Breast augmentation, also known as breast enlargement or breast implant surgery, is the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the UK. I see many women who may have always been dissatisfied with their breast size or those that have undergone pregnancy and breastfeeding and seen a change to the volume and shape of their breasts and feel that a breast augmentation procedure will greatly improve the appearance of their breasts.
Am I a suitable candidate for breast augmentation?
Most patients with smaller breasts are suitable for a straightforward augmentation. Some patients also need a breast lift, which can be done at the same time as an enlargement. The degree of ‘droopiness’ of the breasts helps us to decide which procedure would give the best possible result. A breast augmentation can also correct breast asymmetries; every woman’s breasts are slightly asymmetrical, but some women have a marked difference in size and/or shape that can be noticeable.
What happens during a breast augmentation procedure?
There are many different shapes and sizes of breast implant. During your consultation, we will discuss which implants would be most appropriate for your frame and body shape and for what you’re hoping to achieve. They can be inserted either above or below the chest muscle, or even a combination of both. Again this will depend on your frame, the amount of existing breast tissue and what result you wish to achieve.
A breast augmentation procedure is typically performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes 60 to 90 minutes. The implants are inserted through a short incision in the crease under the breast. Once the implant is inserted the incisions are closed with dissolvable stitches. A simple plaster covers the wound and I would ask you to wear a post-surgical non-wired bra for 6 weeks after the operation.
Are there any possible risks or complications associated with a breast augmentation procedure?
Recovery after a breast augmentation is usually relatively quick and patients are able to control any discomfort with over-the-counter painkillers. Most breast augmentations can be performed as a day case. You will typically need 1 week off work, or up to 2 weeks if your job is particularly physical. You can usually start driving after 1-2 weeks as long as you feel safe to control your car, and you can get back to the gym by 4 weeks.
The types of risk after breast augmentation that you need to be aware of include infection, bleeding, fluid build-up and skin numbness caused by nerve damage. Nipple and breast numbness is quite common after breast augmentation surgery, but that should recover after a few months. Some patients report increased breast and nipple sensitivity.
Capsular contracture is an important risk after breast implant surgery. The body treats the implants as a ‘foreign body’, encapsulating the breasts in scar tissue that can harden and constrict the implants. Developments in implant technology have lessened the odds of developing capsular contracture, but some women may require their breast implants to be removed and new ones inserted if they develop this problem.
I will discuss all the risks in detail if you do decide to proceed with surgery.
I only use the highest quality implants from leading breast implant manufacturers. Rupture is much less common nowadays and some implants come with a guarantee against this.
What results can I expect from my breast augmentation procedure?
Scarring usually heals very well after breast augmentation and should be almost unnoticeable when they fully heal.
Although many women still have their original implants many years after their initial surgery, it is important to realise that breast implants will not last a lifetime and expect that you may need them replaced in the future.
Satisfaction after a breast augmentation procedure is usually very high, with many women finding their confidence in their physical appearance is greatly improved.
Please see my gallery page for examples of my patients who have had this procedure.