Many ladies aren’t happy with their natural cup size or their lack of cleavage. Be it breasts that resemble a flat “runway” or a lack of cleavage when wearing low cut tops, many women often wish they could have larger or fuller boobs – and that’s where breast augmentation surgery comes in.
In Singapore and other parts of Asia, there’s still significant stigma surrounding plastic surgery procedures. We say, choose whatever you feel that is right for your body.
Also known colloquially as a “boob job”, the surgery is highly popular and is not just for those looking for a Victoria’s Secret-worthy physique. Instead, ordinary women opt to go under the knife to give their bosom and confidence a boost (get it?). Here, we’ll provide all the information you’ll need to make that decision for yourself and your body.
Before you look for a surgeon or clinic, here’s the lowdown on everything you need to know about breast augmentation in Singapore.
What is breast augmentation exactly?
Breast augmentation – much like padding in a cushion – requires a “filler” inserted into your breast area to make them bigger and fuller.
From the patient’s perspective, a breast augmentation procedure can help to enhance her breast volume and shape, to achieve her dream figure. Sometimes, women who have lost fullness in the shape of her breasts after pregnancy or breastfeeding would go for breast augmentation, too.
From a plastic surgeon’s perspective, the goal would be to improve the aesthetic shape and symmetry of the patient’s breast profile which suits the her individual wants and needs.
Types of breast augmentation surgery
There are 2 main types of breast augmentation surgery, depending on what “filler” to choose for your breasts.
- Fat grafting
- Breast implants
Firstly, there’s fat grafting (or lipo-filling), which involves transferring your own body fat elsewhere to the boob area. For fat grafting, the fat from some body areas are better suited to the procedure than others, such as the thigh, butt or lower abdomen area. It can be done as part of a liposuction procedure or as a standalone breast procedure. Slim ladies with a low fat percentage will not have enough fat for the transfer as these fats need to be at least 300ml in volume for transfer. 
The fat will be injected into your lower breast fold area so the procedure is rather scarless and recovery is quick. You’ll be able to go back to work in 1 to 2 days.
The more popular surgery is actually the insertion of breast implants, and these can be made of saline or silicone. Breast implants are preferred as not all of us have enough belly or thigh fat. Plus, it can give your breasts a more definite shape and way more va-va-voom in increasing cup size, say from a humble A to a voluptuous D cup.
As for the saline vs silicone implant debate, each has their pros and cons. Saline is slightly more affordable but typically come in fixed, one-size-fits-all type of sizing, while silicone offers a more natural feel but is pricier. Saline inserts are made of sterile salt water while silicone inserts are made with silicone gel and feel more like natural breast tissue.
Fun fact: In Singapore, silicone trumps in terms of popularity and is by far the choice of breast implants here. The widely used breast implant brands in Singapore are Mentor and Natrelle, as these brands are FDA-approved. Pro tip: ask your surgeon which brand of breast implants he would recommend and check if they’re FDA-approved.
There are also two different implant shapes such as teardrop or round-shaped. The teardrop shaped implant offers a more natural and sloped shape of the bust, and is the more common choice for Singaporean women who want a more natural look. After all, breasts aren’t perfectly round. The round-shaped implant would offer a more voluminous look that will boost cleavage, if that’s what you’re hoping for. It’s important to talk to your doctor and listen to his advice based on the look you’re going for and your current breast shape.
How much bigger can my breasts get?
Even though you may be tempted to yolo and go ahead to upgrade 4 sizes up, think twice as you may face a higher risk of complications in the future. It also depends on factors like the shape of your natural breast currently and skin laxity.
As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t go more than 2 cup sizes up – for example, A to C, or B to D.
Ok, I’ve made up my mind to go for breast augmentation in Singapore. How does it work?
1. Consultation: decisions, decisions
The first step is definitely an in-depth discussion with your plastic surgeon to evaluate your current breast shape and size and discuss what results you wish to achieve.
To summarise, these are the things you would need to make a decision on, together with your surgeon’s advice:
- Type of breast augmentation surgery: fat grafting or breast implants
- Choice of breast implants: silicone or saline
- Choice of breast implant shape: round or teardrop
- Choice of incision: in the fold under the breast, around the nipple or in the underarm
- Choice of location of breast implant: in a pocket under the pectoralis muscle or in a pocket under the breast
- Desired size and shape of your breasts. Your height, weight, torso length and shape will also be considered while discussing this.
