Breast Implants

Breast augmentation, (also known as breast enlargement, breast enhancement or augmentation mammaplasty) enhances the breasts by inserting implants through an incision. The implants are then filled with a saline solution to inflate them to their full size and shape. Many women find that this surgery can help them to:

  • Achieve a more desirable appearance through larger or more shapely breasts
  • Achieve an evenly balanced appearance, if one breast is larger than the other
  • Return to their former breast size and shape after childbirth or mastectomy

Surgery and Recovery Times

  • The surgery may last 1 - 2 hours. Patients typically will go home the same day
  • The patient generally may return to work within a few days
  • Strenuous activity may be limited for 3 to 4 weeks after surgery

Risks and Side Effects

All surgery poses certain risks. Your surgeon will discuss the specific risks associated with your procedure and your current state of health. It is normal to experience some soreness, swelling, bruising or sensitivity of the breasts or nipples after this surgery.

Although they are rare, more serious complications such as infection or bleeding can also occur. This surgery also carries the risk of implant rupture or capsular contraction (hardening of the breast due to scar tissue forming around the implant). These conditions may require further surgery to correct. To minimize the chances of complications, it is important to carefully follow all of your doctor's instructions both before and after the surgery.

Special Considerations

  • Women with a family history of breast cancer or breast cysts - Talk to your doctor about how implant surgery might impact mammography and other methods used to diagnose or treat these conditions.
  • People undergoing major weight loss or gain - Weight changes can affect the size of the breasts, and may negatively impact the results of breast implant surgery. If possible, it is best to reach your ideal weight before considering this surgery.
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or who are planning to have children in the future - Pregnancy and breastfeeding can also impact the size of the breasts and may interfere with the results of your implant surgery. You may want to wait until you are done having children before having this procedure.

Be sure to discuss these issues fully with your plastic surgeon, so that he or she can help you to make the right decision for your health and safety.

Will Breast Implants Increase My Risk of Breast Cancer or Other Disease?

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recently published studies have not found that women with breast implants have an increased risk of developing breast cancer or any of the well-defined autoimmune or connective diseases. However, the FDA is still urging further studies to determine whether other risks may exist. You may wish to read the FDA's Breast Implant Consumer Information or ask your plastic surgeon or family doctor for more information about this topic.

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