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Breast Augmentation


What you need to know about breast augmentation:

Breast augmentation is surgery to insert breast implants. This surgery will change the size and shape of your breasts. A breast implant has an outer silicone shell and an inner filling. The filling may be saline (salt water) or silicone gel.

How to prepare for breast augmentation:

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. Your provider may tell you to shower the night before your surgery. He or she may tell you to use a certain soap to help prevent a surgical site infection. The provider will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery. You may be given an antibiotic through your IV to help prevent a bacterial infection. Arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you after surgery.

What will happen during breast augmentation:

  • You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may instead be given local anesthesia to numb the surgery area. With local anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery, but you should not feel any pain. Your surgeon will make incisions under your breast, around your areola, in your armpit, or your belly button. Healthcare providers may use an endoscope if the incision is made in your armpit. An endoscope is a flexible tube with a light on the end. The endoscope will help your surgeon guide the implant into the correct position.
  • The breast implant will be placed under the breast tissue or chest muscle. Some types of saline implants will be filled with saline after the implant shell has been put in place. Drains (thin rubber tubes) may be put into your skin to drain blood from your incision. The incisions will be closed with stitches and covered with bandages.

What will happen after breast augmentation:

Your healthcare provider may have you get out of bed and walk as soon as possible after surgery. You may be need to stay in the hospital overnight, or you may be able to go home after surgery. You will have pain, swelling, bruising, and tenderness on your breasts for about 1 month. You may need to wear a special support bra or compression bandage while you heal.

Risks of breast augmentation:

You may bleed more than expected, get an infection, or develop a hematoma near your incisions. A hematoma is a collection of blood. You may have an allergic reaction to the implants. Your breasts may look uneven in certain areas. You may have pain or changes in sensation, such as numbness, in your breasts. You may not be able to breastfeed. Scar tissue may form around the implant. The implant may wear out, burst, or leak. You may need another surgery to fix any problems that happen after surgery. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. This can be life-threatening.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You feel something bulge out of your chest and it does not go back in.
  • You have pain or swelling in your chest or underarm that does not go away.
  • Your incision is draining blood or pus, or has a foul-smelling odor.
  • Your shoulder, arm, or fingers feel numb, tingly, cool, or look pale.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Care for your wound as directed:

Carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.


  • Rest your upper body. Do not lift, pull, or push objects until your healthcare provider says it is okay.
  • Ask when you can return to your daily activities. You may be able to return to work within 2 weeks. Avoid strenuous activity for 2 weeks.
  • Wear a support bra. This will help hold the implants in place. You may need to wear the bra all day and night. A lightweight band may also be used. If the implants are too high, healthcare providers may tell you not to wear a bra until the implants move down.
  • Ask about breast massage. Your healthcare provider may want you to massage your breasts. This will depend on the type of implant that was used and where the implants were placed. Breast massage may help an implant to move where it needs to go. Do not massage your breasts unless your healthcare provider says it is okay.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need to return to have your wounds checked, and drain or stitches removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.