Breast Enlargement (Auto)
Learn everything about your treatment
Learn everything about your treatment
2 to 4 hours
Day case or one night
General anaesthetic or local anaesthetic with sedation
6 - 12 months
Breast auto-augmentation overview
What is a breast auto-augmentation?
A breast auto-augmentation is a procedure that uses your own breast tissue to enhance the shape of your breasts. Often, it is combined with a breast uplift which is known as a mastopexy auto-augmentation. This breast auto-augmentation overview will introduce you to the treatment.
What can a breast auto-augmentation achieve?
A breast auto-augmentation can create fullness and projection in the upper part of the breast, thus allowing it to enhance the shape of the breasts without the use of implants. If you are happy with your breast size, the surgeon can reposition your own tissue to create a fuller, more rounded shape. They can then use breast uplift techniques to lift and correct sagging of the breasts. This achieves a higher, fuller breast without the use of implants.
This procedure is a great option for women with sufficient breast volume, who:
- Do not wish to have foreign material (such as silicone implants) inside their breasts
- Are concerned with flatness of the upper part of the breast
- Wish to correct sagging of the breasts
- Want to create a fuller breast and lift the breasts.
Who are BAAPS and BAPRAS?
Choosing a surgeon to perform your treatment is one of the most important steps in the process. It is vital that you choose a surgeon who is not only qualified but also has a sufficient amount of experience in performing the treatment. At Medbelle, we only work with surgeons who are members of either The British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) or The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). These are the two leading societies for plastic surgeons in the UK. Choosing a surgeon who is a BAAPS or BAPRAS member ensures that you are in the safest hands possible for your procedure.
Breast auto-augmentation candidates
Who are the best candidates for a breast auto-augmentation?
A breast auto-augmentation is a procedure that is most suitable for women who are happy with the size of their breasts but wish to enhance their position and projection. It is also ideal for women who do not wish to have a foreign material put inside their body. If you have a sufficient amount of breast tissue, your surgeon can reposition your tissue to enhance the shape and fullness of your breasts. The most suitable breast auto-augmentation candidates are therefore those who have:
- Sufficient breast volume to create the desired fullness
- Breasts that are bottom-heavy or sagging
- Good quality skin that stretches well.
Why have a breast auto-augmentation?
A breast auto-augmentation can enhance the shape of your breasts. Your surgeon will do this by repositioning your tissue from a fuller part of your breast to a less full part. This procedure can also help to increase the fullness of the upper part of your breasts. Some women may also be concerned with sagging of their breasts. This may be due to weight loss, breastfeeding or the normal ageing process. Combining a breast auto-augmentation with a breast uplift can help correct this.
Overall, this procedure can:
- Improve the shape of your breasts
- Increase the fullness of the upper part of the breast
- Correct sagging of the breasts
- Lift the breasts.
What a breast auto-augmentation will not achieve
A breast auto-augmentation will not dramatically increase the size of your breasts. The surgeon simply repositions your existing breast tissue to another area of the breast. However, it is possible to combine an auto-augmentation with fat transfer techniques. This is where the surgeon removes fat from an area of your body using liposuction, and then injects that fat into the breasts. This will result in an increase in breast volume.
Your Medbelle BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon will be able to tell you more about which combination of techniques is best for your breasts.
Breast auto-augmentation procedure
How is a breast auto-augmentation procedure performed?
A breast auto-augmentation procedure typically takes between 2 to 4 hours to complete. It may be done as a day case, with local anaesthetic and sedation. This will allow you to go home the same day. Alternatively, you may have a general anaesthetic that puts you to sleep for the treatment. In this case, you will have to stay one night in hospital. Once you have chosen a BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon with Medbelle, we will organise for you to have a consultation with them.
Before you come in for your treatment, your surgeon will give you instructions on what you can eat and drink on the day of your surgery, and which medications you should and should not take.
Your surgeon will discuss with you the full details of the procedure and its potential risks and complications. Your surgeon will then examine the treatment area and draw some lines to mark where they will make the incisions. Once your surgeon has fully informed you of all aspects of the breast auto-augmentation procedure, they will ask you to sign a consent form, either in your pre-operative assessment or on the day of your surgery.
You will meet with your anaesthetist on the day of your surgery, and they will take you to the operating theatre. Your anaesthetist will either use a general anaesthetic to put you to sleep for the course of the operation, or they will give you a local anaesthetic with or without a sedative. You will decide together with your surgeon which type of anaesthetic to use during your first consultation.
Your surgeon will clean and drape the treatment area in order to ensure the area is sterile. This will help reduce the risk of infection. The type of incision your surgeon chooses depends on a number of factors. These include:
- Your breast size and shape
- The position of your areola
- The degree of breast sagging
- Your skin quality
- The amount of excess skin you have.
