Breast Augmentation: Procedure and Recovery

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Breast augmentation is a surgery that seeks to increase the size or otherwise alter the size or shape of the breasts, generally with breast implants. Breast implants are pieces of silicone shaped to enhance the natural shape of breasts, and they can come in different shapes and sizes depending on the look you are going for. This is a cosmetic surgery that generally does not provide a medical benefit, but it can help people become more confident in their bodies. Some elect to have this surgery simply to improve their appearance, while others decide to get it after they undergo a mastectomy for breast cancer.

It is important to get as much information as possible before you make your final decisions about what surgeon to work with and the type of procedure you want, as this is a major surgery. Do your research beforehand, so you can feel confident that you are getting the best care possible.

Breast Augmentation Procedure

 The first step of a breast augmentation procedure is anesthesia. Your doctor will probably give you two choices: intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Discuss your options, so you can decide which is the best choice for you.

After you are under anesthesia, your doctor will make the incision. There are a few different options for the location of the incision depending on your body and the outcome you desire. You can choose to have the incision:

  • Under the breast, which is called an inframammary incision
  • Around the areola, which is called a periareolar incision
  • In the armpit, which is called a transaxillary incision

While some surgeons will perform a surgery that involves inserting the implant near the belly button, this kind of augmentation is associated with a higher rate of complication and should, therefore, be avoided.

Your doctor will then insert the breast implant. He or she may choose to insert the implant either under the breast muscle or on top of it. This decision largely depends on the size of your implants and your body type. You will discuss this decision with your doctor before the day of your surgery.

Finally, the surgeon will close the incisions with suture, surgical tape, or skin adhesive.

Breast Augmentation Recovery

Since breast augmentation is a relatively invasive surgery, it might take you several days or weeks to fully heal and get back to your daily routine. For the first two or so weeks, you should rest as much as possible and avoid any strenuous behavior. After about two weeks, you can resume light exercise. And after about two or three weeks, your doctor will remove your stitches (if they are not absorbable). However, you should not lift anything over your head or participate in strenuous exercise for at least six weeks after your surgery. This will help prevent complications and injury to the site of the implant.

If you don’t rush your recovery and take the time you need to heal, you should be able to return to your normal activities within a few weeks. Most patients are very satisfied with their breast augmentation surgeries.