Breast augmentation

The procedure is appropriate for patients looking to increase the size and fullness of their breast and/or to correct minor sagging. Women who opt for breast enlargement surgery are usually those who have always had small breasts, or those who have lost breast volume after having children.

A breast implant consist of an outer shell and a filling material, which is most often silicone gel or sometimes salt water (referred to as saline). Some implants are round and others are shaped more like a natural breast referred to as tear drop or anatomical implants. Either can give excellent results. The manufacturers life expectancy of breast implants is 10 or more years, although implants can stay in without problems for a much longer time.

What does the procedure involve?

Implants can be placed either directly behind the breast (known as subglandular placement), or behind the breast and chest wall/muscle (known as submuscular placement). Mr Wilson will help you decide on the most appropriate implant to use as well as the best position. This depends on a number of factors including the size and shape of your breasts, the quality of your existing breast tissue and skin, and the size you would ideally like your breasts to be following surgery.

Breast enlargement surgery takes between one and one-and-a-half hours, and is done under general anaesthetic .The implants are usually inserted using an incision under the breast at the crease. Once the pocket has been created, the implant is inserted and the incision wounds are stitched. You may be able to go home the same day, but many patients will spend one night in hospital. Patients are recommended to take around two weeks off work immediately after the operation in order to ensure they recuperate fully.


All breast enlargement procedures carry the risk of bleeding or infection. These risks are both less than 1%, but if they do occur will result in reoperation. Hardening, or encapsulation, around the implant is also a potential risk, and up to 10% of women over a ten year period will experience this problem. Implants are made to be very tough, but the envelope can gradually fail and a leak can occur. This is not usually a serious event, but once detected will necessitate removal and exchange of the implant.

Safety of silicone

Whatever the filling of the implant, the outer layer is made of silicone, which is a firm type of material referred to as silicone elastomer. Many studies have been conducted to establish whether silicone breast implants cause certain diseases. As a result of these studies we can say that at present there is no evidence to suggest that silicone breast implants are associated with an increased incidence of breast cancer. There is also no evidence to suggest that these implants cause autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

  • The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
  • The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons
  • The Royal College of Surgeons of England