Is breast augmentation considered major surgery?

Any information would be helpful.


F, 28, New Jersey

Hello Paula,

Thank you for sharing your question.  Yes, Breast Augmentation is a major surgery.  There are a few different factors that change the extent of any surgery.   For instance, Breast augmentation takes only one hour or less, where a Tummy Tuck would take 3 hours.  They are both considered "major surgery", but there are many differences.  Breast augmentation requires no drain, and recovery time is minimal.  A Tummy Tuck would require you to have drains, and recovery would be a bit longer.  It may seem discouraging to you to call it major surgery, so just think of it as a surgery with minimal down time.  I hope this helps you.  

Best Wishes, Dr. B. 

Dr. A. K. Bhattacharya has 2 Breast augmentation before & afters:

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Dear Pauulaa,

In my opinion, yes. Although the procedure typically takes an hour or less, you are under a general anesthetic. In the medical world, a minor surgery would be one done in an office setting using local anesthetic- anything with general anesthetic would be considered major- although definitely on the low end of that scale.

Dr. Jack Peterson has 1 Breast augmentation before & after:

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Any surgery where General Anesthesia is recommended should be considered major surgery. Yes, Breast Augmentation is considered major surgery. A better question would be; "What are MY risks (risks from surgery and anesthesia) for breast augmentation?"

Dr. James White has 2 Breast augmentation (Silicone breast implants) before & afters:

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Most cosmetic surgeons agree that breast augmentation represents a major surgery. Although the placement of breast implants typically takes an hour or less, the surgical procedure requires general anesthesia and a significant recovery period. However, in the hands of a skilled surgeon, breast augmentation is a very routine procedure.

During breast augmentation surgery, a plastic surgeon will put the patient under general anesthesia while he or she makes incisions in the breast tissue. Incisions are most commonly made under the breast crease using a technique called an inframammary incision, or around the nipple, known as a periareolar incision. Another method, the transaxillary (armpit) incision, uses an endoscope for very precise placement into the newly created breast pocket.

The armpit and areolar incisions leave the smallest scars. Saline breast implants or silicone implants are then inserted above or beneath a layer of the muscle on the chest wall to increase the breast size.

As invasive plastic surgery, you should be cognizant that there are both general and more specific risks that can arise as a result of breast augmentation. Being educated about the risks, benefits, and having realistic expectations of what you can expect is essential to making an informed decision about whether to proceed with implants or not.

Some of the more general side effects of breast implant surgery include swelling and bruising. These will usually subside after several weeks. One of the more specific risks is capsular contracture where internal scar tissue forms a tight capsule around the breast implant, causing it to become misshapen and hard. Capsular contracture usually takes 4-6 months or more to occur. In these cases, additional surgery may be required to remove the capsule and possibly replace the implant. Other risks include insufficient volume (implants too small), excessive volume (implants too large) implant malposition, breast asymmetry, diminished or loss of sensation to the breast or nipple area, and visible scarring at the incision site.

Another risk, although rare, is damage to the milk ducts, which can inhibit breastfeeding. Finally, there has been a connection made between breast enlargement and cancer: research shows that there are slightly increased incidences of anaplastic large cell lymphoma in women who have had breast augmentation surgery using implants with a textured surface. Selecting smooth implants removes this risk factor.

Recovery time represents another critical consideration when you are thinking about undergoing a major surgery like breast augmentation. While good health can expedite the healing process, wound healing takes on average several weeks, with most patients requiring six to eight weeks of downtime before they can participate in all physical activities again.

Any type of invasive cosmetic surgery requires careful consideration, research, and honest discussion with a board-certified plastic surgeon. A frank conversation with a professional can help you determine if you are a good candidate for a breast augmentation, and help you to weigh up the long term benefits with the potential risk.

Dr. Robert N. Young has 1 Breast augmentation before & after:

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   Breast augmentation is not considered "major" surgery. It takes around an hour and you go home the same day, and recovery is very well tolerated. Breast Augmentation surgery is one of the highest satisfaction procedures performed in all cosmetic surgery. Hope this was helpful. Good Luck!!

Dear Pauulaa:

Any and all medical or surgical interventions whether elective or emergent is a major concern for both you and your surgeon / practitioner. The medications necessary to regulate your blood pressure or to numb an area or put you to sleep alter the normal feedback mechanisms normally existing in the body to keep you stable. There are rare moments when this feedback is inadequate and abnormal side-effects and complications such as fainting (hypotension) or nausea and vomiting or abnormal bleeding, bruising and swelling can occur. You may have unknown medical concerns kept in check by your bodies incredible homeostasis systems that may come undone with medical or surgical involvement.

Yes, Breast Augmentation is considered major surgery and in the right hands of a Board Certified team including your internist and Plastic Surgeon, the risks are minimized and your complications hopefully non-existent.

I wish you the very best!

