What Happens During Surgery

Breast augmentation or implants are also called augmentation mammaplasty. This surgery is performed to enhance your breast size and body contour. It gives symmetry to imbalances in your breast size. In some cases, it is also used for reconstruction post breast cancer surgery.

It is important to understand how to take care of the incisions, manage pain properly, and resume activities in an appropriate manner. This can help you optimize the final appearance post breast implants.

The cut of incision may be placed at different locations, including under the breast, right beneath the breast fold, periareolar or the edge of the areola, under the armpit, in the umbilical area or within the areola. The areola is the brown area comprising of the nipple, while periareolar also consists the areola.

In most cases, the thinnest scar is clearly visible in the areola. On the other hand, a surgeon may use the umbilical incision approach with an endoscope. This is a high end tube with a bright light for placement and visualization of the breast implant. Before we discuss various thing about recovery, here’s some information about the breast augmentation procedure.

During Surgery

During the procedure, the patient may be put under general or local anesthesia. Most surgeons prefer general anesthesia over local anesthesia. Local anesthesia just numbs the area where the procedure is being performed.

Incision – Before you undergo the procedure, it’s important to discuss various incision options with your surgeon. A professional can explain everything that’s suitable according to your anatomy. Common incision options for breast augmentation include :

  • Transaxillary – In the armpit
  • Inframammary – Crease under the breast
  • Periareolar – Around the nipple

Inserting & Placing the Breast Implant – The breast implant is carefully inserted into a pocket. Surgeons provide you with two options for placements :

  • Submammary – In this placement, the implants are carefully placed behind the breast tissue over the pectoral muscle.
  • Submuscular – In this placement, the implants are placed under the pectoral muscle. When breast implants are placed in this position, your recovery period is longer.

Closing the Incisions – Once the procedure is complete, the surgeon closes the incision with layered stitches in the breast tissue. Some surgeons even use skin adhesives and surgical tape to close the incision.

Video – Breast Augmentation with Silicone Gel Breast Implants

Time Frame of Recovery after Breast Augmentation

A plastic surgeon will place the breast augmentation implant either below or above the chest muscle. If the implants are placed above the muscle, your recovery time will be less painful and faster. The primary reason is that the surgery will be less invasive.

On the other hand, implants placed above your muscle can lead to moderate swelling and pain. This may last for a few weeks. The recovery period is about one month. Implants placed below your muscle can lead to severe pain. This lasts for about two weeks. You may require a pain medication. These muscle implants are completely healed and settled in 4-6 months.

Side Effects and Considerations

Some common side effects experienced by breast augmentation patients during the recovery period include swelling, pain, stiffness of the chest muscles, bruising, changes in nipple sensitivity and more. Such side effects are mostly temporary. They tend to go away within a few weeks.

Some patients also face a risk of infection after the surgery. Your plastic surgeon may prescribe an antibiotic to prevent an infection. If you’re experiencing extreme pain or high temperature, you should visit your doctor immediately.

Breast implants can be placed in many different ways, including through your armpit, belly button or nipple. During the recovery period, some scarring is common. However, it depends on where your incisions are made.

Most of the time, saline implants placed through a high quality tube through your belly button cause minimum scarring. On the other hand, silicone implants placed through incisions around your nipple cause more scarring. Though armpit incisions also cause scarring, they are not really visible to the naked eye.

Solution and Prevention

During the recovery period, you can take a lot of precautions to minimize the side effects. After the breast augmentation surgery, most plastic surgeons advise proper rest for about a week. You should also put ice packs on swollen breasts to reduce pain and swelling.

Patients are also advised to take antibiotics and pain medications to reduce infections and pain. Right after the surgery, you shouldn’t raise your arms or take a shower. You should also not lift heavy objects for about a month.