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Breast enlargement (implants)

Breast enlargement, also known as breast augmentation or a “boob job” is a cosmetic procedure that involves inserting implants into your breasts to increase their size, change their shape, or make them more even.

What does a breast enlargement involve?

There are two types of implants, made of silicone or saline. In the UK, silicone implants are the most common type used however, both are safe for use. Our private plastic surgery consultants will discuss the pros and cons of each type of breast implant for you, along with the size and shape of your implants and where they’ll be placed.

What to expect during breast augmentation?

Our private breast implant surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic.

Breast enlargement surgery involves making a cut in the skin next to or below the breast, positioning the implant – either between your breast tissue and chest muscle, or behind your chest muscle (as discussed during your consultation). Finally, the surgery is finished by stitching the incision and covering it with a dressing.

The operation takes between 60 and 90 minutes. You’ll be given pain relief if you experience any discomfort afterwards.

You may be able to go home the same day, but may need to stay in hospital overnight if the operation was scheduled late in the day.

Breast enlargement surgery recovery

You should be able to move around soon after having breast enlargement surgery.

It can take a few weeks to fully recover from surgery, so you should take a week or 2 off work. You should not drive for at least 1 week and avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for at least a month.

Some surgeons recommend wearing a sports bra 24 hours a day for up to 3 months after breast surgery (check with your surgeon).

Risks of breast enlargement surgery

The majority of breast enlargement surgeries are successful, and both saline and silicone implants are considered safe for breast augmentation. However, as with all surgical procedures there is the possibility of problems occurring, including:

  • scarring around the breast area
  • change in the feel of the breast e.g. breasts may feel hard because scar tissue has shrunk around the implant (capsular contracture)
  • changes in breast shape due to implant creases, folds, ripples or the implant rotating within the breast
  • nerve problems in the nipples – they may become more sensitive, less sensitive, or completely numb; this can be temporary or permanent
  • complications producing breast milk or breast feeding
  • breast implant rupturing resulting in the need to be removed.

Breast implants do not last a lifetime. It’s likely they’ll need to be replaced at some point.

Some women may need further surgery after about 10 years, either because of problems with the implants or because their breasts have changed around the implants.

Your surgeon will be able to tell you more about these risks, including how likely they are and how they’ll be corrected if you have them.

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