring.
Will the amount of fat affect the results of the size of breasts?
Unlike silicone implants, which can give a much definite projection of your breast augmentation, the amount of fat transfer needed for your procedure plays a vital role in the end results of your enhancement. On a typical fat transfer procedure, some of my patients have successfully achieved a cup size higher after one breast augmentation surgery.
To achieve bigger cup sizes, another procedure may be done. This should be performed in an interval of 3 months.
How drastic will the change in size and shape of my breasts be?
The change in size and shape of the breasts will initially depend on your goal and then on certain factors of your breasts that may affect the augmentation results. These can all be determined during the pre-surgery consultation with your doctor:
- Change in size (e.g. going bigger or smaller)
- Cleavage appearance
- Volume of side-boob
The change in breast size should not be more than 2 sizes more than the ideal suggested breast size in order to avoid future complications and longer downtime.
What are the brands of breast implants available in Singapore?
There are 3 brands that are commonly used in Singapore. These are Natrelle, Motiva, and Mentor breast implants. The characteristics of each brand of the implant are different from another. They differ from gel consistency, amount of gel used, and measurements. Of the three, I recommend Natrelle and Mentor the most as they have been in the market for a long time and approved by FDA.
How should my breasts appear and feel after surgery using silicone implants?
Your breasts should appear and feel natural gradually. During the first three months after the procedure, expect your breasts to feel tight and elevated. This is normal as the skin will need to stretch and adjust to the changes in your breasts.
The breasts should be able to completely recover approximately 5 to 6 months after your surgery. Your breast implants should look and feel more natural as they should’ve softened by this time.
What precautions should I look out for after my recovery period?
If your breasts remain firm and look unnatural by the 6th month, this should cause an alarm. This may be caused by an improper choice of a breast implant or unsuitable dissection of the breast pocket during the procedure.
Problems like this can be avoided by choosing a reputable surgeon that has years of experience in doing breast augmentation.
What instructions for aftercare should I follow to ensure the optimum results of my breast augmentation?
There are 3 major instructions that breast augmentation patients are taught after their procedure is done.
First will be stretching exercises. Stretching exercises will help the skin during its adjustment and recovery period. This should be done daily during the first week after the surgery.
Next, skip the bra. Using bra will only prolong the proper settling of your breasts. Nipple patches or comfortable camisoles are recommended to help your breasts heal faster.
Lastly, moisturize the surgery scars using medicated gels to get rid of the scars quickly.
What do I take into consideration when wanting my breast enhancement to look natural?
Some of the factors to consider when getting breast augmentation are the shape, size, and texture of the implants that will be used in the procedure.
Implants that are round in shape look unnatural or fake because this is not the breasts’ normal shape. To get a more natural look, choose the teardrop shape instead.
For the size, I recommend choosing a size that is, at most, two cup sizes bigger than your current measurements (e.g. A to C).
As mentioned, your breasts will certainly appear different right after the procedure up until the 3rd month after it. This will make the breasts look a bit higher as they gradually settle in, so the changes maybe noticeable during this time. But, not to worry as the breasts will certainly look natural as they settle into their correct positions by the 6th month following your surgery has given that there are no side effects.
What implant shape is usually chosen by patients in Singapore for their breast augmentation?
Most of my patients still prefer their breasts to look natural, so they go for the teardrop shape. As for sizes, either 330 cc or 295 cc works best for them.
How obvious will the changes in my breasts be?
The change in your breast size will probably be noticed by people you see on a daily basis, like family, friends, and work colleagues. As the breasts reach the 6 months mark after the surgery, they should look natural, so those who do not belong to the people group mentioned earlier will have no idea that your breasts are enhanced. In addition, scars should be barely visible a year after the surgery; you need not worry about their existence having to reveal your secret.
Will my breasts still be able to feel touch sensations after the augmentation?
Less than 20% of patients who have undergone a breast augmentation procedure reported a numbing sensation around their breasts or higher sensitivity that did not last longer than 2 weeks following the procedure. A greater percentage did not lose any sensation.
However, incisions done to the nipple or areola area during the surgery may cause permanent loss of sensation in the breasts after the procedure.
How long do breast implants last?
Breast implants that belong to the 5th generation were created to last for a long time. Two brands, Allergan and Mentor, offer breast implant ruptures lifetime warranties. Earlier generations of breast implants start to deteriorate in between 10 to 20 years after the surgery.
Can the results be changed in case I am not satisfied with the outcome?
To set expectations straight, your breasts may have some slight differences in appearance after the augmentation as the breasts naturally not identical. If you are not happy with the outcome of your enhancement, you can opt to have them corrected, although bear in mind that the corrections may either be done in a minor or major procedure. Of course, this would entail additional costs.
