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School of Medicine
Breast Augmentation (Implants)
Many women opt to have breast augmentation surgery in order to improve their body image by changing the shape of their breasts or increasing their fullness. For some women who have had children or lost a great deal of weight, breast enhancement can restore lost volume.
Whatever your reasons may be, having breast augmentation is a major decision and one that requires careful consultation with your plastic surgeon. While implants and the procedure itself have become much safer in recent years, you should be reassured that the plastic surgeons at Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, Maryland, are current on the safest implants and latest surgical techniques. They have been trained in a number of kinds of breast surgeries, including the latest techniques in breast reconstruction.
It is important to consult with your plastic surgeon about what your goals are for the procedure. The procedure, which is much less invasive than it used to be, offers you several options for changing the size and shape of your breasts. You can also consult with your plastic surgeon on what type of implant is the best and safest for you.
You may decide to have a breast lift at the same time. A breast lift reduces the breast sagging that can occur as a result of aging or after pregnancy. If you opt for the combined procedure, your surgeon will remove some breast tissue, tighten the skin and lift it, and insert an implant.
What to expect during breast augmentation surgery
Most often, the procedure is outpatient and done under local anesthesia with sedation so that you are comfortable. Your plastic surgeon may recommend general anesthesia. Depending on exactly what type of procedure you are having done, it will take from one to three hours.
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Recovery from breast augmentation surgery
Your plastic surgeon will advise you about the care you will need after surgery. Generally, you will have some discomfort, similar to what you would feel with a pulled muscle. The pain is generally easily controlled by pain medications. Swelling should begin to disappear in a matter of weeks and resolve completely in a few months. You should plan to take off one week from work, depending on the nature of your work. Mild to moderate exercise is acceptable. Refraining from running, jumping, lifting or push-up type exercises are not advised for 4-6 weeks. Your doctor will give you specific instructions about when you can resume normal activity and exercise.
The incision scarring will fade with time though you will have some permanent scars. Your plastic surgeon will be careful about where the incisions are made so that scars are as hidden as they can be. Some patients also experience changes in nipple sensation,