Medically Reviewed April 2023, by Claire Clarke - Head of Surgical Services for The Harley Medical Group
Breast Enlargement Frequently Asked Questions
Before your procedure
- Is breast enlargement right for me?
- Am I too old / young?
- How do I choose the right cup size?
- How do I choose a reputable cosmetic surgeon?
Your breast enlargement procedure
- What does the procedure entail and how long does it take?
- How much does breast augmentation cost?
- What should I wear after my surgery?
- What are the risks?
- What is a CPG implant?
- What is the difference between round and CPG (teardrop) breast implants?
- What is a Keller Funnel?
- What is the FDA's relationship with Mentor Breast Implants?
- Do you have a breast enlargement clinic near me?
After your breast enlargement procedure
- Will I left with scars?
- What is Capsular Contracture?
- How long to breast implants last?
- Do I need to take any long-term precautions after breast enlargement surgery?
- What aftercare is available to me?
- What happens if I have an implant rupture?
- What is ALCL?
- Can breast implants make you ill?
- What is the breast implant registry?
Recovery and beyond
- Is it possible / safe to breastfeed with breast implants?
- What are the benefits of Mentor Breast Implants?
- How long will it take me to fully recover?
- How soon after my procedure can I go on a sun-bed?
- How soon after my procedure can I fly?
- Will the implants come with a warranty?
Before your Breast enlargement procedure
People choose to have Breast Enlargement for many different reasons. The procedure is most suitable for and most commonly performed on patients with small breasts, asymmetrical breasts or breasts that have lost volume or shape due to weight loss or pregnancy. There is no right or wrong reason to have the procedure but what’s essential for all patients is that you do thorough research and talk to your chosen cosmetic surgeon.
Breast Enlargement surgery is not recommended for women who have not fully developed, as the body shape can change a lot, naturally. To have this procedure at The Harley Medical Group, you must be over 18 and in good general health. Your cosmetic surgeon will have access to your medical records too, so they will be able to advise you on whether the procedure is suitable for you. We thoroughly assess all patients, regardless of age so please book a free consultation to find out if you’re a suitable patient.
Choosing the right size is crucial and this will be a big part of your surgical consultations. The sizes available to you will depend on your current breast size, your build and the amount of loose fat or skin in the chest area.
It is important that your cosmetic surgeon is fully qualified and experienced. To make sure your cosmetic surgeon is reputable, ensure the clinic is registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) or The Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW). You should also look for cosmetic surgeons who are registered with The General Medical Council (GMC) and ask if they are carrying out cosmetic surgery procedures on a daily basis. Because the procedure is different for every patient, there is no set price. An accurate cost can be given following consultations with your cosmetic surgeon and this will include an overnight stay and all aftercare appointments.
Your breast enlargement procedure
The procedure usually takes between one and two hours to complete, is carried out under general anaesthetic and may require an overnight stay in hospital so that your progress can be monitored.
Your cosmetic surgeon will begin by making small incisions in the natural crease underneath the breast, in the armpit or the underside of the nipple area. They will then insert the implant either behind or over the muscle and breast tissue to give a natural shape before closing the incisions with surgical sutures. Your surgeon will advise which position will deliver the best results for you. You can discuss the procedure in more detail with your cosmetic surgeon during your consultation.
Prices for breast augmentation surgery start from £4,450.
As the procedure is different for every patient, there is no set price. An accurate cost can be given following consultations with your cosmetic surgeon, this will address whether you need an overnight stay and all aftercare appointments.
After your procedure you will be required to wear a compression garment to aid healing and optimise recovery. We have partnered with Macom, the UK’s leading distributor of medical grade compression garments. All our garments are designed in collaboration with Doctors and Surgeons and manufactured in our own state of the art laboratory and factory. All macom® garments are free of latex, fully breathable and we hold a CE® mark and Oeko-tex® certification ensuring macom® garments are safe to all humans, non-animal tested and safe to the environment. There is no harmful chemical in the manufacturing process and therefor safeguarding sensitive skins and allowing patients to wear the garments directly against the treated area after surgery.
For further details on the right support garment for you, ask at your consultation. You are entitled to an exclusive 15% off support garment discount, just use code HARLEYMEDICAL15 at the checkout. https://www.macom-medical.com/post-surgery-female/bras
The risks with Breast Enlargement are the same as with any surgical procedure that requires general anesthetic. Capsular contracture is the most common complication of Breast Enlargement surgery. The risks and details of the procedure will be fully explained during your consultation.
