Breast enlargement surgery is also known as breast augmentation, a boob job, breast enhancement or an augmentation mammoplasty. It is one of the most commonly performed plastic surgery procedures in the UK every year. During breast enlargement surgery, the breasts are made larger by inserting breast implants minto the body.
Breast Enlargement Procedure Overview
Why have Breast Enlargement Surgery?
Anyone who would like permanently larger breasts with a rounder shape and more symmetrical look can benefit from breast augmentation.
Similar to many types of plastic breast surgery, breast augmentation aims to enhance the size and shape of the breasts by giving them a fuller and more contoured look by placing a breast implant into the body.
Breast enlargement surgery can:
- Restore breast volume lost due to ageing, weight loss, or pregnancy
- Create a more contoured breast shape
- Reconstruct breasts after mastectomy (complete removal of one or both breasts)
- Balance asymmetrical breasts
- Fit better into many types of clothing
- Boost self-esteem
How much does Breast Enlargement Surgery Cost?
The price of breast augmentation surgery can vary between £3000 to £5000, on average, in the UK you can expect to pay around £4500 for the breast enlargement. There are various factors that could contribute to price fluctuations such as
- Surgeon experience
- Chosen Hospital
- Anaesthetist expertise
- The complexity of the procedure for an individual's case
- Amount of hours required in surgery for each patient's case
- Additional combined procedure requirements, for example, the addition of an uplift.
In order to get a tailored price adapted to each personal case, patients will need to be examined by a surgeon in consultation to ensure that the procedure can be done considering their individual needs. A patient's personalised price will be all-inclusive and take into account all of the patient's needs, the tailored breast augmentation price will cover:
- Highly rated CQC hospital cost
- Surgeon's experience (BAAPS/BAPRAS)
- Anaesthetist time and expertise
- Any overnight stays that are required
- Follow-up appointments and aftercare
Consultation, like all plastic surgery consultation, are free with no obligation. A breast enlargement consultation will allow patients to ask all their questions, get to know the surgeon better and for the surgeon to be able to assess them and make the patient aware of the possible outcomes of their breast augmentation surgery.
Find out more about finance & insurance
What are the Limitations of Breast Enlargement Surgery?
Breast implants cannot correct the look of severe breast sagging, also called breast ptosis as seen in the image below
Can I have Breast Enlargement Surgery without Breast Implants?
Some patients do not like the invasive nature of breast augmentation because of the silicone breast implants. While the possibilities for breast enhancement are limited without a standard implant, there are options including fat transfer. Learn more about fat transfer breast enlargement and auto-augmentation breast enlargement by following these links.
Find out more Breast Enlargement Eligibility:
Your Breast Enlargement Consultation
What Should I Expect During my Breast Enlargement Surgery Consultation?
Your breast augmentation consultation will last between 15 to 60 minutes. It will take place either in the surgeon’s private practice or a consultation office.
Questions you will likely be asked during your consultation include:
- Why do you want to have a breast augmentation?
- What are your expectations and desired outcomes from surgery?
- Do you have any current or past medical conditions?
- Do you have any allergies?
- Have you had any past surgeries?
- What medications, vitamins or herbal supplements do you currently take?
- Do you have any personal or family history of breast cancer?
- What were the results of any mammograms or biopsies you have had?
- Do you currently smoke, use e-cigarettes, drink alcohol, or use drugs?
Your surgeon will also examine and measure your breasts. They may also take photos of your breasts that will remain a part of your private medical record.
The measurements they will take include:
- The size of each breast
- The shape of each breast
- The quality/thickness of the skin on each breast
- Nipple and areola placement
These measurements will help them determine:
- If breast augmentation is right for you
- If the results you want from breast surgery are possible
- What methods and techniques they will need to use to get you the results you want
Who are the Ideal Candidates for Breast Enlargement Surgery?
Breast augmentation may be an option for patients looking to enhance the size and shape of their breasts. The ideal candidate for breast enlargement surgery is likely:
- Over 18 years old
- Not currently pregnant or breastfeeding
- Realistic with their expectations
- Physically healthy
- Emotionally prepared for surgery
- Unhappy with the current look of their breasts
- A non-smoker or has not smoked or used nicotine products for at least 6 weeks before surgery
How is Breast Enlargement Surgery Performed?
