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Breast implant surgery and your recovery

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How is breast implant surgery performed?

Breast implant surgery in Australia is usually performed under a general anaesthetic in a hospital or Day Procedure Centre.  At Avenue Plastic Surgery breast augmentation is usually performed in the morning to give you the whole day to recover and to enable you to go home in the afternoon. On your admission you are given some tablets as an oral pre- medication.  These tablets consist of an antibiotic, anti pain medication and some relaxation medication. The surgeon will then examine you and mark out precisely where the incisions will be made and where the pocket will be dissected. In most cases an incision is made just above the breast crease where it is hidden in the shadow beneath the breast. This incision allows direct access to the space under the pectoralis major muscle where a pocket is created for the implant. When saline implants are used, the incision need only be about 3cm long as the implant is inflated with saline solution only once it is inside its pocket.  A silicone gel implant will require a 6cm incision as the implant is prefilled. A drain tube is inserted to ensure that no blood or fluid collection forms around the implant. The small incision is then meticulously closed with an absorbable suture placed beneath the skin surface.  Your time in the operating theatre is about an hour.

Recovery from the anaesthetic takes place in a private room with an experienced recovery nurse by your side.  Medication is administered to ensure that you are pain free.  After 2 or3 hours you are able to eat a light meal and walk (with assistance) to the bathroom.  You should be ready for discharge home (under the care of a responsible person) by mid afternoon.

What is the recovery like after breast implant surgery?

A number of criteria have to be met before you can be discharged home.  In other words, your pain must be well controlled with oral medication, there should be no nausea or vomiting, there should be no bleeding, you should be able to eat a light meal and walk with assistance to the bathroom.  It is important that no matter how well you may feel, you go home to bed!  Rest is very important for the first 24 hours.  An appointment is made for you to be seen the following morning when the drain tubes can be removed and your pain medication reviewed.  You should feel a lot better following this review as local anaesthetic is injected down the drain tubes prior to their removal thus making you feel quite comfortable. Nevertheless it is important to rest for the second day.

By the third day you should be able to start doing some light housework and even driving. Usually you will be checked after one week at which stage you will be shown how to massage your breasts in order to keep them soft and to prevent the complication of capsule contracture. You should massage your breasts 3 times a day for the first 6 weeks after surgery. Your breasts may feel a little firm at first (especially if you have chosen a large implant!) but they can be expected to soften over 3-6 months as your tissues stretch.  The small incision under the breast should heal well, although we do recommend taping it with micropore tape (which you should change twice a week).  We also recommend that when you change the tape, you massage the scar with a little Rosehip oil.

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