Are you dissatisfied with the appearance of your own body and would you like a fuller, larger breast that suits you? Breast augmentation by means of implants is one of the classic medical procedures in plastic and aesthetic surgery that enables you to achieve the desired size. Often times, after pregnancy or severe weight loss, women want to regain the lost volume of their breasts and their previous cup size. In the event that a correction of the breast shape is desired at the same time, a breast augmentation can also be combined with a breast lift.
On this page you will find detailed information on surgical methods for breast enlargement with implants and you will receive decision-making support for choosing the right implant for your needs. In addition, it answers common questions and gives you a lot more information and details that you should know if you want safe breast augmentation with a natural look. To create an individual treatment plan, you of course have the option of contacting us for an initial consultation.
Implants are selected based on their shape, whether anatomical (teardrop-shaped) or round, and also based on their size, outer wall and the filling material. CE and FDA certifications attest to compliance with European and American quality standards. In order to select the right implant, your change requests and your individual anatomical conditions of the body should be taken into account.
Breast implants are usually inserted through a few centimeters access (skin incision) in the area of the planned underbust fold. Alternative approaches are the armpit or on the edge of the areola. They can be placed under or over the large muscle (pectoral muscle) or under the mammary glands.
The cost of breast augmentation with implants will be determined during the personal consultation. If you want to get an idea of the price range in advance, visit our cost page.
When choosing the right implant, decisions must be made with regard to the shape (round or teardrop-shaped), the projection (implant thickness), the surface (outer wall), the filling material (inner material), the degree of strength, the manufacturer and the size. We would be happy to advise you on how the optical result of a natural breast in the desired size can be achieved. Take a look at which implants can be used for breast augmentation here.
Different shapes (different types) of the implant
- Anatomical breast implants or implants in the form of drops: natural shape, possible risk of twisting the implant. Anatomical breast implants therefore have a rough surface.
- Round breast implants: full décolleté. Round implants can accordingly have a smooth surface.
- Medium projection: most natural results.
- High projection: tends to be a full shape.
Outer wall of the implant
- Silicone shell with a smooth surface: tends to be smaller access, increased risk of capsular contracture.
- Silicone cover with a rough surface: adheres better to the tissue (prerequisite for using anatomical implants), increased risk of ALCL.
Filling material of the implant
- Silicone: usually dimensionally stable material, lower risk of wrinkling.
- Physiological saline solution: poorly dimensionally stable, increased risk of wrinkling.
Degree of strength of the implant
- Low strength: more natural shape, less projection.
- High strength: unnatural shape, especially when lying down, high projection.
Manufacturer of the implant
Allergan, Inc. (USA, founded 1948), Establishment Labs S.A. (USA, founded in 2004, Motiva®), Mentor (USA, founded in 1969), GC Aesthetics PLC (Germany, founded in 2015 with takeover of Nagor Ltd. (UK, founded in 1979) and Eurosilicone (France, founded in 1995), Polytech Health & Aesthetics (Germany, founded 1986, B-Lite®), Sebbin (France, founded 1986).
Size of the implant
Depending on age, size and weight, chest circumference and shape of the chest. As a rough guide, 130 to 150ml correspond to a breast enlargement of one cup size. In the US, 300 to 350ml is most commonly used and in Germany 250 to 300ml. Average cup sizes differ from country to country, but in general, the larger the body weight, the larger the cup size.
Silicone implants have no expiration date. And yet, silicone gel-filled breast implants do not come with a lifetime guarantee. They do not last a lifetime. Despite constant development of the shells and the filling (silicone), the shell of an implant can develop a crack afterwards. As a rule of thumb, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) puts the risk at one percent per year. Other reasons for follow-up surgery after breast augmentation include implant slippage (37 percent), capsular contracture (33 percent), or patient request for a different implant size (20 percent) (Khanna J, et al. Aesthet Surg J. 2019.). The risk of slippage is greater when the implant is placed under the pectoral muscle than over the pectoral muscle. Capsular contracture is the formation of scar tissue around the breast implant that appears as hardening, deformity, or pain of the breast. Capsular contracture forms in approximately 10 percent of women after 10 years (Calobrace MB, et al., 2018, Plast Reconstr Surg). Implant surface, implant placement, and certain precautions during the surgical procedure influence the risk of capsular contracture.
