TREATMENT TIME: 1-5 HOURS
LONGEVITY: 10 Year +
RECOVERY TIME: AROUND 6 WEEKS
POPULARITY: 1.7 MILLION GLOBAL PROCEDURES IN 2017
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Everything you need to know about Breast Augmentation
What is Breast Augmentation?
Breast Augmentation Surgery increases the size of your breasts to restore breast volume lost after weight reduction or pregnancy, achieve a more rounded breast shape or improve natural breast size asymmetry.
It is often referred to as breast enlargement or a boob job.
Why do people have Breast Augmentation?
There are many reasons people choose to have breast augmentation: to enlarge breasts that are naturally small, to restore breast size after pregnancy, weight loss or breastfeeding, to restore symmetry when the breasts are different sizes and to reconstruct breasts after mastectomy surgery.
Ultimately, for most women they see breast augmentation as a procedure that will give them a confidence boost; a treatment that will rid them of the anxiety their current breast appearance causes them.
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How much does it cost?
In the UK, Breast augmentation surgery costs around £3,500-£8,000, plus the cost of any consultations or follow-up care that may not be included in the price.
If you need to find doctors and prices near you, please click here.
Cosmetic breast augmentation is generally not covered by insurance or available on the NHS so you will have to consult a plastic surgeon as a private patient and pay for the operation yourself. There are some exceptions to this rule. Your GP will be able to tell you about the local rules in your area.
If you are having your surgery outside of NHS, we can help you spread out the cost of your treatment.
What are the key drivers for Breast Augmentation cost?
Breast augmentation costs can widely vary depending on the surgeon’s experience, the type of procedure used, the type of breast implants used, anesthesia, the geographic location and operating room facilities.
Generally, higher surgeon experience and location in an area with a high cost of living, would generally mean higher costs. At the same time, higher experience may translate into lesser risks for you.
The cost of the surgery also varies depending on how the surgery is conducted and the type of implants used. Fat Transfer based augmentation can be costlier than implants based augmentation. In Implants based augmentation, silicone implants are more costly than saline implants and gummy bear implants are most expensive of the silicone implants.
Am I a good candidate?
If you believe your breasts are too small for your body or have lost volume after weight loss or pregnancy, or feel they are asymmetrical, then you may want to consider breast augmentation.
However, it is very important that you are in good health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, before undergoing this procedure. For example, if you have a family history of breast cancer or are obese (BMI of 30 or more), you will need to be evaluated and cleared before surgery.
Another important consideration is family planning. If you are planning to have a baby in the near term, pregnancy may affect the results of breast augmentation. Also, breast augmentation could possibly affect your ability to breastfeed in the future. It is important to discuss this with your surgeon during the consultation.
What are my options?
In breast augmentation using implants, your surgeon makes an incision, lifts the breast tissue, creates a pocket in the chest/breast area and places an implant in the pocket.
An additional option for breast augmentation is autologous fat transfer, a process in which your surgeon removes your own fat, using liposuction, from a fat-yielding body part (such as your abdomen, thighs, or flanks) processes it and then injects it into your breasts.
Incisions for implant placement can be made underneath the breast in the crease, around the areola, in the armpit or in case of saline implants in the belly button. Incisions underneath the breast are the most common.
Breast implants are placed in a pocket either above or below the pectoral muscle, which is located between the breast tissue and chest wall. Placement of the implant underneath the pectoral muscle may interfere less with mammograms and breast-feeding. Multiple factors, including your anatomy and your surgeon’s recommendations, will determine how your breast implant is inserted and positioned.
How long does the surgery take?
The surgery usually takes from one to two hours but could take longer if breast lift is also performed at the same time. After your procedure is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area, where you will continue to be closely monitored.
Breast augmentation is usually performed on an outpatient basis but an overnight stay may be required sometimes.
Is Breast Augmentation painful?
Breast Augmentation surgery is not painful as it is performed under anesthesia (commonly general and occasionally under local anesthesia or intravenous sedation). When the anesthesia wears off, you may have some pain.
As the surgery stretches the breast tissue, it can be painful especially when implants have been placed under the chest muscle. Typically, the most pain is experienced within the first 48 hours after breast augmentation surgery. Your level of pain will typically decrease each day and may be effectively treated with various pain medications.
Are there any risks I should look out for?
All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. With breast augmentation, major complications are very unusual. Some risks specific to breast augmentation are outlined below:
- Scar: Your surgeon can conceal some incision lines in natural breast contours, but others will be visible. In most cases they will fade and significantly improve over time.
- Capsular contracture: As part of natural healing process, a capsule forms around the implant. However, in around 10% cases this capsule tightens and compresses the implant distorting the breast shape. In such cases the surgeon performs another surgery to either replace or remove the implant.
