Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation for transgender women and transfeminine spectrum non-binary people

Also called: feminizing augmentation mammoplasty, fat grafting

Dr. Esther Kim performs this procedure in the Division of Plastic Surgery at UCSF. We will give your chest a female appearance by placing implants underneath your natural breast tissue and muscle. Dr. Kim will discuss selection of implant type (silicone or saline) as well as size and shape to match your body and your desires during your consultation. A small incision will be made in the crease underneath each breast or around the nipple. A pocket is made underneath the skin and muscle of the breast to give each breast a natural teardrop shape.

Some patients can benefit from fat grafting from the belly, hips, or thighs in conjunction with implant surgery to achieve additional fullness in specific areas of the breast. This procedure is not currently covered by insurance.


Due to privacy and ethical considerations, we do not publish photos of our patients on our website. During your consultation, you will have the opportunity to view pre-operative and postoperative result photographs.

Preparing for your initial consultation:

At UCSF, we want you to have the best possible result from your surgery with the greatest satisfaction. UCSF criteria for surgery are based on the World Professional Association for Transgender Health SOC (Standards of Care) 7th Edition, and are required by most insurance companies. Prior to scheduling your initial consultation, please send the following:

  • Your insurance card and identification

  • A completed Medication List and Plastic Surgery Intake Packet
  • A completed UCSF Gender Affirming Health Program Surgery Patient Packet
  • A Medical Clearance Letter from your medical provider indicating that you are medically cleared and prepared for surgery, and capable of providing consent for surgery. In some cases, you may be asked to have a medical consultation at UCSF prior to scheduling your consult with the surgeon.  The letter should follow this format.
  • Documentation by your medical provider of current and consistent estrogen therapy for a minimum of 12 months (required as surgical results are superior after a minimum of 12 months of hormone therapy).
  • Documentation from your medical provider (may be included in the clearance letter) that your BMI (body mass index) is less than 35 before scheduling your consultation. The reasons for this are twofold – to reduce the risk of general anesthesia and to give a better appearing final result. Those with a BMI between 32 and 35 may experience higher surgical risks and less satisfying cosmetic outcomes.  For patients with a BMI over 35, we will ask that you first schedule a general medical consult with our team before moving forward to surgery.
  • Undergo a behavioral health assessment and obtain referral documentation in line with WPATH guidelines. More detail on this process and the requirements can be found here.

Referral letters and documentation should be faxed or e-mailed to:

UCSF Gender Affirming Health Program
415-353-3399 fax
[email protected]

Please include your legal name, chosen name (if different), and date of birth with all communication.

How to prepare for surgery:​

  • A pharmacy and pharmacy plan should be in place in order to obtain postoperative medications.
  • Schedule an appointment or phone appointment with the anesthesia PREPARE preoperative evaluation clinic. They will tell you what time to check in on the day of surgery.
  • Two weeks before the operation:
    • Make sure you eat a healthy balanced diet, get plenty of rest, and stay active.
    • If you are a smoker, you should absolutely quit smoking two weeks before and until six weeks after surgery to avoid poor wound healing and complications (or better yet, use this opportunity to quit forever!)
    • PREPARE clinic will tell you which medications to stop taking and which to take.
    • Make sure you have transportation to and from UCSF for your operation (most patients go home the same day)
  • The night before surgery:
    • Shower with antibacterial soap and hibiclens (chlorhexidine) scrub – this is available at most drugstores
    • Make sure your home is well stocked with light food, beverages, and items that you will need are within reach without needing to lift your hands above your head or bending over.
  • Plan for postoperative appointments, usually at 2 weeks and 6 weeks from your operation.
  • Supplies for after surgery:
    • Comfortable, loose clothing to wear after surgery
    • Comfortable surgical bra or sports bra with closure in the front
    • Silicone sheets or scar gel for after surgery

What to expect for your recovery:

  • Your incisions will be covered in surgical glue. Most patients will have no bandages or dressings to change.
    • The skin glue will begin to fall off a few days after surgery as your skin heals.

    • As your incisions heal, you can expect some itching and shooting pains. This is normal.
  • Plan to sleep on your back with several pillows to elevate the head of your bed. This is to reduce the amount of swelling and bruising you experience, which may get worse the first few days after surgery before getting better.
  • Showering is okay one day after surgery. Don’t soak or swim in a tub or swimming pool for at least three weeks after surgery.
  • You will be sore and will need to rest for 2-3 days after surgery. During this time, you may need someone to help you at home. We do want you to walk around the evening after surgery to prevent blood clots form forming in your legs.
  • Avoid strenuous activity or lifting more than 10 pounds for two weeks after surgery.
  • Scar care:
    • You can improve the appearance of your scars by using silicone sheets or scar gel on your incision, beginning two weeks after surgery. Your surgeon can advise you on which brands and size to purchase.
    • Scars can be made more noticeable by sun exposure for up to one year after surgery. Make sure the scars are either covered, or apply a strong sunscreen to your scars.