Breast Implants & Augmentation

What is breast surgery?

Breast surgery is a type of operation performed to enlarge and improve the chest size. This is accomplished by inserting breast implants directly under the breast tissue or behind the breast muscle.

Usually women want to improve their chest size or the shape of their breasts because they believe that their chest is too small. Sometimes breasts are not even in size, not shapely enough or there are other reasons why a woman may not be content with her breasts. In some cases the chest is not fully developed or the size of the chest has changed significantly after a pregnancy, after losing a considerable amount of weight or due to aging. The decision to have your breasts changed surgically is not a decision to be taken lightly. It is a serious medical procedure and should be considered carefully.

Why have implants?

Breast enhancement surgical implants are usually placed behind the natural breast tissue of the patient. This way the breast size is increased, there is a more symmetrical chest and any abnormalities in the shape of the breasts are corrected. Research conducted by the NHS shows that 80 percent of all breast surgery procedures are performed for purely cosmetic reasons. The other twenty percent are breast reconstruction procedures performed for medical reasons. These reasons may include asymmetrical breasts, loss of a breast following cancer or reconstruction after breast surgery due to the treatment of a disease. 

Undergoing breast enhancement surgery often has more psychological benefits than physical ones. Often, when the procedure is successful, the self-esteem of the patient receives a boost as cosmetic appearance will be more in tune with self-image after this type of surgery. There are many psychological benefits to having breast enhancement.  In some cases woman want their breasts enhanced in some way to aid their modelling careers.

It's imperative when considering breast augmentation to research all its aspects completely and to ensure any information you discover comes from a reputable and reliable source. Cosmetic surgery designed to increase the size of the breast is usually done privately, however your general practitioner should be happy to guide you through your decisions and offer you advice on qualified private cosmetic surgeons in the area as well as suitable local private hospitals. They should be happy to write you a letter of referral if required.

What should I expect from my first visit to the surgeon?

During your first meeting or consultation, you will have a discussion with your surgeon about alterations you would like to make with your appearance. Breast augmentation is a very personal decision so be sure to discuss all of your concerns and as well as exactly what you want and hope to achieve from the surgery as well as obviously ensuring you decided on exactly how large you wish your chest size to be.

Your surgeon should also discuss with you the types of anaesthesia that you will be under during the surgery. At this point, it's essential you explain any medical conditions that you may have and any past surgerical procedures you have undergone.

It is also suggested that you take with you pictures of the kind of breast size and shape that you like. Show them to your surgeon and they should be able to decide from this what size of implants you would require. Your surgeon should then explain the different options to you. These include not only size but also the location of the implant, incision type, implant material and the possibilities of a breast lift.

Be sure you use this consultation to discuss any questions you have. It is also advisable to ask to view before and after photos of patients who have had similar operations as well as ask to view patient testimonials.
 What does the medical procedure / operation involve?

Breast surgery is carried out by making an incision in the breast area. The incision can be made below the breast, around the areola, in the armpit or in some rare cases, through the navel. The next step involves lifting up the breast tissue inside, creating a pocket in the chest area, and placing inside a breast implant constructed of natural feeling material.

Depending on individual cases, the surgery can take from 1 to 2 hours. The breast implants can be placed in different places. This can include under the chest muscle or under the breast directly. Where it is placed depends in a number of considerations, such as how your breast is anatomically, post-surgery soreness, any exercise activities such as tennis or volleyball or weightlifting and if it will interfere with mammograms.

Most surgeons will use general anaesthetic during the surgery. However, some surgeons will use a sedative and a local anaesthetic. It's important to discuss which type with your surgeon during the first consultation.

What should I expect after the medical procedure?

After the procedure, the chest is wrapped with gauze bandage. On top of that is a tighter bandage to ensure post-surgery support and protection will be added. To help drain some of the excess fluid there may be drainage tubes placed in the wounds for a while. Post surgery, dissolvable stitches will require removal and a sports bra must be worn 24 hours a day for around three months.  It is natural for the chest to feel solid and will be swollen at
First. After several weeks, the breasts will feel more natural and the sports bra will offer the
support it will require.

What is the recovery period like?

The scars after surgery will remain pink and visible for several weeks. After several months or so they will begin to gradually fade out. It is absolutely essential to discuss what to do after your surgery with your surgeon and ensure that you take all advice given to ensure a speedy recovery.

The first thing to remember is rest. It is essential for the healing process, so as much rest as possible should be taken afterwards. Plenty of fluids should be drunk and any prescribed medications taken on time.

For at least 3-5 days arm extension should occur as little as possible. The rule of thumb is that the elbow
should not rise above armpit level. To speed the healing process of the tissues, avoid stretching and moving
muscle and tissue around the augmented breasts.

Most likely, you will be able to resume calm, quiet work within a few days of your surgery. You should still avoid physical exertion for several weeks, depending on the advice of your surgeon.

