Breast Enlargement

Procedure time

60 to 90 mins

Overnight stay

0 – 1 night

Anaesthetic

General 

Final results

2 – 9 months

A breast enlargement, also known as a breast augmentation or an augmentation mammoplasty, is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures in the world. Patients often refer to it as a “boob job”. It is important that you have a good understanding of the surgery before you have treatment. This breast enlargement overview will give you an introduction to the procedure.

What can a breast enlargement achieve?

A breast enlargement aims to enhance the size and shape of your breasts by giving them a fuller and more contoured look. Your surgeon may either use a breast implant for the enlargement, or they may use liposuction to remove fat from one part of the body, then transfer that fat to the breasts. If a surgeon uses fat to enlarge the breasts, it is called a breast enlargement by fat transfer or, “lipofilling”.
You may choose to have a breast enlargement if you want to:

  • Restore volume to your breasts after ageing, weight loss or pregnancy
  • Create a more contoured breast shape
  • Balance an asymmetry of the breasts
  • Boost your self-esteem.

Although a breast enlargement can improve the shape of the breasts, it cannot correct severe sagging (breast ptosis). A breast uplift, also called a mastopexy, is a more suitable procedure for patients with severe sagging. Your surgeon may however, choose to combine your enlargement with an uplift in order to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing result.

Who are the ideal candidates for a breast enlargement?

Breast enlargement surgery may be an option for women looking to enhance the size and shape of their breasts. The ideal breast enlargement candidates include those who are:

  • Over 18 years old
  • Are not pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Realistic with their expectations
  • Physically healthy
  • Emotionally prepared for surgery
  • Unhappy with the current look of their breasts
  • Non-smokers or those who have not smoked or used nicotine products for at least 6 weeks before surgery.
Why have a breast enlargement?

Women may want to have a breast enlargement for the following reasons:

Cosmetic

A breast enlargement gives breasts a fuller and more contoured appearance. Women may choose to have this done to enhance the shape and size of their breasts. A breast enlargement can:

  • Restore breast volume that may have been lost with ageing
  • Enhance the shape and size of the breasts after pregnancy
  • Balance a difference in breast size after weight loss
  • Correct asymmetry between the breasts
  • Boost self-esteem

It is important to be aware that although a breast enlargement can enhance breast shape and size, it cannot correct severely drooping breasts. For drooping breasts (also called breast ptosis), a breast uplift would be a better option. Your surgeon may choose to combine a breast enlargement with a breast uplift in order to achieve the best results.

Breast reconstruction

Breast enlargement surgery may also be an option for women who have been affected by breast cancer.
Treatment for breast cancer may involve removal of one or both the breasts (a procedure called a mastectomy). A mastectomy may also be performed as a preventative measure for women who are at high-risk of developing breast cancer in the future. Women who have had this surgery done, may want a breast enlargement to restore the breast shape.
If you are thinking about having a breast enlargement, you can increase your suitability for surgery by optimising your health. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, stopping smoking and reducing your alcohol intake are all ways you can increase your chances of having surgery!

How is a breast enlargement procedure performed?

A breast enlargement procedure often lasts between 60 to 90 minutes. Before your surgery, you must follow the guidance given for eating, drinking and taking medications the night before.
The procedure involves the following steps:

1. Consent form

You will meet your surgeon and anaesthetist to sign the consent form. This will happen either on the day of surgery, or during your pre-operative assessment a week before. After you have consented, your surgeon will draw marks on the treatment area and discuss the exact goals of the surgery.

2. Anaesthesia

Your anaesthetist will administer your anaesthetic. They may use either a general anaesthetic, or a local anaesthetic with IV (intravenous) sedation. You and your surgeon will discuss which anaesthetic to use during your first consultation.

3. Incisions

Your surgeon will clean and drape your skin before making the incisions in the areas discussed. They will place the incisions in less visible areas in order to create a more aesthetically pleasing result.
There are three areas where an incision can be made during your breast enlargement procedure:

  1. Transaxillary – in the armpit.
  2. Periareolar – around the areola.
  3. Inframammary – below the breast, in the inframammary fold.

