Breast Augmentation

What is Breast Augmentation surgery

Breast augmentation, also called augmentation mammoplasty, is surgery to enlarge the breasts by putting an implant in each breast. The shape and size of the breasts can be changed.

Implants are available in different shapes and sizes. The shell of the implant is made of a silicone-based material, and implants may be filled with gel or water depending on the type of implant. Before the procedure, you and your surgeon will decide on the type of implant and the new size and shape of your breasts.

Sometimes, breast augmentation may be done to enhance the appearance of the breasts for cosmetic reasons, not for a medical need.

Tell a health care provider about:

  • Any allergies you have.
  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Any problems you or family members have had with anesthetic medicines.
  • Any blood disorders you have.
  • Any surgeries you have had.
  • Any medical conditions you have.
  • Whether you are pregnant or may be pregnant.

What are the risks?

Generally, this is a safe procedure. However, problems may occur, including:

  • Infection. In rare cases, infection develops that cannot be treated, and an implant needs to be removed.
  • Bleeding. Blood may pool near the incision area (hematoma), or blood clots may form.
  • Allergic reactions to medicines.
  • Damage to other structures or organs.
  • Partial or total numbness in the nipple or breast. Sometimes feeling returns, but not always.
  • Scarring.
  • Hardened breasts. This can be caused by scarring inside the breast. It can be painful and may require more surgery.
  • A break (rupture) in an implant. This can cause leaks and may require more surgery.
    • If a saline implant leaks, the implant will collapse and the water will be absorbed by the body.
    • If a gel implant leaks, the implant might not collapse. The gel may collect in other areas of the breast.
  • Pain that does not go away.
  • Inability to breastfeed.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). This is a type of cancer that may develop after breast implants. This is rare.

What happens before the procedure?

Staying hydrated

Follow instructions from your health care provider about hydration, which may include:

  • Up to 2 hours before the procedure – you may continue to drink clear liquids, such as water, clear fruit juice, black coffee, and plain tea.

Eating and drinking restrictions

Follow instructions from your health care provider about eating and drinking, which may include:

  • 8 hours before the procedure – stop eating heavy meals or foods such as meat, fried foods, or fatty foods.
  • 6 hours before the procedure – stop eating light meals or foods, such as toast or cereal.
  • 6 hours before the procedure – stop drinking milk or drinks that contain milk.
  • 2 hours before the procedure – stop drinking clear liquids.

Medicines

  • Ask your health care provider about:
    • Changing or stopping your regular medicines. This is especially important if you are taking diabetes medicines or blood thinners.
    • Taking medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen. These medicines can thin your blood.Do nottake these medicines before your procedure if your health care provider instructs you not to.
  • You may be given antibiotic medicine to help prevent infection.

General instructions

  • Stop taking vitamin E supplements 2 weeks before your procedure. Talk with your health care provider about stopping other supplements, herbs, and teas that you regularly take.
  • Ask your health care provider how your surgical site will be marked or identified.
  • You may have blood tests.
  • You may have an X-ray exam of the breasts (mammogram).
  • You may be asked to bathe using a germ-killing (antiseptic) soap before your procedure.
  • For at least 2 weeks before your procedure, do notuse any products that contain nicotine or tobacco, such as cigarettes and e-cigarettes. These products can delay healing after surgery. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.
  • Plan to have someone take you home from the hospital or clinic.
  • If you will be going home right after the procedure, plan to have someone with you for 24 hours.

What happens during the procedure?

  • To lower your risk of infection:
    • Your health care team will wash or sanitize their hands.
    • Your skin will be washed with soap.
  • An IV tube will be inserted into one of your veins.
  • You will be given a medicine to make you fall asleep (general anesthetic). You may also be given a medicine to help you relax (sedative).
  • An incision will be made in each breast. The incision may be made near your nipple, in the crease beneath your breast, or in your armpit.
  • Tissue inside your breasts may be moved away from your chest muscles, or the implants may be placed above or below the chest muscles.
  • Implants will be placed inside of the breasts.
  • Tubes will be placed in your breast tissue to drain fluid around your implants. The tubes will be removed 2–3 days after the surgery.
  • Your incisions will be closed with stitches (sutures) and covered with surgical tape. Your breasts will be covered with gauze and elastic bandages (dressings).

The procedure may vary among health care providers and hospitals.

What happens after the procedure?

  • Your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood oxygen level will be monitored until the medicines you were given have worn off.
  • You may continue to receive fluids and medicines through an IV tube.
  • You may have to wear compression stockings. These stockings help to prevent blood clots and reduce swelling in your legs.
  • You will continue to have tubes draining fluid from your surgical area.
  • You may have breast pain, swelling, bruising, or tenderness. You will be given medicine as needed.
  • Do notdrive for 24 hours if you were given a sedative.

