Breast Augmentation

Latest update: April 19, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jordan Frey MD


Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure that enlarges the size and enhances the shape of the breasts. Women usually opt for breast augmentation to enhance naturally smaller breasts or to fix the loss of volume that occurs with age, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and weight loss. Surgeons usually perform breast enhancements using either implants or fat transfer. The implant procedure uses either silicone or saline implants.

The type of implant used can vary in diameter, volume and projection. A certified surgeon will customize an implant according to the patient's body and goals.Silicone implants vary in size, shape, and silicone gel cohesiveness. Your surgeon will help you to select the best type of silicone implant for your procedure. Besides silicone implants, a saline implant can also be used. These contain sterile salt water encapsulated in a silicone shell. Both silicone and saline implants have traditionally come with smooth and textured options. However, textured implants are now no longer utilized due to increased complications. The implants can also be placed under or above the chest muscle with each technique carrying unique advantages and disadvantages.

Your surgeon will assist with this decision. During breast augmentation surgery, surgeonsuse different types of incisions. They can make incisions either around the areola, under the base of the breast, or the under the arm. They position the implant over or under the pectoral muscle for better support.Fat transfer is another option for breast enlargement. 

During this procedure, surgeons harvest fat from other fatty areas of the body using liposuction. The collected fat is then purified and injected into the breast. In some cases, doctors combine the two procedures for a more natural result. Before a breast augmentation procedure, patients must have various medical examinations. They need to have a mammogram and a physical check-up. During this, doctors will measure their chest wall and breasts to determine what the best implant for them would be. A breast enlargement procedure takes about an hour to complete. 

The process requires general anesthetic. After making the initial incisions, surgeons will place the implants into the tissue pockets. Silicone implants will be inserted immediately, while the saline implants will be filled after the shells are placed. The surgeon then closes the site using sutures and covers it with surgical gauze. Patients will need to wear a support bra to minimize swelling. Doctors may insert drainage tubes to prevent fluid build-up. These will be removed after a couple of weeks. Patients need to take a week off work to recover. They also must avoid strenuous activity for four weeks. Patients should refrain from sleeping on their side and should, instead, lie on their backs to support the chest. 

The breasts may take 6 to 12 months to drop to a natural position, and the results will be long-term. As with most surgical procedures, breast augmentation comes with some risks. These can include implant rupture, fluid build-up, capsular contracture and skin wrinkling.
Operation Time
Inpatient Period
0-1 day
Number of Appointments
Recovery Period
1-4 weeks

Breast Augmentation - from AA to C with Silicone Implants - Dr. Anthony Youn

Dr. Anthony Youn, from Detroit, Michigan, performs a procedure on a woman seeking to enlarge her breasts with silicone implants. The video shows the results and Dr. Youn describes the procedure. He also discusses aspects of the healing period and gives advice on best practice.

Breast Implant Options with Dr. Valerie Lemaine

Dr. Valerie Lemaine, of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, talks to viewers about breast implants. She covers the different types and shapes among other things. She lets you know what to consider asking your doctor about before the procedure.