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How do breast implants work?

25th September 2017

One of the most popular types of elective surgery, breast augmentation involves inserting implants into a woman’s breasts to increase their size, shape or volume.

What does the breast augmentation procedure involve?

Prior to your surgery, you will discuss which type of implant is right for you, based on your build, body type, lifestyle and desired outcome post-surgery.

The procedure itself involves:

  • Making an incision alongside or below the breast

  • Inserting the implant, either behind your chest muscle or between your breast tissue and chest muscle

  • Repeating the process on the other breast, ensuring both sides are symmetrical

  • Stitching the incisions closed, then covering with a dressing

How long does a breast augmentation take?

The procedure itself typically takes between 30 and 40 minutes, under general anaesthesia. The surgery is considered as a day case, but you may wish to stay in the clinic overnight.

 What does the aftercare involve?

You leave hospital wearing surgical dressings and a supportive surgical bra, which encourages healing and reduces swelling.

You will need to avoid using your arms and chest as much as possible following the procedure to allow your body to heal, so ask a friend or family member to help you around the house.

Lying and sleeping in a semi-upright position  may help to reduce postoperative swelling.

You would need someone to drive you home and stay with you for the following 24 hours after the procedure.

How long does it take to recover from a breast augmentation?

Once you’re at home, you will need to rest for several days, in order to recuperate fully. You will need to wear a sports bra for at least a month while your breasts heal.

Avoid sleeping face down for at least a month post-surgery.

You will need to take at least a week off work, often longer. You should avoid driving for at least a week.

You should avoid exercise, strenuous activity and heavy lifting for a month post-surgery.

You must keep the incisions dry for a week after the procedure and out of direct sunlight for a year.

It may take up to 9 months so see the full results of the procedure.  

How long do breast implants last?

No implants last forever. You are advised to have your breast implants replaced approximately every 10 - 15 years, but this will depend on your individual circumstances. Always speak to your surgeon, who can advise you on the best course of action.

Are there any side effects?

A breast augmentation is a major surgical procedure and, as such, there are always potential side effects.

After your surgery, it is normal to experience:

  • Pain

  • Swelling

  • Bruising

  • A tight feeling in your chest

  • Temporary numbness

 Long term side effects do not always occur, but may include:

  • Visible scarring

  • Breast tissue feeling hard to the touch

  • Ruptured implants

  • Creases, folds or rippling

  • Reduced sensitivity, whether temporary or permanent

  • Inability or difficulty to breastfeed

What should I do if I have any problems after my breast augmentation?

If you have any concerns, or you experience severe pain or other unexpected symptoms or side effects following your surgery, please get in touch with us straight away.


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I have my Botox with Karolina. She is exceptionally knowledgeable and advises me on what would look good and not so good on my face. She is a person I can trust!

"I was very happy with my treatment experience. Mr Karidis , staff and facilities were excellent. I am very pleased with the results and would not hesitate to recommend Mr Karidis and his clinic."

"I am only three days into the recovery of my gynecomastia procedure, and already it has changed my life. I travelled from Cardiff to London to have this procedure and it was by far cheaper than having it done in my local area. Furthermore, Karidis' reputation exceeds expectations. I look forward to my follow up consultation so Karidis can see how he has changed my life. Communication from Karidis and his team - 5 star Professionalism - 5 star Results - 5 star."

For my first Velashape III treatment, Maxine made me feel really comfortable and explained exactly how the treatment would go and any after-effects I might have (I have had none). The process was smooth and painless and actually kind of relaxing. Most importantly, I can already see a MAJOR difference on the cellulite on my legs and butt. I am seriously impressed!

"My entire experience for an abdominoplasty and breast augmentation operation was faultless from a professional and caring team. I cannot recommend Mr Karidis enough from the consultation, in establishing what I wanted, to his skilled work. I am absolutely delighted with the results."

"A seven week recovery journey with a couple of little detours, but navigated with care by Mr Karidis, Suzi & Martina. Explanations, reassurance & advice given from first consultation, day of operation, day one post op. and at all subsequent clinic visits, along with a good dose of friendly chit chat & laughter, (Always a good medicine!). Thank you Mr Karidis & team. No regrets here."

Brilliant consultation... I was very impressed with my consultation with Mr Karidis. Mr Karidis made me feel very comfortable and answered all my questions.

Outstanding in every way This is my second breast augmentation with Mr Karidis - my first experience was amazing as were the results! Second time around and once again my experience was faultless. The whole team are amazing from front of desk and Rose, to the lovely nurses pre and post-op! The after care given, which is also important, is second to none and I cannot recommend Mr Karidis enough. Thank you so much for all you have done for me and giving me back my confidence!

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You can receive these too, we promise it's worth it because we think you are!

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