Breast Augmentation

Breasts can be enhanced by placing an implant either under the breast tissue or behind the muscle on which the breast sits. Some implants are round and others are teardrop shaped (these implants are called anatomical implants).

In the UK, most breast implants are filled with silicone gel. The firmness (also known as the fill volume), compressibility, height, profile and projection of the implant can vary. These factors should complement the patient’s shape and size.

A number of issues will be discussed during your consultation including:

•                implant choice (advantages and disadvantages of each)

•                size of implant (and new cup size)

•                location of implant (in front or behind the pectoralis muscle) and scar

•                the operation itself

•                potential risks of surgery including infection, bleeding, possible asymmetry and changes in nipple sensation

•                post-op recovery time and limitations of normal activity

•                possible need for future replacement

•                effect on breast feeding

•                the possibility of capsular contracture, BIA-ALCL and treatment options

•                warranty cover from implant providers

•                mammography pre and post breast implants

There is no evidence at present to suggest that silicone breast implants are associated with an increased incidence of breast cancer or other significant illness. However,  there have been some reports about  a very rare form of cancer, Breast Implant Associated Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).  There are about 350 reported cases worldwide from  around 10 million women with breast implants. This appears to be treatable if detected. It is curently thought  in some way  to be related to the texturing around the implant, used to reduce the potential for capsular contracture. This can lead to a biofilm and a chronic inflammatory process. Both the FDA and European agencies including Gov.UK  are collecting information and do not recommend implant removal in patients without symptoms. However significant swelling or changes in the breast shape post implant surgery should not be ignored and must be evaluated by a physician. While most may be related to seroma (fluid), mild infection or trauma, it is important to collect fresh seroma fluid and a portion of the capsule for cytology and  special stains (immunohistochemistry) and specific blood tests are available to detect tumour biomarkers. Treatment is similar to other lymphomas and involves removal of the breast implant.   Click here to read more information.


The operation and post-op information

Breast augmentations are performed under general anaesthetic. The operation takes around 90 minutes and involves a one-night stay in hospital.

The patient may have the wound drained (while in hospital) and will be given painkillers as necessary. You will need to bring in a well-fitting sports bra (i.e. Sloggi or Shockabsorber) that you will need to wear for three weeks. It is advisable that you take around two weeks off work and avoid strenuous physical exercise for three - four weeks. You can shower after one week and drive when comfortable.

Some women combine breast surgery with an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck).

Click here to read more about breast augmentations on the BAPRAS website.

PLEASE NOTE: When you come to your initial consultation, please bring an unpadded bra in the size that you would like to be so you can try out different implants.