Breast Augmentation or Implants

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Breast Augmentation- aka Breast Enlargement, Breast Enhancement, Boob Job, Breast Implants, mammoplasty, bilateral mammoplasty, Gummies, gummy 


What is it?


Breast augmentation refers to the cosmetic procedure of enhancing the size of a woman’s breasts through an implantation of either a silicone or saline implant. Breast augmentation surgery has become increasingly popular in some parts of the world, and advancements continue to be made with regards to the safety of the procedure, the options available for the types of implants and the quality of the materials used to enhance the size of the woman’s breasts. Breast augmentation is completed for cosmetic reasons as well as for reconstructive reasons when women lose their breast to illness or disease or have damage that is need of repair. If the procedure is considered to be cosmetic, insurance will generally not cover the costs, but if it is for reconstructive reasons, it is possible that insurance will cover all or a portion of the total costs.


The Operation


When making the decision to have a breast augmentation, there are two primary types of implants that come in a variety of shapes and sizes to consider: saline and silicone implants. Saline implants are filled with water and depending on the amount of water placed into the implant will affect the firmness and the feel of the implant. If the implant were to leak for some reason over time, the saline and saline implant will be absorbed into the body and removed as waste.


Silicone implants are filled with an elastic gel that feels much more like natural breast tissue. If these implants are to break, the gel will remain intact but will need to be removed and replaced. New breast implants called “Gummies” have recently become available with the feel of a more natural breast.


Once the implant has been selected and the method of surgery has been selected, the implant will be inserted either over the muscle or under the muscle of the pectorals. The implant can be inserted through an incision under the breast, in each armpit, through the belly button or through an incision in the nipple itself. There are advantages and disadvantages to each incision type that should be discussed with the plastic surgeon. The type of incision and the shape of the implant will be determined by the size that the woman desires and her current anatomical structure.


Once the implant has been positioned either over the pectoral muscle or underneath, the incision will be closed and typically tight bandages will be wrapped around the woman’s chest to reduce swelling. Then, the patient will be moved into the recovery area.


Alternatives to Surgery


As breast augmentation is considered to be a cosmetic procedure for breast enhancement, there are not currently any non-surgical techniques for enhancement. For women who wish to have the appearance of larger breasts without surgery, there are several external enhancements built into women’s bras or to be worn in combination with bras to give the appearance of larger breasts.


Before the Operation


Before the operation, the woman will have to make decisions as to the desired size of breasts that she is searching for. While most physicians do not discuss breast cup size that would be typically found in a lingerie store, it is helpful for the woman to use this as a guide. During the day of the operation, and in some cases the night before, food and water are not permitted as they can interfere with the anesthesia during the surgery. Post operative lab work is generally done during the week of the surgery as well to ensure that the patient is healthy enough to undergo the surgical procedure.


After the Operation- In the Hospital


Once the patient has been moved into recovery, pain medication is generally administered and the patient is given time to wake up from anesthesia. It is customary to require the patient to drink or eat and sit up prior to allowing them to leave the hospital or clinic. Prescriptions for pain medication and in some cases antibiotics will be given to reduce the likelihood of infection during the recovery period at home. Instructions for post-operative care will also be given and should be adhered to in order to avoid any potential complications.


After the Operation- At Home


It is very important to follow the instructions from the physician following the breast augmentation surgery to avoid possible complications. The recovery period is estimated to be between 24-48 hours, although physical activity should be limited for a few days to a week following the surgery. It is possible that soreness and swelling could be present for up to several weeks. Normally, exercise should be limited or avoided until recovery is complete. Most physicians will require a post-operative visit the next day or within 2 days to check the incision site and the progress as well as another visit in several weeks to check to see that the operation was a success.


Possible Complications


Possible complications from breast augmentation include: chest pains, unusual heart beats, reactions from anesthesia, shortness of breath, bleeding from the stitches and the incision site and reactions from the pain medication.


Here are the most common risks to this type of breast surgery.

  • Deflation
  • Infection
  • Difficulty in breast cancer detection
  • Capsular contracture
  • Hematoma
  • Need for additional surgery to remove or replace implant
  • Changes in sensations in the nipple and breast area
  • Shifting implants
  • Bleeding
  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • Scarring
  • Breast asymmetry


While these risks are not common for all women, they should be considered when deciding whether this elective surgery is the best option.


General Advice


Be sure to search for a cosmetic surgeon with the experience and training that makes you feel confident. Also, it is important to consider that cosmetic surgery is a permanent decision, so be sure to evaluate all of your available options before completing your decision making process.


Estimated Cost for Breast Augmentation


Country Cost
USA $5,000-10,000
Brazil $3,500-6,000
Costa Rica $4,000-6,000
South Africa $6,200
Thailand $3,400

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