Breast augmentations are done to enhance the patient’s breast volume. There are multiple approaches and there are multiple types and shapes of implants that can be used. The average operative time is an hour and a half. Time to recovery is approximately one week, and time until exercise activity is approximately two to three weeks. All patients are treated individually and may require alterations in the breast skin envelope at the same time as the breast augmentation.
Breast augmentation is one of the most common cosmetic surgical procedures. Breast augmentation surgery (augmentation mammoplasty) refers to the process of reshaping or recontouring of the breasts. In this surgery, an implant is used to enhance the shape, firmness, and size of the breasts. There are several sizes and styles of breast implants available on the market, and the technique used for surgery will vary amongst patients. Every patient is different, and Dr. Van Laeken will make an individual recommendation as the type of implant and the method of placement. You will have an opportunity to see the different implants during your consultation with Dr. Van Laeken. You can also view Dr. Van Laeken’s gallery of before and after photos.
Who is a Candidate?
Patients who seek augmentation surgery usually range between the ages of 20 to 50. Breast implants are most commonly used to enhance small breasts, balance asymmetrical breasts, or uplift breasts after pregnancy or fluctuating weight. Although breast augmentation can enhance your appearance and self-confidence, you should be realistic about your expectations.
Breast implant surgery should not be performed in
- Women with an infection anywhere in their body
- Women who are pregnant or nursing
- Women with existing cancer or precancer of their breasts who have not received adequate treatment.
Preparation for Surgery
It is very important that Dr. Van Laeken is aware of the state of your general health prior to surgery. Please let her know of any allergies you have, medications, herbal supplements, or vitamins you are taking as well as the reasons for taking them. It is also important that you inform Dr. Van Laeken if you have a tendency for keloid scarring (thick, wide, or raised scars).
If you are a smoker, we encourage you to abstain from smoking before your surgery for at least 14 days. Smoking can interfere with the blood flow to the skin, and will inhibit the healing of the incisions.
Depending on your age as well as your general health, pre-operative testing such as a blood test, an ECG, or a mammogram may be required (for breast procedures).
It is important that you avoid taking vitamin E, anti-inflammatories or aspirin products for 2 weeks prior to surgery. These products are anti coagulants, and could lead to hematoma formation and bleeding during the surgery.
Dr. Van Laeken operates at several different hospitals, but generally performs breast augmentation surgeries at False Creek Surgical Centre or Cambie Surgery Centre. These are both state of the art, fully accredited private surgical facilities.
Most patients who have sedentary jobs plan to take 1 week off work. If your job involves a great deal of physical activity Dr. Van Laeken can advise you as to how much time you should take off.
The operation is usually performed as a day care procedure under general anaesthesia and typically takes 1.5 hours.
A small incision is made either around the edge of the areola (peri-areolar), or in the crease under the breast (infra-mammary). Through this incision an implant filled with a saline solution or silicone gel is inserted into a pocket created behind the breast. Both silicone and saline implants have an outer shell made of silicone material. This pocket can be created in two places: directly under your breast tissue (sub-mammary placement), or underneath the pectoral muscle (sub-pectoral placement).
Dr. Van Laeken will close the incision and place a bandage dressing on you. This dressing will be in place for one week.
Please note: Costs vary according to type of breast implant used.
There will be swelling and bruising for the first few days after surgery. This is normal and should disappear within 2-6 weeks after surgery.
Dr. Van Laeken recommends that when you arrive home from the surgical facility you get into bed and rest for the first 24 hours. Try to keep activity to walking to the bathroom and back for the first 24 hours. Do not raise your arms above your head for the first 24 hours. Gradually increase activity as tolerated. No pulling, pushing, or lifting for 5 to 7 days.
You will be given a prescription for pain medication, take as directed. If your implant was placed under the muscle you may experience more pain. Ice packs or frozen peas to your breast may help relieve some discomfort.
Following surgery your breasts will feel swollen and the dressing will feel tight. This is normal. It is very important to leave the dressing on without disturbing it. It provides compression and prevents bleeding after surgery.
Do not shower until after the dressing is removed, you may have a bath but do not get the dressing wet.
Your first follow up appointment is in the office 1 week after surgery to remove the dressing.
The second visit is in another week (10 to 14 days after surgery) to remove the stitches. At the visit, you will be instructed how and when to commence breast massage. The breast massage is important to do to control the scar tissue that forms around the implant. At 4 weeks post op you may begin to wear an under wire bra.
Most patients usually return to work 7 to 14 days after surgery depending on the kind of work they do. If your work involves heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling you may be required to be off work longer. Dr. Van Laeken can advise you as to how much time you should take off.
The final results of the surgery will be evident approximately 6 weeks after surgery.
Breast Massage Techniques
These techniques are to be performed for 5 minutes total daily for the lifetime of the implant. Dr. Van Laeken recommends this be done in the shower for greatest of ease.
Step 1 – Make your hand into a “V” shape with your thumb on one side of the breast and your four fingers on the other side. Put the V at the base of your implant.
Step 2 – Move your thumb and fingers together so that the implant moves upwards. The implant should be forced out of its normal position into the open space above the implant.
Step 3- Let the implant fall back into its normal position, then repeat Step 2 to move the implant back up into the open space. You should continue this massage for one to two minutes.
Step 1 – Take the breast in your hand and move it back and forth between your thumb and the rest of your hand. Use a reasonable amount of force as you move the breast and the implant from its stationary position towards the underarm and then back towards the middle of your chest.
Step 1 – Grasp the breast with your hand, squeeze the implant and manipulate the breast with random directions. Move the breast/implant around in all directions to effectively touch all positions of numbers on the clock. No particular order is necessary.
Step 1 – Place your palm on the side of the breast and push towards the center of your chest for a count of 5. Repeat the same procedure with the other hand from the midline towards the underarm.
Step 2 – Perform the same procedure from the bottom of the breast upward and then finally from the top of the breast downward. Use a reasonable amount of force. You will not rupture your implant.
There are risks associated with any type of surgery. Although the incidence of complications is rare, Dr. Van Laeken feels that all patients should be informed of the potential complications prior to proceeding with surgery. Saline implants carry many of the risks as silicone gel-filled implants, including capsular contracture, infection, pain, and nerve damage. Implants, whether filled with saline or silicone, are not a lifetime device and may need to be replaced.
- Irreversible Effects
- Changes in Nipple Sensation
- Keloid Scarring
- Breast Feeding
- Capsular Contracture
- Rupture of Implant
Read definitions for possible complications.
View before and after photos
Contact us to book your consultation!
Breast implants change the way mammography is done to detect cancer. When you request a mammogram, be sure to go to a radiology center where technicians are experienced in the special techniques required to get a reliable x-ray of a breast with an implant. For mammography screening visit the BC Cancer Agency website or call:
(604) 877-6187 (Lower Mainland)
1-800-663-9203 (Rest of BC)
Notify Dr. Van Laeken If After Surgery You Notice:
- You notice that one breast is significantly larger than the other.
- You develop a fever or chills.
- You experience extreme pain that is not relieved by the prescribed analgesic.
- You have hemorrhaged or discharge from your incision.
- You have sudden enlargement of your breasts. It could be hemorrhage in or under your incision.
- You sustain any injury to either breast after surgery.
- You notice increased firmness of either breast.
- You notice any change in shape of either breast following surgery.
For more information about implants please visit the Natrelle website.
For diagnostic and screening information please visit the BC Cancer Agency website.