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Breast Augmentation

What is it?

A breast augmentation is a surgical procedure that enlarges the breasts by the insertion of silicone implants underneath the breasts. It is performed under a general anaesthetic. It takes about 1.5 hours and drains are often used which come out the next day. You will therefore usually need to stay in hospital for one night. Recovery takes 4-6 weeks and you need to avoid physical exercise and wear a support bra during this period. We will need to see you weekly for the first few weeks. Bruising and swelling will occur and last for up to one month. Other risks include bleeding, infection, changes in nipple sensation, asymmetry, implant malposition, capsule formation (scarring around the implant), poor scars, implant leak and recently an association with Acute Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL).

Why have it?

Women undergo breast augmentation to enlarge the size of their breasts because they feel they are too small, and to enhance their body contour. Other reasons include loss of volume following pregnancy or weight loss; a significant difference between the size of the breasts or following surgical procedures for various breast conditions where breast tissue has been removed.

Reasons not to have it?

Breast augmentation is contraindicated in patients who have had radiotherapy treatment, are undergoing chemotherapy or are immunocompromised, have an active infection anywhere on the body, or have an untreated breast cancer. As a general rule patients should be over 18 years of age.

Women with breasts that are 'sagging' or have lost skin tone and elasticity may be inappropriate for breast augmentation alone and may require additional surgery to lift and reshape the breast (mastopexy).

Being overweight and smoking can increase the incidence of complications from surgery. It may be wise to delay surgery until smoking is stopped or reduced, and a proportion of excess weight lost.

Aspirin increases the risk of bleeding by preventing blood from clotting. If you are taking aspirin you will be asked to stop this for at least ten days before the procedure.

Implants can form scar tissue around them (capsules) over time that alters the appearance of the breasts and can sometimes be painful. Skin tone changes with increasing age and this can also change the appearance of the implants over time.

The Short Version

Volume increase of the breast with reshaping and tightening. A variety of techniques. Scars can be in the breast crease or around the nipple. Risks include bleeding, infection, nipple or skin loss as well as change in nipple sensation, asymmetry and lumpiness. Capsule formation, pain and changes in appearance over time can occur. An overnight stay in hospital with recovery taking 4-6 weeks.

Procedure Stats

  • General anaesthetic
  • Over-night stay
  • Recovery 4-6 weeks

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