Local Anesthesia for Submuscular Breast Augmentation Possible?

I'm a 22 year old girl. I am considering Breast augmentation. My question is, can I have Breast Implants, either silicone or saline submuscular under local anesthesia?

And if I consider Saline implants, will it be noticeable and look and feel natural? Thank you for your help.

Doctor Answers 21

No to breast implants under local anesthesia

It will be helpful first to distinguish between the various options for anesthesia. When we say local anesthesia, that typically means no other medications such as sedatives are used. At the other end is general anesthesia, where the patient is completely unconscious. In between is a very common technique which uses local anesthesia plus intravenous sedation, so that you are given medications through an IV. I would not suggest that you try to have implant surgery done under local only, but it can be a very good experience with the IV.

Silicone implants almost always feel more natural than saline.


Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Breast augmentation more difficult under local anesthesia

Usually, local anesthetic (with IV sedation) breast enlargements are done over the muscle since it is a lot easier to numb the breast and difficult to numb the muscle which is vascular and down deep.

There will be struggles on your part, and your doctors, to numb, and relax the muscle just with shots of local anesthetic. Tumescent local anesthesia helps, but tumescent anestheisa doesn't diffuse well into the muscle.

Nerve blocks around the ribs help a lot, but the lung can be punctured with this technique. Even numbing the breast with a lot of needle injections risks a lung puncture and has some dangers. Muscle itself is hard to numb with local anesthetic injection.

General anesthesia has risks, but most plastic surgeons prefer the extra time and comfort to sculpt your breast to fit your new implants.

I think it is best to allow your surgeon freedom to do the best artistic work while you are asleep. This avoids pain from local anesthesia injections that can be insufficient or that wear off too quickly.

Good luck.

Keith Denkler, MD
Marin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Local anesthesia for breast augmentation is possible

You will not have local anesthesia, but probably have local anesthesia with IV sedation. It is possible to do it, but buyer beware. A lot of doctors who are not plastic surgeons are offering breast augmentation by local anesthesia not because it is the best choice for their patients, but because that is the only way they can do it . They may not have hospital privileges to do the procedure, they may not have the equipment necessary to offer you more options, and they may be skimping out on an anesthesiologist.

Recently I completely revised an augmentation that had been done by a gynecologist who "does" cosmetic surgery under local anesthesia in his office. The patient needed a lift but had not been offered that at the first procedure. She also had completely inadequate placement of her implants and they rode too high. So she had a second surgery by me with new implants and a lift in order to achieve her goals.

But, she had had the original procedure under local. You decide what makes more sense.

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Possible but painful

Anything is possible. But the best results and your comfort is our responsiblity as plastic surgeons. I do many breast augmentation surgeries. All are done with an anesthesiologist putting our patients asleep and making them comfortable.

Go to a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for the best results. You will be glad you did.

Good Luck!

Andrew Cohen, M.D.

Andrew T. Cohen, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Saline vs Silicone

Saline and Silicone, Safety and PerformanceWomen have so far had essentially just two breast implant fill choices: saline or silicone.
Silicone implants have distinct advantages over saline implants in terms of performance: they wrinkle less and conform to a more natural breast shape, and also have a softer feel that is more breast-like. However, silicone implants have gained a reputation—possibly undeserved—for being less safe than saline implants. Despite the fact that there is no known toxicity of silicone gel breast implants, the possibility of a “silent rupture,” undetectable except by MRI, has been enough to make many women opt for saline implants or wait for a better product to come along. The time will be here most likely within a year or so with the advent of the Ideal Implant, the name given to a new design saline hybrid implant. It has the natural feel of silicone and safety of saline.
Saline implants, though providing peace of mind by being perceived as safer than silicone, often do not create a result that seems as natural. Wrinkling, scalloping, a globular shape, and water balloon-like feel, and increased risk of capsular contracture have been the trade-off for peace of mind with breast implants. The Ideal Implant solves many if not all of these concerns.
The Ideal Implant has bothThe Ideal Implant is one of the major technological advances to come along in the past few decades in implant manufacture. Using a novel design with internal baffles, the saline implant is manufactured to achieve a similar feel and performance comparable to a silicone implant. Approximately 95% of both patients and their surgeons expressed satisfaction at the current two-year data point by the FDA. The Ideal Breast Implant is now FDA approved and soon to be released in the US market, hopefully with in the year.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 99 reviews

Local anesthesia for sub muscular breast augmentation - NO NO

I would highly not recommend having a sub muscular breast augmentation by local sedation. I would highly encourage you to ask more questions as to why this surgeon is performing it under local anesthesia.

Yes, it is possible

While most surgeons do not perform this, I do this for about 50% of my patients. Patients experience a shorter recovery that less painful. In addition, you'll be able to see your results sooner. However, it is absolutely necessary that you find a plastic surgeon who has experience performing this technique. 

Local Anesthesia for Submuscular Breast Augmentation Possible?

Thank you for the question.

Every surgeon will have his/her preference. I prefer the use of general anesthesia provided by a board-certified anesthesiologist.  I have found that the  use of general anesthesia is safe, comfortable for the patient, and predictably maintains a patient in a good position (without movement)  during the procedure. I think the latter is important as we are trying to achieve as much symmetry is possible.

Most important will be your choice of surgeon. Physicians who are board certified in plastic surgery hold a certification with the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This certification proves that the surgeon has graduated from an accredited medical school, has completed a residency of at least five years, has three years of experience in general surgery, is actively practicing plastic surgery for at least two years, and has passed mandatory comprehensive and written examinations. These surgeons are referred to as diplomats of the ABPS and have fulfilled the aforementioned requirements. I would suggest that you select your plastic surgery carefully; NOT based mainly on the type of anesthesia that he/she will perform their procedure under. Then, communicate your goals carefully as well. During this consultation process, your other questions in regards to type of implants, incisions, size concerns… will be addressed. Best wishes. 

Local anesthesia for breast augment

Most surgeons use a general anesthesia for breast implants especially sub muscular. The surgery is very safe and lasts less than an hour, so anesthesia complications are very rare. I have seen many attempts using local anesthesia and it usually is not that comfortable for the patient. The silicone implants will give a better look and feel but saline can work as well if you have enough breast tissue. 

Breast augmentation under local

It is certainly possible to perform breast augmentation under local anesthesia.  However, I think it is safer to perform this surgery under general anesthesia, you have better control of implant placement and control of bleeding.  Beware of doctors who only offer surgery under local anesthesia, you are better off looking for a board certified plastic surgeon.

Dennis Dass, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 97 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.