Your surgeon will advise you on which incision is best to use for you and your breasts. The different kinds of incisions they may use include the following:
For a donut incision, your surgeon will make a cut around the full circumference of the areola. This is the dark area around your nipple. Surgeons do not commonly use this technique in a breast auto-augmentation. However, it may be appropriate if you have mild to moderate breast sagging.
A lollipop incision requires your surgeon to make two cuts. The first is made around the full circumference of the areola. The second cut is made vertically down to the breast fold, where your breast meets your chest. This may be most appropriate if you have moderate breast sagging.
The anchor incision requires 3 cuts to be made. Your surgeon will make the first two cuts similar to those in the lollipop (vertical) technique, and then they will make a third incision horizontally across the breast fold. This may be most appropriate if you have severe breast sagging.
Once they have made the incisions, your surgeon will carefully select and prepare a wedge of breast tissue, which they will leave attached to the breast to preserve the blood supply. The surgeon rotates this wedge of tissue to its new position in the upper breast, before reattaching it to the chest wall to hold its new position. Finally, the surgeon may remodel the surrounding breast tissue, remove excess skin, and reposition the nipple and areola.
4. Closing of incisions
Once your surgeon achieves the desired outcome of the breast auto-augmentation, they will close the incisions with sutures.
5. Return to the ward
You will return to the ward after the operation, where you will stay for a few hours or overnight to allow the effects of the anaesthetic to wear off. When it is safe to do so, you will be able to return home.
Breast auto-augmentation consultation
What should I expect from my breast auto-augmentation consultation?
Before your surgery, you will have a breast auto-augmentation consultation with your BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon to discuss your procedure. This will often last between 15 minutes to an hour. During this time your surgeon will take your medical history and examine your breasts. Examining the breasts allows your surgeon to Your surgeon will also talk you through the procedure and explore what you would like to achieve from the treatment.
Your surgeon may ask you for details of the following:
- Your current health status
- Any medical conditions you have
- Which medications you take (including prescription, over-the-counter and herbal medications)
- If you’ve had any surgeries in the past
- Your alcohol intake, smoking, and recreational drug use
- Any allergies you may have.
It is important that you provide accurate information to your surgeon during your consultation. By doing so, your surgeon will have a better understanding of your health. This allows the surgeon to make the most appropriate decisions on your surgery and your care. You should also make your goals and expectations clear to your surgeon. They can then advise you whether these are realistic, and to what extent they can be achieved. You will be more likely to achieve the results you want if you are open and honest with your surgeon.
What questions should you ask during your breast auto-augmentation consultation?
You should use your consultation time to ask your surgeon any questions you may have. You may find it helpful to think about the questions you would like to ask and make a list before you go to see your surgeon. The following are some questions you can consider:
- Is this treatment suitable for me?
- What would be the best surgical approach for my body?
- Do I have any other options for enlarging my breasts?
- Will I be in pain after the surgery?
- What scars will I be left with?
- How long will it take me to recover from the surgery?
- Do you think my goals are achievable?
- Can I see any before and after pictures of previous breast auto-augmentation patients?
- What can I do if I am not happy with the results?
Breast auto-augmentation risks and complications
What are the main risks of a breast auto-augmentation?
All surgical procedures carry the potential for risks and complications to occur. Before you decide to go ahead with treatment, ensure that you are aware of the breast auto-augmentation risks and complications. You should take at least a couple of weeks after your initial consultation to consider these risks so that you can make an informed decision about your treatment.
During your consultation, your Medbelle BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon will talk you through all of the breast auto-augmentation risks and complications which include:
Bleeding from the treated area typically occurs right after the operation, however, sometimes it can occur a couple of weeks later. Minor bleeding is common and may lead to some bruising. Heavier bleeding, whilst rare, may result in oozing from the suture lines. It is also possible for blood to collect under the skin. This is called a haematoma. If this occurs, your breast may become very swollen or tight. If you notice this, you should seek medical attention straight away.
Infection is a risk that comes with all surgical procedures. Signs of infection may develop over the first two to three weeks after surgery.
You should contact your surgeon if you notice:
- A temperature of 38° C or over.
- Redness around your wound that begins to spread.
- Yellow pus-like or foul-smelling fluid coming from your wounds.
- Increasing pain or discomfort that your pain medication does not relieve.
Mild infections, which are often wound infections, will often settle down with antibiotics. Rarely, an infection can affect the final results of your operation. This may result in the need for further surgery.
