Post-Operative Instructions for Breast Augmentation
Diet: Start with clear liquids and toast or crackers. If those are well tolerated, progress to a regular diet.
Driving: No driving for 48 hours after your procedure or while taking pain medicine.
Activity: You may walk and climb stairs immediately following surgery. After 2 weeks you may resume moderate activity such as brisk walking. During the first 6 weeks, do not lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. After 6 weeks you may resume more strenuous aerobic work and lifting activities.
Work: Depending on your career and your rate of healing, you should be able to return to work within 1 to 2 weeks of surgery. Your breast surgeon will be able to give you a better estimate depending on you physical and professional profile.
Wound Care: Your surgeon will take down your dressing at your first post-operative visit. Do not remove your dressing at home. Your dressing may get wet in the shower. Try to direct the shower to your back, but it is fine if the dressing gets wet. Pat dry after your shower.
Bathing: You may shower and wash your hair 48 hours after surgery. Shower only for the first 30 days post-operative. Try to keep the shower directed at your back and not at your incision or dressing. It is okay if the dressing gets wet in the shower. Pat it dry after your shower. For the first 4-6 weeks after surgery, do not submerge in a bathtub, pool, or hot tub.
Medications: Ask your breast surgeon when you may resume your blood thinning medications. All other prescription medications may be resumed immediately, as usual. While you are taking pain medicine, you are encouraged to follow a high fiber diet or take a stool softener such as Colace (available over the counter), as pain medications tend to cause constipation. Take your full course of antibiotics if prescribed by your surgeon.
Smoking and Alcohol: Do not smoke for the first several weeks after surgery as it impedes wound healing and can lead to serious wound complications. Alcohol consumption is dangerous while taking pain medicine. It has a tendency to worsen bleeding.
Post-Operative Appointment: Your first follow-up visit will be 1 week after surgery. Your surgeon will then see you at appropriate intervals after this to monitor your progress.
Special Considerations: Call your surgeon immediately if you experience any of the following: excessive pain, swelling, bleeding, redness at the incision site, or fever over 101° F.
Here are some additional information about what to expect after breast augmentation.
What Are the Major Risks of Breast Augmentation?
All surgical procedures involve some possible risks, such as the effects of anesthesia, infection, swelling, redness, bleeding, and pain. There are also potential complications specific to breast implants. These complications occur in a very small percent of women, but you need to be aware of the possible risks. After reading the discussion below, please contact your surgeon if you have questions.
Deflation and Rupture: You should be aware that breast implants may wear out over time and deflate or rupture. When breast implants deflate the saline solution leaks out of the silicone implant shell. It can occur rapidly over hours or slowly over a period of days. Deflation or rupture is recognized by loss of size or change in shape of your breast. Implants may deflate or rupture within the first few months or several years after surgery. Today’s silicone implants do not deflate and the gel is usually retained within the capsule or implant pocket. Causes include:
- Damage by surgical instruments
- Overfilling or underfilling of the implant with saline solution
- Capsular contracture
- Intense physical manipulation
- Excessive compression during mammographic imaging
- Other unknown reasons.
Deflated implants require additional surgery to remove and to possibly replace the implant.
Capsular Contracture: Capsular contracture occurs when scar tissue (the capsule), that normally forms around the implant, tightens and squeezes the implant. At present, it is unclear whether capsular contracture is caused by infection or hypertrophic scar formation. Symptoms of capsular contraction range from mild firmness and discomfort to severe pain.
Capsular contracture may cause pain because of nerve entrapment or interference with muscle motion. Breast distortion, palpability of the implant, and or movement of the implant may also be noted. To correct capsular contraction, surgical options range from removal of the capsule tissue to removal and possible replacement of the implant itself. Capsular contracture may reoccur in one or both breasts.
Pain: If you experience severe pain not relieved by pain medicine, notify your surgeon immediately. Some discomfort is expected after surgery and you will receive a prescription for pain medication. The intensity and duration of pain after breast augmentation will vary among women. Prolonged or intense pain can be due to implant size, placement, surgical technique, or capsular contracture.
Dissatisfaction with Cosmetic Results: We strive to attain the aesthetic results you desire. Some women are not entirely satisfied with their results due to mild wrinkling, asymmetry, implant displacement (shifting), incorrect size, unanticipated shape, implant palpability, scar deformity, hypertrophic (irregular, raised scar) scarring, or “sloshing”. Careful surgical planning and technique can minimize but not always prevent such results.
Infection: A small number of women develop an infection. This typically can occur several days to several weeks after the procedure. With implants present infection can be more difficult to treat than infection in normal body tissues. If an infection does not respond to antibiotics, the implant may have to be removed, and another implant may be placed after the infection has resolved. In rare instances, toxic shock syndrome has been reported in women after Breast Implant Surgery. This life-threatening condition is characterized by symptoms such as sudden fever, vomiting, diarrhea, fainting, dizziness, and/or sunburn-like rash. A doctor should be seen immediately for diagnosis and treatment for this condition.
Hematoma and Seroma: A hematoma is a collection of blood under the skin, and a seroma is a collection of the watery portion of the blood under the skin. Hematomas or seromas typically develop within the first few days after surgery. However, they may occur at any time after injury to the breast. The body can reabsorb small hematomas or seromas and often patients will be unaware or asymptomatic of these smaller fluid collections. Larger ones require the placement of surgical drains for proper healing. A small scar can develop at the surgical drain site. Implant deflation or rupture can occur if the implant shell is punctured when the drain is placed.
Nipple and Breast Sensation: Feelings in the nipple and breast can increase or decrease after implant surgery. People report a range of feelings, from intense sensitivity to complete numbness in the nipple or breast. These changes are usually temporary, but can be permanent and may affect your sexual response or your ability to nurse a baby.
Delayed Wound Healing or Wound Dehiscence: In some instances, the incision site takes longer to heal than normal. Cigarette smoking, poor nutritional status and a compromised immune system can all cause delayed wound healing or wound separation.
Implant Extrusion: Extrusion is when the breast implant comes through the skin. If blood supply to the overlying tissue is compromised or if wound healing is interrupted extrusion may occur.
Possible Connective Tissue Disease: Concern has recently been raised over the association between breast implants and the development of autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, scleroderma, or rheumatoid arthritis. A review of several large epidemiological studies on women with and without implants indicates that these diseases are no more common in women with implants than those in women without implants.
Breast Cancer: Published studies indicate that breast cancer is no more common in women with implants than those without implants. It is important that women continue to obtain regular mammograms as directed by your physician. Make sure the radiologist is aware that you have implants. Calcium deposits may form in the tissue around the implant. On mammograms these calcium deposits can be mistaken for cancer or precancerous lesions. Additional surgery for biopsy of the lesion, or removal of the implant may be required to rule out cancer.
Additional Surgeries: You should understand that you may require additional surgery in the future to replace or remove your implants. Situations such as deflation, capsular contracture, infection, shifting, and calcium deposits can require removal of the implants.
If you have further questions about breast augmentation surgery, please call our office at (720) 457-4471.