Breast enlargement, or augmentation mammoplasty, enhances the body contour of a woman who is unhappy with her small breast size. Other purposes of this procedure include: to correct reduction in breast volume after pregnancy, to balance a difference in breast size, or as a reconstructive technique following breast surgery.
Augmentation mammoplasty is done on an outpatient basis in our surgical center, usually under general anesthesia. An implant (prosthesis) is placed through an incision, under the breast tissue or under the muscle. The incision can be made under the breast, around the nipple or under the arm. A breast implant is composed of an outer silicone shell filled with saline (the FDA has restricted the use of silicone gel implants). The outer surface may be smooth or textured, and implants come in various shapes to meet the individual woman’s needs.
When the implant is placed sub muscularly under the breast, there is a lower chance of contracture (contraction of the tissue capsule surrounding the implant), and mammography is more reliable. There is also less risk of visible or palpable implant edges. However, some believe the implant has a more natural appearance when placed above the muscle, under the breast tissue. Our plastic surgeon—Dr. John Ayala—can help you decide which placement and type of implant will work best.
Realistic expectations of this procedure are important. Women often think of breast size in terms of bra cup size. If you are currently a size “A” and wish to be a size “C”, there must be adequate existing breast tissue coverage; otherwise you will be warned of visible or palpable implant edges and other possible risks.
You must have someone drive you home and stay with you for 24 hours after surgery. You will experience some pain the first day or two that is easily controlled with pain pills. Some tightness in the breast area is also normal as your body adjusts to the implants.
You can move about freely after surgery. Wear a bra at all times (except when showering) during the first 2 weeks following surgery. Avoid heavy lifting for 2-3 weeks. Moderate exercise such as walking or stationary biking is allowed after the first week. Vigorous exercise such as jogging or aerobics may be resumed at 3-4 weeks. You will most likely be able to return to work within a few days, but you will need to avoid any strenuous activity for at least a couple of weeks.