Summary

  • Breast augmentation, also called augmentation mammoplasty, is surgery to enlarge the breasts by putting an implant in each breast.
  • This procedure is associated with risks that may require additional surgery or medical care.
  • Plan to have someone take you home from the hospital or clinic.
  • Tubes will be placed in your breast tissue to drain fluid around your implants. The tubes will be removed 2–3 days after the surgery.
  • Your incisions will be closed with stitches (sutures) and covered with surgical tape. Your breasts will be covered with gauze and elastic bandages (dressings).

Breast Augmentation, Care After

What can I expect after the procedure?

After the procedure, it is common to have:

  • Bruising, soreness, and swelling in your breasts. This may last for a few days.
  • Breast pain. You will be given medicine to help relieve pain.

Follow these instructions at home:

Medicines

  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider. Do nottake aspirin or NSAIDs because these medicines increase the chances of bleeding.
  • If you were prescribed an antibiotic medicine, take it as told by your health care provider.Do notstop taking the antibiotic even if you start to feel better.

Incision care

  • Follow instructions from your health care provider about how to take care of your incisions. Make sure you:
    • Wash your hands with soap and water before you change your bandage (dressing). If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
    • Change your dressing as told by your health care provider.
    • Leave stitches (sutures), skin glue, or adhesive strips in place. These skin closures may need to stay in place for 2 weeks or longer. If adhesive strip edges start to loosen and curl up, you may trim the loose edges. Do notremove adhesive strips completely unless your health care provider tells you to do that.

Check your incision areas every day for signs of infection. Check for:

  • More redness, swelling, or pain.
  • More fluid or blood.
  • Warmth.
  • Pus or a bad smell.

Activity

  • For the first 3 days after surgery, rest as much as possible. Get up and walk around at least 3–4 times a day. This helps to prevent blood clots and pneumonia.
  • For the first 5–7 days after surgery, move your arms as little as possible and avoid turning or twisting your upper body.
  • Do notdrive for 24 hours if you were given a medicine to help you relax (sedative).
  • Do notdrive or use heavy machinery while taking prescription pain medicine.
  • Do notdo physical activity that requires a lot of movement or energy for 1 month after surgery, or as long as told by your health care provider. Ask your health care provider what activities are safe for you.
  • Do notlift anything that is heavier than 5 lb (2.3 kg) for 3 weeks, or as long as told by your health care provider.

Bathing

  • Do nottake baths, swim, or use a hot tub until your health care provider approves. Ask your health care provider if you may take showers. You may only be allowed to take sponge baths for bathing.

Lifestyle

  • Do notuse any products that contain nicotine or tobacco, such as cigarettes and e-cigarettes. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.
  • Avoid being in the sun for long periods of time.

General instructions

  • Wear a postoperative bra, compression bandage, or jogging bra, as directed.
  • Wear compression stockings as told by your health care provider. These stockings help to prevent blood clots and reduce swelling in your legs.
  • If you have tubes draining fluid from your surgical area, care for them as told by your health care provider.
  • Follow instructions from your health care provider about eating or drinking restrictions.
  • Do notsleep on your belly for 4–6 weeks.
  • To prevent or treat constipation while you are taking prescription pain medicine, your health care provider may recommend that you:
    • Drink enough fluid to keep your urine clear or pale yellow.
    • Take over-the-counter or prescription medicines.
    • Eat foods that are high in fiber, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
    • Limit foods that are high in fat and processed sugars, such as fried and sweet foods.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You have more redness, swelling, or pain around your incision area or in your breast.
  • You have more fluid or blood coming from your incision area.
  • Your incision or your breast feels warm to the touch.
  • You have pus or a bad smell coming from your incision area.
  • You have nausea or vomiting that lasts for more than 2 days.
  • You have pain that does not get better with medicine.
  • You develop a cough.
  • You have difficulty moving your arm or have pain when moving your arm.
  • You have areas of blood or fluid collecting in your breast.
  • You have bruising or swelling that does not get better after a few days.

Get help right away if:

  • You have chest pain that is new or feels different from your pain after surgery.
  • Your heartbeat is abnormal.
  • You have trouble breathing or have shortness of breath.
  • You develop swelling in your legs or arms.
  • You develop a fever.

Summary

  • You may have pain, bruising, soreness, and swelling in your breasts. This may last for a few days.
  • Follow instructions from your health care provider about how to take care of your incisions.
  • Check your incision areas every day for signs of infection.
  • Follow instructions from your health care provider on what activities you can do and any restrictions you may have after the procedure.
  • Contact your health care provider if you notice any signs or symptoms of infection.
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