Breast enhancement surgery often lasts between 60 to 90 minutes. Before surgery, you must follow the guidance given to you by your surgeon regarding eating, drinking and taking medications the night and weeks before.
Selecting a highly trained and experienced surgeon will ensure they are using the most tried and tested methods. This includes the use of the Keller Funnel to place breast implants. Learn about the benefits of the Keller Funnel for breast enhancement here.
Types of Breast Implant Shapes
There are two common breast implant shapes. Depending on the type of results you want from breast augmentation, your surgeon can use round or anatomical shaped breast implants.
Round implants provide more overall volume to the breast and are a good option for patients who want more cleavage and volume in the upper part of the breast.
Anatomical implants are also known as teardrop breast implants. Their shape mimics the shape of natural breasts.
This breast implant shape is a good option for those who want a more natural-looking final result from breast augmentation.
Types of Incisions for Breast Enlargement Surgery
Your surgeon will take great care when placing incisions during breast augmentation to make sure the final results are not distracted from by scarring.
There are three possible types of breast enlargement incisions:
- Transaxilary at the armpit (least common)
- Periareolar around the bottom half of the nipple
- Inframammary at the crease of the breast (most common)
Types of Breast Enlargement Surgery Techniques
There are three possible places in the breast where a breast implant can be placed.
This method places the implant over the chest muscle and under the existing breast tissue.
Pros of subglandular implant placement:
- More defined breast shape after recovery
- Slightly less invasive surgery compared to other methods
- Somewhat shorter recovery period compared to subpectoral implants
- Potentially less uncomfortable recovery compared to other implant placements
- Less implant movement when using your chest muscles
Cons of subglandular implant placement:
- More likely to interfere with mammograms than subpectoral implants
This method places the breast implant under the chest muscle, also called the pectoral muscles or pecs.
Pros of subpectoral implant placement:
- Less likely to be felt or obviously seen upon recovery and can provide a more natural-looking result compared to submammary implants
- Less likely to interfere with mammograms than submammary implants
Cons of subpectoral implant placement:
- Slightly more invasive surgical procedure compared to submammary placement
- Longer and potentially more uncomfortable recovery period compared to submammary implants
As the name suggests, the dual-plane method combines the two previous methods and places the breast implant under both the breast tissue and chest muscle at once. This is also called the bi-planar method.
Pros of dual-plane implant placement:
- Reduced risk of rippling
- Less likely to see or feel the implant at the top of the breast
- Provides a fuller lower part of the breast compared to subpectoral implants
Breast Enlargement Surgery Risks and Complications?
As with any surgery, breast augmentation has risks and complications associated with the procedure.
What are the Risks and Complications Associated with Breast Enlargement Surgery?
Your surgeon will discuss all the risks and complications associated with breast enhancement surgery with you during your consultation. Choosing a highly experienced BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon will reduce the chance of any risks and complications occurring during or following your breast enhancement surgery.
The risks and complications associated with breast enlargement surgery include but are not limited to:
- Bleeding & bruising
- Excessive and/or keloid scarring
- Numbness or altered sensation after healing
- Tissue necrosis
- Unintended folding or creasing on the breasts
- Capsular contracture
- Breast implant rupture
- Lateralisation or movement of the breast implants to the side of the chest
- Double bubble or a second fold on the breast
- Unhappiness with final results
- A very small risk of Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)
What is Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)?
BIA-ALCL is an extremely rare type of cancer of the lymph glands. It is not breast cancer. It is associated with some types of textured silicone breast implants.
Treatment involves surgical removal of the breast capsule and implant, and in some cases, chemotherapy.
If BIA-ALCL is caught early enough, treatment is curative.
If you have any questions or concerns about BIA-ALCL, speak to your surgeon.
What can I expect after Breast Enlargement Surgery?
