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BREAST AUGMENTATION (Breast enlargement with surgical implants)

Some women feel their breasts are too small or differ noticeably in size.  Many women also find that the size of their breasts decreases after pregnancy and/or breastfeeding.  In these cases, implants can improve both size and shape.

The aim

To produce symmetric, fuller, soft breasts that look natural and are in proportion to the rest of the body.

The operation

An incision is made either below the breast, around the nipple or near the armpit.  A pocket is then created for the implant beneath the breast or under the chest muscle.  The incision is closed with dissolvable stitches that will be trimmed about a week after the operation.

The operation takes about one and a half hours under general anaesthetic.  Drains are inserted into each implant pocket and usually one night in hospital is required before the drains are removed.

All breast implants are made from a firm silicone shell, but they may be filled with either a silicone gel or salt water (saline).  The implants are manufactured in a variety of sizes that are either round or teardrop (anatomical) shaped.   Mr Watts will discuss the size and shape of implant that would be most suited to you at your initial consultation.


Mr Watts will measure your breasts and discuss their shape, the quality of the skin and the position of the nipples with you.  He will ask you to avoid taking Aspirin for two weeks before the operation and to give up or cut down on smoking to reduce the risk of chest infection and speed up wound healing.  If you are over 40 years old, he will organise a mammogram for you.  The cost of this is covered in the price of the operation.


You will not be able to shower for the first weeks after the operation.

You will need to wear a sports bra or firm fitting crop top for six weeks after the operation and during this time you should refrain from any heavy lifting or strenuous use of your arms.  It is usually possible to return to driving and light work after two weeks, but occasionally this may take longer.

The incision site should be kept out of sunlight for approximately one year.

Common risks

For a while, your breasts may be slightly swollen, tender and bruised and you may experience a burning sensation in your nipples for a few weeks. These symptoms should disappear with time.

Scars will be permanent, but will usually become finer and less apparent within a year. They are discretely placed and will usually be covered by a bra or bikini top.  Very occasionally, abnormal scar tissue is formed and contracts around the implant.  This is called capsular contracture.  As a result the breast can become firm and painful and the implant may need to be replaced.  Other risks include infection, reduced sensation over the breast and/or nipple, the possibility that the implants can be felt or seen, rippling or puckering of the breast skin.

There has been concern in the past that the silicone in breast implants might be associated with breast cancer or autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.  However, silicone is a naturally occurring element which is used widely in many items including cosmetics and foods.  A number of very large international studies have been carried out and at present there is no proof of a link between silicone and any significant harmful effects.

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