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Breast augmentation surgery

Definition

Breast augmentation is a procedure to enlarge or change the shape of the breasts.

Alternative Names

Breast augmentation; Breast implants; Implants - breast; Mammaplasty

Description

Breast augmentation is done by placing implants behind breast tissue or under the chest muscle.

An implant is a sac filled with either sterile salt water (saline) or a material called silicone.

The surgery is done at an outpatient surgery clinic or in a hospital.

There are different ways to place breast implants:

The type of implant and implant surgery can affect:

Your surgeon can help you decide which procedure is best for you.

Breast lift

Watch this video about:
Breast lift

Why the Procedure Is Performed

Breast augmentation is done to increase the size of your breasts. It may also be done to change the shape of your breasts.

Talk with a plastic surgeon if you are considering breast augmentation. Discuss how you expect to look and feel better. Keep in mind the desired result is improvement, not perfection.

Risks

Risks for anesthesia and surgery in general are:

Risks for breast surgery are:

It is normal for your body to create a "capsule" made up of scar tissue around your new breast implant. This helps keep the implant in place. Sometimes, this capsule becomes thickened and larger. This may cause a change in the shape of your breast, hardening of breast tissue, or some pain.

Emotional risks for this surgery may include feeling that your breasts do not look perfect. Or, you may be disappointed with people's reactions to your "new" breasts.

Before the Procedure

Tell your health care provider:

During the days before your surgery:

On the day of the surgery:

After the Procedure

You will likely go home when the anesthesia wears off and you can walk, drink water, and get to the bathroom safely.

After breast augmentation surgery, a bulky gauze dressing will be wrapped around your breasts and chest. Or, you might wear a surgical bra. Drainage tubes may be attached to your breasts. These will be removed within 3 days.

The surgeon may also recommend massaging the breasts starting 5 days after surgery. Massaging helps reduce hardening of the capsule that surrounds the implant. Ask your provider first before massaging over your implants.

Outlook (Prognosis)

You are likely to have a very good outcome from breast surgery. You may feel better about your appearance and yourself. Also, any pain or skin symptoms due to the surgery will likely disappear. You may need to wear a special supportive bra for a few months to reshape your breasts.

Scars are permanent and are often more visible in the year after surgery. They may fade after this. Your surgeon will try to place the incisions so that your scars are as hidden as possible.

References

Maxwell GP, Gabriel A. Breast augmentation. In: Neligan PC, ed. Plastic Surgery. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 2.

McGrath MH, Pomerantz JH. Plastic surgery. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 68.


Review Date: 1/10/2017
Reviewed By: David A. Lickstein, MD, FACS, specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery, Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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