- Implant rupture: In rare cases, breast implants may rupture due to surgical technique, trauma or fatigue. Ruptured silicone implants can cause breast pain or changes in the breast shape. In such cases the surgeon performs another surgery to either replace or remove the implant.
- Cancer: In rare cases, women may develop ALCL, a lymphoma, adjacent to a breast implant. Breast implant associated ALCL is very rare and is highly treatable in majority of patients. There may also be an increased risk of difficulty in cancer detection due to implants. It is therefore important to choose an experienced radiologist.
- Breastfeeding: Breast implants are placed either above or below the pectoral muscle. Placement of the implant underneath the pectoral muscle may interfere less with breastfeeding.
How do I find a surgeon I can trust for my breast augmentation?
Choosing your surgeon is a hugely important step. This is THE person who is going to help you achieve the change you want and trusting in their abilities is key. Here are the three top things to consider when making your selection:
- Qualifications: Breast augmentation should be done by a Plastic Surgeon who has a FRCS (Plast) or FRCS qualification and should be on the Uk’s General Medical Council (GMC) specialist register for plastic surgery. This ascertains that your cosmetic surgeon has received six years of training in plastic surgery on top of their general medical training.
- Experience: Make sure your surgeon is experienced in breast augmentation. The field of cosmetic medical treatments is rapidly advancing, whether it is the latest treatment techniques, products or services, an experienced surgeon is the best way to ensure comfort, safety, and satisfaction.
- Connection: You are putting your trust in another individual and that means you need to find a practitioner that makes you feel in safe hands. Personality and respect is key, make sure you have a strong connection with your practitioner and that they listen to you and give honest, open advice in good measure.
We can help you find a surgeon you can trust. Click here to get started.
What does the initial consultation entail?
After finding a surgeon who is experienced in performing breast augmentation, you will need to make an appointment for your consultation.
During your consultation, your surgeon will discuss your goals and medical condition, and evaluate you as a candidate for breast augmentation. Your plastic surgeon will examine, measure and photograph your breasts for your medical record. Please go prepared and ask all your questions.
The session generally lasts between 30 to 60 minutes and at the end of the session your surgeon may recommendation a treatment plan and you may be able to book the surgery.
Make sure that the consultation you attend is with the Plastic Surgeon. This is to be distinguished with free consultations offered by many places with Nurses or Patient Advisors/ Coordinators whose consultations are actually a pre-consultation before you see a Plastic Surgeon. Generally, because of the in-depth nature of the consultation with a surgeon, there is a cost associated with this initial appointment.
What is a Breast Augmentation Cooling off period?
Breast augmentation is a lifetime commitment. It is essential that you are making the appropriate choice and understand all the implications of the surgery you are considering.
If you are not offered a cooling-off period of around 2 weeks, or you are put under pressure to proceed, you should walk away and look elsewhere.
Would I be required to do anything prior to the surgery?
In advance of your procedure, your surgeon will ask you to:
- Stop smoking at least six weeks before undergoing cosmetic surgery to better promote healing.
- Avoid taking aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs that can increase bleeding.
- Regardless of the type of surgery to be performed, hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery.
- For breast augmentation using autologous fat transfer, you may be instructed to wear a special bra to expand the skin and tissue around the breasts to prepare them for fat injection.
What is the recovery like?
Your surgeon will give you detailed care instructions, including normal symptoms you will experience, potential signs of complication, and the level and type of activity that is safe. The amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals, but the below gives a broad idea:
The first week
Immediately after surgery you should take light walks every other hour. Any surgical dressings and external sutures will be removed within the first week but you may be instructed to wear a compression bra. You should refrain from heavy lifting but should be able to return to work within the first week, depending on the nature of your job.
Two to six weeks
After two weeks, you can start more intense workouts such as walking uphill. At a month you should be able to do most exercise except heavy lifting. It is advised to be extremely gentle with your breasts. Intimate contact will be guided by your comfort. Generally, you should be completely healed by six weeks.
Your surgeon will encourage you to schedule routine mammograms at the frequency recommended for your age group. Following breast augmentation, you should continue to perform breast self-examination.
How long do the results last?
You would lose some volume after a breast augmentation performed through fat transfer. This is because some of the fat implanted leaves the breast area. Your surgeon may use a tissue expansion system prior to the surgery to improve your results. You may have to have touch-up injections to retain your improved shape if you choose this surgery.
With implant based breast augmentation, the results are intended to last your lifetime. However, replacement may become necessary after around 10 years due to childbirth, ageing, weight gain or loss, hormonal factors and gravity. If you become less satisfied with the appearance of your breasts, you may choose to undergo a breast revision to exchange your implants, or a breast lift to restore a more youthful shape and contour.