The risk of another breast surgery varies from ten percent two years after breast augmentation to 20 percent after six to ten years (Maxwell GP, et al, 2012. Aesthet Surg; Adams WP Jr, et al, 2012, Plast Reconstr Surg, Stevens WG, et al, 2016, Aesthet Surg J). Reasons for implant removal may also include concern for BIA-ALCL (breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma) or BII (breast implant illness) and thus a medical indication. The larger the implant, the greater the risk of slippage, injury to the shell or capsular contracture afterwards. The additional treatment with autologous fat in hybrid breast augmentation offers many advantages. The additional breast augmentation with autologous fat allows the selection of a smaller implant. In this case, the breast feels more natural. If necessary, the expert plastic surgeon can shape or correct the breast more individually. There is also the possibility to specifically emphasize the décolleté.
The Los Deline © tissue filler was developed in 2005 and initially marketed under the name Aquafilling © (Biomedica, Prague, Czech Republic). The colorless, transparent gel consists of 98% saline solution and 2% of a multiple bond of acrylamide and N, N'-methylenebisacrylamide. There may be minimal differences in the bond structure between the structure of Los Deline © and other polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) tissue fillers. However, the overall composition of these tissue fillers seems to be very similar (Namgoong S, et al., 2020, Aesthetic Plast Surg). With other PMMA tissue fillers (e.g. Aquamid®), complications such as inflammation, pain and lump formation were found in over 18 percent of cases (Cheng N, et al. 2002, Aesthet Plast Surg). The complications with Aquafilling © occur afterwards, within a time frame of 5 months to 12 years after the injection (an average of 3 years). Occasionally, the complications need to be treated with surgery. The reasons for an operation are induration in over 80 percent, pain in over 50 percent and inflammation in 7 to 8 percent (Cheng N, et al. 2002, Aesthet Plast Surg). Enlarging a breast by injecting a liquid implant is seductive. All too often these treatments are offered by doctors who, unlike plastic surgeons, are not proficient in alternative breast augmentation techniques. "Non-invasive" procedures are neither harmless nor without risk. Tissue fillers for breast enlargement were therefore banned by the American health authority FDA in 2015 (Oam GS, Paddle A. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2020). Since the term cosmetic surgeon is not protected, there are there are also providers of highly dubious breast augmentation methods, such as 24 hour push-up enlargement with a saline solution filling. We therefore recommend that you not only question the quality of the implant, but also research the qualifications of the doctor you are confiding in. Sit Always on high-quality implants of the latest generation. The combination of modern implants and experienced specialists in aesthetic surgery are a basic requirement for success.
This is one of the most frequently asked questions. The increase in size of the breast can be seen immediately after the operation, so that you already have a first picture of it. The swelling, which is unavoidable in the first few days, recedes after a few weeks and the exact shape of the contour can then be seen more precisely. However, the adjustment of the skin's elasticity and the healing of the scars take a few months. The final shape of the breast will therefore take some time to emerge. The scar is often a little red or raised in the first few months. The consistent massage of the scar and the use of a silicone plaster three to four weeks after the surgical procedure promote and accelerate the healing process and so that the scar can heal inconspicuously. Age, state of health and the size of the selected implant influence the duration of healing. In 90 percent of the patients, the end result can be seen three months after the breast operation, this of course varies slightly from patient to patient.
In cosmetic surgery, patients expect to be able to look at before and after pictures (after pictures / before and after photos). When it comes to breast augmentation with implantation, women of course particularly insist on placing themselves in the hands of a particularly trustworthy expert in plastic and aesthetic surgery in order to receive detailed and competent individual advice. You would like to assure yourself by taking photos afterwards that you will be completely satisfied with the result and that you will get an idea of it in advance. In this context, they also expect to be shown before and after pictures (before and after photos) of any operations that have been carried out. You can look at such photos for a before-and-after comparison at an appointment for a personal consultation, of course taking into account the data protection requirements. In addition, a test bra is put on so that you can imagine the target size.
For more information, see our Before and After Pictures page.
Si vous souhaitez lire les expériences d'autres patientes au sujet de leur chirurgie d'augmentation mammaire avec implants chez Centerplast, vous pouvez consulter notre page de témoignages.
- Make sure you choose the right doctor, the right clinic / practice. Only experienced specialists, i.e. aesthetic surgeons, are experts and should undertake such an aesthetic-plastic intervention.
- All your questions about possible complications and alternative medical treatments should be answered in advance by the plastic surgery expert.
- For good physical conditions, limit nicotine and alcohol consumption to a minimum!
- The use of hormone-containing medication (pill) may have to be temporarily stopped.
- Blood-thinning medication (e.g. ASA, Thomapyrin®) must be discontinued at least 10 days before the breast operation after consulting your doctor.
- Vitamin preparations (A, E) and food supplements (omega-3 fatty acids, St. John's wort preparations, etc.) must be discontinued at least 4 weeks before the operation.