During your consultation, surgeons will give you specific instructions regarding their preferred method of aftercare for breast enlargement surgery patients.
After your breast enlargement surgery, you will likely be able to return home the same day or the day after. Before you leave the hospital, a post-operative appointment will be arranged so you can meet with your surgeon within the following two weeks. During this appointment, your surgeon will examine your breasts, remove any non-dissolvable stitches and address any surgical complications.
As part of your breast enlargement aftercare process, your surgeon will give you specific time frames and advice regarding things such as time off work, sports & exercise, driving etc. These time frames can differ greatly from surgeon to surgeon. It is therefore important to follow the specific advice that your surgeon gives you, as it is specific to your recovery.
However, we have provided below some general guidelines and information about breast enlargement aftercare.
Time off work
The time you need to take off work after breast enlargement surgery depends on the type of work you do.
If your job requires any level of manual labour, especially lifting heavy objects, reaching for objects above your head, or any strenuous physical work, you may have to take a minimum of one full week off.
If your work is relatively low or no impact and requires only work at a desk, you may only need to take 4 to 5 days off work.
No matter your role, even light-impact duties should be avoided for at least 1 to 2 weeks.
Return to Sports & Exercise
Although you will need to rest after your surgery, it is important that you do not stay in bed all day. Even though you will have had surgery on your chest, occasional light walks every day can help prevent blood clots from developing in your legs.
While you should keep lightly mobile, you should only return to regular exercise on your surgeon's guidance.
Below is a broad guideline for returning to exercise after breast enlargement surgery:
- Week 1 – 3
Do not exercise at all. Even minor aerobic activities may lead to increased swelling and a longer recovery time.
- Week 3 – 6
You may begin to resume sports like cycling that do not involve vigorous movement.
- After week 6
6 weeks after your surgery, you should be able to resume all types of exercise again.
You will not be able to drive immediately after your breast enlargement surgery because you will still be slightly under the influence of anaesthesia. You will, therefore, need to arrange for a family member or friend to take you home after your procedure.
Driving may also be difficult or impossible for you for up to a week after surgery. This is because breast enlargement surgery impacts the muscles in your chest necessary to push and pull the wheel with your arms. Even if it is comfortable for you to drive in the week following your surgery, the NHS recommends you avoid driving for at least 1 week after surgery to ensure you do not hurt yourself or slow your healing.
After your breast enlargement surgery, you may have to wear a post-operative compression garment for anywhere from 2 to 5 weeks. The amount of time you will have to wear this "recovery bra" depends on your BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon’s advice. Your compression garment is vital in the early days of your breast enlargement aftercare as it helps reduce swelling and bruising and helps you achieve the best result possible.
There are a number of different techniques that your surgeon may recommend to help you heal your scars after your breast enlargement. These include:
- Scar massage – once your scars have fully healed, you can gently massage your scar, preferably with a scar cream or oil
- Silicone creams/gels/sheets – Your surgeon may recommend using a silicone-based product for 6 to 12 months after your scars have healed completely to help lighten the colour of the scar and help it fade
- Avoid exposing your scars to the sun or sunbeds and use a high-factor sunscreen to protect the skin and avoid hyperpigmentation (darkening of the scar's colour)
Your surgeon will advise you specifically on how to take care of your scars.
Although you will see an immediate difference in the size of your breasts after surgery, it may take 2 to 9 months before you are able to appreciate the full cosmetic results of your breast enlargement. Swelling and some slight shape differences may persist for up to 9 months.
It is important to keep in mind that exact recovery times vary from patient to patient. Timing is different for each patient and each surgeon gives different advice and timelines. Therefore, it is important to follow all the post-operative advice your surgeon gives you.
Find out more about Breast Enlargement Aftercare
Find out more about the Breast Enlargement Recovery Timeline
Check out our Recovery Guide
Breast Enlargement Procedure Locations in the UK
Breast Enlargement in London
Breast Enlargement in Swansea
Breast Enlargement in Birmingham
Breast Enlargement FAQs
It is important to research your breast enlargement well before going ahead with the procedure. Common breast enlargement FAQs include the following:
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