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FAQ: Breast Augmentation for Gender Affirmation

What is a breast augmentation for gender affirmation?

A breast augmentation involves putting breast implants in your chest to enhance your natural breast tissue and make your breasts fuller and larger.

What type of implants are there?

We use silicone implants. There are different profiles available. You will be able to see the implants during your consultation and you and the surgeon will determine what profile is best for your body.

Can I try on the implants to know what size I want?

During your consultation, you will be able to “try on” some implant samples to inform the surgical team with approximate sizes. Please bring a tank top to aid in this process.

Where are the implants placed?

There are two locations that an implant can be placed, either above or below the muscle. You and your surgeon will talk about what the best surgical option is for your body.

What determines the size of the implants?

This is a conversation you and your surgeon will have to determine what size is best for your body frame. It is important to keep in mind that skin stretching may limit the size of the implant.

Where is the incision?

There will be a small surgical incision made underneath the breast where we insert the implant. This incision is typically hidden under the natural fold of the breast and is hardly noticeable.

How long is the surgery?

On average, the surgery takes 2-4 hours.

Will I be in a lot of pain after surgery?

You may experience some discomfort for a few days after surgery, but generally 4-5 days after surgery you will be able to return to your normal activities.

Will I have surgical drains?

No, this procedure does not require you to go home with any drains.

What dressings will I go home with after surgery?

You will go home with steri strips over the incision line and a large clear band aid. This dressing will be removed 2 week after surgery during your post-operative visit with clinical staff.

Can I shower after surgery?

You may begin showering the day after surgery. Do not scrub at your incision line or remove the dressing placed in the operating room.

What bra can I wear after surgery?

After surgery you will be given a special bra that you must continue to wear for 3 weeks. This bra will be provided by the hospital and placed on you in the operating room. After 3 weeks, you may begin wearing a sports bra or a soft cloth bra – you should NOT wear an underwire bra for at least 6 weeks after surgery. 

What limitations do I have after surgery?

For 4 weeks after surgery, you should not lift your hands over your head. You should also not push, pull, or lift anything greater than 5 pounds during these 4 weeks.

Am I required to do implant exercises after surgery?

Yes, you should begin performing implant exercises twice a day starting 5 days after surgery. You should continue these exercises for 3 months after your surgery date. Each breast should be gently pushed up, to the left, and to the right and held for a few seconds. These exercise helps to prevent capsular contractions, which is a pocket around the breast that keep the implant from freely moving. There are more details available in your post-op instructions, which you will receive prior to your surgery.  

When can I begin scar therapy?

You can begin scar therapy approximately 8 weeks after surgery. You can start simply with scar massage, which involves using shea or cocoa butter and gently massaging the scar. If you feel like you need additional scar care, you can use creams or silicone-based gels.

Remember, it can take up to 18 months for a scar to fully mature and fade.

Is there any long term follow-up need after surgery?

It is recommended by the FDA that patients with silicone implants should receive a MRI 3 years post-operatively and every 2 years after. Despite recent news, there is no apparent association between silicone gel-filled breast implants and connective tissue disease or breast cancer.

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