I believe most plastic surgeons would consider any surgery major surgery.  You should as well.  Although most patients are happy with the outcome and would recommend the procedure to others, there are real risks associated with the procedure.  You should have several consultations with board certified plastic surgeons in your area before proceeding.  You should also understand the credentials not only of the surgeon but of the anesthesia provider and the accreditation status of the facility where the procedure will be performed.

Thank you for your question. Any surgery is major surgery. Breast augmentation is an out patient surgery that typically takes 1-1.5 hours to perform. It is typically performed under a general anesthetic for the patient's comfort. Post operatively, there is soreness as the implant is placed typically under the chest wall muscle and that takes a little time for the body to learn to accomodate to the presence of the implant. The incision is typically 1.5- 2 inches in length and located in the crease where the breast begins to emerge fro the chest wall. 

Consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in your area and have all your questions answered.

Best wishes,

Dr. Morrissey

Dr. J. Michael Morrissey has 1 Breast augmentation before & after:

Dear Pauulaa, There is a saying in surgery:"minor surgery is surgery on someone else." As operations go, breast augmentation, if properly performed has very low surgical risks but that is not the same as saying no risks. Pretty much anything that can happen in any operation can happen in breast augmentation- infection, bleeding, unsatisfactory scar, injuring something not intended, anesthetic complications, and even life-threatening problems (think blood clots, stroke, heart attack, etc.) Admittedly, in a young, healthy 27 year old these risks are truly tiny. Breast augmentation also carries long term risks related to breast implants that you must understand and accept. The size, shape, and symmetry of your breasts cannot be guaranteed. You may experience hardening of the breasts over time, implants can leak, they can shift in position over time, create changes in the tissue such as calcium deposits, interfere with mammograms, and more. You may lose sensitivity in your nipples. At 27, it is almost certain that you will someday desire or need another operation on your breasts because of having implants to either remove or exchange them, correct sagging, replace a leaking implant, etc. Breast augmentation can be a wonderful procedure if approached realistically and with realistic expectation. Avoid any surgeon who makes light of this surgery or implies guaranteed results. I am not a fan of computer imaging because I feel it sets up patients for expectations that may not be met. Just understand that surgeons, patients, and implants are not perfect. Neither are computer programs. 

Based on your body habitus and volume of tissue that you would like to have augmented, you may be a candidate for a mastopexy in addition to the augmentation. Seeing a surgeon who has a an digital photo augmentation system such as Crisalix is very helpful. You can "virtually" try on an implant to see what size is best for you.

THe surgery is done on an outpatient basis. More often it is performed with general anesthesia so that you are asleep during the surgery and recover before being allowed to go home that day. 

Dr. R. Brannon Claytor has 4 Breast augmentation (Silicone breast implants) before & afters:

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Although the risks are relatively small, I would still consider it major surgery.

Yes. It is an invasive procedure and any invasive procedure should be considered major surgery and be performed by adequately trained physicians

Any surgery involving a significant anesthetic is "major"; however, simple primary augmentation should be a gentle, rapid, and very low stress/risk procedure.

Dr. Ludwig Allegra has 5 Breast augmentation (Silicone breast implants) before & afters:

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Yes it is. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia.

No surgery is to be treated as minor but I would consider breast augmentation ad one of the smaller and safer cosmetic surgeries performed

Dr. Christopher Park has 3 Breast augmentation before & afters:

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Yes this is considered major surgery. 

Thank you for the question. Breast augmentation is considered major butsafe surgery as long as you are a good healthy candidate. It is perfomed under general anesthesia in most cases and that too is very safe. You can go home the same day and return to regular daily activities almost immediately  

I recommend you see a board certified plastic surgeon in person to get specific advice for your needs. 

Best of luck!

Dr. Khuthaila 

You can check this page to see videos and additional information about breast augmentation

Dr. Dana Khuthaila has 4 Breast augmentation, Breast lift before & afters:

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If you are in good health and have the procedure performed by an expert, it should only take an hour and recovery should be quick Dr Corbin

Dr. Frederic Corbin has 1 Breast augmentation before & after:

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On the one hand, yes, any surgery that is usually done under anesthesia is major, as opposed to minor skin surgery, for instance. However, compared to heart surgery, neurosurgery, vascular surgery, or even major joint replacement orthopedic surgery, breast augmentation is much lower risk for major or life-threatening complications of anesthesia or the procedure itself. Breast augmentation has been safely performed on millions of women worldwide with FDA-approved and well tested implants, well-recognized risks that are fortunately fairly uncommon, and protocols to manage such issues in the occasional patient where they arise. More info is available at our website: Email [email protected] Call 1-858-24SAYED (1-858-247-2933) Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @timsayedmd

Dr. Tim Sayed has 5 Breast augmentation (Saline breast implants), Breast lift, Extended abdominoplasty before & afters:

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