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How Long Does Breast Augmentation Surgery Take? Recovery Tips to Use

Published by Dr. Brandon Richland, MD

Breast augmentation is a commonly performed plastic surgical procedure for women that want to enhance the size and volume of their breast. This surgery is usually conducted outpatient, however, some patients may opt to stay overnight for observation. Patients must arrive an hour or two ahead of the scheduled procedure time and will require some time pre-surgery. The procedure itself usually takes between 45 minutes and two hours to complete.

Key Takeaways of How Long Does Breast Augmentation Take

  • Breast augmentation surgery can take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours, depending on the complexity of the patient’s case.
  • Factors that can influence the duration of breast augmentation surgery include implant size or type, additional procedures such as a breast lift, and tissue manipulation needed for correction.
  • When considering this procedure for better results in shorter periods with less overall risk or complications during recovery, a qualified plastic surgeon is important.
  • Before undergoing breast augmentation surgery, it’s important to get an in depth consultation and follow your doctor’s preoperative protocols carefully while also avoiding any lotions, deodorants, and smoking, which could increase risks associated with major cosmetic surgeries like this one.

Understanding Breast Augmentation Surgery

What is Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure that involves enhancing the size of the breasts. This can be achieved by inserting implants or performing a fat transfer. It is one of the most commonly performed plastic surgery procedures in the United States.

Average Duration of Surgery

Breast augmentation surgery time depends on the complexity of the patient’s case. Factors such as implant size, type of breast implant surgery, anesthesia used, and the surgeon’s experience can all affect how long it takes to complete a breast augmentation procedure.

Most surgeons will spend between 45 minutes to two hours performing breast implant surgeries, with larger implants requiring longer procedures. For smaller implants or less complex cases, the surgery may not take more than an hour.

Image Credit: Lightfieldstudios / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Factors Affecting the Duration of Breast Augmentation Surgery

The amount of time it takes to perform breast augmentation surgery can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the case, the type of implant used, and the experience of the surgeon.

Complexity of the Case

The complexity of a breast augmentation case can affect the duration of surgery significantly. Several factors may be involved, such as additional procedures like a breast lift, any asymmetries or deformities in the breasts that must be corrected, and the amount of tissue manipulation required.

In cases with asymmetry between both sides or an existing deformity needing correction, more time is usually necessary to create results that look symmetric and balanced. Reconstructive procedures might require extensive modifications to ensure correct positioning and shape for aesthetic outcomes that satisfy the patient’s requirements.

When different techniques are used simultaneously during surgery to achieve better cosmetic results, such as fat transfer from other body areas combined with implants, longer surgical time is needed.

Type of Implant Used

When it comes to breast augmentation, the choice of implant can have an impact on both the duration of the surgery and the lifespan of the implant. There are several types of implants available, such as saline, structured silicone, cohesive silicone, or gummy bear, each with their unique shape, feel, and size characteristics.

The more complex cases or heavier implants may require larger, which take longer to place inside the body during surgery. Certain types have a shorter life expectancy than others.

Surgeon’s Experience

A skilled surgeon can accurately evaluate the complexity of the procedure and determine what type of implant will be best suited to achieve the desired results.

This not only helps reduce the duration of the surgery but also improves patient satisfaction with their outcomes. A qualified plastic surgeon has performed numerous breast augmentation procedures over time will have knowledge about details such as incision placement and pocket creation that are required for a successful and safety outcome.

Preparing for Breast Augmentation Surgery

Before breast augmentation surgery, a consultation will be arranged with the surgeon to confirm that the patient has reasonable expectations and is in good physical condition.

Breast Augmentation Consultation

Prior to a breast augmentation surgery, patients should expect to meet with a surgeon for an in-depth consultation. This initial consultation is a crucial step of the procedure. It allows the surgeon to assess and understand the patient’s unique anatomy, including goals, lifestyle habits, health history, and overall body type.

They will conduct a physical exam of the chest area and use implant sizers to help determine the ideal size and shape of implants that fit each individual’s body perfectly.

Taking an in-depth look at various factors, such as structure, height and weight ratio, and any asymmetries of natural breast tissue, helps give insight into whether any other procedures may be necessary, so make sure all information is adequately available when considering undergoing breast augmentation surgery.