The Contour Profile Gel (CPG) breast implant, also known as an anatomical implant, is the teardrop shaped implant that is designed to follow the curves of your body. The implant has less volume towards the top and are fuller at the bottom, result is a more natural looking fuller breast. This style of implant is the most requested across the world, particularly in Europe and America, and is growing in popularity in the UK where the trend for more discreet implants is growing.
The only difference between the round and the CPG (teardrop or anatomical) breast implant is the shape. Both implants have the same unique, patented Memory Gel (although anatomical implants are made of a firmer gel to help them keep their shape) and outer shell and both come in a variety of projections and sizes. Most importantly both implants are tested to the highest exacting standards.
A round breast implant, currently the most popular style in the UK, looks like half a sphere is no defined top or bottom. Round implants give a full look directly under the nipple area providing the classic augmented appearance.
Teardrop implants have less volume towards the top of the implant and are fuller at the bottom, more closely resembling the look of a natural breast. Teardrop implants do have a slightly longer recovery time, but can produce a more natural result in some patients, which is becoming increasingly popular.
The Keller Funnel is an FDA* approved medical device that allows the surgeon to position the breast implant with minimal contact to the implant itself. This means that the implant never meets your skin during surgery ensuring it remains perfectly sterile. The funnel also allows the surgeon to make a smaller incision, which means that recovery time after surgery should lessen as the procedure is less impactful on the body.
In most cases our surgeons will use the Keller Funnel in their breast procedures, and at no additional cost to our patients.
*Food & Drug Administration, US
Mentor's MemoryGel™ Silicone Breast¹ Implants approved for use by the FDA* and exceed CE & MHRA** testing standards; they are widely seen as the gold standard worldwide.
However, it has recently been reported that the FDA was in contact with Mentor regarding continue safety studies even their devices were FDA approved. Mentor's response:
"Mentor is disappointed with the FDA’s decision to issue a Warning Letter despite our good faith efforts to address post-approval study requirements and without informing Mentor previously about any significant deficiencies... In addition, a number of the details cited in the Warning Letter are incorrect and incomplete and we look forward to the opportunity to further discuss these discrepancies and next steps with the FDA."
*Food & Drug Administration, US **Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
The Harley Medical Group has clinics nationwide who can help you on your breast enlargement journey; choose your local clinic.
After your breast enlargement procedure
Surgical incisions are made in the most discreet places possible, normally the underside of the breast. Any scarring you are left with will fade over time until you usually are left with very faint marks that are barely noticeable.
Capsular contracture is when natural breast tissue (from scar tissue and collagen) can form around the implants, which in time may thicken and harden the breast. This can cause discomfort and the breasts to look and feel different.
When you have Breast Enlargement surgery, your body will usually form a layer of healthy tissue around the implant to make it a part of your body. This thin layer of natural breast tissue is called the capsule and is a natural and healthy part of the healing process. If you’re experiencing redness, inflammation or pain, you should always contact your clinic immediately.
We use Mentor breast implants and these come with a 10-year warranty (which includes free replacement in the case of capsular contracture. It’s important to bear in mind, breast implants will usually last between 10 and 12 years, after which they’ll need to be replaced.
No. The only precautions you’ll need to take are any that you took before you had your surgery. There are many myths surrounding breast implants and flying for example, but these have no basis in truth. Long-term, if you choose to keep your implants for 10 years or more we recommend and annual MRI scan to ensure the implants continued integrity.
A high level of aftercare is crucial after any surgical procedure, that’s why you’ll only ever deal with qualified, caring professionals at The Harley Medical Group. From your first free consultation, to the dedicated check-ups following your procedure, you’ll have a committed nurse and surgeon team to guide you through. As our patient, we will do everything we can to ensure you have a full and speedy recovery. Before you leave the hospital you will be given full post-operative advice, as well as a phone number you can ring 24-hours a day if you have any questions or concerns. We pride ourselves on always being there to put your mind at ease in the weeks, months and years following Breast Enlargement surgery.
We care about you and that’s why we use Mentor implants. We are completely confident in their high quality and very low rupture rate and that’s why they come with a Lifetime Replacement Policy for confirmed rupture. In this unlikely event, the cost of the replacement implants will be covered by the policy.
ALCL stands for Anaplastic large cell lymphoma, the full title is Breast Implant Associate Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), and is an extremely rare cancerous tumour that can potentially grow around breast implants. The occurrence of ALCL affects is estimated at 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. It usually happens many years after the implants have been placed, an average of 8 years.
Most cases are easily treated by having the implant removed, along with the capsule that surrounds it (total capsulectomy).
