Breast enlargement surgery is also known as
breast enhancement or breast augmentation. This form of cosmetic surgery aims
to increase the cup size of the breasts, giving you a fuller more voluptuous
figure. A breast enlargement usually involves breast implants and can be done
in combination with a breast uplift.
Why consider breast enlargement surgery?
The size of your breasts is due to a
mixture of genetic factors and your age and weight. Pregnancy and breast
feeding usually provides a natural breast enlargement but some women find that
their breasts ‘deflate’ afterwards. Women whose breasts are naturally small or
that have shrunk with age may want to change their image. Cosmetic breast
surgery is not cheap but it is affordable and young, affluent women may opt for
breast enlargement surgery. The pressure to do this increased in recent years
as celebrities have made very full breasts more fashionable.
A small proportion of women having breast
enlargement surgery have asymmetric breasts. This is usually due to a problem
in breast development on one side only, resulting in a normally shaped breast
and a very small underdeveloped one. Breast enlargement surgery is usually performed
on both breasts but it can be done on one breast only to restore balance.
What does a breast enlargement involve?
Cosmetic breast enlargement involves
insertion of breast implants to increase the size of the breasts. The operation
is carried out while you are asleep, under a general anaesthetic. The surgery
takes 2-3 hours and you normally spend at least a night in hospital before
being allowed home.
Different breast surgeons have different
techniques but breast enlargement surgery generally involves:
Making an incision in the fold under each
breast. The scar is then virtually invisible. Incisions may also be made at the
side of the breast, near to the armpit or around the areola.
Placement of the breast implant. Many
different types, sizes and shapes of breast implant are available but they
contain either silicone gel or saline. The implant is placed in the breast
itself, between the chest wall and the nipple, or underneath the muscle band in
the chest wall.
Closure of the surgical wound. Your cosmetic
surgeon will use stitches that are absorbed by the body.
After your breast enlargement
You will probably need a drain in for the
first day after surgery but you will soon be mobile and if there are no
complications, you will be home within 48-72 hours. Your breasts will feel sore
and bruised and healing will take several weeks to be complete. Your cosmetic
breast surgeon will advise you on how to take care of your wounds and breasts
and you will need to wear a bra that supports your enlarged breasts for a few
What risks are involved in a breast
As well as the general risks of surgery,
which include infection, bleeding and scarring, breast enlargement also carries
some specific risks that are related to the implants used.
All breast implants have a covering of
silicone that comes into contact with the body’s tissues. All women respond to
an implant by forming a protective membrane around it. Normally, this is no
problem and is invisible from the outside. However, in a small number of women,
this membrane becomes quite thick and causes the skin of the breast to pull and
pucker. If this happens, the implant may need to be removed and replaced.
Implants can burst or leak, causing local
inflammation, and need to be removed. Extensive studies have been done over the
last few years and show that even if this happens, it does not cause serious
health problems such as rare forms of cancer. This had been suggested after the
PIP implant scandal in 2011 (see below) but it has now been shown that breast
implants do not increase cancer risk.
The quality of breast implants can be
dubious. In 2011, news broke that PIP implants, manufacture by a French
company, had been implanted into thousands of women in the late 1990s. These
were found to contain silicone that was not medical grade (it should have been
used for mattresses). Although this was not acceptable practice, there is no
evidence that women with PIP implants experienced health problems that were due
to the breast implants, even if they leaked.
What does a breast enlargement cost?
Typical range in a UK private hospital or
clinic is £2,675.00 – 6,020.00.