The Spire Hospital Bristol, The Glen, Durdham Down, Bristol BS6 6UT Tel: 0117 968 8144

Breast augmentation, frequently asked questions

Breast augmentation plastic surgery is one of the most common procedures performed annually by members of the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons.

Women may choose to under go breast enlargement surgery for various reasons. These personal reasons may center around breasts that are perceived to be under developed, or because of differences in the sizes of the breasts or from changes after pregnancy or breast feeding. Some women may be happy with their breasts but just want them made fuller.

Often after weight loss, aging or childbirth a woman's breast volume and shape may change. This too can lead to a woman seeking breast augmentation. Breast implant surgery performed by cosmetic plastic surgeons is the most popular way to improve breast shape and size. Breast enhancement using breast implants can give a woman more proportional shape and may improve self esteem.

Am I a good candidate for breast augmentation?

One or more of the following feelings or conditions may indicate that you are a good candidate for breast augmentation:

  • you are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too small
  • clothes that fit well around your hips are often too large at the bustline
  • you feel self-conscious wearing a swimsuit or form-fitting top
  • your breasts have become smaller and lost their firmness after having children
  • weight loss has changed the size and shape of your breasts
  • one of your breasts is noticeably smaller than the other

Your Personal Consultation
You will always have two consultations with me. During your first consultation, I will take a full medical history and I will ask about your desired breast size and anything else related to the appearance of your breasts that you feel is important. This will help me understand your expectations and determine whether they realistically can be achieved. In your second consultation we will look at pictures and select the type and shape of implant, its placement and your chosen incision line.

How will Mr Lee evaluate me for breast augmentation surgery?

I will examine your breasts and take photographs for your medical record. We will consider such factors as the size and shape of your breasts, the quality of your skin and the placement of your nipples and areolas (the pigmented skin surrounding the nipples). If your breasts are sagging, a breast lift may be recommended in conjunction with augmentation. 
You should come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions, drug allergies, medical treatments you have received, previous surgeries including breast biopsies, and medications that you currently take. You should say if you have a  family history of breast cancer and report about results of any mammograms. It is important for you to provide complete information.
There is no scientific evidence that breast augmentation increases the risk of breast cancer. The presence of breast implants, however, makes it more technically difficult to take and read mammograms. This may be a special consideration for women who perhaps are at higher risk for breast cancer because of their family history or other reasons. Placement of the implant underneath the pectoral muscle may interfere less with mammographic examination, but other factors may also need to be considered with regard to implant placement. I will discuss this with you.
Pregnancy can alter breast size in an unpredictable way and could affect the long-term results of your breast augmentation There is no evidence that breast implants will affect pregnancy or your ability to breast-feed, but if you have questions about these matters, you should ask. 

How should I prepare for breast augmentation plastic surgery?

If you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop smoking well in advance of surgery. Aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs can cause increased bleeding, so you should avoid taking these medications for a period of time before surgery. You should arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery. There is nothing much else to do!

How will my breasts look and feel after the breast implants have been placed?

The day after surgery, you should be up and about. All dressings will be removed on day 5, and you will be allowed to fully shower. You will need to wear a support bra from day one. There are no sutures to remove. Some discoloration and swelling will occur initially, but this will disappear quickly. Most residual swelling will resolve within a month.

What should I expect during the recovery process?

You will be discharged after one night in hospital and will be walking under your own strength immediately after your surgery.  It is very important that you walk a few minutes every few hours during the day to reduce the risk of blood clot formation in your legs. 
The first 2-5 days following your breast augmentation surgery you may feel stiff and sore in the chest region. Your breasts may feel tight and sensitive to the touch, and your skin may feel warm or itchy. You may experience difficulty raising your arms. You should not lift, push or pull anything, or engage in any strenuous activity or twisting of the upper body. Some discoloration and swelling will occur initially, but this will disappear quickly. Most residual swelling will resolve within a month.
It is important to follow all patient care instructions as directed.

 

When can I expect to resume my normal activities after my breast augmentation?

While it will take several days to return to more normal activities after your breast augmentation, it is important to your recovery that you get up and move around. After breast augmentation, it is often possible to return to work within just a week, depending on the type of activities that are required at your job. 
Physical activity should be avoided for at least the first couple of weeks following surgery. After that, care must be taken to be extremely gentle with your breasts for at least the next month.

