Breast augmentation procedure steps
What happens during breast augmentation surgery?
Step 1 - Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during
breast augmentation surgery. The choices include intravenous sedation and
general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
Step 2 - The incision
Incisions are made in inconspicuous areas to
minimize visible scarring. You and your plastic surgeon will discuss which
incision options are appropriate for your desired outcome. Incision options
Incisions vary based on the type of implant,
degree of enlargement desired, your particular anatomy, and patient-surgeon
Step 3 - Implant choice: Silicone breast implants or saline breast implants?
Breast size and shape are important, so be honest and open about your
expectations when talking with your surgeon.
Implant type and size will be determined not just on your desired increase in
size but more importantly on your breast anatomy, skin elasticity and body type.
Options for Breast Implants
Saline breast implants are filled with sterile
salt water. They can be filled with varying amounts of saline which can affect
the shape, firmness and feel of the breast. Should the implant shell leak, a
saline breast implant will collapse and the saline will be absorbed and
naturally expelled by the body.
Silicone breast implants are filled with an elastic gel. The gel feels and
moves much like natural breast tissue. If the implant leaks, the gel may remain
within the implant shell, or may escape into the breast implant pocket.
A leaking implant filled with silicone gel may not collapse. If you choose
these implants, you may need to visit your plastic surgeon regularly to make
sure the implants are functioning properly. An ultrasound or MRI screening can
assess the condition of breast implants.
Implant manufacturers occasionally introduce new styles and types of
implants, so there may be additional options available.
Currently Saline breast implants are FDA-approved for augmentation in women
18 years of age and older.
Currently Silicone breast implants are FDA-approved for augmentation in women
22 years of age and older.
Saline or silicone implants may be recommended at a younger age if used for
http://www.breastimplantsafety.org for current information.
Step 4 - Inserting and placing the breast implant
After the incision is
made, a breast implant is inserted into a pocket either:
- Under the pectoral muscle (a submuscular placement), or
- Directly behind
the breast tissue, over the pectoral muscle (a submammary/ subglandular
The method for inserting and positioning implants depends on the type of
implant, degree of enlargement desired, your body type, and your surgeon’s
Step 5 - Closing the incisions
Incisions are closed with layered sutures
in the breast tissue and with sutures, skin adhesive or surgical tape to close
the skin. Over time the incision lines will fade.
Step 6 - See the results
The results of breast augmentation surgery are
immediately visible. Over time, post-surgical swelling will resolve and incision
lines will fade. Satisfaction with your new image should continue to grow as you
recover and realize the fulfillment of your goal for fuller breasts.