As breast auto-augmentation requires the surgeon to make incisions, scarring is unavoidable. However, in most cases, the scarring will be minimal and will fade over time. The extent of scarring will depend on the technique your surgeon chooses to use, as well as your skin’s ability to heal.
Tissue or skin necrosis
During surgery, a certain area of skin, fat, breast tissue or the nipple can lose its blood supply. It is possible that this area of tissue then dies. This is called necrosis. It is much more likely to occur in smokers. Areas of tissue necrosis feel lumpy and hard and can interfere with breast scans such as a mammogram. You may require further surgery to correct the necrosis if it occurs.
A seroma is a pocket of fluid that can sometimes develop under your skin after surgery. Most often this is at the site of the incision or in an area where tissue has been removed. You may notice a swollen lump in the treated area of your breast, and a clear discharge may drain from the incision site. Most small seromas will require no treatment. However, larger seromas may need draining with a needle. If a seroma becomes infected, it can develop into an abscess. These will require medical treatment.
Change in sensation
After a breast auto-augmentation, it is common to experience either some numbness or increased sensitivity. This will often be around the scar, the nipples, or the areola. Generally, this will be temporary and should settle down with time. A permanent loss of sensation is rare but can occur.
There will always be a risk that you are unhappy with the final results of your surgery. If you are unhappy with the results, you may wish to have further surgery to correct this. We therefore advise you to choose your surgeon carefully. Make sure that they fully understand your expectations during your consultation. This will make it more likely that you will be happy with the final result of your treatment.
General surgical complications
All surgeries carry some common surgical risks. These include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Blood clots
- Risks of anaesthesia
- Post-operative pain.
Breast auto-augmentation preparation
How can I prepare for a breast auto-augmentation?
After your surgery, it is important that you try to relax as much as possible. This will help speed up your recovery. Preparing things beforehand can help you to do this. Below you can find some breast auto-augmentation preparation tips that you may find useful.
You can reduce the stress during your recovery period by completing some household chores before you have your surgery. Try to get some of the big jobs out of the way, such as doing the laundry, taking out the bins, and doing a general clean before your procedure. This way, you will not have to worry about doing these things when you return home after your operation.
It is likely that for the first few days after surgery you may not feel like going to the supermarket. As you will not be able to do any heavy lifting straight after surgery, we recommend that you do a grocery shop a day or two before your surgery to stock up on some items that you can keep in the fridge or the cupboard. Freezing some pre-cooked meals may also be helpful. This will mean that you have some food and meals already prepared for you during your recovery.
Children and pets
If you have young children or pets, you may wish to ask friends or family to look after them for you for the first week or so. This may minimize your stress levels during your recovery.
You will not be able to drive straight after your surgery. Therefore, ensure you have organised for someone to drive you home safely from the hospital after the operation. You may like to ask a family member or friend to help you with this.
After your breast surgery, we recommend that you maintain a healthy diet by eating a diet high in protein and low in sodium. This can include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Make sure you keep yourself hydrated with water and caffeine-free beverages. Avoid consuming too much salt and sugar during the recovery period.
After a breast auto-augmentation, you will be required to wear a post-operative bra. Your surgeon will tell you how long you must wear this for. You should also make sure that you have loose clothing that fastens easily from the front or back to wear for the first few days after surgery. This will help you to feel more comfortable.
Make sure you have plenty of extra pillows at home, as you may find it more comfortable to sleep propped up after the surgery. You may be advised to rest and sleep on your back in an inclined position for the first few days. This helps to avoid contact with the treatment area and will also help reduce swelling.
It is vital that you follow your BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon’s specific breast auto-augmentation preparation advice so that you may achieve the best results possible.
Breast auto-augmentation aftercare
What can I expect after a breast auto-augmentation?
You will feel more at ease if you know what to expect after your surgery. Your BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon will discuss with you the breast auto-augmentation aftercare process during your consultation. This will include giving you information on:
- How soon you can go back to work
- When you can resume exercising
- When you can start driving again.
Before you return home after your surgery, your surgeon will organise a follow-up appointment with you. This will often be within two weeks of your procedure. During this appointment, your surgeon will inspect your wounds to check how you are healing, change any dressings and address any complications or concerns.
How will I feel after surgery?
The way you feel after surgery will depend on what type of anaesthetic was used for your procedure. If you were put to sleep with a general anaesthetic, you may wake up feeling tired and groggy. You may also find that your concentration is affected for the first day or so after the surgery. However, all of this will resolve with time.
If you have a local anaesthetic, you may feel numbness in the area of the procedure. This should only last for a few hours.
Your breasts may initially feel over-enlarged, tight and heavy. This will be due to post-operative swelling, which will gradually settle over the first few weeks.
Is there anything I need to do in the first 24 hours?
