20 April 2011

Big, bigger, breasts

More and more women seem to be considering breast enlargements. How is this done and why do people have them done? Health24 asked the experts.


More and more women seem to be unhappy with the size of their breasts. How are breast enlargements done and why do people have them done? Health24 asked the experts.

More breast enlargements done in SA
“More and more breast enlargements are done in South Africa”, says Professor Donald Hudson of the Plastic Reconstructive and Maxillo-facial Surgery Unit at the UCT Medical School. “South Africans seem to be becoming more body-conscious and are prepared to pay to make changes to their appearance. Many people feel their self-esteem and physical appearance are closely linked and are therefore prepared to make a great effort to change their bodies, whether through diet, exercise or surgery.”

“The operation lasts one to two hours and can be done under general or local anaesthetic. In South Africa, silicone prostheses are used 99% of the time, as they are more natural looking than saline prostheses.

The silicone scare in the USA a few years ago, led the FDA to restrict the use of silicone prostheses – oddly enough only for breast enlargements and not for reconstructive surgery. Complications, such as joint pain, have been proven to be unfounded.”

“Like with all operations, there are possible complications. Thes include sepsis, bleeding, misformation and rejection. But this procedure is not considered to be a big operation and those who have breast enlargements done can return to work again within a few days. If a patient wants to have a very large breast enhancement done, most doctors in South Africa would hesitate, as very big prostheses could end up in a poor result – the skin can only stretch so far.”

What does a psychologist say?

“Low self-esteem is often, but certainly not always, a driving force behind breast enlargement operations” says Cape Town psychologist Ilse Terblanche. “Unless there is some medical reason for cosmetic surgery, such as discomfort caused by very large breasts, psychological factors often underlie decisions to have cosmetic surgery done.”

“Many people are unhappy with themselves and tend to focus on physical things rather than having to deal with psychological problems they may have, such as low self-esteem. These are the people who don’t stop at having one procedure done – once they have had the first, which they hoped would solve all their problems, they focus on the next possible procedure, rather than dealing with the fact that their psychological problems have not disappeared.”

“It’s always difficult to make any kind of assessment unless one has counseled someone directly," says Terblanche. "But, in general, people who constantly remodel themselves, often to other people's specifications or requirements could fear rejection."


Read more:
Visit Health24’s Breast Centre
Breast enlargement: before and after


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