As you can see, it’s quite a lot to cover so it’ll be a comprehensive, at-least-an-hour type of discussion where you and your surgeon would discuss all the details, your medical history and your expected results. When you’ve made up your mind, you can then set your surgery date with the clinic.
2. Pre-surgery prep
In general, you’ll be advised to stop smoking, drinking alcohol and steer clear of medications for 10 days prior to the surgery.
3. Surgery day
You will first be put under GA (general anesthesia), and a small incision will be made in the chest area – either under your armpit, around your nipple or in the crease beneath your breast. Then, your chosen type of “filler” in the form of an implant or fat will be inserted, and the incision closed with absorbable stitches.
How long does the surgery take?
The entire breast augmentation surgery can actually be performed in 1 to 1.5 hours. And it’s a day surgery procedure, so you can even head out a few hours after.
A word of warning: it might be a little painful due to some amount of muscle swelling and bruising, but that’s what the anaesthesia and medication is for.
You still can do daily activities though – some folks even go straight back to work in a few days. Also, remember to come back around a week later to remove the stitches, and for the doctor to review if there are any complications to address.
Is breast enhancement painful?
There’s no pain during surgery because you’ll be under a sedative and be fast asleep. However, after the surgery when the anesthesia wears off, there will be mild pain and discomfort, but it’s tolerable in general. Most people describe it as a sensation of chest tightness or soreness. It’s doable to walk and make your way home on your own.
How long will recovery take?
Go-getter ladies will be glad to note that you can recover from breast augmentation surgery in a matter of weeks, but minimal discomfort and soreness will peak in the first 3-5 days.
We’d recommend taking a sufficient amount of time off work just to rest, and it’s also best to get your doc’s green light on activities such as exercise – we’ve heard you might have to wait around 6-8 weeks before going full fitness guru.
Your doctor would also teach you a light breast massage or stretching technique for you to do yourself for better recovery. Bonus points as it’ll help the new implants settle in. Don’t worry too much if your boobs feel “tight” and extra firm during the first month of recovery – this is normal as the implants take a few months to get into a natural position.
Pro tips: Try not to wear a bra for the first few weeks so that your breast implants can settle in faster. Opt for the more adventurous nipple tape instead. Also, use the prescribed scar gel religiously so that the surgical scar fades completely – by the 6th month mark, there’ll be no trace of surgery and your implants would’ve settled in nicely and naturally as if you were born with them!
Can people tell that I’ve had a breast enhancement surgery done? Will my boobs look fake?
Well, your friends and people whom you interact with very often will probably be able to tell if there’s an obvious increase in cup size.
If you’re concerned that your breasts may appear unnaturally large, opt for the teardrop shaped breast implants instead of the round-shaped implants. This will give the appearance of natural, sloping breasts.
But ladies, if you’re worried that your future boyfriends or husbands would be able to tell, you can breathe a sigh of relief – after 6 to 12 months post-surgery, your breast implants should feel soft and natural and the surgical scar would have faded by then. So yes, it is possible to pass off as naturally well-endowed.
How much does it cost?
Well, this is the golden question, isn’t it? The price of breast augmentation surgery varies widely since each surgery is uniquely customised to the individual, and diverges from clinic to clinic too.
If you really want a ballpark figure, though, it ranges from $9,000 to $15,000. If you’re paying way more than that, it might be due to mark-ups from prestigious clinics for their brand names or high surgeon fees.
The cost of your breast augmentation surgery would comprise a few factors. We’d also advise you to look at the cost breakdown of the:
- Anaesthesiologist’s fee (this cost is incurred for any medical procedure which requires GA, i.e. puts you to sleep)
- Breast implant brand and cost
- Operating room fees
- Surgical consumables fees (surgical equipment you used during the surgery)
- Surgeon’s fee (consultation + surgery)
- Breast band
- Follow-up reviews
A word of note, though: don’t automatically go for the cheapest option. After all, a breast augmentation surgery is still a major one, and you should find an experienced plastic surgeon and clinic who has done thousands of breast implant surgeries and where you feel like you’re in good hands.
What are the risks of breast implant surgery?
