Every year, hundreds of thousands of women decide to reinvent their bodies through the popular plastic surgery procedure known as breast augmentation. As the name suggests, the goal of breast augmentation surgery is to enlarge one (in the case of severe asymmetry) or both breasts. 

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The enlargement is done through the use of medical devices known as breast implants. The implants are usually either saline or silicone; a less common type of breast augmentation uses the woman’s own body fat

Breast Implant Prodedure

During your pre-surgical consultations, your surgeon will recommend a type of anesthesia. Although many will urge IV sedation or general anesthesia, some physicians consider a type of local anesthesia that allows the patient to be awake so that she can have some say in the final size and placement of the implants.

  • Incision

Depending on what you have discussed in advance, the surgeon will next make an incision in one of four locations: near the areola (periareolar incision), near the armpit (transaxillary), in the crease of the breast (inframammary incision), or by the belly button (Transumbilical incision).

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  • Placement of the Implant

If you selected a silicone implant, the surgeon will now insert the implant and place it over (subglandular placement) or under (submuscular placement) the pectoral muscle.  If you chose a saline implant, the surgeon will first place the implant, and then fill it with saline through a thin tube.

  • Closing the Incision

After placing the implants, the surgeon will close the incision site with sutures and skin adhesive or tape.

  • Recovery

You will be asked to stay at the facility for a few hours to a few days so that your doctor can monitor your recovery.  Supportive bras are necessary for about a month following the surgery.  For a few days to a week, minimize lifting and carrying. Most people can resume normal activities within a week after surgery. Your surgeon will give you more detailed instructions for your recovery and will likely schedule a follow-up visit before you leave the facility.


Breast augmentation carries the same risks that go with any surgery: infection, bleeding, scarring, compromised healing, poor reaction to anesthesia, blood clots, pain, and fluid accumulation. There are also some risks specific to


The 2010 national average was $3,486 (saline) and $3,797 (silicone), but costs can vary widely depending on the type of implant and procedure.

Common Reasons

  • Wanting to feel more confident about one’s appearance.
  • Hoping to be able to find clothing that fit better.
  • Seeking to restore one’s look after having children or following weight loss or weight gain.
  • Resolving severe breast asymmetry.

Inappropriate Reasons

  • Trying to please someone who is pressuring you to do so.
  • Looking for a magic solution to relationship, financial, career, or other problems in one’s life.