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Breast Augmentation Surgery

While many people might believe finding the right surgeon to perform their breast augmentation is simple, it is important to understand there is a lot to consider when making the decision. Patients need to bear in mind which type of anaesthesia will suit them best (local or general), or whether they would prefer silicone gel or saline breast implants.

What is Breast Enlargement?

Also referred to as a “boob job”, breast implants or breast augmentation, a breast enlargement is a surgical procedure by which the size of a woman’s breasts is increased, usually by insertion of implants. Around 30,000 breast enlargement procedures are carried out privately each year in the UK alone, making it the most common cosmetic procedure.

breast enlargement patient

What Should You Consider Before Breast Enlargement?

There are two main purposes for undergoing a breast enlargement procedure; reconstruction following a mastectomy (usually following breast cancer) or a cosmetic procedure to enhance the shape and size of a patient’s breasts. The latter is by far the most common and is in fact the most common cosmetic procedure performed in the UK.

The decision to have a breast enlargement should not be taken lightly, as it is a highly invasive procedure with significant risks and recovery time. Furthermore a great deal of aftercare is needed, and implants do need to be replaced. A patient wishing to undergo a breast enlargement should therefore be fully aware of all the potential risks and complications and should speak thoroughly to their GP or private cosmetic surgeon beforehand.

Things to consider before opting for a breast enlargement include:

  • The financial cost
  • The potential risks
  • The aftercare / upkeep needed
  • Researching the clinics and surgeons available

Types of Breast Enlargement

  • Implants

    Artificial implants are inserted into your breasts to enlarge your bust. There are two types of implants:

    • Saline implants composed of sterile salt water. They are often filled through a valve after insertion.
    • Silicone implants composed of liquid, gel or solid silicone. These are the most common type of breast implant in the UK and are pre-filled before insertion.
  • Breast Augmentation Fat Transfer

    Breast augmentation fat transfer is a procedure during which unwanted fat is removed from one area of the body (such as the thighs or stomach) and inserted into the breasts to increase their size.

What Happens During a Breast Enlargement?

Breast enlargement surgery is normally performed under general anaesthetic and lasts 60-90 minutes. During the procedure an initial incision is made next to your breasts, the exact positioning of this incision depend on the procedure being done and should be discussed with you by your surgeon prior to your procedure.

The implant will then be inserted through the incision and positioned between your breast tissue and your chest muscle, or even behind your chest muscle. The incision will then be closed and dressed. You are usually able to return home the same day or next day following your procedure where you should rest before resuming your normal activities within 4-6 weeks.

During a breast augmentation fat transfer, the area used for collection (usually your stomach or thighs) will be injected with a “tumescence” solution which reduces pain and bleeding. The area then undergoes liposuction and the collected fat is purified before being injected through a cannula into the natural small hollows within the upper portion of your breasts, resulting in their enlargement. As this procedure is performed under local anaesthetic you should be able to return home straight away, and will need minimum recovery, resuming normal activities within 1-2 weeks.

Breast surgery incision points

Breast Implant Incision Points

Recovering from a Breast Enlargement

Recovery depends on the procedure undertaken and any complications that arise during the procedure. Following a straightforward implant insertion you should be able to return home the same or next day, and should minimise the use of your arms and chest, as this may cause irritation or bleeding. You will be able to resume your normal activities within 4-6 weeks. In the longer term, most breast implants have a natural life expectancy of 10-15 years, after which they will need to be replaced in another implant procedure.

Following a breast augmentation fat transfer you should be able to return home immediately and will be able to resume normal activities within 1-2 weeks.

How much does a Breast Enlargement Cost?

Breast enlargement prices vary depending on the exact procedure and clinic used. Breast implant procedures typically cost around £3,500-£5000, whereas breast augmentation fat transfer costs from £3000-8000. Most clinics offer finance packages to make the procedure more affordable, with most even offering interest free credit.

Procedure Price Range (GBP)
Breast Augmentation £3,500-£5000
Breast Reduction £5,000-£7,600
Breast Uplift £4,830-£7,500
Nipple Correction £2,700-£2,900

Our pricing information was taken from Transform, The Private Clinic and Harley Medical Clinic.

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Potential Complications of Breast Enlargement

As with any invasive surgical procedure, breast enlargement surgery comes with some general risks, such as:

  • An adverse reaction to the general anaesthetic
  • Post-operative infection
  • Blood clots
  • Excessive bleeding

There are also a number of risks specific to breast enlargement, such as:

  • Scarring: All implant surgery will result in scarring from the surgical incision, but in most cases this is relatively mild and will fade over time
  • Rupture: the implant may split open, leaking out its contents. If this occurs it is recommended that the implant be removed or replaced
  • Capsular contracture: An unavoidable side-effect of breast implant surgery, capsular contracture occurs when your body creates a capsule of fibrous scar tissue around the implant which over time begins to shrink. This may result in pain and discomfort or the breast feeling hard
  • Creasing and folds: Especially common with saline implants and with women with small breasts before surgery, you may find that your breasts appear creased or folded
  • Siliconomas: If a silicone implant ruptures, the silicone can spread into the your breast tissue causing small painful lumps called siliconomas
  • Breastfeeding issues: Although uncommon, some women have difficulty breastfeeding and you may produce less milk following an enlargement procedure
  • Cancer: There is evidence to suggest that having breast implants increases your risk of some cancers, in addition to altering mammogram results
  • Altered nipple sensation: Some patients experience reduced or increased nipple sensitivity following breast enlargement

In the longer term, implants are at risk of rupture. If silicone implants rupture they may spread outside of the scar tissue within your breast and lead to small, painful lumps called siliconomas. If a saline implant ruptures, the fluid will just be reabsorbed by your body and the breast will return to its natural size. Saline implants also have a higher risk of wrinkling or folding leading to breast distortion.

boob augmentation patient

Breast augmentation fat transfer is generally less invasive and thus avoids the complications and risks of general anaesthetic. However, it does incur the standard risks of liposuction including scarring, bruising and saggy skin.

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