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Breast Implant Removal

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Breast implant removal is surgery to take out one or both breast implants. You may choose to have the implant removed completely, or to have it replaced with a new implant. If the implant is removed, you may need to have the skin or tissue tightened or lifted. You may choose to have the scar tissue around the implant removed. You may need one or more other surgeries to have this done.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have sudden chest pain or shortness of breath.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • Your shoulder, arm, or fingers feel numb, tingly, cool to the touch, or look blue or pale.

Call your doctor or surgeon if:

  • You have pain in your chest or armpit that does not go away, even after you take pain medicine.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have signs of an infection in the surgery area, such as swelling, redness, or pus.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

You may need any of the following:

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • 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 the surgery area:

  • Ask your healthcare provider when your incisions can get wet. If you have drains, you may need to take a sponge bath until your drains are removed. When you can shower, carefully wash around the surgery area with soap and water. It is okay to allow the soap and water to gently run over the area. Gently pat the area dry and put on new, clean bandages as directed.
  • Change the bandages as directed. It may feel more comfortable to place gauze over the surgery area before you put on a bra. Check the area every day for signs of infection, such as redness, pus, or swelling. Do not put powders or lotions on the area.
  • If you have drains, empty the drains as directed. You may need to write down how much fluid you empty from your drains each day. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about how to care for your drain.

Self-care:

  • Rest as directed. Take short walks around the house. Walk a little more each day. Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to work and your usual daily activities.
  • Apply ice to the surgery area as directed. Ice decreases swelling and pain and helps prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you place it on the area. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.
  • Wear a support bra as directed. This will help decrease pain. You may need to wear this support bra all or most of the day for up to 2 weeks after surgery. Do not wear underwire bras until your healthcare provider says it is okay.
  • Move carefully until the surgery area heals. Do not lift anything heavier than your healthcare provider says is okay. Do not push or pull anything. Do not play sports. Your healthcare provider will tell you how long you need to move carefully.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause blood vessel damage and delay healing. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.

Arm stretches:

Your healthcare provider may show you how to do arm stretches. Arm stretches may prevent stiff arms or shoulders. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about arm stretches.

Follow up with your doctor or surgeon as directed:

You may need to have the stitches or drains 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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.