- You should be aware that surgeries limit your fitness for air travel. Therefore, do not plan any professional or private air travel in the 6 weeks after the breast operation!
- Before the start, a before picture (photo with specific settings) is recorded so that the result can be optimally compared.
- The medical intervention is not only carried out under local anesthesia, but also under general anesthesia as part of an outpatient procedure in the practice, in a special operating room.
- The wound after the operation is mostly sewn with self-dissolving skin threads.
- Depending on the findings, drainage tubes can be inserted into the wound as part of the breast augmentation operation in the operating room, which can be removed again after a short period of time.
- The duration of the operation including general anesthesia is approx. 60 minutes.
- According to the legal requirements, you will receive an implant passport or implant ID card. In this way, the origin of the implants can be traced back to the manufacturer at any time.
The FDA recommends an MRI examination afterward, approximately three years after surgery at an appropriate clinic, and every two years thereafter. This medical examination can detect ruptures of any kind that would remain undetected even at first glance during a physical examination by a physician.
BIA-ALCL is not a cancer of the breast tissue itself, but a form of blood cancer that affects the white blood cells. A link between the development of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) and breast implants is considered to be established. Alternative procedures (breast augmentation with autologous fat) should therefore be considered.
Most cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma occurred with implants with roughened (textured) surfaces. For this reason, CE certification of textured implants from the manufacturer Allergan was not renewed on 12/17/2018. On 5/04/19, textured implants from the following manufacturers were banned in France: Allergan Inc, Laboratoire Arion, Nagor Ltd, Eurosilicone, Polytech Health & Aesthetics, Sebbin.
The risk can be divided according to the outer wall of the implant as follows:
- For smooth surface only in very rare cases: 0.0001% (1:704,000).
- With fine rough surface (microtextured implants, Siltex® and similar): 0.001% (1:82,000)
- For coarse rough surface (macrotextured implants, Biocell® and similar): 0.031% (1:3,200)
- For a polyurethane coating: 0.035% (1:2,800) (Hamdi M, et al, 2019, Aesthet Surg J. 2019).
- The following figures may be helpful to better classify the risk of developing BIA-ALCL after breast augmentation with silicone implants.
- Risk of rupture of an implant over a 10-year period: 8.7% (1:11.5).
- Risk of capsular contracture over a 10-year period: 13.5% (1:7.4).
- Risk of reoperation over a 10-year period: 31.6% (1:3).
- Risk of breast cancer over a woman's lifetime: 12.5% (1:8).
- Risk of breast cancer recurrence after mastectomy for breast cancer: 5% to 8% (1:12.5-20).
- Lifetime risk of being killed in a car accident: 0.15% (1:645).
- Risk of a life-threatening complication from cosmetic surgery: 0.002% (1:50,000).
- Risk of developing advanced BIA-ALCL with lymph node metastases after breast augmentation with silicone gel implants: approximately 0.0004% (1:250,000).
- Risk of developing BIA-ALCL after breast augmentation with silicone implants that is not treated within 3 months: 0.0002% (1:500,000) (Calobrace MB, et al. 2017. Aesthet Surg J).
The first symptom of BIA-ALCL is swelling of the breast, which occurs on average eight years after breast implant placement (range from two to 28 years after breast surgery). The swelling is due to a buildup of fluid surrounding the implant. This fluid can cause the breast to become significantly larger afterward, over a period of days or weeks. There may also be lumps in the breast or armpit, firmness of the breast, or pain. BIA-ALCL is usually easily treatable and curable if patients seek treatment immediately after the first symptoms appear.
Since the disease was first reported nearly 20 years ago, there have been 16 confirmed deaths worldwide. If detected early, before it develops into lymphoma, BIA-ALCL is highly treatable and curable by removing the implant and surrounding scar or capsule.
Every woman should palpate her breasts regularly. After the age of 30, the breasts and armpits should be palpated annually by a gynecologist. After that, after the age of 50, an annual mammogram is recommended. Ultrasound or MRI examinations may be necessary if the mammography examination is not conclusive enough. Immediate examination by a plastic surgeon is required if you notice a change in the size, feel or shape of your breasts.
There are two main reasons for this: First, research suggests that capsular contracture (formation of firm scar tissue around the implant) is less likely to occur with rough surfaces compared to smooth surfaces. Second, all teardrop-shaped implants/anatomical breast implants have a rough surface to keep you from slipping. Some surgeons believe that anatomical shape implants, as opposed to round implants, result in a more natural breast shape.