If you long to do breast enhancement surgery but worry about possible risks and complications, it’s best to do your research and talk to the doctor about them. Risks include loss of sensation, scarring, implant leakage, infection and wrinkling of skin over the implant. 
The brand of breast implant is so important because it’s something that you’ll be inserting into your body. These implants have to be manufactured safely and go through rigorous trials to be FDA-approved. Ensure that your surgeon is using either one of these FDA-approved brands: Mentor or Natrelle breast implants. Don’t stinge on this and end up getting a breast implant made from an unknown manufacturer and equally unknown side effects!
There’s also the risk of capsular contraction , where scar tissue around the implant hardens and squeezes it and causes pain. This boils down largely to the skills and technique of your surgeon, i.e. how well the breast augmentation surgery was performed. An experienced surgeon would be able to place the breast implants safely below muscle and use antibiotic washes to stave off infections. With a qualified and experienced surgeon, the risk of capsular contraction can be minimised drastically.
In other words, always go for a trustworthy, accredited doctor. Only MOH board-certified plastic surgeons in Singapore are allowed to perform breast implant surgery. Be mindful that an aesthetic surgeon is not the same as a plastic surgeon.
How long will my boob job last?
There’s a myth out there that boob jobs only last ten years – is this what, like the “7-year itch”?
The truth is that professional and modern breast augmentation surgery are meant to last throughout your lifetime, and some even come with lifetime warranties for breast implant rupture or deterioration.
Can I still breastfeed?
Mums or mums-to-be can also note that breastfeeding is possible  as the silicone does not leak into breast milk. But it is possible to experience reduced breast milk production if your breast implants are too large – for example, if you leap 3 to 4 cups up, so flag that up to your doctor.
Get a doctor you trust
After equipping yourself with research and the different types of procedures, there is one aspect of breast augmentation that is the most crucial – your doctor. An accredited, experienced doctor can make-or-break a surgery and give you the natural-looking breasts you want, while minimising risks.
Again, only plastic surgeons in Singapore are qualified to do breast augmentation or enhancement surgery. You will also want to choose a plastic surgeon who has sub-specialty in cosmetic breast augmentation surgery, instead of for example, facial reconstruction surgery. Also, pick an experienced surgeon who has done a substantial volume of breast augmentation surgery, i.e. thousands of cases. Pro tip: this is usually not disclosed publicly online, but you can call up the clinic staff to ask how many cases has the doctor done, or how many surgeries does he do per month.
It’ll also be wise to do your research on selected doctors to see what his former patients say – think Google reviews and independent forums. Also, make sure your clinic uses FDA-approved implants and adhere to local health authority standards.
Take your time to choose a doctor you feel comfortable with – consult with a few if possible. A consultation would be the best way to find out if you have rapport with the doctor and your surgeon would typically show you before and after pictures of his patients. There should be many if the clinic does a high volume of breast augmentation surgery. Trusting your doctor would go a long way, especially in this type of surgery, since he will be working on a vulnerable part of your body. He should be someone that you feel comfortable enough to share your expectations and desired outcomes and you’ll want to trust that he can make that happen for you.
 Gabriel, A., Champaneria, M. C., & Maxwell, G. P. (2015). Fat grafting and breast reconstruction: tips for ensuring predictability. Gland surgery, 4(3), 232–243. https://doi.org/10.3978/j.issn.2227-684X.2015.04.18
 Ooi, A., & Song, D. H. (2016). Reducing infection risk in implant-based breast-reconstruction surgery: challenges and solutions. Breast cancer (Dove Medical Press), 8, 161–172. https://doi.org/10.2147/BCTT.S97764
 Headon, H., Kasem, A., & Mokbel, K. (2015). Capsular Contracture after Breast Augmentation: An Update for Clinical Practice. Archives of plastic surgery, 42(5), 532–543. https://doi.org/10.5999/aps.2015.42.5.532
 Beam, C. (2009). Inorganic Milk: Can Kendra Wilkinson breast-feed her baby even though she has implants? Slate.com. Retrieved from Slate.com
Jessica is one half of twins, and is a Gryffinpuff according to Harry Potter’s Sorting Hat. She will never say no to an adventure. While waiting for the next one, she takes MBTI quizzes (INFP), sings Disney songs and pole-dances.
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