In breast enlargement surgery, the doctor makes the breasts larger by putting an implant under the breast tissue and often under the chest muscle. An implant is a soft silicone shell filled with a saltwater solution or a gel.
Your doctor will make a cut, called an incision. It will be in the bottom crease of the breast, the armpit, or along the lower edge of the nipple and the dark area around the nipple. The doctor will make a pocket under the muscle or breast tissue. Then the doctor will put in the implant and adjust it to the correct shape, size, and position. The incision is closed with stitches.
You may have a breast lift at the same time as the breast enlargement. A breast lift is also called mastopexy. It can raise sagging or drooping breasts. It can also pull up the nipple and the area around it. To lift the breasts, the doctor removes excess skin from the bottom of the breast or from around the nipple. The remaining skin is sewn together. This tightens and lifts the breast. A longer incision is needed for a breast lift than for a breast enlargement alone.
You will probably be asleep during surgery. You may be able to go home the same day. Depending on the type of work you do, you should be able to go back to work or your normal routine in 1 to 2 weeks. The incisions leave scars. But the scars will fade with time. Your doctor will try to make the incisions in line with the curve of your breast as much as possible.
Your new breasts may feel firmer and look rounder. It is very important to understand that your breasts will look and feel different after surgery. You will have scars where the doctor made the incisions in your skin. The skin on your breasts may be numb. This usually gets better with time. But you may always have some loss of feeling in the nipple area. Most breast implants don't last a lifetime. Over time, you may need surgery to remove or replace your implants. This could cost a lot.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: April 17, 2018
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Keith A. Denkler MD - Plastic Surgery
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