Breast Augmentation

Overview

Some women are unhappy with the small size and shape of their breasts. It may be that they never developed a lot of breast tissue following puberty or that their breasts may have subsequently involuted (shrunk) following weight loss, pregnancy or breast feeding. This can lead to psychosocial symptoms arising from an unnatural disproportion between breast size and the rest of the body habitus leading to lack of confidence and low self esteem, embarrassment in relationships, and a feeling of unattractiveness.

Breast augmentation is the term used to describe the surgical technique of enlarging the breast by inserting implants behind the breast. The operation is performed under general anaesthesia and lasts 1½ hours and requires 1 night in hospital. There are a number of different shapes, sizes and types of implant, all of which can give excellent results and which are ultimately chosen on an individual basis. The operation entails making a 5 cm incision on the underside of the breast and making a space for the implant either beneath the breast tissue or beneath the muscle on which the breast lies. The wound is then sutured with dissolving stitches and covered with simple dressings.

This is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures and has high patient satisfaction and low complication rate.

Frequently asked questions

Am I suitable for a breast augment?

What are the benefits of breast augmentation?

Where are the scars?

Is the procedure painful?

How long does it take to recover from the surgery?

When will I notice the results and how long will they last?

Will I be told the risks and complications?

What follow-up appointments will there be?

Am I suitable for a breast augment?

Not everyone is suitable for a breast augmentation. Suitability is a matter for you and Mr Johnson to discuss in clinic, following a thorough analysis of your medical history and a thorough clinical consultation. If you are suitable, during your consultation Mr Johnson will discuss with you the wide choice of implants available and help you decide the most appropriate implant for you. Mr Johnson will also discuss with you the size of implant you would like.

What are the benefits of breast augmentation?

The surgery visually increases the size of the breast. The operation is very successful at increasing patient confidence and improving self esteem. Patients who have had a breast augmentation enjoy wearing new clothes and swimwear.

Where are the scars?

The scars are about 5 cm long and are placed beneath the breast in the breast fold..

Is the procedure painful?

Breast augmentation is not a particularly painful procedure. During the operation strong painkillers are administered so that when patients wake up from the surgery they will be comfortable. It is normal for patients to experience some discomfort from the scar line and for the first day or two postoperatively, strong painkillers can be administered if required. On discharge from hospital, any discomfort can usually be managed with simple tablet type painkillers such as paracetamol etc.

How long does it take to recover from surgery?

Following surgery, you should wear a firm sports bra for six weeks. It is normal to feel lethargic and tired for the first 2 weeks following surgery. Depending on your job you can usually return to work for light duties after 1 week. A gradual increase in light exercise is encouraged after your first wound check following discharge from hospital, but no sport, strenuous exercises or weight lifting should be undertaken until six weeks following surgery or until you are seen by Mr Johnson for review.

When will I notice the results and how long will they last?

The visual increase in breast size and shape will be immediately apparent following breast augmentation. However, there may be a small amount of bruising and swelling which may last several weeks. The scars will undergo a natural maturation process involving a series of colour and texture changes over a period usually varying from 6 months to 2 years. The breast shape will change little over the next few months and the final result can usually be judged at around 6 months following surgery. The results of a breast augmentation are long lasting provided your operation is done at an age when your breasts have stopped growing. Large fluctuations in weight and further pregnancies can lead to a change is breast size and shape, and the normal age related effects on skin laxity can lead to a development of loose skin and a drooping of the breast tissue. All breast implants will induce the formation of scar tissue around them (called a capsule) and this can contract and become hard and painful and distort the shape of the breast in some individuals. It is difficult to predict who will be affected by this so-called capsular contracture, at what time, and by what extent, but on average, breast implants tend to last about10 years and certainly all patients who undergo breast augmentation must accept that they may possibly require further surgery at some stage in the future either to release the scar tissue, remove the implants or replace them.

Will I be told the risks and complications?

Major complications are uncommon following breast augmentation. During your initial consultation Mr Johnson will have a full discussion with you about the risks and complications of surgery. You will be given an information leaflet about breast augmentation which includes complications and if you decide to go ahead with surgery, these risks will again be discussed as part of the consenting process. Fortunately, with correct patient selection and appropriate procedure selection, the risks are kept to an absolute minimum. It is important that you should be reassured that Mr Johnson will not agree to perform any cosmetic procedure on you unless he feels the benefits significantly outweigh the risks.

What follow-up appointments will there be?

Mr Johnson will come and see you on the ward after your surgery and will review you everyday throughout your hospital stay. After you have been discharged Mr Johnson will arrange to see you in clinic after 7-10 days to review the wound. He will then make arrangements to see you in clinic for longer term follow-up appointments. You will be given contact details for the hospital and Mr Johnson's secretary should you wish at any time to discuss further aspects of your care or make additional arrangements for review.


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