Mr A. O. Grobbelaar  MBChB  MMed(Plast)  FCS(SA)(Plast)  FRCS(Plast)

Breast Augmentation - (Enlargement)

 

Introduction

Implants have been used to enlarge the breast or reconstruct the breast for more than 40 years. Not only is size important but also shape. An appropriate sized breast for the size and type of body is very important for a good body image and confidence. Pregnancy and breast-feeding can also alter the shape and size of the breast as well as normal ageing. Some patients may require a lift (see the section on mastopexy) in addition to more volume.

Breast implants

A breast implant consists of an outer silicone elastomer shell, which can be filled with a variety of materials. The outer shell can be smooth walled or textured. Currently there are two fillers on the market - silicone or saline (salt water). Silicone is available as a gel or a cohesive gel. Implants can be round or shaped. When an implant is inserted into the body a membrane forms around the implant in the same way as it forms around a knee prosthesis or any foreign body. The membrane or capsule normally stays soft and the patient is unaware of it. Sometimes, however, it may becomes thicker in some patients and cause asymmetry or pain. This may require further surgery. Textured implants are normally associated with a reduced risk of capsule formation.

The implant may be inserted through a little scar in the axilla, in the crease under the breast or through an incision around the areola. The implant may be inserted in a submuscular (under the chest muscle) or subglandular (under the breast tissue) position. The type of implant, the size of the implant as well as the position of placement and the type of incision will be discussed during the consultation. It varies greatly from patient to patient.

Mammography is possible after breast implants but a different technique has to be used by the radiologist, so you should tell him/her in advance that you have breast implants.

Complications

The operation is usually free of complications but any of the following may occur:

The surgery

A general anaesthetic is normally required and can be performed as a day case. Pain is minimal to moderate and can be controlled by painkillers taken orally most of the time. The breasts are taped up during the surgery in a supportive bandage. The breasts will be swollen and tender and may feel very tight.

After the surgery

You can normally sit in a shallow bath but should not get the breasts, dressings or incision lines wet. The sutures will be removed after 10-12 days. You should refrain from doing heavy lifting or exercise for 4 weeks after the surgery. Massaging of the scars four weeks after the surgery will help the scar to fade quickly.

If you require further information or want to schedule a consultation please contact Mr. Grobbelaar's secretary details on the Contact page