Breast Augmentation: Procedure, Type of Implants, Costs

Breast augmentation, often referred to as a "boob job", is one of the most popular forms of cosmetic plastic surgery available today. In fact, it is estimated that over 5 million women in the United States alone have breast implants, and that number is steadily rising with each year. Breast augmentation is also incredibly popular in countries such as South Korea and the United Kingdom as well.

What is breast augmentation?

The procedure is exactly what the name suggests. It augments, or increases, the size of a woman's breasts by using either breast implants or a process known as fat transfer. It is most often used by women who have had children to restore breast volume and shape after pregnancy, but there are plenty of women who choose to have the procedure done for other reasons.

Breast augmentation is also used for women who require reconstructive surgery due to an accident or an illness such as breast cancer.

This surgery, which may also be called augmentation mammoplasty, can help to increase the fullness and perkiness of your breasts, improve the symmetry and balance of breast and hip contour and give your self-confidence a major boost. It is important to note that this type of cosmetic surgery cannot correct breasts that are severely sagging. For that, you will most likely need a breast lift in place of, or in addition to, augmentation surgery. The good news is that these procedures can usually be done concurrently by a skilled surgeon.

How does breast augmentation work?

Before your surgery, you will have consultations with the surgeon who will be performing the procedure. He or she will talk with you about your goals and preferences, and you will get a realistic understanding of what size and shape will best suit your natural breast contour and body type.

Step One

As with any major medical procedure, the first step will be anesthesia. This can either be through intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. The surgeon will give you a recommendation about which type of medication will work best for you.

Step Two

The next step is creating the incision. There are three main sites that surgeons typically use for efficiency and creating an inconspicuous scar.

  1. Periareolar incision - This type of cut is made along the bottom edge of your areola.

  2. Inframammary incision - This site is underneath the breast along the bottom fold near where your breast touches your lower chest.

  3. Transaxillary incision - This incision site is located in the bottom portion of your underarm.

Step Three

Once the incision is made, it is time for the surgeon to insert the implant. This can be done in one of two ways.

The first way is called submuscular placement, and it involves positioning the implant in a pocket underneath your pectoral muscle.

The second method is called submammary or subglandular placement. This method allows the surgeon to insert the implant directly behind your breast tissue and in front of the pectoral muscle.

Which method your surgeon uses will depend on your body type, your preferred implants and how large you are hoping your breasts will be.

Step Four

The final step in the surgical process is for the incisions to be closed with stitches, medical-grade skin adhesive or surgical tape, depending on the incision site. While it is normal to see a small amount of scarring, the lines will continue to fade over time.

You will be able to see your results immediately following surgery, and once the sites have healed and any discomfort has subsided, your breast augmentation results will look even better.

What materials are breast implants made from?

When breast implants first became popular, they were not the best quality. Often, they would look unnatural, suddenly deflate or leak without warning. Thankfully, the implants used today are much higher quality and varied to suit almost any size and shape preference.

Implants can be made with saline or silicone. Saline implants are filled with sterile salt water and can provide a uniform shape and feel. If a saline implant ever leaks, it will collapse and the saline solution will be naturally absorbed by your body with no harm to you.

Silicone breast implants are filled with a special silicone gel that is intended to feel more natural. If a silicone implant leaks, it will not collapse, but the gel may escape into the breast pocket. If you opt for silicone breast implants, it's important to visit your plastic surgeon periodically to ensure the implants are in good condition.

How much does breast augmentation cost?

The cost of breast augmentation varies by country. We have collected below the average price for the procedure using standard, round-shaped, submuscular, <400cc breast implants. As you can see, prices can be as little as 2,200€ in Thailand up to 10,000€ in the US.

Overview of costs for breast augmentation in different countries:

Country EUR USD GBP
Thailand 2 200 2 590 1 950
Brazil 2 610 3 070 2 300
Poland 2 650 3 120 2 350
Czech Republic 2 700 3 170 2 400
Hungary 2 800 3 000 2 490
Turkey 2 900 3 550 2 570
Costa Rica 2 990 3 500 2 650
Mexico 3 000 3 530 2 660
Malaysia 3 500 4 120 3 100
UK 4 900 5 770 4 350
Australia 6 000 7 000 5 300
USA 8 200 9 700 7 200

boob job cost

Who is eligible for breast augmentation?

Women who are in good health and have done thorough research are the best candidates for breast augmentation. It is also important for candidates to have realistic expectations about what the procedure can and cannot do for them. Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or currently battling with infection or certain illnesses are typically not eligible for breast augmentation. Qualifications vary from one country to another, so it is important to find out what the requirements are in the country you plan to receive the procedure.

If you opt for saline implants, the procedure can be done on women 18 or older. For silicone implants, the age of eligibility is typically 22.

Is the breast augmentation surgery painful?

During the surgery, you will be given anesthesia. This means you will feel no pain while the surgery takes place. After surgery, it is normal to experience soreness, swelling and discomfort around the breasts and incision sites. Over-the-counter painkillers are usually enough to alleviate any pain, and your surgeon may also prescribe medication for you.

What is the postoperative recovery time?

Full recovery can take anywhere from six to eight weeks, but you will see steady improvements in as little as one week. Your doctor will likely recommend no heavy lifting or strenuous activity for up to six weeks, but you should not expect to be bedridden throughout recovery. Generally, a few days of complete rest are enough before you can begin to resume normal, light activity.

Where should I go to have breast augmentation surgery?

Breast augmentation is a personal choice, so you should go anywhere that you feel comfortable. Popular locations for this procedure include South Korea, Thailand, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

Before making any decisions, make sure you do extensive research on the treatment, the clinic, and the surgeon. Take the time to read reviews from past patients, see before and after pictures and understand what you’re looking for. A reputable plastic surgery surgeon will take the time to go through all your options with you and give you alternative suggestions for realistic results.

While prices can play a major role in your choice, this doesn’t mean you need to give up on quality. Lower living and labour costs in countries like Costa Rica or Thailand offer great deals to patients looking for a more affordable option than in their home country.

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