How to Understand the Breast Augmentation Procedure

Friday, December 23rd 2016. | Disease

Hundreds of thousands of women each year make the decision to have breast augmentation performed. In recent years, this procedure has become increasingly common and popular for a variety of different reasons.


Breast augmentation is commonly used in order to enhance the shape and size of the breasts. It can also be used to correct breasts that may not be symmetrical. It is beneficial for women who have smaller breasts, women with breasts that are not naturally symmetrical and women who have had part or all of a breast removed due to cancer treatment.

Women who have experienced reduced firmness in their breasts as a result of aging or childbearing may also benefit from breast augmentation as well. In case of drooping due to childbearing or breast feeing, it may be necessary to combine a breast augmentation with a beast lift.

How to Understand the Breast Augmentation Procedure


Before the actual procedure, the patient will meet with the physician in order to discuss the procedure in detail. During this initial conversation it is important for the patient to discuss exactly what they would like to have improved. The patient should expect the surgeon to examine their breasts and discuss the size the patient would like her breasts to be. Topics that should be discussed during the consultation include the shape of the breasts following augmentation, the implant surface, size and volume, placement and incision site.

Through breast augmentation, the patient is able to choose between either a round or teardrop shape. In addition, the patient can choose from textured or a smooth implant surface. Two placement sites are available; below the muscle or above the muscle. Incision site possibilities include the armpit, areola, beast and belly button.



The actual procedure itself is typically performed in a surgical suite or in an outpatient surgical center. Local anesthesia is commonly used in these situations. When the procedure is performed in a hospital setting it is performed under general anesthesia. The typical time in surgery is between one and three hours.

The procedure is begun with an incision in one of the four primary locations; under the breast (inframammary incision), around the nipple (periareolar incision), in the arm pit (transaxillary incision) or in the navel area (transumbilical incision.)Once the incision has been made, a surgical tool will be used to fashion a pocket in the tissue in which the implant can be inserted. Almost all implants that are currently being used today are saline-filled. A saline-filled implant has a silicone rubber shell and is filled with sterile salt water.

The implant can be placed in three primary locations; above the pectoral muscles, partially behind the muscles and completely behind the muscles. The choice of the incision and the implant location will depend on the shape and the size of the implant that has been selected along with the body frame of the patient and the amount of breast tissue. The site of the planned scar location can also play a role. Once the implant has been put into place, the area will be closed with sutures.


Recovery Time

Patients should be aware that breast tissue will be stretched as well as separated during the procedure. As a result, the breasts will be sore, swollen and bruised following the procedure. A surgical bra will be necessary for several days following the breast augmentation. Patients should avoid straining or heavy lifting which might increasing swelling and pressure. Most patients are able to return to work within about a week following the procedure and may be able to return to full activity within a few weeks. Nipple sensation may be temporarily reduced but will typically return to normal as the breasts begin to heal.


Side Effects

Swelling, pain and bruising should be expected following breast augmentation. These side effects should diminish within a few weeks following the procedure. Permanent scarring will remain as a part of breast augmentation. The scars are typically small and not noticeable. Inframammary and periareolar incision scars will appear on the breast itself while transaxillary and transumbilical incisions can be placed in a fold in the skin that appears naturally, such as in the naval or the armpit.

In most cases, women are able to nurse even with breast implants, provided that the milk ducts are not blocked or severed in the procedure. It is important for the patient to discuss this with the surgeon so that care will be taken during the procedure for milk ducts not to be damaged.

As with any procedure, there is a slight risk of infection as well as of heavy bleeding. This risk is typically minimal.



The average cost for breast augmentation surgery is $7,100; although the price can range between $5,000 and $10,000. Due to the fact that breast augmentation is often considered to be elective surgery it is typically not covered by health insurance. In certain situations, such as if the patient is having breast augmentation surgery following partial or total removal of a breast due to cancer treatment, health insurance may cover the procedure.