Breast augmentation


The Surgery

Breast enlargement or breast augmentation surgery, involves the insertion of implants behind the breast tissue. These implants are generally made from silicone and are filled with either a silicone gel or saline. The results of surgery are dependent on the type of implant used.

The breast augmentation operation is performed under general anaesthetic and takes about an hour and a half.

The implant is placed directly behind the breast as this gives the most natural feel. However, if they patient is very slim and doesn’t have enough breast skin and tissue to cover the implant, it may be achieved by placing the implant behind the pectoral (chest) muscle, behind the breast. This way the outline of the implant is not visible.

A cut is normally made under the breast creating a pocket and the implant is then placed through the cut into the pocket. A drain may be placed there to collect blood or fluid. The cut is then closed using dissolvable stitches, leaving the drain in place. Finally, the breasts are dressed in supporting bandages. As with all surgery, a small amount of scarring should be expected but this will be hidden and will fade with time.

Is silicone safe?

Silicone is used to make heart-valve replacements, facial implants and tubes that give people drugs. There is a large amount of research on silicone implants, but no evidence exists to suggest that women who have silicone breast implants are more likely to get cancer. There has, however, been considerable media coverage of PIP implants. Miss Patel has never used PIP implants in her practice. Anyone who has concerns regarding PIP implants ideally should revert to the surgeon who performed their procedure, if that is not an option then Miss Patel would be happy to discuss this at a consultation. (Please refer to the News Section).

Types of breast implants

There are two types of synthetic breast enlargement implants in the UK: silicone gel and saline solution. Both are contained in a firm, silicone shell. Saline breast implants are filled with a sterile salt-water solution. whilst silicone gel implants may be filled with a firm, jelly-like silicone or a softer, fluid silicone.

The choice of type and size of the implant should be discussed with Miss Patel at the consultation following thorough examination and accurate measurement of breasts.

Preparing for Surgery

Smoking can increase the likelihood of wound problems in this type of surgery and abstaining from smoking for at least two weeks preoperatively and postoperatively is a sensible precaution.

Hospital Stay

The patient is admitted to hospital on the day of surgery and Miss Patel runs through the procedure with the patient and plans and marks the exact extent of the surgery. The patient will be seen by a Consultant Anaesthetist who will discuss the anaesthetic with the patient and will answer any questions the patient may have.

How long does a breast augmentation operation take?

The procedure typically takes about one and half hours.

Recovery after breast augmentation surgery

Patients generally return home on the day of the surgery or have an overnight stay in hospital. Where drains are used, these are removed prior to discharge. It is recommend that a sports bra be used after surgery to provide extra support and comfort. Sports bras are usually used for four to six weeks.

Miss Patel will usually see the patient seven to ten days after surgery to ensure that all is well and to reduce the dressing. Generally the patient will be seen again a week later at which point dressings are usually dispensed with. A further follow up visit is planned approximately three months after surgery.

How long do breast implants last?

Modern implants are much more reliable than those used in the past. Generally manufacturers suggest that implants will last more than ten years on average. The implants may need to be replaced or removed at some point in the future.

Potential risks of breast augmentation surgery

The majority of patients undergoing breast augmentation performed by an experienced Plastic Surgeon achieves good results with a rapid recovery. However, in a small proportion of cases complications do occur and can include the following:

  • Scars – Scars usually heal nicely in a thin white line however, in some patients, they can be thicker than expected and may require scar management therapy.
  • Infection – Infection is rare in this type of surgery and the risk is minimised by careful surgical technique and the use of a dose of antibiotic during surgery.
  • Nipple sensation –There can be some change in nipple and breast sensation after breast augmentation. A minority of patients find sensation is reduced though this tends to improve with time.
  • Asymmetry – Most women have a degree of asymmetry between the breasts prior to surgery. Breast augmentation may tend to emphasise differences between the breasts and some minor differences are always likely to be present.
  • Capsular contracture –
    The body naturally makes a scar around any implanted material and silicone implants are no different. For the vast majority of women this scar is soft and cannot be felt. In a small proportion a thicker scar develops and some women may require further treatment or even removal of the implant.
  • Haematoma – In a limited number of cases small blood vessels in the wound may bleed after the surgery, which leads to blood collecting under the wound. This is known as a haematoma, which needs to be released and washed out before re-suturing the wound. Should this problem arise, it is typically on the day of surgery and does not affect the final result.

This is not a definitive list and symptoms will vary with each patient. Please ask Miss Patel for more information.

Next Steps

For further information please contact Miss Patel to arrange a consultation.

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