If detected early, BIA-ALCL is readily curable. Current recommendations for treatment of BIA-ALCL include bilateral capsular resection (removal of all scar tissue) and removal of breast implants. Such procedures are also performed by plastic surgeons when an implant is damaged or capsular contracture has developed. The majority of patients do not require additional treatment. However, if BIA-ALCL has spread to the lymph nodes or adjacent tissues in the body, chemotherapy or radiation may be required.
Neither the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, nor the German professional societies, nor the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend preventive removal of implants with rough surfaces. However, there are women who decide to remove their implants afterwards because of concerns about BIA-ALCL.
If due to concerns about the BIA-ALCL the implants are to be removed, there are the following options to get a beautiful breast shape afterwards:
- Replacing the previous implants with new ones with a smooth surface.
- A breast augmentation through a treatment with the patient's own fat, which usually has to be repeated three times.
- A breast lift.
There is no blood test that can detect BIA-ALCL. According to experts, women who do not have any change in the female breast do not need additional examinations. However, if a patient has noticed a change in her breasts, such as swelling or a lump - an examination, imaging and consultation (in person) with a plastic surgeon should be arranged immediately. If there is fluid around the implant, the fluid should be aspirated under ultrasound guidance and sent for analysis.
Plastic surgeons, scientists and the manufacturers of implants are intensively studying this question. Possible risk factors are the implant surface and chronic inflammation (germs called Ralstonia picketti, pseudomonas, brevundimonas). Since very few cases have been reported in some regions of the world (for example, Asia), a hereditary predisposition is also being discussed as a favoring factor. It is possible that several factors must come together for BIA-ALCL to develop after some time.
The CE certification of textured implants from the manufacturer Allergan was not renewed on 12/17/2018. On 5/04/19, textured implants from the following manufacturers were banned in France: Allergan Inc, Laboratoire Arion, Nagor Ltd, Eurosilicone, Polytech Health & Aesthetics, Sebbin. American and German professional societies do not advise against the use of such implants. Patients in Germany can decide to use these implants after a full explanation of the risks and alternatives.
It is estimated that 1.5 million breast augmentations with implants were performed worldwide in 2017. Yet, breast implant disease is a rare and under-researched condition. Other names for breast implant disease include "autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA)" or "silicone implant incompatibility syndrome (SIIS)." A connection between breast implants and very inconsistent complaints has been discussed for about thirty years. These complaints include joint pain, fatigue, breast pain, hair loss, headaches, chills, sensitivity to light, digestive problems, night sweats, skin rashes, weight gain, heart palpitations, body odor, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, depression, neurological and hormonal problems. These complaints are described regardless of the manufacturer of the breast implants, the surface of the implant (rough surface or smooth surface) and the filling material (physiological saline or silicone). There are numerous reports about this on social media.
Silicones are artificially produced compounds. The compounds consist of silicon (Si) linked together in chains with oxygen (O) and two organic hydrocarbon groups. Silicon is the third most abundant element on earth after oxygen and iron. In nature, silicon occurs in combination with oxygen as silica (silicon dioxide). Silicon dioxide, also known as E551, is also approved as an additive for organic foods. E551 is found in instant coffee, sliced cheese, grated cheese, spice powder, packet soups or table salt. Inhalation of silica as fine dust can cause quartz dust lung and inflammatory disease of the joints (Caplan syndrome). These are occupational diseases in miners, stonemasons or cast iron cleaners. Silicone is found in deodorants, skin and hair care products, ointments, lubricants and baking pans. In medicine, silicone is found in pacemakers, heart valves, artificial joints and breast implants. Medical silicone is freed from antioxidants, dyes and plasticizers during production.
In the early 1990s, there were several case reports linking silicone implants to connective tissue diseases, cancer and autoimmune diseases. The use of silicone implants was stopped in the U.S. in 1992. A US non-profit, non-governmental organization (National Academy of Medicine) denied a risk after reviewing 1078 scientific reports (Bondurant S, Enster V, Herdman R. Safety of Silicone Breast Implants. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1999). In 2006, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) re-approved silicone implants. Causal relationships are investigated in medicine according to the Hill criteria.
Intensive research is being done on such a test. However, there are laboratory tests to detect certain autoimmune diseases. In patients with breast implant disease (BII), both the tests for autoimmune disease and all other blood tests may be normal.
Improvement after breast implants removal may be absent, temporary or permanent. There is no study that proves that implant removal with capsule removal would be better than without capsule removal.
There is no way to prove or disprove the connection of the complaints with the breast implants afterwards. We recommend a consultation with a specialist in internal medicine and rheumatology. If an autoimmune disease can be proven, drug treatment may be recommended. Removal of the implants used with the capsule (en-bloc) or without can be performed at any time.
