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Is Modern Breast Augmentation Surgery Considered to be Safe?

Is breast augmentation surgery considered to be a safe procedure?

Specifically, are modern breast implants safer than the implants used in the past and is there anything I can do to make sure my surgery is as safe as possible?

- patient

breast augmentation safety Brisbane surgeon
Dr David Sharp, plastic surgeon in Brisbane, profile image

Dr Sharp:

It’s great to hear you are thinking about these factors before your augmentation surgery, as they are important pre operative considerations.

I only offer procedures that I believe are safe and ethical; if it’s a procedure that I’d caution my family against having, I will not offer it to my patients. Breast augmentation surgery is a safe surgical procedure, if you use a qualified plastic surgeon, opt for high quality implants and promptly seek medical advice if you have any concerns regarding your breasts in the future, carrying low mortality and morbidity rates.

Pictured: before and 3 months after breast augmentation surgery with Dr Sharp. 

With new-generation implants approved for use in Australia and new standards that guide surgical techniques, breast augmentation is considered to be a safe way to change breast shape and volume. Nonetheless, all implant surgery comes without risks that should be discussed and considered before undertaking the procedure. Click here to learn more about breast augmentation benefits, risks and recovery. 

While there are many different factors that contribute to patient outcomes, there are four key benefits of modern breast augmentation surgery.


Decades of research suggest that breast augmentation surgery is safe when performed by a qualified specialist plastic surgeon using quality implants and best practice surgical techniques. The implants I use are filled with cohesive gel silicone, which means that even if a traumatic injury was to result in a rupture, the silicone maintains its shape and usually stays within the implant capsule. These implants also feature nano or micro texturing, which balances our desire to minimise the risk of implant migration or capsular contracture by using a textured implant – with the safety benefits of a superiorly engineered implant surface.

Further, Australia has now established a Breast Device Registry, which our clinic participates in. It means that we are building a real-time database of breast implants placed in Australia, and enables us to track data that was never available previously. It also means that there is a central, independent database for patients to access if they need their implant information in the future. 

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is the Australian federal government entity responsible for ensuring that implants, drugs and other prosthesis in Australia are safe. They hold high standards in order to protect patients. The TGA has a helpful page on their website explaining implant safety and risks. 

Surgical techniques

In addition to having access to a wider range of implant options, surgeons now often utilise a spectrum of new techniques, with shorter incisions and less downtime resulting.

The use of Keller funnels and micro, nano and smooth implants – to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination and associated risks – has been accompanied by more long term research and scientific analysis of breast implants than ever before. The Macquarie University 14 Point Plan outlines the best practices for surgeons to follow to reduce the risk of implant complications.

Realistic expectations

Improved patient education has seen many patients move away from the ‘bigger is better’ mantra that was exemplified by the Pamela Anderson style augmentations of the 1990s. In our experience, most patients usually want proportionate, sustainable results that suit their natural body shape. In our practice, for most women, the objective of breast augmentation is to increase breast volume – but to do so subtly, for a realistic result. This ethos is supported by our clinic for tangible safety and ethical reasons. Firstly, we don’t want to contribute to unhealthy body norms that place an emphasis on over-sexualising or pornifying the female form. More proportionate implants – when sized and positioned to suit the natural anatomy – place less strain and stretch on surrounding tissues and structures, resulting in less complications and a surgical outcome that will suit the patient’s body for longer.

Breast augmentation performed by specialist plastic surgeons

Not every doctor that implants breast prosthesis in Australia is a qualified surgeon. Sadly, in Australia any doctor with a basic medical degree is allowed to perform surgery. Despite widespread media regarding the difference between a surgeon and a non-surgeon, patients still tell us they’re confused about the difference between a specialist plastic surgeon and doctors who perform cosmetic surgery.

Choosing a RACS qualified, specialist plastic surgeon (denoted by the ‘FRACS Plast’ after their name) who has received advanced training in breast anatomy, techniques and trends is the best place to start. You can locate qualified plastic surgeons in your area here. Your plastic surgeon will be an excellent resource to help you better understand the differences between implant types, and to create a customised surgical plan that is designed to meet your individual needs.

Most importantly, delay having surgery if…

The current data available to plastic surgeons indicates that breast augmentation surgery is a safe procedure, provided sensible measures are taken by both patient and surgeon to reduce any known risks. But if you are going to embark upon breast augmentation surgery, it has to be something you feel 100% confident and safe undertaking. If you have doubts or feel anxious about the risks, I recommend waiting. Perhaps do more research, get a second or third opinion from other plastic surgeons and talk to women who have implants. Delaying surgery until you feel totally comfortable with your decision is something your surgeon will support – and something you’ll never regret!

Ask us your breast augmentation question!

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