Breast augmentation is performed under a general anaesthetic in a Day Hospital. The patient can leave the hospital after a couple of hours in recovery and after a period of post-operative observation.
Usually, pain is manageable and can be controlled with pain relief. Drains are not routinely used and dressings are minimal so a shower can be taken the day after surgery. Our doctors use the Rapid Recovery technique, which reduces bleeding and for most patients enabling them to be up and about after 24 hours. The majority of patients can drive a car and go down the local shops the next day. After about 5 to 7 days most patients can return to work provided that they do not need to raise their arms or need to do any heavy lifting as this can be uncomfortable (particularly if the implant is under the muscle). All sutures are dissolving so there is no need to have them removed, but we do like to see patients at the one week stage to check on their recovery. A nurse will review the wounds and provide you with a scar-reducing silicone gel to use.
In the first few weeks, there is usually some swelling as the tissues heal. This settles gradually and is usually minimal by about a month after the operation. The size of the breasts at the one month stage is what they will be long term. By the 2 – 3 month stage they will soften and thus continue to improve for about a year. For the first 4 weeks, no bra should be worn and no activities undertaken that bounce the breasts (like aerobics or jogging). After this time patients are free to gradually resume normal activities. Pools and spas should be avoided in the first month to reduce the risk of wound infection.
Breast implants should not affect breastfeeding, whether the implant is above or below the muscle. There is no increase in breast cancer risk for those patients who have implants and mammography, ultrasound and MRI can be performed normally. Normal breast screening recommendations apply and should be followed. Implants should be considered permanent and do not need to be removed by a certain time or date unless there are medical reasons to do so.
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