What is breast augmentation surgery?

Breast augmentation surgery is the surgical reshaping of the breast in order to make it larger. Breast augmentation is also called breast enlargement and augmentation mammaplasty. It uses breast implants to increase breast size. Most people seek breast augmentation for cosmetic or aesthetic reasons. Your doctor may also recommend the procedure to reconstruct your breast following breast surgery.

Breast augmentation surgery is a common but major surgery with significant risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive options to enhance breast size or shape. Consider getting a second opinion about all your treatment choices before having breast augmentation surgery.

Types of breast augmentation surgery

The types of breast augmentation surgery procedures include:

  • Inframammary surgery involves making an incision in the natural fold on the underside of your breast. Your surgeon will insert the implant through this opening. You will have a scar on the underside of your breast.
  • Periareolar surgery involves making an incision around the dark area that surrounds your nipple. Your surgeon will insert the implant through this opening. This technique may lead to the inability to breastfeed or loss of nipple sensation.
  • Transaxillary approach is a minimally invasive procedure. Your surgeon will make a small incision in your underarm and insert the implant through the opening.
  • Transumbilical approach is a newer, minimally invasive technique. Your surgeon will make an incision near your belly button and feed the implant up to your breast. He or she will then fill the implant.

Types of breast implants

The types of breast implants include:

  • Saline implants are filled with sterile salt water. If this type of implant leaks, it will collapse. Your body will absorb the salt water and eliminate it.
  • Silicone implants are filled with a gel that feels more like natural breast tissue. If this type of implant leaks, it may not collapse. Your doctor may require regular follow-up visits with ultrasound imaging to verify the condition and function of these implants.

Types of implant placements

The types of breast implant placements include:

  • Subglandular or submammary placement involves positioning the implant in a pocket your surgeon makes under your breast tissue and on top of your pectoral muscle.
  • Submuscular placement involves placing the implant in a pocket your surgeon makes under your pectoral muscle.

Other procedures that may be performed

Your doctor may perform other procedures in addition to breast augmentation surgery. The most common combination is a breast augmentation with a breast lift (mastopexy). A breast lift is a procedure to lift, or boost, sagging or loose breasts.

Why is breast augmentation surgery performed?

Your doctor may recommend breast augmentation surgery if you want larger or more shapely breasts for cosmetic reasons. It is also used to reconstruct breasts following breast surgery, such as mastectomy.

Not everyone is a good candidate for breast augmentation surgery. Ask your doctor about all of your treatment options and consider getting a second opinion before deciding on breast augmentation surgery. 

Your doctor may recommend breast augmentation surgery for you if:

  • One breast varies in size or shape from the other one.
  • One or both breasts did not develop normally.
  • You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too small.
  • You are dissatisfied with the size, shape or firmness of your breasts after weight loss, pregnancy, or as a result of aging.
  • You are physically healthy and have realistic expectations of improvement, not perfection.
  • Your breasts are fully developed.

Who performs breast augmentation surgery?

A plastic surgeon performs breast augmentation surgery. A plastic surgeon is a specialist in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery.

How is breast augmentation surgery performed?

Your breast augmentation surgery will be performed in a hospital or outpatient surgical center.