Will I be at risk of capsular contracture?
Capsular contracture is a normal occurrence during healing where the body creates a barrier of scar tissue around a foreign object that it detects inside the body. This is usually beneficial for breast implants as it helps keep them in place, avoiding slippage. However, for some, the scar tissue hardens and contracts around the implants. This can affect the appearance of the breasts and lead to pain.
This usually happens because of the following bad practices during the operation:
- Failure to use drains during the surgery to remove excess blood and other fluids once the operation is completed
- Failure to use a special insertion sleeve for the implants
- Failure to use a triple antibiotic wash for proper cleansing during the initial preparations for surgery
- Failure to place the breast implants beneath the muscle
Be sure to choose a doctor that is highly capable in performing the surgery safely and excellently in order to avoid the side effects of capsular contracture.
Will breast implants affect pregnancy or breastfeeding?
Mothers or soon-to-be mothers will be glad to know that having silicone breast implants will not be a major concern in pregnancy or breastfeeding. Though having implants may affect milk production and the breasts will swell, making them appear much larger. Hence, I usually advise patients who are planning to have children of not going beyond 2 sizes more than their current breast measurements to avoid these complications.
What do I take into consideration when choosing a doctor?
It is important to know that plastic surgery has several sub-specialities. Not all plastic surgeons are trained in breast augmentation. The first thing you should consider is making sure that the doctor you choose for your procedure has years of experience in doing breast augmentation surgery.
Next, get to know your surgeon well. Your surgeon should always put your utmost safety and priorities firsthand. He or she should be able to hear your concerns and give unbiased recommendations. Do not hesitate to ask for a before and after a portfolio of the results of his or her prior breast augmentation procedures.
What questions do I need to ask the doctor during the initial consultation?
I recommend asking your doctor the following questions:
- Is he or she a licensed plastic surgeon?
Not all doctors that perform plastic surgery in Singapore are plastic surgeons. It is important that the doctor you get to do your breast augmentation is an official plastic surgeon.
- Does he or she specialise in breast augmentation?
As mentioned earlier, plastic surgery has different sub-specialities. You do not want to get a plastic surgeon that does not have any experience in performing breast augmentation.
- What brand of breast implants does he or she use for breast augmentation?
You should only consider two brands of breast implants that are FDA-approved. These are Mentor and Natrelle.
- Where does he or she make an incision during the procedure?
Knowing the placement of the incision to your breasts is important as this can affect the health of your breasts. Ideally, cuts are done to the fold under the breast fold. I recommend going against incisions on the areola or nipple area of the breasts as this can affect the sensation of the breasts after the surgery.
The incisions made will result in scarring. Placing this under the breast fold will help keep them out of sight. At the same time, consider the length of the incision to be made. For implants that are 400 cc, the best measurement is within the range of 3.5 cm to 4 cm. Half a centimetres is added to the length per 100cc beyond 400cc in size.
- Where will the breast implants be placed?
A best practice among experienced doctors in performing a breast augmentation is placing the implants under the muscle. Some may use dual plane placement, which is also an effective technique. This requires placing the implant partially under the muscle to delay skin laxity and give the breasts much better support.
Are there other options to augment my breasts without going under the knife?
You may be curious whether the breast enlargement treatments being offered in beauty spas across Singapore are effective. The truth is a big NO. Only breast augmentation achieved through proper plastic surgery is the surest way you can have bigger breasts that remain permanent for a long term.
What about breast fillers?
Be warned! Breast fillers are actually banned in Singapore. This is because the Ministry of Health discovered that the use of breast fillers led to major health problems, such as infections, development of cysts, and migration of fillers resulting to chronic pain. These usually happen in the years succeeding the initial injection of breast fillers.
What can I do if I had breast fillers in the past?
Breast fillers should be removed especially when you are feeling discomfort, pain, or distortion in the appearance of your breasts. The only way to remove breast fillers is through surgery, so be sure to consult with an experienced plastic surgeon!
What is the breakdown of the total cost for a breast augmentation procedure in Singapore?
I will be frank with you. A breast augmentation surgery is costly. Here is an approximate breakdown of cost inclusions to better prepare for your procedure:
- Consultation fees $ 200
- Anaesthesia charges (2 hours max) 1,800
- Breast band 200
- Breast surgery 8,000
- Breast implants 2,000
- Day surgery charges (2 hours max) 1,000
- Medications 200
- Post-surgery reviews (6 sessions) 600
Total cost is SGD 14,000. This does not include GST.