What to expect?
Breast augmentation can be done in a surgical center or hospital
outpatient facility. You'll probably go home the same day. Rarely, the
procedure requires a hospital stay.
In select cases, breast augmentation is done with local anesthesia — in
which you're awake and only your breast area is numbed. In most cases,
though, breast augmentation is done under general anesthesia — in which
you're asleep for the surgery.
During the Surgery
To insert the breast implant, your surgeon will make a single cut
(incision) in one of three places:
- In the crease under your breast (inframammary)
- Under your arm (axillary)
- Around your nipple (periareolar)
After making an incision, the surgeon will separate your breast tissue
from the muscles and connective tissue of your chest. This creates a
pocket either behind or in front of the outermost muscle of the chest wall
(pectoral muscle). The surgeon will insert the implant into this pocket and
center it behind your nipple.
Saline implants are inserted empty, and then filled with sterile salt water
once they're in place. Silicone implants are pre-filled with silicone gel.
When the implant is in place, the incision will be closed — typically with
stitches (sutures) — and bandaged with skin adhesive and surgical tape.
After the Surgery
Soreness and swelling are likely for a few weeks after surgery. Bruising
is possible, too. Expect your scars to fade gradually over time, although
they won't disappear completely.
While you're healing, it might help to wear a compression bandage or
sports bra for extra support and positioning of the breast implants. Your
surgeon might prescribe pain medication as well.
Follow your surgeon's instructions about returning to regular activities. If
you don't have a physically demanding job, you might be able to return to
work within a few days to a week. Avoid strenuous activities — anything
that could raise your pulse or blood pressure — for at least two weeks.
While you're healing, remember that your breasts will be sensitive to
physical contact or jarring movements.
If your surgeon used sutures that don't absorb on their own or placed
drainage tubes near your breasts, you'll need to have them removed at a
If you notice warmth and redness in your breast or you run a fever, you
might have an infection. Contact your surgeon as soon as possible. Also
contact your surgeon if you experience shortness of breath or chest pain.
As you anticipate the outcome of breast augmentation, keep your
Breast augmentation can change the size and shape of your breasts. The
surgery might even improve your body image and self-esteem. If you're
looking for perfection, however, you might be disappointed.
Also, remember that your breasts will continue to age after augmentation.
Weight gain or weight loss might change the way your breasts look, too.
If you become dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts, you might
need a revision operation to correct these issues.