Pre Operative Instructions

Before a breast augmentation surgery, a woman should be sure to follow her doctor’s preoperative instructions. These include getting blood tests and fasting the night before the procedure.

Women should also avoid using lotions, deodorant, makeup, and sprays, as these may increase surgical risks during their implant placement surgery. Smoking is strongly discouraged one month before and after the breast implant procedure to reduce potential complications post surgery, such as infection or healing complications that can affect aesthetic results.

Immediate Recovery After Breast Augmentation Surgery

Following surgery, patients are observed for a period of time before being allowed to go home with detailed instructions on what to expect during the recovery process.

Image Credit: Ufabizphoto / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Waking up from Anesthesia

After breast augmentation surgery, it usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour for patients to wake up fully from anesthesia. During this time, they may experience some confusion or foggy feeling as the effects of anesthetic gradually subside.

Patients may also feel certain side effects, such as nausea, dizziness, headache, and abdominal discomfort due to their medication. These sensations are normal after the procedure, and with continued rest, these will generally resolve quickly.

If general anesthesia is used during the operation, patients may need assistance when waking up, wherein a medical professional should be present nearby in case any additional help is needed.

Pain Management

Pain management is an essential part of recovering from breast augmentation surgery. During the first 2 to 3 days after surgery, pain medication such as ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is prescribed to manage the discomfort experienced by patients due to swelling and bruising in the treated area.

Patients may also be advised to use creams that contain lidocaine, a numbing agent that can help reduce pain sensations in bruised areas. Muscle relaxants may be prescribed further to relieve soreness and stiffness around the chest muscles.

Throbbing or sharp pains should not persist several weeks after completing a recovery period, and these incidences should be discussed with your physician if they appear at any time during your breast augmentation recovery process.

Swelling and Bruising

Following breast augmentation surgery, it is expected to experience swelling and bruising of the breasts. These symptoms can last for several weeks or even months after your procedure.

Bruising is also common as part of the healing process, which can begin as soon as a few days or up to one week after your operation, requiring several days for complete resolution in some cases.

Activity Restrictions

After breast augmentation surgery, a period of limited activity is usually necessary to give the body time to heal and potentially avoid complications. Women may return to light activity two or three weeks following their surgery, depending on how they feel.

Strenuous activities and sports are generally restricted for at least six weeks, while short walks can promote proper blood flow and healing. It is very important to follow your surgeon’s instructions carefully when it comes to post operative care, as this will ensure that you make a swift recovery from your procedure with no more long term restrictions than necessary.

Long Term Recovery After Breast Augmentation Surgery

Follow up appointments are necessary for monitoring post operative healing, and the implants usually reach their final shape after several months.

Follow up Appointments

After a breast augmentation surgery, most patients are required to attend follow up appointments. When scheduled by the surgeon, these visits occur within one month of the procedure and again after one year from surgery.

During these initial visits with the plastic surgeon, the patient’s recovery is monitored, and potential postoperative complications are identified. The surgeon also reviews long term care instructions with the patient that should be followed for optimal results and implant longevity.

Annual follow up exams allow confirmation that implants remain in acceptable condition over time and have not shifted since their placement during breast augmentation.

Final Results Timeline

Women who have undergone breast augmentation surgery can expect to see the final results within three to four months. This timeline may vary from woman to woman depending on several factors, such as the complexity of the case, the type of implant used, and the surgeon’s experience.

The recovery process is not instantaneous, and it takes time for the implants to take shape and settle into their final position before the desired outcomes are achieved. While short term discomfort is expected, patients should recognize that it will take time for their breasts to heal completely, so they must be patient and allow their bodies enough time to heal correctly.

Potential Complications and Risks

Infection

Breast augmentation surgery as any other surgery carries a potential risk of infection that must be taken into consideration.

Infection can cause symptoms such as fatigue, rash, itching sensation referred to as brain fog, and joint pain, which can occur both in the short and long term after the breast augmentation procedure.

Implant Rupture or Leakage

Breast implant ruptures can occur over time due to age or other factors such as trauma to the implants. Saline and silicone implants are both at risk of rupture. It is estimated that approximately half of all breast implants may rupture within 15 years.

