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3. Breast Augmentation – Recovery

Anesthesia, Recovery, and Restrictions…

Safety of anesthesia is not just dependent on the type of anesthesia but more importantly on your health and smoking habit. Most women have their surgery under general anesthesia but there are some that also have it done under sedation. In any case, you should have your surgery performed in a licensed, or accredidated surgery center and under the care of an experienced or board certified anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist.

How much pain? Of course, I cannot tell you personally, but I have seen many patients and friends through their recovery phase. According to these women most of the discomfort is during the first two days. During this time if you rest with your back elevated you will feel a lot better. After that you should be gradually able to do some things at home and in less than a week you should be able to return to work. This is a generalization, and it differs among people depending on their pain tolerance and their work routine. After your surgery, you should refrain from doing any arm rising, or pulling for approximately 10-14 days. Your surgeon will examine you after the surgery and will give you specific instructions depending on the type of your implant and the type of your surgery.

Risks and Potential Complications: Every thing we do in life and of course every surgery has risks and potential complications. Plastic surgery is elective surgery and you should understand its risks carefully before deciding to undergo surgery. It is also important to have a surgeon who is apt at dealing with and correcting any potential complication that might inevitably occur. The following are most and not all of the potential risks and complications that you should familiarize yourself with:

  • Bleeding or hematoma (blood Collection) formation: In general most people lose the amount of blood equal to one or two test tubes with their surgery. The risk of major bleeding or blood collection is about 3%. Wound Infection: this risk is less than 2%. Most patients receive intravenous antibiotics during the surgery and go home on antibiotic pills in order to minimize this chance.

  • Altered nipple sensation: there is a chance of reducing nipple sensation or in fact making it more sensitive or hypersensitive. As I discussed earlier it could depend on the incision any were from 0% to 15%.

  • Scarring: all people scar differently, but there is always a scar even though it might be very faint.

  • Asymmetry, Displacement: No two breast are identical before surgery, and no matter how much your surgeon tries to make them similar their will still be some differences between them depending on how closely you look. Implant displacement is possible after the surgery, but we minimize this by having the patient wear a special bra and/or binder in the immediate post-operative period.

  • Implant rippling: saline implants in general show more ripples than silicones. This rippling is also more pronounced if the implants are under filled. It might have to do with the texture of the implant, but this is controversial. The more breast tissue you have and the deeper the implant (sub-muscular) are placed the more the implants are camouflaged and the less you will possibly see or feel any rippling.

  • Implant rupture: Since the type of implants used and their structure has changed during the past few years no body knows the true statistics about the rupture rate of new implants. Nevertheless, it is known that implant under-filling increases the risks of implant fatigue and rupture. National implant brands such as McGhan and Mentor warranty their implants. We provide these implants to our patients.

What Kind of Recovery Follows Breast Augmentation? Dos and Don'ts!

Breast Augmentation generally takes between one and two hours, as an outpatient surgery. Afterwards, you will spend some time in the Recovery Room of the surgical facility. When you wake up, you will have gauze dressing over your breasts, and a support bra our cosmetic surgeon will provide you with specific instructions for your recovery, including what medications to take and how to limit your activities.

  • After surgery the best comfortable position for the first 2-3 days is to be lying semi-reclined. Elevation of the upper body and chest reduces the swelling and aching of the breasts.

  • After one week you can sleep on your sides, and after two weeks, on your abdomen.

  • I encourage you to be mobile and not to be sedentary in order to reduce the chance of forming blood clots in your legs.

  • Some women develop back pain or muscle spasm as a result of sleeping propped up. If you experience this put a heating pack on your back and have your family member massage your back.

  • Take your nausea medications about one hour before taking your antibiotics and pain medication in order to lessen the extent of nausea.

  • It is good to stay well hydrated, but avoid drinking too much plain water because it can make you more nauseated.

  • Avoid eating greasy or spicy foods for the first three days, and have anti-acids available if you get an upset stomach.
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Dr. Sean Younai
is a Board Certified Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon, who practices in Encino, Los Angeles, Southern California.
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