Breast Procedures

Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation surgically enhances the size and shape of a woman’s breast. This procedure may be done for a number of reasons:

  • To enhance the body contour of a woman who feels her breast size is too small
  • To correct a reduction in breast volume after pregnancy
  • To balance a difference in breast size

Who’s a Candidate?

Women who are looking for improvement not perfection are generally good candidates. You should be physically healthy and realistic in your expectations.

What are the Risks?

The most common problem is capsular contracture, which occurs if the scar or capsule around the implant begins to tighten. This squeezing of the soft implant can cause the breast to feel hard.

A small percentage of women develop an infection around the implant, most often seen within a week after surgery. In some cases, the implant may need to be removed for several months until the infection clears. A new implant then can be inserted.

Occasionally, breast implants may break or leak. Breast implants are silicone shells filled with either silicone gel or a salt water solution (saline). Rupture can occur as the result of injury or even from the normal compression and movement of your breast, causing the man-made shell to leak. If a saline-filled implant breaks, the implant will deflate in a few hours, and the body will harmlessly absorb the salt water. In gel-filled implants, however, the silicone may move into surround­ing tissues or change the shape or firmness of the breast.

The Surgery

Breast augmentation can be done as either an inpatient or outpatient procedure, using either general or local anesthesia. The method of inserting your implants will depend on your anatomy. The incision can be made either in the crease where the breast meets the chest, around the areola (the dark skin surrounding the nipple) or in the armpit. Working through the incision, the surgeon will lift your breast tissue and skin to create a pocket, either directly behind the breast tissue or underneath your chest wall muscle. The implants are then centered beneath your nipples.

The surgery usually takes 2 to 3 hours to complete. Stitches are used to close the incisions, which may also be taped for greater support. A bandage may also be applied to help with healing.

After Your Surgery

While you’re likely to feel tired and sore for a few days after your surgery, you should be up and around within 48 hours. Most of your discomfort can be controlled by doctor-prescribed pain medication. Within several days, the bandages will be removed, and you may be given a surgical bra. You may experience a burning sensation in your nipples for about two weeks, which will subside as the bruising fades. Stitches should come out in a week to 10 days, but it may take several months for the swelling in your breasts to disappear.