During a breast augmentation procedure, an implant can be used to enhance the shape and size of the breasts. In addition to the many sizes and styles of implants available there are also several different surgical techniques that can be used during this procedure. Every patient is unique, so during your consultation, your surgeon will review the many options available to you and offer their recommendation for the type of implant and method of placement based on your overall health and goals.
The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal, and you’ll have to decide if the benefits of the surgery outweigh the risks and potential complications of surgery.
You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your surgeon.
A breast augmentation is performed under a general anesthetic. During the procedure, an incision will be made in an inconspicuous area to minimize visible scarring, like in the fold under the breast (inframammary fold). After the incision is made, a breast implant is placed into a pocket that has been made under the pectoral muscle. The surgery does not remove any breast tissue, unless a breast lift surgery is required for a better cosmetic result, then there will be removal of skin to reposition the nipple and lift the tissue on the chest wall. Dissolvable stitches will be used along the surgical incision. Surgical dressings will be applied and a special compression bra will be used on top to help keep the implants in the intended pocket.
Following general anesthesia or intravenous sedation, it will take 24 to 36 hours for the full effects of the drugs to wear off. You must be accompanied by a responsible adult, who may either drive you home or take a taxi with you. You may feel a little sleepy or nauseous when you get home, you should quietly rest at home for the remainder of the day.
Remove all surgical dressings 48 hours after surgery, leave only the pink paper tape over the surgical incisions. At this time you can shower, but do not directly apply water pressure over any of the pink tape, only let the water run over it and pat gently to dry. Please do not bathe or soak your incisions until all incisions have completely healed. The pink tape is waterproof and will start to peel off over the next 4 weeks, please cut off the portions that are no longer adhering to prevent the rest of the tape from falling off. Swelling and bruising is common following surgery and is to be expected. The bruising should subside within 2-4 weeks after surgery. It is essential to continue wearing the provided compression garment for 3 months to keep the implants in the intended pocket (even at night if comfortable). Additional garments are available for purchase through the clinic.
Patients are able to get up and walk around right after surgery. However, it is important to reduce tension to the chest and arms during recovery to help keep the implant in the intended pocket. This can make tasks like getting up and out of bed and sitting down into a chair particularly difficult. Most patients are able to walk on a treadmill in about a couple of weeks, and play tennis in about three months. Most patients who have sedentary jobs take about a week off work. If your job involves a lot of physical activity be sure to speak with your surgeon during your consultation with regards to how much time off you will need for your specific daily tasks. There should be no heavy lifting for 6 weeks following surgery. Most patients are comfortable driving in about a week's time. The implant can migrate from the intended pocket due to increased tension on the chest during the healing phase, this can be avoided with use of the bra and decreasing flexion and extension of the chest muscles. This is not a serious complication, and can be remedied with an additional surgery once everything has healed to move the implant back into the intended pocket.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to give us a call at (403) 800-9157 and leave a message as necessary. If you are unable to reach us, and need medical advice please call 811 to speak to a nurse, the line is free of charge and available 24 hours a day. If it is a medical emergency please call 911 or go to your nearest hospital, or call the Peter Lougheed Centre Switchboard at (403) 943-4555 and ask to speak to the plastic surgeon on-call.
A breast augmentation is unable to correct severely drooping breasts. A breast lift may be required to make the breasts look fuller and lifted. A breast lift can be safely done at the same time as your augmentation.
It is important to know that while technically the results of a breast augmentation are permanent, any significant fluctuations in weight can greatly diminish the results. It is recommended that individuals who are planning to lose weight or women considering pregnancy postpone the procedure. A good candidate for surgery is a patient who is relatively healthy, has reached their weight loss goals and has realistic expectations for post-operative outcomes.
It is also strongly advised that you be a non-smoker at the time of surgery. If you are a smoker we recommend you quit smoking at least 3 months prior to surgery as nicotine can interfere with blood supply and potentially cause complications with healing after surgery.
It is important to know that breast implants change the way mammography is done to detect breast cancer. When you request a mammogram it is recommended you ask if the technicians are experienced in the special techniques used to get a reliable image of a breast with an implant.
It is unknown whether or not breast implants truly alter a woman’s ability to breastfeed. There are cases of women who are able to successfully breastfeed after breast augmentation with implants. Some women are already unable to breastfeed or will have difficulties breastfeeding even without breast surgery. However, if breastfeeding is important to you then it is recommended you pursue breast augmentation surgery after you finish child bearing.
On July 24, 2019, Allergan announced a voluntary worldwide withdrawal of unused stock of BIOCELL® textured breast implants and tissue expanders from doctors’ offices and hospitals, and a suspension of any future sales which is part of the voluntary recall of BIOCELL® textured breast implants and tissue expanders. This was done in response to concern around a condition known as BIA-ALCL.
BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer - but rather, it is a type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (cancer of the immune system). In most cases, BIA-ALCL is found in the scar tissue and fluid near the breast implant, but in some cases, it can spread throughout the body.
At this time, the overall incidence of developing BIA-ALCL is considered to be low (occurring in less than 0.03% of patients with BIOCELL® textured breast implants); however, a BIA-ALCL diagnosis is serious and can lead to death, especially if not diagnosed early or promptly treated. In most patients, BIA-ALCL is treated successfully with surgery to remove the implant and the scar tissue surrounding the implant; however, some patients may require treatment with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy
BIA-ALCL symptoms include breast enlargement or hardening, persistent pain, lump in the breast or armpit, or a large fluid collection surrounding an implant. These symptoms have been reported between 6 months and 26 years after implant placement, and are typically diagnosed an average of 7 to 9 years after implant placement. BIA-ALCL is highly curable if detected early. Prompt diagnosis is key. BIA-ALCL occurs most frequently in patients who have breast implants with textured surfaces. This is a cancer of the immune system, not a type of breast cancer. The current lifetime risk of BIA-ALCL is estimated to be 1:2,207-1:86,029 for women with textured implants based upon current confirmed cases and textured implant sales data over the past two decades.
Breast implant illness (BII) is a term that some women and doctors use to refer to a wide range of symptoms that can develop after undergoing reconstruction or cosmetic augmentation with breast implants. BII can occur with any type of breast implant.
BII is poorly understood and experienced differently by patients. If you are concerned, it is best to speak with a healthcare professional for more information.