Breast augmentation surgery is one of the most common procedures performed annually by members of The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. Women may choose to undergo breast augmentation surgery for various reasons. These personal reasons may center on breasts that are perceived to be “too small,” because of proportional differences in the sizes of the breasts, from changes due to pregnancy or breast feeding. Some women may be happy with their breasts but just want them made fuller. Often after weight loss, aging or childbirth a woman’s breast volume and shape may change. This too can lead to a woman to seek a breast augmentation. Breast augmentation surgery performed by cosmetic surgeons is the most popular way to improve breast shape and size. Breast augmentation using breast implants can give a woman more proportional shape and may improve self-esteem.

How do you know if breast augmentation is right for you?

How do you know if breast augmentation is right for you? One or more of the following feelings or conditions may indicate that you are a good candidate for breast augmentation:

  • You are confident, but want to feel less self-conscious.
  • You want to reshape and augment breasts that have been reduced following pregnancy.
  • You want to reshape and augment breasts as a reconstructive technique following breast surgery.

What is a consultation like?

During the consultation, you will be asked about your desired breast size and anything else related to the appearance of your breasts that you feel is important. This will help your surgeon to understand your expectations and determine whether they realistically can be achieved.

How will my cosmetic surgeon evaluate me for breast augmentation surgery?

Your cosmetic surgeon will examine your breasts and perhaps take photographs for your medical record. He will consider such factors as the size and shape of your breasts, the quality of your skin and the placement of your nipples and areolas. If your breasts are sagging, a breast lift may be recommended in conjunction with augmentation.   You should come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions, drug allergies, medical treatments you have received, previous surgeries including breast biopsies, and medications that you currently take. You will be asked whether you have a family history of breast cancer and about results of any mammograms. It is important for you to provide complete information.

Your Surgical Experience

The goal of your cosmetic surgeon and the entire staff is to make your surgical experience as easy and comfortable for you as possible.

How should I prepare for breast augmentation cosmetic surgery?

In some instances, your cosmetic surgeon may recommend a baseline mammogram before surgery and another mammographic examination some months after surgery. This will help to detect any future changes in your breast tissue. Following breast augmentation, you will still be able to perform breast self-examination.   If you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop smoking well in advance of surgery. Aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs can cause increased bleeding, so you should avoid taking these medications for a period of time before surgery.   Breast augmentation is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you at least the first night following surgery.

What will the day of my surgery be like?

Your breast augmentation surgery may be performed in a hospital, free-standing ambulatory facility or office-based surgical suite.   Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure.   When surgery is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. Your breasts will be wrapped in gauze dressings or a surgical bra.   You may be permitted to go home after a few hours, unless you and your cosmetic surgeon have determined that you will stay in the hospital or surgical facility overnight.  

How will my breasts look and feel after the surgery?

A day or two after surgery, you should be up and about. Any dressings will be removed within several days, and you may be instructed to wear a support bra. Your cosmetic surgeon will probably permit you to shower between two and three days following surgery. Stitches do not need to be removed, and will dissolve on their own.   Some discoloration and swelling will occur initially, but this will disappear quickly. Most residual swelling will resolve within a month.  

What to expect during the recovery process?

Recovery At the conclusion of your breast augmentation procedure, you may be placed in a surgical dressing that may include a support bra or garment. You should follow your surgeon’s directions as prescribed. Prior to your discharge, you and your caregiver will be given detailed instructions about your post-surgical care including drains if they have been placed, the normal symptoms you will experience, and any potential signs of complication. Options for your recovery after undergoing breast augmentation include:

  • Home: When discharged, you will be released to the care of a responsible adult with safe, licensed transportation home. Your caregiver must commit to stay with you at all times for a minimum of 24 hours after surgery.
  • Licensed Recovery Facility: You will be released to the care of a licensed post-surgical recovery facility where nurses or specially trained medical professionals will monitor your health and comfort until you are able to return home and capably care for yourself.
  • Hotel or spa: You may wish to recover at a hotel or spa location, where licensed healthcare professionals will monitor your recovery around the clock as recommended by your surgeon.
  • Overnight Hospital Stay: Although rare, an overnight hospital stay may be offered to you or may be recommended. In this case your surgery will be performed at the hospital where you will stay overnight. You will be released from the hospital to a capable caregiver to continue your recovery at home, or to a licensed recovery facility.

You should be walking under your own strength immediately after your breast augmentation surgery. It is very important that you walk a few minutes every few hours to reduce the risk of blood clot formation in your legs.   It is important to follow all patient care instructions as directed.  

When can I expect to resume my normal activities after my breast augmentation?

While it will take several days to return to more normal activities after your breast augmentation, it is important to your recovery that you get up and move around. After breast augmentation, it is often possible to return to work within just a few days or a week, depending on the type of activities that are required at your job.