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News & Updates: Breast Enlargements – Frequently Asked Questions

What types of implant are available? How are the implants inserted? How long does breast enlargement surgery take? Is the procedure painful? How much does it cost? How long will it take me to recover? How will I manage the pain? How long will the implants last? Can I have breast implants if I have

Breast Enlargements – Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re looking for breast enlargement information then check out some of the most commonly asked questions which many people want to know the answers to before they have a procedure.

What types of implant are available?

The most common breast implants in the UK are a silicone shell which is filled with silicone gel or saline, which is a saltwater solution. Both are available in a range of shapes and sizes and your surgeon will be able to advise on the best option for you.

How are the implants inserted?

This will vary depending on your surgeon and which method they think is most suitable for you but generally speaking an incision is made either under the breast, around the edge of the areola or in the armpit. The implants are then inserted into the incision and then the incision is closed.

How long does breast enlargement surgery take?

In most cases this type of surgery can be performed in less than two hours. Many clinics will recommend that you do stay overnight but in some cases you can be in and out within a day.

Is the procedure painful?

You won’t experience any pain during the operation as you will be put under a general anaesthetic. Some pain can be experienced following the operation due to swelling and bruising but this can be medicated with prescription drugs.

How much does the procedure cost?

Breast enlargement costs can vary from clinic to clinic so it’s advisable to conduct some research. Breast enlargement costs can vary from clinic to clinic so it’s advisable to conduct some research. Cheaper is not always better as different surgeons, different follow up and different implants will vary.

How long will it take to recover after the surgery?

For most people normal day-to-day activities can be performed 4 days after surgery, though heavy lifting and exercise should be avoided. Many people will want to take at least two weeks off work, though you could return earlier if it is a desk job.

Exercise using the arms or chest should be avoided before around 6 weeks. After this time, it is normally safe to return to your pre-surgery routine. However, it is best to keep the surgery scars out of direct sunlight for a year. To find out more about recovery, go to our section titled: What To Expect From Recovery.

Recovery timeline

4 weeks before surgery – stop taking all herbal medication

Breast enlargement surgery

1 day after surgery – seen by Stephen McCulley

2-3 days after surgery – lower dose of pain medication

4 days after surgery – resume day-to-day activities if feeling up to it

1 week after surgery – seen by Stephen McCulley’s team for follow-up

10 days after surgery – patient can begin driving again if feeling up to it

14 days after surgery – patient can return to work and begin gentle exercise (legs only) if feeling up to it

6 weeks after surgery – patient can begin gentle exercise using the arms and chest if feeling up to it

3 months after surgery – seen by Stephen McCulley for follow-up

How will I manage my pain after the surgery?

After 2–3 days, most patients have recovered to the point where they only need a little pain medication. Up until this time, there are a number of methods that can be used to control post-surgery pain. Local anaesthetic can be injected into the affected area, or administered via a ‘pain pump’. Muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory drugs can also be used alongside narcotic pain medication. After this point, patients can simply use over-the-counter pain medication as and when required. For more tips on managing pain after surgery, go to our sections titled: Aftercare; What To Expect In Recovery.

How long will my breast implants last?

Manufacturers say that, on average, breast implants last for roughly 10 years. However, this can vary from person to person. Some implants can last up to 25 years, while others may need to be replaced after 2 years, depending on whether or not a problem (such as a rupture or fold) has occurred.

Can I still get breast implants if I have a family history of breast cancer?

There are two points to be addressed here: do breast implants cause breast cancer? Is it harder to monitor for breast cancer in a person with breast implants? The first question is easy to answer — breast implants do not cause breast cancer. In respect to monitoring, some studies suggest that they can hide areas of the breast during mammograms. However, this can depend on whether the implants are placed above or below the muscle. Despite this, there is no evidence that women with breast implants have a delayed diagnosis for breast cancer. It is important to speak with your physician about these issues before making a decision.

What happens if I have implants and then get breast cancer?

Breast implants do not stop breast radiation therapy from working, but they can increase the risk of encapsulation around the implant. This can affect how the breast looks, but is not a risk to health. Studies have also shown that breast implants do not increase the need for a mastectomy in women with breast cancer.

Will I be able to breastfeed after having implants?

Studies suggest that breast augmentation therapy can affect a woman’s ability to produce milk. It was also found that the type of incision used during the surgery greatly affects this issue; an incision just below the nipple has a greater impact on milk production than one under the breast or in the armpit.

What if I don’t like how my breasts look after the surgery?

If you do not like the look of your implants, they can be removed or replaced usually with little complication. But surgery should not be taken lightly. Carefully consider what you want before agreeing to undergo surgery.

What can I do to ensure the best results?

There are a number of things you can do before and after breast surgery to increase your chances of being happy with the outcome of your procedure. Take your time when choosing the size of your implant. Make sure you discuss this with your surgeon first, and maybe try a few sizes out under a sports bra. When thinking of the type of implant, the incision, whether the implant will be under or over the muscle etc. weigh all the options carefully. Be sure to stick to the recovery advice given by your doctor in order to avoid infections and other complications. To find out more on how to ensure the best results, go to our sections titled: Reducing the Risk of Surgery; Aftercare; What To Expect In Recovery.

Can I speak to the anaesthetist before the procedure?

