Table of contents:
What is a breast augmentation?
A breast augmentation is performed by means of an implant, an autologous (= from your own body) fat transplantation or a combination. Both the shape and the form of the breast can be adapted. A good plastic surgeon always considers the shape of the thorax. You are more or less free to choose which type of augmentation and (incase of implants) which implants you want. But we also take into account the amount of breast tissue and skin you have, the size of your chest and the extent to which your breasts hang or sag. There are several things to discuss during your consultation:
- Do you want a rough or smooth shell?
- What size do you want?
- Do you want saline or silicone implants?
- What shape do you want? Round or teardrop?
- What kind of profile do you want? Low–medium–high–full–oval–full height?
- What volume do you want?
When assessing where to insert the implant, we take into account your figure and the amount of breast tissue, fat tissue and mammary gland tissue. After your first consultation with Dr Doornaert, we will know which is the best option for you.
The options: implants, autologous fat transplantation or lipofilling
If an implant is considered, there is a choice between saline-filled and silicone-filled implants. Both however have a silicone shell. Because of a sometimes less natural feel of saline-filled implants if placed directly beneath the skin or the breast gland, their use has been replaced by silicone implants. The silicone gel has a more natural feel, and provides a stable form and projection over time. Moreover, the gel nowadays is cohesive, making them safe in use. In the unlikely case of a shell leak, the gel always remains in one piece. Long-term follow-up scientific studies have proven that the current generation of silicone implants have no negative influence on the general health. Cohesive gel implants exist in both round and anatomical forms. Saline-filled implants only exist in round forms. However, since they can be inserted through small incisions, excellent results can be obtained in selected cases where there is opted for retro-muscular placement. The implants we use are from the brands Sebbin, Motiva, Mentor or B-Lite and have a 10 to 15 year warranty.
In addition, autologous fat transplantation or lipofilling can be used. Fat tissue can be harvested on regions of the body where fat depots exist, such as the thighs, the belly and the hips, in a real liposculpture procedure. After processing the fat, it can be used for lipofilling. This is performed by placing tiny deposits of healthy fat throughout the tissues that needs to be augmented. In certain cases, a natural life-long augmentation without scars can be performed. In other cases, lipofilling can be used as an adjunct to placement of a smaller implant to obtain a more natural and long-lasting result.
Who is a good candidate for a breast augmentation?
This technique is suitable for everybody. Please disclose your health conditions or medical history during the consultation so we can make a good assesment. If you already have some breast volume, and you wish to add one or two cup sizes, lipofilling might be a good solution. If you want more elaborate changes in volume or shape, an implant, or a combination of implants with lipofilling is possible.
How to prepare for a breast augmentation?
- A recent mammography is needed if you are over 30 years old.
- Quit smoking.
- If lipofilling is indicated, a lipo-panty should be ordered (by us or by the patient).
- Special breast bandages for post-operative use are comfortable and improve the result, and can be ordered (by us or by the patient).
- In case you take any type of medication (e.g. blood thinners like aspirin), ask for advice and when you should stop taking them before surgery.
How is a breast augmentation performed?
Depending on your medical history, and the addition of lipofilling, the procedure can be performed under local anaesthesia with sedation, or under general anaesthesia (which is usually the case). The operation will last 1 hour on average, although it can be longer if methods are combined.
An implant can be placed in front or behind your chest muscle. Incisions are made in the armpits, via the areolas (= the dark, circular tissue around the nipples ) or underneath the breasts (our preferred method due to more control) to insert the implants.
- When placed above the large pectoral muscle:
- It offers a natural result.
- This placement is not advised when you are naturally thin or when you have very thin skin because the edges of the implant might become slightly visible. Bear in mind that your skin will lose elasticity and will become even thinner over time.
- The implant will have minimal support because is placed above the muscle.
- When placed under the large pectoral muscle:
- The breasts will be firmer and will also feel harder.
- You will not feel the edges of the implants.
- There is less capsule formation than above the muscle. However, sometimes it may look less natural.
Using autologous fat transplantation or lipofilling
You first undergo liposuction to remove fat from other parts of your body, such as the abdomen, hips or thighs. The fat cells are then injected into your breasts. This method doesn’t leave any scars. However, liposculpture isn’t suitable for everyone. Again, a consultation with your doctor will point out which is the best option for you.
Recovery & postoperative advice
You will receive a folder with postoperative instructions and advice. Please read them attentively and contact your doctor for any questions if needed.
- After waking up, you will feel numb, thight or sore in the chest area. When moving your torso and/or arms, you might experience discomfort due to swelling and the sutures. Nausea and vomiting can occur as a result of the general anaesthesia.
- Immediately after your operation, you will be wearing a supportive bra. You will wear it for 6 weeks and it should never be taken off within that time, except when changing the bandages of cleaning the wounds. Even after that period of time, we advise you to wear supportive bras for a while for optimal support.
- After about 4 hours, you are allowed to go home, only after close assesment. You can only leave when you can drink and urinate and when you are fully conscious. Blood pressure and respitory functions need to be stable as well. If you have to travel a long way, it is advisable to stay one night in the vicinity.
