Most patients who choose breast augmentation are happy with the results. You're more likely to be satisfied with your experience and your implants if you clearly understand what is realistic to expect after the surgery. Breast augmentation is typically performed as outpatient surgery, permitting the patient to go home the same day. Here is information about what you should expect following breast augmentation surgery:
What will happen after the surgery?
Immediately following the procedure, your incision is covered with gauze, and your breasts are placed in a special support bra. After surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area to be monitored. No stitches need to be removed. Stitches are usually removed within 7 to 10 days. Your surgeon should thoroughly explain the routine post-operative recovery process, and discuss possible side-effects and complications with you.
When will I see results?
Results of breast enlargement surgery are immediate; however, keep in mind that predictable temporary swelling will cause the size and shape of the breasts to appear somewhat different than they will after the healing process is complete. To see before and after results from some of Dr. Panchal’s breast augmentation patients, click here.
How long will I have pain?
As with any surgery, expect some pain and tenderness afterward. Some patients also feel a burning sensation in their nipples after surgery. These effects vary between patients and your surgeon may prescribe medication for pain. Usually side effects diminish within three to four days but may take longer to diminish due to implant size, location, or surgical method. If you have extreme pain, not relieved by the prescribed pain medicine, contact your surgeon immediately.
How long will I have swelling?
Most patients have some swelling for up to several weeks after surgery. Wearing a support bra during the recovery period, even while sleeping, can help reduce swelling and provide support for the breasts during the healing process.
What should I eat and drink following surgery?
Start by drinking clear liquids and eat a few crackers or a piece of dry toast. If your digestive system tolerates those, you can progress to your regular diet. Do not drink alcohol while using pain medicine, as it can increase bleeding. Poor nutrition or a weakened immune system can also cause delayed healing of the incision.
Can I smoke cigarettes?
Do not smoke for the first month after surgery. It slows the wound healing process and lends to potentially extreme complications.
When can I resume taking my regular medications?
Ask your surgeon how long you need to wait to resume taking blood thinning medications. Most other prescription medications can be continued on your regular schedule after the surgery. If your surgeon prescribes antibiotics, be sure to take the entire amount prescribed.
How should I care for the wound?
Keep the wound covered and keep bandages clean and dry during the first week. Your surgeon will remove the bandages during your follow-up visit. If the bandages get wet, replace them with dry, sterile gauze. You may shower 72 hours after surgery, but you must keep the bandages dry
When can I resume my regular activities?
Do not drive for 48 hours after the surgery or while under the influence of pain medicine. You may walk and use stairs immediately after the procedure. Do not lift more than 10 pounds for the first 2 weeks. Avoid any activities that might increase your heart rate or blood pressure during that period. Wait 6 weeks to resume more strenuous activities and heavier lifting. Most women can return to work within a few days to a week. Your surgeon can provide a clearer estimate based on your physical condition and type of work activities. Wearing a jogging bra or post-operative bra can help prevent jarring.
Will I have scars?
Scarring is a natural and unpreventable result of surgery. Breast augmentation procedures are designed to minimize and obscure scarring so that it is not easily seen. Scars usually fade to a thin line after several months. Patients with darker skin are more likely to have more visible scars. Having a breast lift with enlargement surgery results in larger and more noticeable scars.
When will I see the doctor again?
The surgeon should schedule a follow up appointment with you soon after your surgery in order to monitor your progress, and remove stiches if sutures are non-self-absorbing, and remove drainage tubes (if it was necessary to use those).
When should I contact the doctor?
Call your breast surgeon immediately if you experience pain that cannot be relieved by pain medication, bleeding, redness along the incision, excessive swelling, shortness of breath, chest pain, or fever above 101° F. In rare cases, toxic shock syndrome occurs after breast augmentation surgery. Symptoms of this life-threatening condition include dizziness, fainting, sudden fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes a rash resembling sunburn.
Capsular contracture — This is the most common problem caused by breast implants, but it only occurs in 3-5% of the patients. It results when scar tissue around the implant hardens and squeezes the implant. It can be painful, and can cause breast problems including hardening tissue, rippling skin, and shape changes. Surgery may be required to remove scar tissue or replace the implant.
Leaking and rupturing — Updated implant designs use gel fill material instead of liquid. These implants do not leak if ruptured.
Hematoma and Seroma— A hematoma is blood collection beneath the skin. Seroma is the watery part of that collected blood. These can develop any time after surgery or injury to the breast. Significant occurrences require use of surgical drains to properly heal. A small scar may form at the drain site.
Implant Extrusion — Extrusion means the breast implant is protruding through the skin. This can happen when blood supply to the breast tissue covering the implant is compromised if there is interference with healing the surgical wound.
Connective Tissue Disease —Several large studies of women with implants and control groups indicates that epidemiological diseases are not more common among women with breast implants.
Women with breast implants are advised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to have a breast MRI 3 years after receiving implants, and every 2 years afterward, to ensure that implants are intact and that breast tissue appears healthy.
Continue regular mammograms. Breast implants can make detection of abnormal breast tissue more difficult, and can make mammograms more difficult for radiologists to accurately interpret. Advise your mammogram technician that you have breast implants.
Breast augmentation and lifts cannot prevent changes that occur in the breast due to weight loss or gain, pregnancies, or natural gravity.
Normal rigorous activity or breast injury can damage implants, causing rupture or deflation. Or, eventually, the implant may shift position, change shape, harden, or develop ripples. Surgical removal or replacement may be necessary to correct these problems. And, you should be aware that your breast implants may wear out eventually. Ask your insurance company if having breast implants will impact your rates or coverages, and if it will cover costs of treatment for complications during or after breast augmentation surgery or for later surgeries to replace or remove your implants.