This is an elective surgery. If you have any illnesses or you are in poor health, you should not have this procedure.
Silicone-filled breast implants are not designed to last a lifetime. They typically need to be removed within 10 years. Your risk for complications increases the longer you have the implants.
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
You may be asked to provide a picture of a woman whose breasts you want yours to resemble. You also may be asked to look through an album of breast sizes and shapes to help the doctor understand the outcome you desire. Computer imaging may also be used to help determine desired results.
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to 1 week before the procedure.
Leading up to your procedure:
The night before, eat a light meal. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
You may be asked to shower the morning of your procedure. You may be given special antibacterial soap to use.
Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.
Arrange for help at home after returning from the hospital.
Local anesthesia may be used, but
is usually used. With general anesthesia, you will be asleep. With local anesthesia, the selected area will be numb.
Description of the Procedure
A cut in the skin will be made either underneath your breast, alongside the area around the nipple, in your underarm, or in your belly button. An implant or prosthesis will be placed through the incision. The implant can contain silicone gel or can be filled with salt water after it is placed. It may be placed between the skin/breast tissue and the muscle, underneath the connective tissue of the muscle, or under the muscle itself. You may or may not have a drainage tube placed around the implant. The incision will be closed with stitches and bandaged. The same procedure may be repeated for the other breast.
Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. You may have some bruising and tenderness of the breasts for several weeks after surgery. Talk to your doctor about medication to help manage the pain.
Average Hospital Stay
This procedure may be done in the hospital or surgery center. It may be possible to leave the hospital or surgery center on the same day of the procedure, or you may be asked to stay overnight in the hospital. Talk to your doctor about your options.
After the procedure:
You will wear a special bra or bandage to put pressure on the breasts. This will help to support your breasts and decrease the chance of bleeding.
Your doctor may advise you to massage or move your implants.
Be sure that you follow up with your doctor. For silicone gel implants, you will need routine
screenings to check for tears or holes in the implant. The screenings are typically done 3 years after surgery and every 2 years after that.
Call Your Doctor
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge at the incision site
Discoloration in either breast
Persistent nausea or vomiting
Pain that you cannot control with the medications you were given
Implants grow hard, or you believe that they are leaking
Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
Pain and/or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs
Joint pain, fatigue, stiffness, rash, or other new symptoms
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Breast augmentation. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Smart Beauty Guide website. Available at: http://www.smartbeautyguide.com/procedures/breast/breast-augmentation. Accessed September 1, 2019.
Silicone gel-filled breast implants. US Food & Drug Administration website. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/productsandmedicalprocedures/implantsandprosthetics/breastimplants/ucm063871.htm. Accessed September 1, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Donald W. Buck II, MD
Last Updated: 10/16/2020
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