Since the connection is not (yet) considered to be certain, it is currently not possible to speak of a risk. To the best of our knowledge and belief, there is no evidence from high-quality studies of a link between breast implants and autoimmune diseases.
Here, the implant is removed in one piece with the capsule. For the removal en-bloc, a larger access in the area of the underbust fold is required. Removal of the implant en-bloc is associated with a higher risk of injury to the ribs, muscles or lungs. For more information, please visit our Implant Removal en-bloc page.
For many years, it has been intensively discussed that silicone implants cause numerous complaints. Many of these complaints are summarized under the term "Breast Implant Illness" (BII). Causal relationships are investigated in medicine according to the Bradford Hill criteria. A causal relationship, such as brain tumor disease and cell phone use, must be factually and substantiated using these nine criteria. The explanation of terms, an illustrative example and the reference to Breast Implant Illness help to better understand the complex relationships.
1) Strength of association
- Explanation of terms: The more frequently a disease is observed after an event, the more likely a causal relationship is.
- Example: All students in a class get excellent high school graduation grades in mathematics. They probably had a good teacher.
- Breast Implant Illness: Scientific studies come to different conclusions. The overall quality of studies is still insufficient.
- Sources: Janowsky EC, et al. 2000. n Engl J Med 342(11):781-790. Balk EM, et al. 2016. ann Intern Med 164:164-175. colaris MJL, et al. Immunol Res. 2017 Feb;65(1):120-128.
2) Level of agreement.
- Definition: if the conclusions of different studies, in different countries, at different times are the same, a causal relationship is likely.
- Example: Climate scientists around the world agree - CO2 emissions are responsible for climate change.
- Breast Implant Illness: the conclusions of studies contradict each other, with a current preponderance of voices denying a link.
- Sources: Perkins LL, et al. 1995.Ann Plast Surg 35:561-570. Hochberg MC, et al. 1996.Curr Top Microbiol Immunol 210:411-417. Wong O. 1996.Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 23:74-85. Whorton D, Wong O (1997) et al. West J Med 167:159-165. Janowsky EC, et al. 2000. N Engl J Med 342:781-790. Rubio-Rivas M, et al. Clin Rheumatol. 2017 Mar;36(3):569-582.
- Definition: if there are no other risk factors, an association is likely.
- Example: If a new watch with a new battery stops after one day when handled properly, it is likely a manufacturing defect.
- Breast Implant Illness: The symptoms described vary widely and occur in a variety of conditions. The causes and triggers of autoimmune disease are still insufficiently understood.
- Source: Colaris MJL, et al. Immunol Res. 2017 Feb;65(1):120-128.
4) Temporal association.
- Definition: the accumulation of a disease at a certain time after a harmful influence, makes a causal relationship likely.
- Example: If abdominal pain occurs before or weeks after a restaurant visit, food poisoning is unlikely.
- Breast Implant Illness: The length of time to symptoms varies from one to 15 years in scientific reports.
- Source: Pavlov-Dolijanovic S et al. 2017. rheumatol Int 37(8):1405-1411.
5) Biological gradient
- Definition: if there is an association, a harmful influence over a long time, should be associated with a higher probability of disease.
- Example: the more cigarettes someone smokes, the greater the increase in risk of lung cancer.
- Breast Implant Illness: Different morbidity rates for unilateral or bilateral breast implants, saline implants, pacemakers, or small joint prostheses could not be found.
- Definition: The presence of a biological explanation supports a causal explanation.
- Example: UV rays can damage the human genome and therefore cause skin cancer.
- Breast Implant Illness: Foreign bodies are recognized in the organism by the defense cells and trigger an immune response.
- Definition: Matching observations from laboratory experiments and observations in patients are more likely to indicate a causal relationship.
- Example: The harmful effects of particulate matter can be observed consistently in animal studies and in traffic-intensive environments.
- Breast Implant Illness: study results in humans and studies in the laboratory are very different.
- Definition: Eliminating the risk factor should reduce the incidence of the disease.
- Example: If a smoker stops smoking, the probability of getting lung cancer decreases.
- Breast Implant Illness: A temporary improvement in symptoms was observed in 38 patients after implant removal.
- Source: Rohrich RJ et al (2000) et al. Plast Reconstr Surg 105(7):2529-2537
- Definition: Similar risk factors should lead to similar diseases.
- Example: as smoking leads to lung cancer, an influence is likely in the development of bladder cancer.
- Silicone implants in other body sites are not suspected to cause disease.
- Breast Implant Illness: With the exception of ALCL, there is no known disease caused by silicone.