When an implant ruptures, material leakage can lead to pain and soreness in the affected areas, swelling around the implant, or changes in size or shape. The leaked material from saline implants is generally harmless. If a silicone implant ruptures, there is a slight chance that some filler could migrate outside their shells, which could have potentially dangerous side effects on your health.

It’s important to be aware of common symptoms such as lumps or hardening near the breasts, which may indicate a potential rupture so that you can seek medical evaluation promptly. Routine screenings with your doctor are essential for monitoring abnormalities and identifying signs of leakage before they become more serious complications like infection.

Capsular Contracture

Capsular contracture is a potential complication of breast augmentation surgery in which the tissue around the implant contracts and hardens. This scar tissue can cause discomfort, distorted breasts, and even lead to implant rupture or deflation.

Capsular contracture usually happens when bacteria enter the area surrounding the implant, causing an inflammatory response from the body as it tries to protect itself from foreign invaders.

Symptoms may include pain or tightness in the breast, lumpiness, visible rippling or rippled appearance on the surface of breast implants, asymmetrical breast shape breast size, and hardness near the chest wall or ribs.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Long Does Breast Augmentation Take

1. How Long Does Breast Augmentation Take?

The breast augmentation procedure usually lasts between one and two hours. However, you will need to arrive at the clinic an hour or two ahead of time and also have some recovery time after the procedure. So, in total, you should plan on the entire process taking about 4-6 hours from your arrival to discharge. Your plastic surgeon will provide a timeline for the procedure during your consultations.

2. What Types of Anesthesia are Used for Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentations can be performed either under general or local anesthesia, depending on the patient’s preference and overall health condition. Prior consultations with your cosmetic surgeon will help to decide which type of anesthesia will suits you best.

3. Can Breast Augmentation Ever Require Additional Surgeries After the First Procedure?

Yes, patients may sometimes need additional corrective surgeries following breast augmentation to ensure optimal results from the procedure. This is more common when implants of different sizes are used or if certain medical conditions exist that could affect healing time afterward, like diabetes.              

4. Are There Any Risks Associated With Getting a Breast Augmentation Procedure?

Breast augmentation is considered a low-risk cosmetic procedure, but it may still pose some minor complications like scarring or infection at the incision site. The good news is that these instances are rare, and you can reduce the risk by choosing an experienced surgeon who prioritizes safety and hygiene during the operation.

Image Credit: Iakovenko / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Conclusion and Summary of How Long Does Breast Augmentation Surgery Take? Recovery Tips to Use

Breast augmentation surgery is a relatively safe and quick surgical procedure. The procedure usually takes about an hour to complete and involves inserting implants in either the upper chest or, more commonly, under the muscle of the breast.

Factors such as complexity and type of implant used can influence how long breast augmentation surgery takes. As with any medical operation, some risks are involved, including infection and implant rupture or leakage, so proper care should be taken when considering this option for cosmetic enhancement.

Your healthcare provider will advise you accordingly on what to look out for during recovery, from post surgery care instructions to follow up appointments, which could help ensure a long lasting and successful result.

Please note that this article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Before making any changes to your treatments, please consult with your healthcare provider to discuss the appropriateness and safety of such changes.

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About the Author

Dr. Brandon Richland, MD is a respected Board Certified Licensed Plastic Surgeon in Orange County / Southern California specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries.

Driven by his passion for medicine, Dr. Richland obtained his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the prestigious program at Saint Louis University (SLU) School of Medicine in 2013. His exceptional skills were recognized when he received the McGraw Hill / Lange Medical Student Academic Achievement Award, and graduated top of his class with Honors. For his undergraduate degree, he attended University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and graduated with Honors in 2009.

To further enhance his surgical expertise, Dr. Richland completed his Residency in Plastic Surgery at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) from 2013 to 2019 earning the Academic Achievement Award twice during this period. A total of 14 years in dedicated schooling and medical residency.

Dr. Richland is actively involved with healthcare and medical societies, as a Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, and the California Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Contact Dr. Richland today by visiting RichlandMD.com, scheduling a cosmetic consultation, or by calling 714-241-0646 or 949-945-0025 directly.