4. Insertion of breast implant

Your surgeon will then insert the breast implant into your breast. They can place the implant over the chest muscle (pectoralis major), under the chest muscle or as a combination of both.

Subglandular/Submammary implant (over the chest muscle)

Breast implants placed over the chest muscle can create a more defined breast shape as the implant is closer to the skin’s surface. As the procedure is less invasive, you may feel less pain in the first few days after surgery. Placing the implant over the muscle leads to less movement of the implant when the chest muscle moves or flexes.

Subpectoral implants (under the chest muscle)

Breast implants placed under the chest muscle are less likely to be felt or seen. This is because the muscle provides excellent soft tissue padding. As these implants are not directly below the breast tissue, they are also less likely to interfere with mammograms. This placement is however, more invasive and would therefore lead to a longer recovery period.

Dual plane implants (combination)

A dual plane implant (also called a dual plane or bi-planar augmentation) combines both subglandular and subpectoral techniques. The top part of the implant sits under the muscle. This reduces the risk of implant visibility and ripples. The bottom part sits directly in contact with the breast tissue. This helps create a more curvaceous underboob.
Your surgeon will work with you to choose which technique will work best for you.

5. Closing of incisions

Your surgeon will then close the incision and apply a dressing over it. You may have drains put in below the skin to reduce swelling and bruising. The drains are usually removed before you are discharged home.

6. Return to the ward

Finally, you are taken back to the ward to recover from the anaesthetic. You should be able to go home the same day or the following day.
Once your surgery is over, the results will be visible straight away. It may however, take up to 8 weeks for the swelling and bruising to subside; after which, you will be able to see the full cosmetic result of your breast enlargement procedure.

What are the different breast implants available for a breast enlargement procedure?

All breast implant types have a thin outer layer made up of silicone. The outer layer of breast implants can have either a smooth or textured surface. The implants can contain saline, silicone gel or highly-cohesive silicone gel.

Saline

Saline implants consist of an outer silicone shell filled with sterile salt water (saline). The surgeon will insert the empty silicone shell into the breast, then inflate it with salt water through a small valve. Insertion of saline implants leaves a smaller scar than surgery with silicone implants. This is because silicone implants are pre-filled before surgery.
Saline implants are often one of the least popular breast implant types. This is because they are more prone to rupture, deflation and loss of volume over time. Due to their consistency, they may also look and feel less natural than silicone based implants.

Silicone Gel

Silicone gel implants consist of an outer silicone shell filled with a soft, silicone gel. Insertion of silicone gel implants require your surgeon to make a larger incision. This is because, unlike saline implants, they are pre-filled before surgery.
Silicone gel implants have a firmer consistency than saline implants, making them loss prone to wrinkling and allowing them to feel and look more natural.

Highly-Cohesive Silicone Gel

Highly-cohesive gel implants consist of an outer silicone shell containing a much firmer silicone gel. This firm consistency allows the implants to achieve the most natural look and feel. They are the least likely implant type to rupture, and even when they do – the contents do not spill out as they do with the other types of implant.

Avrupamed surgeons only use the highest-quality implant brands that are rigorously tested for both quality and safety. The size of your breast implant is measured by volume cubic centimetres (cc). Once you have picked your desired cup size, your surgeon will work with you to identify the perfect implant size. It is however, important to keep in mind that breast implant volumes do not necessarily equal a certain bra cup size. You can use ‘ The Rice Test’ to get an idea of how you would look with different sizes of breast implants.

Breast implant shapes

Breast implants can have a “round” or a “teardrop” shape. Both shapes can help create a full, natural looking breast, but the shape of implant that is best for you will depend on what you would like to achieve from your breast enlargement. Your surgeon will work with you to find an implant shape that will help achieve the best aesthetic results from your surgery.

Round implants 

Round implants add volume to both the upper and lower parts of the breast. This allows them to give the breasts a “fuller” look, making them a good choice for patients who want to add more volume to the breast.

Teardrop (anatomical) implants

Teardrop implants add more volume to the lower part of the breast than the upper part. This gives a more discreet look that is more in keeping with the natural shape of breasts. This is typically a better option for patients looking to achieve a more natural breast enlargement.

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