The gauze dressing will be removed after several days. Expect to be advised to wear a support bra afterwards. This is to help your breasts shape more naturally and offer additional support. Depending on where your stitches are, showering may or may not be an option.

Your stitches will be removed in about a week to 10 days after surgery. Bear in mind that swelling may still be present but this will gradually go down after several weeks. The swelling may cause the chest to feel solid and unnatural, but this will end leaving the breasts softer and more natural.

Exercise can probably be resumed within a couple of months. This includes other normal physical activities, which will be easier when the soreness subsides.  Recovery time does vary amongst patients and depends on the surgeon's technique, implant type, and where the implant is located as well as the level of activity in the patient's routine. Your surgeon should be consulted for more detailed information.

Is it painful?

Breast surgery can be quite painful as it stretches the patient's tissues. This is mostly the case when the implants are located under the muscle and also in younger patients who have not had children. The pain is at its worst in
the first 48 hours after surgery, but will improve each day and will be relieved by pain medication. Most women report that they are very happy with their surgery regardless of this initial discomfort.

Upon waking, it's usual to feel sore and stiff and tired. You must be sure to take any medication prescribed by your surgeon. Do not expect to be able to drive home and arrange for someone to pick you up, you may also need help around the house over the next few days. The surgeon will most likely prescribe you antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs to take after the surgery.

Complications and risks with breast implants

Because breast augmentation surgery is performed under general anaesthetic, it has similar risks as any other invasive medical surgeries. Any kind of surgical procedure always carries a risk of infection, albeit small. The risk of such an infection is larger if a significant haematoma or a collection of blood, or a seroma, which is a collection of watery fluid, is present after the surgery. The body is generally able to safely dispose of small haematomas or seromas but usually needs the aid of a surgical drain to remove any larger ones.  Surgical draining can increase the risk of deflation or rupturing complications after the surgery.

Over the first few weeks, patients may suffer from swelling, discomfort, pain and small twinges as well as bruising as hardness in the short term as it take a few months for the breasts to settle in. If a patient suffers a significantly
swollen or deflated chest, excessive discharge from the wound or extreme pain or heat in their breasts, reports to their GP or surgeon must be made.

Capsular contracture
One of the most usual complications with breast implants is Capsular Contracture. However, with modern textured silicone shelled implants, the risks are lower. Capsular contracture occurs to approximately one in 10 women (or 10%) after breast augmentation surgery. It requires further additional surgery to remove the implant then replace it.  It happens when scar tissue that has formed about the breast implant starts to contract making the implant harden and occasionally become deformed.

Some women experience rupturing of the implant. This occurs when an implant is faulty and splits or if a tear occurs. This type of situation used to be a huge problem with the older types of implants that had thinner walls. If an implant splits it will not automatically mean that there is a serious medical problem. The major risk connected to rupturing is the filler of the implant. The filling may leak into the breast tissue and can cause small lumps in the tissue called siliconomas. These lumps may cause pain in the breast tissue and can cause swelling of the chest. It is obvious that broken implants need to be taken out professionally. The modern and firmer breast implants made with thicker walls and silicon fillers are a lot less likely to break or leak. Quality implants that are used for breast enhancement surgery nowadays will keep their shape even in the unlikely event of rupturing.

Deflation is another medical problem that may occur after breast enhancement surgery. In this case the implant deflates and the breast decreases in size. This kind of thing can happen after an implant has been ruptured due to capsular contracture. Deflation means that the implant has deflated and reduced in size and can occur as a result of complications after surgery such as capsular contracture and rupturing. In rare cases the breast tissue may react to the implant by forming calcium particles around the implant. These calcium ' growths' can show up in mammograms
as a tumour.

Breast Cancer
Breast cancer research has shown that the risk of developing breast cancer is not significantly higher in women
with breast implants. The risk of developing this serious disease may even be lower. Women with implants have regular checkups and time and time again figures have shown that the risk of cancer in women who had breast enlargement surgery is no more than those without, although they may make detection and mammograms more difficult.

Some women may experience sensitive scars after their breast surgery procedure. A scar may turn red and the skin may get thicker as a result of scarring (keloid scars). It can take a good few years for a scar to get better and for the redness to disappear. There is a risk of slight complications after breast enhancing surgery. Complications that may occur after this type of surgery are blood loss from the scar tissue and the stitches, rippling of the skin of the breast around the breast implant, and women sometimes experience a loss of sensitivity in the nipple region after surgery..

The cost of implants
The pricing of breast enhancement surgery procedures varies and depends on the clinic and the country where the procedure takes place. It also depends on whether you are having this type of surgery performed for medical
reasons or for cosmetic reasons, or the private healthcare provider.

Depending on your financial situation it may pay off to have your surgery performed abroad. However it is always important to remember that different countries may have a different health care standards. It all depends on where you go to have your breasts enlarged and of course on the track record and skill of the surgeon who will be operating on you. Breast implant surgery could cost anywhere from £2000.00 to £6000.00.