- During the first 24 hours, it is compulsory for an adult to stay with you.
- It is safe to shower after 48 hours but avoid still water (pools, hot tubs, etc.) for at least 2 weeks. Be careful and take your time when drying off.
- Do not drive vehicles for the first 48 hours after the operation.
- Do not drink alcohol.
- Do not lift anything heavier than a 1.5L bottle of water.
- Do not raise your arms above your head.
- Never lie in the sun with your scar exposed.
- Try to sleep on your back for the first few months.
- Plan check-ups with your surgeon.
- After the first 10 days
- After 1 month
- In case of problems.
- After your recovery, general check-ups can be done with your GP or gynaecologist.
- In case no problems occur, we advise you to check the implants after 12 years with an ultrasound.
The final shape of your breasts will start to look its best approximately three months after surgery, but again, recovery takes time and it depends on the person.
The breasts might look higher, firmer, and 'less natural' in the first three months because of swelling and the surrounding tissues that still need to settle. It can take up to a year for the final result to be visible.
The first 24 hours after the operation, a bleeding or hematoma (= collection of blood outside of blood vessels) can occur. After that, like with any operation, a wound infection can occur. An infection of the implant that requires removal is very rare.
The silicone shell of the implant is constructed with a special surface to allow the surrounding tissues to attach firmly to the implant (= capsulation). This is a normal reaction and keeps the implant in the right position. On the long term however, this capsula can start to contract as a scar tissue (capsular contraction), causing the shape of the breast to change, and sometimes resulting in pain or discomfort. The smaller the implant compared to the present tissues, the better the odds this will not happen.
With implants placed behind the muscle, an upward displacement of the implant can occur, especially when the muscle is used too much immediately after the operation.
Nipple and areola sensitivity can be reduced temporarily after the operation, because there is a variation in innervation that cannot be anticipated.
Chronic pain: a very small number of patients experiences atypical chronic pains, without obvious clinical signs, mostly on one side only.
Frequently asked questions
What is the cost of body surgery?
You can find estimated prices here, after your consultation you will be informed of the exact prices of your operation. Prices are average and may vary depending on: the exact treatment or surgery needed; the exact area you want to have treated; your body type; your expectations and wishes...
We have a specific procedure to get a quote from the doctor. To receive a personalized quote, please visit the following link to see your different options.
What is the cost of a breast augmentation?
Prices may vary from patient to patient. Everything depends on the specific treatment or operation; the method (implants or lipofilling or the combination) that is best for you; which implants you prefer; your body structure or type; your expectations and wishes.... You can find estimated prices here, after your consultation you will be informed of the exact prices of your operation.
To receive a personalized quote, please visit the following link to see your different options.
Can I also have a breast lift done?
Yes, that is certainly possible. During a consultation, you can discuss your wishes thoroughly with our surgeon.
Is there a payment plan or financing option for a surgery?
No, payments have to be made following our payment policy. It is not possible to pay for a surgery via monthly/... payments.
Does pregnancy have an impact on my breast augmentation?
If you wish to have a baby, pregnancy in itself has no direct effect on the result of your breast augmentation or the implants. However, your glands may swell during pregnancy, making them appear fuller. After your pregnancy, this swelling will disappear again.
Which implant brands are used for breast augmentation surgery?
Our clinic uses Sebbin, Motiva, Mentor and B-Lite. All these implants have a 10 to 15 year warranty.
How many check-ups do I need after breast augmentation surgery?
Plan check-ups with your surgeon (usually after the first 10 days, then after 1 month or in case of problems). After your recovery, general check-ups can be done with your GP or gynaecologist. In case no problems occur, we advise you to check the implants after 12 years with an ultrasound.
What is the legal age for breast augmentation surgery in Belgium?
In Belgium, this is not very clear on a legal basis. We are very reluctant to carry out aesthetic surgeries on minors and both parents must agree. Furthermore, we only do this after an explicit discussion and thorough assessment and if this is a case of psychological suffering in which a breast augmentation can help.
How long does it take before I can return to work after breast augmentation surgery?
Usually it takes 4 to 6 weeks to recover. That being said, everyone's recovery process is different.
Can I have paid sick leave if I want to have breast augmentation surgery?
No. In general, this is classified as a purely cosmetic surgery and may not meet your sick leave policy requirements.
What are the possibilities if I am not satisfied with the procedure?
The intention is that there should be clear consultation BEFORE the operation so that it is clear to both the surgeon and the patient what the desired wishes are and what can be achieved. This avoids 99.99% of problems afterwards. If things should go wrong, which is always possible with surgery, then intervention is free of charge. In the short term, this could be due to a haemorrhage, for example, or a wound infection.
When do I HAVE TO contact my surgeon during my recovery?
In the event of severe swelling of the chest, increasing pain or inflammation of the wounds.
We are doing our very best to keep this information up-to-date. In case you see anything that no longer seems accurate, or in case you have a question, please fill out the form below.