According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), breast enlargement/enhancement is the most popular cosmetic surgery treatment in the UK.
This operation, known as breast “augmentation” in which a silicone or saline implant is inserted behind the breast, either from the crease under the breast or under the armpit, so scars are hidden. Implants do not usually interfere with breast-feeding. Surgery takes about one and a half hours and is performed under a general anaesthetic.
There has been some controversy in the past over the use of silicone, suggesting they may be responsible for increasing the risk of breast cancer or auto-immune disorders.
The implant can be filled with Saline (water), or a silicone gel, which is thicker and firmer than previous versions offering better shape and prevention of leaks and rupture.
There are a variety of implant designs and shapes, sizes and textures which you should discuss with your surgeon. Most women tend to opt for an implant that goes up one or two cup sizes.
The operation is performed in a hospital under general anaesthetic. An incision is made, usually in the crease of the breast, the armpit or the lower edge of the areola. The implant is placed under the chest muscle or directly under the breast tissue, depending on personal preferences or other considerations such as breast feeding.
There may be some pain for which painkillers are presribed and a hospital stay of one or two nights. The stitches will remain in place for about seven days and you will be required to wear a full support bra 24 hours a day. You will also get a better outcome if you avoid strenuous exercise including aerobics for one month.
Breasts which are not necessarily too big, but have stretched due to ageing or childbirth or breast feeding. The operation, known as “mastopexy” lifts up the breasts but does not change their size, altough it can be combined with a breast reduction or augmentation. The mammary gland is rolled up, almost like a sheet of fabric into a cone shape. The skin is then re-draped over the newly shaped gland. The operation takes up to two hours, under a general anaesthetic. Bandages and stitches are removed after a week, but the operation does leave a scar.
Overally large or heavy breasts can not only look out of place but can also cause related problems such as sore shoulders, back pain and poor posture. It is a major operation because in some cases the breasts will need to be reduced by several sizes. Surgery can take several hours under a general anaesthetic.
The breasts are marked with the areas to be reduced and the required shape and size. The nipple is usually removed during surgery and a cut made down and under the breast, so that the surplus tissue can be removed. The nipple is replaced and the wounds are closed. The majority of the work is concealed around the edge of the nipple or under the breast so there should be minimal visable scarring.
As with other breast surgery, strenuous exercise must be avoided and a support bra worn during the recovery period.