St. Luke's Hospital
Located in Chesterfield, MO
Main Number: 314-434-1500
Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia


    Cosmetic breast surgery

    Breast augmentation; Breast implants; Implants - breast; Mammaplasty

    Breast augmentation is a procedure to change the size or shape of the breasts.


    Cosmetic breast surgeryis done at an outpatient surgery clinic or in a hospital.

    • Most women receive general anesthesia for this surgery. You will be asleep and pain-free.
    • You may also be given medicine to relax you and local anesthesia. You will be awake and will receive medicine to numb your breast area to block pain.

    There are many different ways to place breast implants:

    • In the most common technique, the surgeon makes a cut (incision)on the underside of your breast, in the natural skin fold.The surgeon places the implant through this opening. Your scar may be a little more visible if you are younger, thin, and have not yet had children.
    • The implant may be placed through a cut under your arm.The surgeon may perform this surgery using an endoscope. This is a tool with a camera and surgical instruments at the end. The endoscope is inserted throughthe cut. There will be no scar around your breast. But you may have a visible scar on the underside of your arm.
    • The surgeon may make a cut around the edge of your areola.This isthe darkened area around your nipple. The implant is placed through this opening. You may have more problems with breastfeeding and loss of sensation aroundthe nipple with this method.
    • Asaline implant may be placed through a cut near your belly button. An endoscope is used to move the implant up to the breast area. Once in place, the implant is filled with saline.

    Breast implants may be placed either directly behind the breast tissue (subglandular) or behind the outer layer of chest wall muscles (submuscular). The type of implant and implant surgery can affect:

    • How much pain you have after the procedure
    • The appearance of your breast
    • The risk of the implant breaking or leaking in the future
    • Your future mammograms

    Your surgeon can help you decide which procedure is best for you.

    Why the Procedure Is Performed

    Breast augmentation is done to increase the size of your breasts.

    A breast lift, or mastopexy, is usually done to lift sagging, loose breasts. The size of the areola can also be reduced.

    Talk with a plastic surgeon if you are considering cosmetic breast surgery. Discuss how you expect to look and feel better. Keep in mind the desired result is improvement, not perfection.


    Risksof any surgery are:

    • Bleeding
    • Infection

    Risksof anesthesia are:

    • Reactions to medicines
    • Breathing problems, pneumonia
    • Heart problems

    Risksof breast surgery are:

    • Difficulty breastfeeding
    • Loss of feeling in the nipple area
    • Small scars, usually in an area where they do not show much
    • Thickened, raised scars
    • Uneven position of nipples
    • Different sizes or shapes of the two breasts
    • Breaking or leakage of the implant
    • Visible rippling of the implant
    • Need for more breastsurgery

    It is normal for your body to create a “capsule” made up of scar tissue around your new breast implant. This helps keep the implant in place. Sometimes, this capsule becomes thickened and larger and may cause a change in the shape of your breast, hardening of breast tissue, or some pain.

    Emotional risks of this surgery may include feeling that your breasts do notlook perfect. Or you may be disappointed with people's reactions to your “new” breasts.

    Before the Procedure

    Tell your doctor or nurse:

    • If you are or could be pregnant
    • Whatmedicines you are taking,including medicines, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription

    During the days before your surgery:

    • You may need mammograms or breast x-rays before surgery.The plastic surgeon will do a routine breast exam.
    • Several days before surgery, you may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), warfarin (Coumadin), and any othermedicines that make it hard for your blood to clot.
    • Ask your doctor whichmedicines you should still take on the day of surgery.
    • You may need to fill prescriptions for pain medicine before surgery.
    • Arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and help you around the house for 1 or 2 a days.
    • If you smoke, try to stop. Smoking can cause problems with healing.Ask your doctor or nurse for help.

    On the day of the surgery:

    • You will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything after themidnight before surgery.
    • Take themedicines your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
    • Wear or bring loose clothing that buttons or zips in front. And bringa soft, loose-fitting bra with no underwire.
    • Arrive on timeat the outpatient clinic orhospital.

    After the Procedure

    You will likely go home when the anesthesia wears off andyou can walk, drink water, get to the bathroom safely.

    After breast augmentation surgery, a bulky gauze dressing will be wrapped around your breasts and chest. Or you might wear a surgical bra. Drainage tubes may be attached to your breasts. These will be removed within 3 days.

    The surgeon mayalso recommend massaging the breasts starting 5 days after surgery.Massaging helpsreduce hardening of the capsule that surrounds the implant. Ask your doctor first before massaging over your implants.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    You are likely to have a very good outcome from breast surgery. You may feel better about your appearance and yourself. Also, any pain or skin symptoms due to the surgerywill likelydisappear. You may need to wear a special supportive bra for a few months to reshape your breasts.

    Scars are permanent and are often more visible in the year after surgery. They may fade after this. Your surgeon will try to place the incisions so that your scars are as hidden as possible.


    Bengtson BP. Complications, reoperations, and revisions inbreastaugmentation. Clin Plast Surg.2009;36:139-156.

    Handel N. Transumbilical breast augmentation. Clin Plast Surg. 2009;36:63-74

    McGrath MH, Pomerantz J. Plastic surgery. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 69.

    Sarwer DB. The psychological aspects of cosmetic breast augmentation. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2007;120(7 Suppl 1):110S-117S.

    Strock LL. Transaxillary endoscopic silicone gel breast augmentation.Aesthet Surg J. 2010;30:745-755.


    • Breast lift (mastopexy) ...


    • Breast reduction (mammop...


    • Breast augmentation - se...


      • Breast lift (mastopexy) ...


      • Breast reduction (mammop...


      • Breast augmentation - se...


      A Closer Look

      Talking to your MD

        Self Care

          Tests for Cosmetic breast surgery

            Review Date: 2/12/2013

            Reviewed By: David A. Lickstein, MD, FACS, specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery, Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.

            Back  |  Top
            About Us
            Contact Us
            Locations & Directions
            Quality Reports
            Annual Reports
            Honors & Awards
            Community Health Needs

            Brain & Spine
            Sleep Medicine
            Urgent Care
            Women's Services
            All Services
            Patients & Visitors
            Locations & Directions
            Find a Physician
            Tour St. Luke's
            Patient & Visitor Information
            Contact Us
            Payment Options
            Financial Assistance
            Send a Card
            Mammogram Appointments
            Health Tools
            My Personal Health
            Spirit of Women
            Health Information & Tools
            Clinical Trials
            Employer Programs -
            Passport to Wellness

            Classes & Events
            Classes & Events
            Spirit of Women
            Donate & Volunteer
            Giving Opportunities
            Physicians & Employees
            For Physicians
            Remote Access
            Medical Residency Information
            Pharmacy Residency Information
            Physician CPOE Training
            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
            Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Notice of Privacy Practices PDF  |  Patient Rights PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile