The Harley Medical Group

Your guide to breast enlargement surgery: what you should know

There has always been an interest in natural breast enhancements, and most people don't want to undergo elective surgery if they don't have to. There are many options to enhance your breast size, some are better than others and some are even dangerous. A quick scour of the Internet, and we found the most popular non-surgical breast enlargement recommendations which we discuss below.

Breast enlargement cream

An increasingly common recommendation that came up was breast enlargement creams. These report to work by harnessing the power of natural ingredients to accelerate the creation of new cells which are able to store lipids while simultaneously increasing the capacity of those cells to store higher volumes of lipids. The theory behind them is that more cells with more capacity to store lipids result in enlarged breast size.

Many of these creams have excellent reviews, however, a few issues emerged. The first was that the promises are vague, they don't say how long breast will take to develop and there are often caveats stating body type and lifestyle will impact results.

Additionally, this method needs continuous maintenance, so if you stop using the creams the cell capacity would return to normal. And as the most highly rated creams are between £30-70 a bottle, the cost of this method would soon add up.

Breast enlargement through exercise

This is a very credible option. The hypothesis is that exercises that increase the pectoral muscle (the muscle underneath your breasts) in both size and strength; such as press-ups, dumb bell lifts and wall presses, will grow the muscle to create a fuller appearance, as well as naturally lift your bust for a more perky profile. We are all for a healthy lifestyle and if you're looking for slight improvements to your breasts this is certainly a very good option.

Our only thoughts to consider would be when you stop exercising, as with all muscle, your breasts will go back to their original appearance. Going the other way, high levels of exercise to one area will burn off fat, in short too much exercise might leave you with smaller 'athletic breasts', which is perfect, if that is what you want, but not ideal if you wanted larger breasts.


Weight gain

This one is heading towards the 'questionable breast enlargement recommendations' category. Yes, gaining weight can indeed increase the size of your breasts, but it can also increase the size of your thighs, your arms, your face and anywhere fat cells are present.

When you gain weight, you cannot predict where the fat will be distributed, therefore it may not be where you want it. And when you lose weight, you will lose it from your breasts too. So, while eating yourself busty seems like a very enjoyable idea it doesn't seem very healthy or sustainable.

Questionable breast enlargement recommendations


As for the questionable methods category, the biggest fail recommendation that we've seen is to take SSRIs (antidepressants). Taking SSRI’s with the aim of increasing breast size is a very bad idea.

Your brain's chemistry (its neurotransmitters) should never be altered with the purpose of getting bigger boobs SSRI’s should only be taken when prescribed by a doctor to treat the condition they are designed to treat.

If this works, which we very highly doubt, there are endless unpleasant common side effects of antidepressants including headaches, low libido and weight gain - so you may get very slightly bigger boobs, but the after-effects won't be worth it.

Breast massage

Breast massage is another recommendation to stimulate growth. This is untrue and with there is no supporting evidence to show that massaging your breasts will make them bigger.

Breast enhancement foods

And an 'honourable' mention for the questionable recommendations category goes to breast enhancement foods. Certain oestrogen rich foods which will allegedlymake your boobs bigger include grapefruit, kale, tofu and rice; they may not increase your breast size but they will give you a nice healthy diet - so you can enjoy and hope for the best.


So, should you have a boob job?

If you want bigger breasts and creams, massage and kale haven't worked for you, then, in theory, the answer is yes... breast augmentation surgery is a good option. But we do have a couple of questions:

Do you want breast surgery because it will significantly improve your life and boost your confidence levels?

Or do you a boob job to look more like social influencers on Instagram in their special Instagram world (which is categorically not real life)?

Worst of all, do you want breast surgery to please someone else?

Our team will talk to anyone who visits us about their motivation for having surgery, but before you really think about going ahead, you need to be honest with yourself about why you want to have surgery, and decide whether it really is a good enough reason.


What actually happens during breast enlargement surgery?

Our Medical Director wrote an excellent outline of what to expect on our breast enlargement page, but we are certainly happy to include a quick overview of what happens here too.

  • Visit your local clinic for a no obligation consultation to talk about why you want surgery and what are your expectations. If you don't want to proceed you simply walk away.
  • If you do want to go ahead, you will have a consultation with your surgeon; meeting the surgeon costs £100, and if you decide to undergo surgery, this becomes part of your payment.
  • If you don't want to go ahead, talk to us about why not and we'll see if we can help - if you have concerns we will talk to you about them, if you are not sure about the cost our team will talk you through our breast enlargement finance options
  • If you choose to proceed you will come to the clinic a couple more times for your pre-op test and to address any more questions or concerns you have, but we're also available on the phone or online if you need us.
  • On the day of your surgery you'll be nil-by-mouth, your surgeon will come and talk you through everything one last time to make sure you're happy and comfortable. If you're nervous don't worry, nearly everyone is... it's normally a combination of excitement and nervousness.
  • You'll be taken to the operating room where your very friendly and highly experienced anaesthetist will gently help you to sleep.
  • Your surgeon will make a small incision in the underside crease of your breast, clean the area and with the use of a Keller Funnel insert the implant - it all takes about an hour.
    • The Keller Funnel generally leads to shorter incision lengths, reduces the pressure required to insert implants which lessens bruising and speeds recovery.
  • After your surgery you'll be placed into your support garment.
  • When you're fully awake your surgeon will check on you, and if they're happy you will be discharged into the care of a friend / loved one.
  • After this it's back to clinic visits during your recovery.

Admittedly this was a very brief guide, if you have more questions about breast enhancement we do have a frequently asked questions page which might help.


The bigger the breast implant the better, yes?

To be honest we would probably answer 'No! Absolutely not! No, no, no!" and here's why.


When you're looking at what implant size to choose the natural inclination is to go for the larger option After all, you are making your breasts bigger and you don't want to have regrets. You won't be getting them redone to make them bigger, because while all reputable surgeons will perform revision surgery it won't be because you changed your mind about how many cc's you want. So it has to be right the first time.

When picking your size we recommend that you start-off thinking about the future, yes the here and now is both important and compelling but where will you be in two years time? What job will you have in five years and will people take you seriously if you have big boobs? In theory yes they absolutely should, but some people are still a little old-school and can only see so far, they'll be wondering what's your bra-size, rather than your IQ size - your experience and ability may not even be a consideration.

There's also the long-term question of maintenance. Yes maintenance. After 10 years we recommend that you start getting MRI’s to ensure your breast implants are intact and sitting comfortably, if they're not you will need to undergo surgery to change the implants or have them removed. If you're otherwise happy with your breasts then change of implants seems like a good option, but it's not entirely straight forward. Generally speaking your skin will have stretched to accommodate the implant, when you then change the implant you will either need to go for a larger size to fill the stretched skin, or you'll have to an uplift to remove the excess skin before a new replacement breast implant is inserted.


After the enlargement

This isn't advice about how following your procedure you should eat, drink and be merry (though you should in a safe and sensible way). We're talking about when you've had implants for a few years, your lifestyle has changed and now you've changed your mind about the implants you chose, what then? Good question, and the answer isn't an easy one.

If you simply don't want implants anymore you could have them removed and not replaced. This is absolutely a viable option but there are a few things to be aware of. You will have excess skin where it has stretched to cover your implant, this will need to be removed and you may require an uplift. If you choose not to have an uplift, that is fair enough, but you have to be realistic and recognise that you will have droopy boobs. This comes back to our earlier point that bigger is not always better, if you have huge implants and later completely change your mind there will be a lot of excess skin to be removed. At the end of it all yes it's obvious, but your breasts will be smaller and you will be needing new clothes.

You could have your breast implants removed and replaced with smaller implants in the same shape (there are two shapes of implant, round and teardrop), so it’s essentially like you have lost a little weight from your breasts. When you're having your implants removed the surgeon would also remove excess skin and give you a small uplift so you look lovely and pert after your procedure.

Another option is to have a change of implant and stay the same size, but opt for a different implant shape. In the UK we tend to prefer round implants that give the classic boob job silhouette, but across much of the rest of the world the more natural looking teardrop shape is preferred (we provide both implants). There really isn't a right or wrong look, it's all about the end result that you want. If you stay the same size (or go a touch bigger) you may not need an uplift but can get away with a change of implants.


Is it safe?

This question we're going to take more seriously because your safety is a serious matter. However we have also written an article about breast health and safety that we recommend you visit to learn more. And we have a breast safety charter that introduces you to our codes of conduct and practices. Your safety really is fundamental to us.. Let's be serious, all surgery carries some level of risk - this is inevitable and something you have to understand and accept before going ahead with breast enlargement surgery. However, there are still some other risks after you've finished healing.

The first is capsular contracture. This is where your body essentially rejects the implant - it is a foreign entity in your body after all - by tightening and compressing it and distorting the appearance of the breast. Realistically this can be very uncomfortable and will require intervention by your surgeon.

Another risk is rupture. Even with our FDA approved Mentor implants we would be lying if we said that there was absolutely no chance of rupture, no-one can say that. However, in our case the risk is very low. Being FDA approved means that Mentor make every implant identically and to an exceptionally high standard. Rupture is a bit misleading, it's not remotely so dramatic, rather there is a tiny breach in the shell of the implant that shouldn't be there. With MemoryGel the silicone stays inside the implant, but it's still best practice to have them changed.

There is also increasing talk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma or ALCL, which is a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We think this is an important one to cover, because if people aren't upfront then inaccurate information spreads. It has been identified that the tumour can potentially grow around breast implants. Research was conducted and identified an effect on an estimated 1 in 24,000 breast implants (Source: Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) July 2018). It usually appears with a sudden swelling in the breast surrounding an implant, although it can present with a mass, and generally happens many years after the implants have been placed, an average of 8 years.

Finally, it's a good idea to be aware of your implant's age, no we're not saying so you can have an implant day celebration - but by all means please do - but for wear and tear purposes. Some people live with the same implants for 15 years, and others notice that they slightly harden and change shape after around 10 years. We're not saying on your 10th breast-anniversary you should rush to your surgeon but we do recommend that you consider undergoing an MRI to check that your implants are in the same top condition as the day they were implanted.


This article is factually correct but also a way for us to talk to you in a less formal style. At The Harley Medical group we are absolutely experts in our field and have extraordinary in-depth knowledge so we often write in a style to help our readers understand this. But at the end of it all, while we're experts we're also human who like to relax a little occasionally - you'll realise this if you choose to visit your local clinic for a free, no obligation chat with a member of our team.

Please remember that while our articles are accurate at the time of writing if you have any questions come in and meet a member of our team. And if you have any concerns about your breast health please seek professional medical advice immediately.

Posted July 18, 2020
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