Breast augmentation surgery is a common plastic surgery procedure. It is done to change
the way a woman’s breasts look.
This surgery increases the size or the fullness of the breasts using sacs filled with
fluid or gel. These sacs are called breast implants.
may choose to have breast augmentation if you are unhappy with how one or both of
breasts look. Some reasons why women choose to have this surgery include:
- Their breasts have lost their size or fullness after childbirth
- Weight loss has changed the size and fullness of their breasts
- One breast is noticeably smaller than the other
All surgeries have some risks. Some possible risks of breast augmentation surgery
- A bad
reaction to the medicines used to put you to sleep during surgery (anesthesia)
collection of blood (hematoma) or fluid (seroma) building up under your skin. This
may need to be drained with a needle.
in how your nipples or breasts feel
that continues after healing
clots in your legs that may travel to your heart or lungs
You may have other risks that are unique to you. Be sure to discuss any concerns with
your surgeon before the procedure.
Some long-term things you should also consider:
- You may
not be happy with the final results and more surgery may be needed.
implants must be regularly checked for leaking. This sometimes uses an ultrasound
implant may leak or burst (rupture).
implant may become firm.
will need a second surgery to remove or replace the implant. Implants are not
guaranteed to last a lifetime.
It’s important to know that most health insurance plans will not cover cosmetic breast
augmentation. They will also not cover the cost of any related problems.
There is no evidence that breast implants raise your risk for breast cancer. But you
should tell your surgeon if you have a family history of the disease.
can still get regular X-ray images of your breasts to screen for breast cancer
(mammograms) if you have implants. But you may need to have more X-ray images taken
around the implants to check the breast tissue.
with your surgeon if you plan to get pregnant in the future. Pregnancy can change
size and shape of your breasts.
Before surgery, you and your surgeon should discuss your breast implant options. Saline
implants are filled with salt water. Silicone implants are filled with an elastic
gel. Talk with your surgeon about which type is best for you.
Before the procedure, your surgeon may want to take pictures of your breasts for
comparison after surgery. You may also be asked to get a baseline mammogram. This
compared with future mammograms done after your surgery. This is also to make sure
don’t have any suspicious areas that your doctor didn’t know about.
- Your surgeon will explain the procedure to you. Ask him or her any questions you
will be asked to sign a consent form to do the surgery. Read the form carefully and
ask questions if anything is not clear.
your surgeon if you are sensitive to or allergic to any medicines, latex, tape, and
anesthesia medicines (local and general). Also tell your surgeon if you are pregnant
or think you may be pregnant.
any directions you are given for not eating or drinking before surgery.
- If you
are a smoker, stop smoking at least 6 weeks before surgery.
your surgeon if you have a history of bleeding disorders. Let him or her know if you
are taking any blood-thinning medicines (anticoagulants), aspirin, ibuprofen, or
other medicines that affect blood clotting. You may need to stop taking these
medicines before the procedure.
your surgeon about all other medicines you take. This includes both over-the-counter
and prescription medicines. It also includes vitamins, herbs, and other
- If you
may go home on the same day as surgery, have someone available to drive you
healthcare provider may have other instructions for you based on your medical
Breast augmentation surgery may be done at a hospital or in an outpatient facility.
can be done using medicines to put you into a deep sleep (general anesthesia). Or
be done by numbing the area (local anesthesia) and giving you medicine by IV
(intravenously) to make you sleepy.
Many women can go home on the day of surgery.
Generally, breast augmentation surgery follows this process:
will be asked to remove any clothing, jewelry, or other objects that might get in
way during the procedure.
- You will
be asked to remove your clothing and will be given a gown to wear.
- An IV
(intravenous) line will be started in your arm or hand.
- You will
be placed on your back on the operating table.
augmentation surgery may be done under local anesthesia. You will not feel the area
to be operated on. You will get medicine in your IV before the procedure to help you
relax. You will likely stay awake but feel sleepy during the procedure. Under local
anesthesia, you will get oxygen through a tube that fits in your nose.
augmentation surgery may also be done under general anesthesia. You will be asleep.
Once you are asleep, your surgeon will put a breathing tube through your throat into
your lungs. You will be connected to a ventilator. It will breathe for you during
- The skin
over the surgical site will be cleaned with a sterile (antiseptic) solution.
surgeon will make one or more cuts (incisions). The cutswill be made in areas that
will not be easily seen after surgery. This may be under your breast, in your armpit,
or around your nipple.
implant will be put through the incision. It may be slid under your pectoral chest
muscle. Or it may be placed directly under your breast tissue. Your surgeon will
decide where to create the pocket for the implant based on your body and what you
incision will be closed using stitches, skin adhesive, or surgical tape.
- In some
cases a small, thin drainage tube may be placed in the surgical area to keep fluid
from collecting there while you are healing.
will be taken from the operating room to a recovery area. You will be watched until
have recovered from the anesthesia. You may have a bulky dressing, elastic bandage,
support garment over your breasts. Or you may be wearing a surgical bra.
Once you are alert and can take fluids well by mouth, your IV will be removed. It
is important to get up and start walking as soon as possible. This can help keep blood
clots from forming in your legs.
Once you get home, it’s important to follow all your surgeon’s instructions and keep
all your follow-up appointments.
You should be able to go back to a normal diet as tolerated. Follow your surgeon’s
instructions for taking any pain medicines or medicines that fight infections (antibiotics).
Your breasts may be bruised and swollen. They may not look like you thought they would.
This will go away as you heal, and should be gone in about a month. The incision lines
will also fade over time.
Your home care instructions may include:
- You may
have to take sponge baths for the first few days. Your surgeon may let you take a
shower after several days. Ask your surgeon when you can safely have a tub
- During the first few days after surgery, you can expect to feel sore. This is especially
true if the implants were placed under your chest muscles. Don’t lift, pull, or push
anything until your surgeon says it’s safe.
- If the drain will be left in, you’ll be told how to take care of it at home.
- Dressings and drains may be removed by your surgeon within a few days. You may be
given a special support bra to wear after the dressings are removed. Stitches or adhesive
tapes may be removed in about a week.
- You will slowly be able to go back to your normal activities in a few days. You may
need to wait a few weeks before returning to physical activities. Ask your surgeon
when it is safe to return to work or go back to specific activities.
Call your surgeon if you have any of the following:
pain or pain that is not eased by prescribed pain medicine
- Any drainage, bleeding, redness, or swelling around your incision areas
- Leg pain or leg swelling
- Trouble breathing, chest pain, or heart palpitations
Your surgeon may give you other instructions, depending on your situation.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know:
- The name of the test or procedure
- The reason you are having the test or procedure
- What results to expect and what they mean
- The risks and benefits of the test or procedure
- What the possible side effects or complications are
- When and where you are to have the test or procedure
- Who will do the test or procedure and what that person’s qualifications are
- What would happen if you did not have the test or procedure
- Any alternative tests or procedures to think about
- When and how will you get the results
- Who to call after the test or procedure if you have questions or problems
- How much will you have to pay for the test or procedure