Simon Smith, our Medical Director, comments:
“BIA-ALCL is very rare - estimated at 1 in 24,000 breast implants, and can affect women having implants placed for cosmetic or reconstructive reasons. It seems likely that few women are likely to change their mind about implants, but they should have full awareness of this condition before agreeing to implants, as part of their consent process.
Women who have implants already, certainly should not be alarmed, but if they get a sudden swelling in their breasts, they should seek a referral from their GP to their local breast unit, who will follow guidelines set down by the Association of Breast Surgery (ABS) to ensure that there is no underlying serious cause for it. Treatment for BIA-ALCL is usually simple and successful, but it must be actively managed.”
Patient safety has been and always will be our priority which is why we recommend Mentor implants. MENTOR® Breast Implants are backed by substantial clinical data demonstrating safety and effectiveness in patients having undergone primary and revisionary augmentation and reconstruction surgeries. Mentor continues to support ongoing inquiries into the association of ALCL and breast implants.
Some patients with breast implants have reported a range of systemic symptoms which they refer to as breast implant illness. Manufacturers track and monitor the systemic symptoms reported to them and report them to the proper regulatory authorities. While the current body of scientific evidence does not support claims that breast implants cause systemic illness, the USA Food & Drug Administration (FDA), in partnership with industry and medical and plastic surgery societies, is taking steps to better characterise the set of conditions and its risk factors and researchers are working to understand the origins of the symptoms.
The Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has developed a Breast Implant Registry on behalf of the Department of Health. The registry has been established to capture all breast implant surgery carried out both by the NHS and privately, and is in response to Recommendation 21 of the Keogh Review of the Regulation of the Cosmetic Interventions.
Simon Smith, Medical Director at The Harley Medical Group said:
“We set incredibly high standards, for ourselves and our teams, and have developed our own Breast Safety Charter to ensure the needs of our patients are met and they receive peace of mind. One important step in guaranteeing patient safety, is we record all implant usage and partner with our hospitals to comply with the Breast Implant Registry.”
Recovery and beyond
Yes absolutely. It is important to let your surgeon know if you plan to have children and breastfeed as it may influence where the incisions are made.
At The Harley Medical Group we use Mentor breast implants. Mentor, a Johnson & Johnson brand, has been producing the highest quality breast implants for more than 25 years. They are approved by the US FDA (Food and Drugs Administration), come with a 10-year warranty and exceed CE and MHRA testing standards following more than 20 years of clinical data. They are also the UK’s leading provider of implants for breast reconstruction patients. For more information visit our Mentor Breast Implants page
After your breast surgery you will be required to wear a post-surgical bra (similar to a sports bra) 24-hours a day, to support and protect your breasts after the surgery. Every patient is different but a full recovery is usually made between four and six weeks, returning to work after just one to two weeks depending on the nature of your occupation.
Before leaving the hospital you will be given a full guide to help you to make a full and speedy recovery, along with a phone number so that you can call any day, any time that you need us. You may require a night or short stay in hospital to have your progress monitored, but you should be back to work in one to two weeks depending on your occupation, and a full recovery should be made between four and six weeks after surgery.
While at The Harley Medical Group we do not recommend the use of sun-beds under any circumstances we understand that they are a popular way to prepare the skin before a holiday. We recommend waiting for six weeks (by this time you will not have to wear your sports bra) before going on the bed, and then only if your nurse and surgeon have confirmed the wounds have healed normally. The incisions must be covered for the duration and we recommend also using at least SPF25 on them for additional protection. The scars should be white before they’re exposed to the sun, new skin can pigment if exposed to UV.
If your surgeon is happy with the way you are your healing you can fly two weeks after surgery, however at The Harley Medical Group we highly recommend you wait for at least six weeks to ensure you are fully healed. This is also a practical recommendation, until six weeks post operation of your breast augmentation you will be unable to wear a bikini, go swimming in the pool, spa or sea or lift your luggage... which doesn’t make for the most entertaining holiday.
Mentor Memory Gel implants has one of the best warrantees on the market "You can’t put a price on peace of mind. So neither have we".
Limited Warranty Plan for Mentor® and PERT HESE™ Silicone Gel-filled Breast Implants*
• Free automatic enrolement
• Lifetime product replacement in case of confirmed rupture
• In the case of confirmed rupture, up to €1000 of financial assistance, for a period of 10 years from the date of its implantation
• Free product replacement in the case of confirmed capsular contracture Baker grade III and IV in augmentation surgery, for a period of 10 years from the date of its implantation
** For all other MENTOR® and PERTHESE™ Breast Implants,please refer to the Mentor Lifetime Product Replacement Policy