If you feel that your breasts have not fully developed or are looking to restore shape and volume, then you may benefit from breast augmentation.
A Breast Augmentation or “boob job” is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic surgery procedures. It is not something that should be undertaken lightly due to the possible life long maintenance that may be required. Modern breast implants mean that excellent long term results are possible.
Most women considering breast enhancement ask for natural breast size and feel to their breasts. Silicone gel breast implants are used throughout the world and generally have an excellent safety profile.
The discussion surrounding breast implants can be complicated as there are many factors to consider.
Breast Implant Consultation
At your initial consultation, will we discuss what your concerns are and what you are aiming to achieve. We will help guide you to choose the most suitable size of breast implant that matches your wishes, but more importantly, matches your pre-existing chest and breast tissue.
How do I choose what implant size to go for?
We use a sizing kit to help you decide what implant size is best for you. The sizing kit gives us and you an idea of what you are looking for. It can be useful to bring some of your own tops to see how you look which certain implant sizes. We also have access to 3D imaging which can give you a visual representation of what you might look like with different implants.
The type of implants (round/ anatomical or teardrop) and where we place them (above/ below the chest muscle/ dual plane) will be explained to you in full.
What if my breasts are also droopy?
If your breasts have become droopy (loose breast skin), then you may be more suited to a breast enlargement combined with breast uplift (Augmentation Mastopexy).
Will my implants have to be changed after a particular time?
Breast implants do not need to be replaced after a set period. However, they can cause problems over time and may need to be removed or swapped for technical (implant rupture/ tight scar tissue) or cosmetic (change in breast shape over time/ after pregnancy/ weight loss) reasons. For this reason, you should be fully aware that you may require further breast surgery in the future.
Patient experience of breast enlargement at the Spire Hospital in Edinburgh
Are there any alternatives to breast enlargement surgery with implants?
If you are looking for a very modest increase of one cup size or so, then fat transfer to your breasts may be an option. Fat transfer is a well-established plastic surgery procedure that has been used in breast cancer patients for many years. Fat is removed from your tummy or thighs using liposuction. The fat is then prepared to remove blood and oil and is then injected into the breasts. Some of the injected fat will be lost over the first few months. The advantage of fat transfer is that you are not putting anything “foreign” or unnatural into your body. The main disadvantage is that only a modest enlargement can be achieved and the increase in volume is not as reliable as using implants.
Further information on fat transfer
Breast Augmentation using implants is one of the most common cosmetic surgical procedures performed in the UK.
An option that appeals to some women is that of breast augmentation by fat transfer using the body’s own fat to increase the size of the breasts. Fat is harvested from the tummy, hips and/or upper thighs, prepared and injected into the breast.
Is fat transfer better than getting implants?
The idea is appealing. There is nothing more natural than your own tissue, nothing foreign and no long term problems! Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Here are the pros and cons of fat transfer and breast implants.
Fat transfer breast augmentation is a realistic option if you desire an increase of ½ to 1cup size.
Breast augmentation using implants is a more reliable choice if you are looking for more than a cup size increase.
Fat transfer alone will not correct significant droopiness of the breasts (nipples at or below the breast crease).
The Advantages of Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation
Natural: Only uses your body’s own tissues
No Implants: Avoids the risks associated with implants such as implant rupture and capsular contracture.
Can recontour the body: The liposuction that is used to harvest fat can reshape the body.
Avoids significant scarring: Only tiny incisions are used through which fat is harvested and injected.
The Disadvantages of Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation
A limited degree of augmentation.
Reabsorption of fat: Even in the best of hands, some of the transferred fat will be resorbed by the body. There is a chance that a large percentage of the transferred fat will be resorbed with the result falling below expectations and the need for multiple treatments.
Not effective in correcting droopiness
More expensive. Fat transfer augmentation involves two procedures (liposuction plus breast augmentation) and is usually more expensive than breast augmentation using implants. Additional cost will be incurred should a repeat treatment prove necessary.
You may not have sufficient fat to transfer to your breasts.
You may be perfectly happy with your figure and not wish to have it changed.
You may have sufficient fat for one transfer. What if you need a repeat treatment?
Would you consider breast implants instead?
Breast implants have the following advantages over fat transfer:
Implants can provide a more substantial degree of augmentation compared to fat transfer.
Implants can provide more cleavage (i.e. fullness of the upper pole of the breast) compared to fat transfer.
Implants provide more consistent results, as there is no possibility of fat resorption.
Implants usually cost less than fat transfer.
A face-to-face consultation remains the best way to discuss your options and assess whether or not you are a candidate for breast augmentation by fat transfer.
What are the risks?
What are the possible complications of surgery?
Bleeding can occur, usually within the first 24 hours after surgery (sometime later). Bleeding can cause swelling and tenderness of the affected breast. If this occurs then a return to the theatre is required to remove the blood and stop any ongoing bleeding. It does not affect the cosmetic outcome, but you may end up more bruised and require an extra night in the hospital. This risk of bleeding is around 1-2%.
Implant Infection is uncommon (less than 1% chance) but can be serious when it occurs as it usually requires removal of the implant. A new implant cannot be put back in place until at least three months after the infection has settled.
Under or overcorrection – You will always be involved in the decision-making process to ensure that you are happy with the size of your breasts after the operation. Occasionally some patients will feel that they would have liked to be bigger (very rarely smaller). We cannot guarantee the final size, and we will never place implants that are too large for your breast tissue to handle as this increases the risk of problems further down the line.
Some asymmetry is common before surgery, and this will be pointed out to you. After surgery, the asymmetry may remain and sometimes can be more noticeable.
Capsular contracture is the most frequent complication of breast implants and happens when the capsule or scar that forms around the implant becomes thicker and starts to tighten around the implant. This can result in your breasts feeling more firm and can also change the shape of your breasts. You may also experience tenderness. As many as 1 in 10 women with breast implants will develop capsular contracture.
Some altered sensation to the breasts after breast implant surgery is common. This usually relates to some numbness near the scar, and oversensitivity of the nipples. This gradually settles down but may take several months to do so. A few patients may get numbness of the nipples.
Feeling or seeing the implants under the skin – In thin patients it is common to be able to feel the edges of the implants. This is less common in patients who start off with a reasonable amount of their own tissue. Over time some women may be able to see or feel ripples or folds in their implants mainly when leaning forwards. This risk of this happening can be reduced by placing the implants under the muscle where appropriate and ensuring that the implants are not too large.
Implant rupture/ failure – Modern breast implants are designed to last for life. They do not need to be replaced unless there is a specific problem such as severe capsular contracture. A small number of implants may rupture. Rupture poses no health risks. In most cases, the leak is contained within the capsule, and many women will not be aware that their implant has ruptured. Some women will notice a change in the size, shape or consistency of their breast. A lump might appear, and the breast can look swollen. A scan will usually be carried out, and implant removal or exchange will be recommended if this suggests the implant has ruptured.
Is there a link between breast implants and breast cancer? There is no evidence to suggest a link between breast implants a breast cancer. Over recent years, a rare type of breast lymphoma has been shown to be caused by breast implants. The risk with the type of implants we use is currently taught to be around 1 in 60,000. The cancer is known as Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL). The latest official guidance can be found here.
How much does it cost?
Standard breast augmentation (round implants) from £4700
Standard breast augmentation (tear-shaped implants) from £4900
Breast augmentation with Exchange of implants from £4700
Breast implants combined with Breast lift (small lift) £6500 (full lift) from £7000
Removal of breast implants only £3500
All inclusive costs for one year following surgery
Further reading on breast implants/ breast augmentation