Division of Plastic Surgery
Cosmetic Plastic Surgery
Breast Augmentation / Enlargement Surgery
What is breast enlargement surgery?
Concerns about breast implants
With breast augmentation, the surgeon inserts an implant underneath the
breast. In the past, implants were made of silicone but because of controversy
surrounding the silicone implants and its' effect on the body surgeons
now use implants filled with a salt-water solution. New implants made
of a substance that can be absorbed by the body in case of ruptures or
leaks are currently waiting FDA approval.
Breast augmentation or augmentation mammaplasty is a procedure to reshape the
breast in order to make it larger. The procedure can also reconstruct the breast
following breast surgery.
Possible complications associated with breast augmentation surgery:
This is most common within a week after surgery. The infection can be treated
with antibiotics or, in severe cases, the implant is removed for several months
until the infection is gone and then a new implant is inserted.
- capsular contracture
This occurs if the scar or capsule around the implant begins to tighten. Treatment
can involve either the removal or "scoring" of the scar tissue,
or the removal or replacement of the implant.
- oversensitive, undersensitive, or numb nipples
Oversensitivity, undersensitivity and/or small patches of numbness near the
incisions may occur in some patients. The symptoms usually disappear within
time, but may be permanent in some patients.
- leaking or rupturing of silicone and gel implants
This can occur as a result of an injury or even from the normal compression
and movement of the breast and implant.
A breast implant is a silicone shell filled with either silicone gel or saline.
- saline-filled implants
If a saline-filled implant breaks, the implant will deflate in a few hours
and the salt water will harmlessly be absorbed by the body.
- gel-filled implants
The leak or rupture of a gel-filled implant can cause one of two things. If
the shell breaks but the scar capsule around the implant does not, changes
may not be detected. If the scar also breaks or tears, especially following
extreme pressure, the silicone gel implant may move into surrounding tissue.
The gel may collect in the breast and cause a new scar to form around it,
or it may migrate to another area of the body. The shape or firmness of the
breast may change. Typically, a second operation and replacement of the leaking
implant is necessary. And in some ruptures, it may not be possible to remove
all of the silicone gel in the breast tissue.
There is no evidence that fertility, pregnancy, or the ability to nurse will
be affected by breast implants. However, if you have nursed a baby within the
year before breast augmentation, you may produce milk for a few days after surgery.
This may cause some discomfort, but can be treated with medication prescribed
by a physician.
About the procedure:
- Location options include:
- surgeon's office-based surgical facility
- outpatient surgery center
- hospital outpatient
- hospital inpatient
- Anesthetic options include:
- general anesthesia
- local anesthesia, combined with a sedative (allows the patient to remain
awake but relaxed)
- Probable length of procedure: about two hours
- Location of incision:
The method of inserting and positioning the implant depends on the patient's
anatomy and the surgeon's recommendation. The incision can be made:
- in the crease where the breast meets the chest.
- around the areola (the dark skin surrounding the nipple).
- in the armpit.
Working through the incision, the surgeon lifts the breast tissue and skin
to create a pocket, either directly behind the breast tissue or underneath the
pectoral muscle in the chest wall. The implants are centered beneath the nipples.
This page was last updated on:
- Recovery period:
When the dressings are removed, the patient may be given a surgical bra. Stitches
will be removed in a week or so.
September 19, 2007.
For more information about UM Division of Plastic Surgery or to make an appointment, please call 1-800-492-5538 or 410-328-2360 (patients) or 1-800-373-4111 (physicians).