Doctor Andrew Ravenscroft, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Chronic Pain Management, will be on hand to talk to you in person or over the phone prior to the operation about any questions you may have.

What do I need to bring with me on the day of the operation?

It is good to bring a sports bra (or a selection) that you know is comfortable in the planned size for immediate fitting after surgery.

Where will my personal belongings be kept?

Secure lock-up in the rooms

What follow ups will I have?

You will be seen by Stephen McCulley the following morning and then by his team at a week or more regularly if needed. You will see Stephen McCulley again at 3 months.

What aftercare do you recommend?

Your specific aftercare needs will vary depending on the type of surgery you have. For more information on aftercare, visit the sections of the website titled: Aftercare and also the What To Expect In Recovery section of our Resource Centre.

What is your cancellation policy?

Surgery can be cancelled at any time. We just ask that if unsure postpone the booking in good time.

Will I need to take antibiotics after the surgery?

Antibiotics are a useful precautionary measure and given with most surgeries at the time of surgery. Infection resulting from breast implant surgery is rare, but can lead to the implants being removed in order for the area to heal properly. To reduce this risk, antibiotics are recommended at the time of surgery but rarely afterwards as there is no evidence this helps.

Will my wounds bleed after surgery?

You shouldn’t experience any bleeding from the scar after surgery. If you do notice some blood, this may be due to an infection, in which case you should consult your surgeon as soon as possible. For more information about possible issues following surgery, go to our section titled: Potential Complications.

Will I need to stop taking any medication before the procedure?

You may need to stop taking some types of medication before the surgery. It is important to talk to your surgeon about any medication you are on before the procedure, either prescribed or over-the-counter.

Will I need to stop taking herbal supplements before the procedure?

Some herbal remedies increase the risk of bleeding. This can interfere with the healing process. DO NOT TAKE ANY HERBAL MEDICATION FOR 4 WEEKS prior to surgery. For more information on the best steps to take before surgery, visit our section titled: Reducing the Risk of Surgery.

I am 17, am I too young for breast implant surgery?

There is no legal minimum age to have breast augmentation surgery; however, it is recommended that you don’t have the procedure before the age of 18. This is because the breasts are still developing at this age, and sometimes even into a women’s early 20s.

This could mean that the surgery is unnecessary, or that it may result in a different size and shape than intended.

Will I have to have any tests such as blood tests before the procedure?

This will be decided at pre-operative assessment. Sometimes a blood count is done.

How do I know if a breast enlargement or lift is best for me?

Breast augmentation will not always correct a drooping breast. If the nipple is positioned at the bottom of the breast and pointing down, this suggests lift surgery would be best. If there is little or no droop, and you simple want larger breasts, augmentation will help with this. However, sometimes both procedures are necessary. Make sure your surgeon goes through all the different options with you before any decision is made.

When can I exercise after breast augmentation surgery?

Taking a leisurely stroll as soon as you’re up and about will do wonders for your circulation and general health. For those of you who go to the gym, after 4 weeks is when you can get back into the swing of things, though keep it light — mainly leg work. Heavy lifting or strenuous activity should be avoided until 6 weeks after the procedure. Upper-body weights can be attempted after 6–8 weeks, but it’s important not to push it. Listen to what your body is saying; if your chest feels tight and strained, ease off.

Is there any activity I should avoid in case I damage my implants?

No, breast implants are very hard to damage. Short of repeated blows to the chest, any sport or activity should be fine once you have recovered from the surgery.

Is there an ideal weight I should reach before my breast augmentation surgery?

It is recommended that you reach a stable weight before the procedure. This is because any weight you lose afterwards can affect the way your breasts look; there is a chance that your breast will appear to drop or reduce in size after weight loss.

Do breast implants feel the same as natural breasts?

This depends on a number of issues: the type of implant used; size of implant; whether they are over or under the muscle; size of breasts before the procedure. It is generally accepted that gel implants feel very realistic, slightly more so than saline implants. A medium implant also results in a more realistic feel, as there is less stretching of the skin over the implant. Similarly, the more flesh covering the implant, the more realistic it will feel. Therefore, women with a fuller figure can use larger implants and still expect natural-feeling breasts.

What type of bra is best to wear after breast augmentation surgery?

Implants usually need to ‘settle’ into position, so it’s best to avoid any bras that offer too much support, especially underwire bras. Sports bras and vest tops work well at first. Once the implants are where they need to be, any bra can be worn.

Can breast implants cause stretch marks?

If the size of the implant you choose is incorrect for your body shape, it can cause stretch marks. The best way to avoid this is to speak with your surgeon beforehand, they will give you all the information you need to choose the most appropriate size.

When can I begin driving again?

Before you get behind the wheel, you need to be completely free of pain and able to move freely. For some people this can be in as little as 7–10 days. Ideally, you need to be able to perform an emergency stop without causing any pain to your chest. This is important as it is to ensure you will be covered by your insurance. Realistically, you may find that it will be up to two or three weeks before you can comfortably drive.

A consultation with your surgeon will be able to answer any specific questions and provide you with additional breast enlargement information.


A consultation with your surgeon will be able to answer any specific questions and provide you with additional breast enlargement information.

For more information on breast augmentation surgery read our Comprehensive Guide to Breast Enlargement.

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