It is important that you have an adult around you for the first 24 hours after your surgery, such as a family member or a friend. This way you will have someone who can help you in case you feel dizzy or unsteady. You will also need someone to drive you home as you will be unable to drive after the procedure as you recover from the anaesthetic. We, therefore, advise you to ask a family member or friend to accompany you after the procedure.
Returning to work
Depending on the nature of your job, we recommend that you take at least one to two weeks off work after your breast auto-augmentation. If your job is relatively active and requires you to be on your feet (for example, a waitress), then you should take two weeks off. If you have an office job, we advise you to take at least one week off. During this time off, it is important that you take it easy. Avoid even light duties for the first week, and do not lift anything heavy.
Returning to exercise
You must not partake in any strenuous physical activity in the first 3 to 4 weeks following your surgery. Vigorous movements can increase swelling of the treatment area and slow down your recovery. You can, however, resume light cardio activity such as walking on a treadmill after two weeks.
In order to help the recovery process, you should avoid lifting your arms above your head for the first week of the procedure. Do not lift any heavy objects (>10lbs) such as grocery shopping for at least the first 6 weeks. It is also recommended that you sleep propped up on pillows to help reduce swelling.
Knowing when you can return to exercise is an important part of your breast auto-augmentation aftercare. You must follow the advice that your surgeon specifically gives you on when you can start exercising again.
Care of the treatment area
After the surgery, you can expect to have some pain, tightness and discomfort around the treatment area. This should resolve within a few days. Taking over-the-counter pain medication, such as paracetamol, can help ease this.
It is important to look after your wounds and keep the incisions clean and dry. Your surgeon will tell you when you can shower again after the surgery. Do not remove the white tape (steri-strips) on your incisions until you see your surgeon again. Your surgeon may also advise you to moisturise or massage the area to promote healing. Although the healing wounds may be itchy, try to avoid scratching them. Ensure you follow your surgeon’s specific aftercare advice for a speedier recovery.
You will need to wear a post-operative recovery bra for several weeks after your surgery to support your breasts. Over this first week, you will need to wear this all day and night. Your surgeon will let you know how long you will need to wear this bra for.
The final results
Although you may notice a change in your breasts immediately following surgery, it can take a few months for the swelling to completely settle. As a result, you may find that initially, your breasts appear too high or overly-enlarged. However, you will be able to fully appreciate the cosmetic results of your breast auto-augmentation after 6 to 12 months.
It is vital that you adhere to your surgeon’s specific breast auto-augmentation aftercare advice. This will ensure that you get the best results possible and reduce the risk of complications.
Breast auto-augmentation FAQs
What are some common breast auto-augmentation FAQs?
Below you can find some questions that patients commonly ask about breast auto-augmentation. If you have any questions that do not appear in this breast auto-augmentation faqs section, you can contact your patient care adviser or ask your BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon during your consultation.
Can I breastfeed after a breast auto-augmentation?
Surgeons often advise that you complete your family before you have any type of breast treatment. This is because pregnancy and breastfeeding are likely to re-stretch your skin and reverse the results of your treatment. In addition to this, it is possible that a breast auto-augmentation may affect your ability to breastfeed in the future. This is because the procedure may damage the breast tissue that produces your breast milk. In most cases, however, if you were able to breastfeed before surgery, you should still be able to breastfeed afterwards. During the procedure, your surgeon will preserve the blood and nerve supply to your nipples and breast tissue. This increases the chances of you being able to breastfeed once the treatment is over. You should mention to your surgeon if you plan on breastfeeding after your treatment.
Do I need a GP referral for cosmetic surgery?
Your surgeon will not usually ask for a referral from your GP. They may, however, contact your GP to get details of your medical history. This includes which medical conditions you have and which medications you take.
What effect will weight change have on the results?
Slight changes in weight should not have a large effect on your final results. However, any major weight gain or weight loss can have a bigger effect on the results. The extent of this effect will depend on the amount of fat you have in your breasts and the degree of the weight change. In general, breasts that have been enlarged using this technique will change in size more naturally compared to breasts that have been enlarged with implants.
What effect do smoking, alcohol, and drugs have on a breast auto-augmentation?
Smoking, drinking alcohol and taking prescription or recreational drugs can all increase the risk of complications occurring during and after your surgery. It is vital that you adhere to the advice your surgeon gives you regarding your smoking, drinking and drug use habits.
Smoking can delay the time it takes for your wounds to heal and increase the risk of infection. We therefore strongly recommend that you stop smoking and using all nicotine products at least six weeks before your treatment. Furthermore, reducing your alcohol and drug intake in the weeks before the surgery can also reduce risks.