Also known as breast augmentation or breast implants typically done on women with small breasts, asymmetrical breasts, sagging breasts, or had breast cancer.  The surgery improves firmness of the breasts, enhances the size and shape and corrects imbalances.

The procedure involves inserting a breast implant of various sizes and shapes as per preference.  There are currently two types of breast implants, silicone and saline, with different advantages and disadvantages.  Breast enlargement may also be done through fat transfer from other parts of the body into the breast.

The advantage of the silicone implants is that they feel more natural being made of a semi solid fluid; they are also softer and smoother.  However, if the implant bursts for any reason, it is undetectable and the fluid will keep leaking into the breast without being absorbed, the side effects of which is still under investigation.  The saline implants advantage is that it requires a smaller incision because it can be filled to the required size after implantation, and if it bursts it is easily detectable because the breast deflates, in addition the fluid is absorbed by the body.  However the breast will feel like a water balloon.

The procedure can be performed in an outpatient office or hospital, under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia.  The duration of the surgery varies from one to three hours.  There are four locations for the incision, either inframammary which is under the breast, periareloar which is around the nipple, transaxillary which is in the armpit, or transumbilical which is in the naval area.  The implant may be placed above the pectoral muscle, partially behind the pectoral muscle, or completely behind the pectoral muscle.

After the surgery you should expect pain, swelling and bruising.  Your surgeon will give you medication for the pain and you will be required to wear a sports bra day and night for about three months to support your breasts and help with the swelling.  You should avoid strenuous physical activities for at least 3 weeks, with no showering during the first week.  The scars will remain, however with time they will lighten in color, nowadays surgeons try their best to keep the scars hidden.

In the fat transfer procedure, the side effects are less as it is a less invasive procedure based on liposuction of fat from one area and injecting it into the breast.

Breast implants are not permanent as they may burst and need to be replaced.  Fat transfer, though will give the most natural effect, may need to be repeated a few times before reaching the optimum size required.

Risks of boob jobs include infection, allergy to anesthesia, bleeding, asymmetry, hardening of the breasts, and increased risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma.  In some cases the surgery doesn’t turn out as good as you had hoped in which case the boobs may be too close to each other, or the implants may have dropped below the breast giving a four breast of effect, or the nipples may point upwards if the implants are placed too low.

The cost of surgery ranges between US$5,000 and US$15,000.