How Breast Augmentation is Performed?

Individual factors and personal preferences will help you and I to determine your appropriate breast size, the location of incisions, and whether the implants will be placed on top of or underneath the chest muscle.

What type of breast implants can be used for breast augmentation?

The size and type of breast implant that you and I choose will be determined by your goals for breast enhancement, your existing body frame, and mass, your existing breast tissue, and your personal preferences  

Breast implant options include:

  • Saline breast implants: Filled with sterile salt water. Saline implants may be pre-filled to a predetermined size. Saline may also be filled at the time of surgery to allow for minor modifications in implant size.
  • Silicone filled breast implants: Filled with soft, elastic gel. All silicone breast implants are pre-filled and may require a longer incision for implant placement These are the most popular in the UK and have the most natural feel.
  • Anatomical shapes: Only available in silicone these replicate the most natural breast shapeThe implant is placed in a pocket either directly behind the breast tissue (right) or underneath the pectoral muscle which is located between the breast tissue and chest wall.

site of implant

 

New scientific data on the safety of breast implants is rapidly being collected. In the future, it is possible that additional types of filler materials may become available as advancements take place.

Surgical techniques for breast augmentation and breast implants themselves are continuously being refined, increasing the safety and reliability of the procedure.

The implant is placed in a pocket either directly behind the breast tissue (right) or underneath the pectoral muscle which is located between the breast tissue and chest wall. 

Where are the incisions made for the placement of breast implants?

 The most popular incision is underneath the breast in the natural breast fold. I also offer other approaches placing the incision around the lower edge of the areola or a  third alternative is to make a small incision within the armpit.

An incision can be made either underneath the breast, just above the crease, around the lower edge of the areola or within the armpit. 

Once the incision is made, I create a pocket into which the implant will be inserted. This pocket is made either directly behind the breast tissue or underneath the pectoral muscle which is located between the breast tissue and chest wall. 

Understanding Risks

Every year, many thousands of women undergo successful breast augmentation surgery; however, anyone considering surgery should be aware of both the benefits and risks.
I understand that every plastic surgical procedure has risks, but how will I learn more so that I can make an informed decision?

Some of the potential complications that may be discussed with you include reactions to anesthesia, blood accumulation that may need to be drained surgically and infection. Although rare, an infection that does not subside with appropriate treatment may require temporary removal of the implant. Changes in nipple or breast sensation may result from breast augmentation surgery, although they usually are temporary.
When a breast implant is inserted, a scar capsule forms around it as part of the natural healing process. The capsule may sometimes tighten and compress the implant, causing the breast to feel firmer than normal. Capsular contracture can occur to varying degrees. If it is severe, it can cause discomfort or changes in the breast's appearance. In such cases, more surgery may be needed to modify or remove the scar tissue, or perhaps remove or replace the implant.
Breast implants are not lifetime devices and cannot be expected to last forever. Some implants occasionaly rupture and may need replacing. The implants I use although not rupture proof come with a lifetime guarantee from the company and will also help towards your surgical costs if they need to be replaced. A definite change in the size of the breast is usually not noticed but wrinkling may become obviouse. Rupture can occur as a result of trauma to the chest, but more commonly it occurs spontaneously with no apparent cause. Surgery will be required to replace the implant, if desired.
If you are at an age when mammographic examinations should be conducted on a periodic basis, it will be important for you to inform the technician who is  taking  your x-rays that you have. It is possible but unlikely that the presence of breast implants could delay or hinder the early detection of breast cancer.
Some women with breast implants have reported problems including certain connective tissue and immune-related diseases. Women without implants also have these disorders, so the key question is whether breast implants increase the risk of developing the conditions. Several very large studies have been completed that provide reassurance that women with breast implants do not have a significantly increased risk for these diseases.

Results of Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation will make your breasts fuller and enhance their shape. You will find it easier to wear certain styles of clothing. Like many women who have had breast augmentation, you may have a boost in self-confidence.
How long will the results last after a breast augmentation?
The results of your breast augmentation surgery will be long-lasting. However, gravity and the effects of aging will eventually alter the size and shape of virtually every woman's breasts. If, after a period of years, you become dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts, you may choose to undergo a breast "lifting" to restore their more youthful contour.

Your Next Steps...

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