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What you need to know about breast augmentation:
Breast augmentation is surgery to insert breast implants. This surgery will increase the size and change the 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. Breast implants come in different shapes and sizes and may be adjustable.
How to prepare for breast augmentation:
- Your surgeon will tell you how to prepare. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before surgery. Arrange to have someone drive you home after you are discharged and stay with you.
- Tell your surgeon about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for surgery, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of surgery.
- You may need to have blood and urine tests, a mammogram, or chest x-ray. Ask your surgeon for more information about these and other tests you may need.
- Healthcare providers may take pictures of your breasts. This will be used to compare the pictures of your breasts before and after surgery.
What will happen during breast augmentation:
- You will be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Your surgeon will make incisions in your breast area, armpit, or belly button. The breast implant will then be placed under the breast tissue or chest muscle.
- If an adjustable implant is used, the implant will be filled with saline through a small, removable fill tube. This tube is left attached to the implant and placed just under the skin for weekly breast size adjustments. This is removed when the desired size of the breasts is reached.
- Drains (thin rubber tubes) may be put into your skin to drain extra blood and fluid from your incision. The incisions will be closed with stitches and covered with bandages.
What will happen after breast augmentation:
You will be helped to walk around as soon as possible after surgery to prevent blood clots. 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 or develop an infection. You may have an allergic reaction to the implants. Your breasts may be numb in areas or look uneven. You may not be able to breastfeed. Scar tissue may form around the implant. The implant may wear out, burst, or leak. You may develop a life-threatening blood clot.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:
- You feel lightheaded, short of breath, or have chest pain.
- You cough up blood.
Seek care immediately if:
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- 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.
- Blood soaks through your bandage.
Call your doctor or surgeon if:
- You have a fever or chills.
- You have redness, pain, or discharge where the drain was inserted.
- You have nausea or are vomiting.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need the following:
- 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.
- Rest your upper body. Do not lift, pull, or push objects until your surgeon says it is okay.
- Wear the medical support bra as directed. 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.
- Ask about breast massage. Your surgeon may want you to massage your breasts. This will depend on what type of implant was used and where it was placed. Breast massage may help an implant to move where it needs to go. Do not massage your breasts unless your surgeon says it is okay.
- Care for your surgery area as directed. You may need to do a sponge bath for several days to keep the surgery area clean and dry.
Follow up with your doctor or surgeon as directed:
You will need to return to have your surgery area checked and drain or stitches removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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