What is the normal post-operative course?
A small dressing is applied to the suture line in the crease underneath the breast. Most patients are able to shower and change the dressing themselves every day at home. An outpatient appointment is made for removal of sutures approximately one week after surgery. A review appointment is usually offered one to three months after the operation.
What level of activity can be carried out in the weeks following the operation?
For the first couple of weeks patients can experience discomfort while lifting weights or stretching the arms above the head. It is advisable to have help around the house and with young children during this period. The majority of patients are quite comfortable and able to return to work within two to three weeks after surgery. It is usually possible to return to normal exercise schedules including gym, aerobics and swimming four to six weeks after surgery.
What specific issues should be discussed in the preoperative consultation?
Your Surgeon will discuss the different shapes and types of implants that are available to you. You will be informed as to whether the implant will be placed above or below the pectoral muscle in the chest and what the long-term implications of having breast implants would be in. Such problems may include capsule formation, leaks and ruptures, future mammograms, implications for pregnancy and breast-feeding and the possibility of revision surgery in the future.
Breast enlargement is performed under general anaesthetic and may involve one or two nights stay in hospital. With some patients, it may be possible to cary out the procedure as a day case. A tube drain inserted into each breast to remove any blood or fluid which may have collected around the implant. This drain is normally removed within 24 to 48 hours and the patient is allowed home in a supportive soft brassiere.
Following surgery, the patient may feel some discomfort, which is more than adequately treated by painkillers. The breasts can be bruised and swollen and appear larger in the first few days after surgery than the eventual size. In approximately six weeks, the bruising and swelling settles to a large extent and the final shape of the breasts become evident.
What are the complications of this procedure?
Breast enlargement surgery can have complications just like any other surgical procedure. These include bleeding, haematoma formation (blood clot under the skin or in the substance of the breast), infection, visible scar, asymmetry, loss of nipple sensation and long-term problems such as capsule formation, leaks or ruptures.