Breast Surgery – Augmentation, Lift, Implants FAQ’s

When you’re thinking of having any kind of breast surgery – augmentation, lift, implants FAQ’s are really important. A great way to have all your questions answered.


What is the difference between a breast augmentation and a breast lift?

A breast augmentation uses an implant (usually silicone breast implant in Australia) to help lift or augment your breasts, whereas a breast lift (or the medical name of a “mastopexy” is a surgical procedure where skin and breast tissue are surgically moved to improve the shape and position of your breasts. This can be done in association with a breast implant and may be performed as a single or as a combined procedure.


How do you know you need a breast lift?

This is a difficult question to answer as there are many variables, how large your breasts are, how dropped or ptotic they are, the elasticity of your skin etc. As a generalisation if you stand with your arms raised straight up, and the breast position is approximately where you want them, then you probably can get away without a lift. However it is best to have a consultation for an opinion from a surgeon who does both implants and lifts.


Why do i need a breast lift?

Your surgeon may suggest you need a breast lift if they feel your breasts are ptotic or droop with the nipple / areolar complex being low, and an implant alone may not create the best result. This could be when they expect the areolar may sit too low or be on a down facing portion of the breast, not facing straight out.


How do I know how much lift I need?

This really is a discussion for you to have with your surgeon at a consultation. In general, lifting the areolar more than a few centimetres may require a pattern resulting in a “lollipop” scar.


Do I need a breast lift or a breast reduction?

When performing a breast lift, most surgeons may take a small amount of breast tissue. The size and shape of your breasts will determine whether further tissue needs to be taken to achieve the desired outcome. This is something you will discuss with your surgeon at a consultation.


What are the different types of breast lift techniques?

There are basically 3 ‘styles’ of breast lift performed in Australia. Each style would be determined by your surgeon, depending on the amount of lift required and the size and shape of your breasts.

(i)   Donut (peri-areolar) minor lift only
(ii)  Lollipop (vertical) moderate lift
(iii) Anchor (classic approach) used with almost any but particularly very large descended breasts.


What do breast implants look like after pregnancy?

This really depends on what happens with your breasts before, during, and after pregnancy, which is very difficult to predict. It can be influenced by weight gained or lost, your breast size change with pregnancy, mastitis etc.


What do breast implants feel like?

Breast implants vary. They can be almost completely undetectable, to being rock hard (Capsular Contracture). With the polyurethane (Furry / Brazilian) implants, the edge may be detectable.


Do I get breast lift scarring post surgery?

If you are having a breast lift then you may get the associated scar pattern, this commonly is around the areolar and down the front of the breast. This will generally fade with time.


How long does the scar take to heal post breast augmentation?

Scars can take up to 2 years to fully mature, but most scars begin to fade within a couple of months.


Can I get tanning after breast surgery?

Tanning can cause early surgical scars to pigment. You should keep surgical scars covered and protected from tanning for several 2 months.


How long after breast surgery can you drive?

Surgeons generally suggest it is reasonable to recommence driving 1 to 2 weeks after breast surgery. However you should be able to move freely and comfortably and not be taking any narcotic or heavy pain killers or sedative drugs.


How long after breast augmentation can you swim?

As a rule we don’t want the surgical wounds to be bathed in pool or sea water until they are healed unless they are covered completely. Generally this is at least 4 weeks. With breast implants sitting close to the incisions, getting an infection from swimming in dirty water may lead to an implant infection and ultimately necessitate its removal.


How long after breast augmentation can I workout or exercise?

I want the implants to sit exactly where we place them and exercising vigorously or running may help them displace or move. I normally don’t want patients to recommence exercising vigorously for 6 weeks particularly with upper body workouts.


How long after breast augmentation can I run?

When running the bouncing motion may cause the implants to move until they are firmly settled. I normally tell my patients, 6 weeks for running but walking anytime they feel comfortable enough. I always encourage my patients to wear a bra when exercising.


How long after breast augmentation can I wear a bra?

I generally get patients to wear a soft supportive cotton or surgical bra for 6 weeks following breast surgery. We particularly don’t want an underwire irritating the incisions

What happens after breast reduction surgery?

Most patients who have breast reduction surgery feel very comfortable following the procedure. The weight of the breasts is lifted and they generally feel free. The incisions need to be looked after and supportive bras should be worn.


How soon can I go back to work after breast augmentation?

I tell my patients they need at least 1 week off work (desk jobs, 10 days is better), and preferably 2 weeks. With no heavy lifting for 6 weeks.


How soon can I go back to work after breast reduction?

I tell my patients they need at least 1 week off work, preferably 10 days to 2 weeks.


How soon can I go back to work after a breast lift?

I tell my patients they need at least 1 week off work, preferably 10 days to 2 weeks.


What are my options if I am unhappy with my breast implants?

A small percentage of women may be unhappy for numerous reasons following breast implant surgery. The best thing to do initially is to discuss this with your original surgeon and attempt to determine what it is you are unhappy with. Time needs to be allowed for the implants to “settle” and this may help.
Unfortunately, revision surgery may be required and this generally includes other costs for anesthetists, hospitals, and implants. You are able to see alternative surgeons but they may be hesitant in revising someone else’s procedure.


What are the different types of scars post breast implants?

There are different scar approaches with breast implant surgery in Australia, which each have their own advantages (which should be discussed with your surgeon). These are:

  • In the inframammary crease
  • Around part of the areola
  • In the axilla.
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