How do I prepare for a breast augmentation procedure?
Your surgeon will provide thorough preoperative instructions, answer any questions you may have, take a detailed medical history and perform a physical exam to determine your fitness for surgery.
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To help detect and track any changes in your breast tissue, your plastic surgeon may recommend:
. A baseline mammogram before surgery
. Another mammogram a few months after surgery
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In advance of your procedure, your surgeon will ask you to:
. Stop smoking at least six weeks before undergoing cosmetic surgery to better promote healing.
. Avoid taking aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs that can increase bleeding.
. Regardless of the type of surgery to be performed, hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery.
Breast augmentation is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you at least the first night following surgery.
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Before you decide to have surgery, consider the following:
. Breast implants won't prevent your breasts from sagging. To correct sagging breasts, you might need a breast lift in addition to breast augmentation.
. Breast implants aren't guaranteed to last a lifetime. The average life span of an implant is 10 years. Implant rupture is a possibility. Also, your breasts will continue to age, and factors such as weight gain or weight loss might change the way your breasts look. These issues will likely lead to more surgery.
. Mammograms might be more complicated. If you have breast implants, in addition to routine mammograms, you'll require additional, specialized views.
. Breast implants might hamper breast-feeding. Some women are able to successfully breast-feed after breast augmentation. For others, however, breast-feeding is a challenge.
. Insurance does not cover breast implants. Unless it's medically necessary — such as after a mastectomy — breast augmentation isn't covered by insurance. Be prepared to handle the expenses, including related surgeries or future imaging tests.
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. You might need additional surgery after breast implant removal. If you decide to have your implants removed, you might need a breast lift or other corrective surgery to help restore your breasts' appearance.
. You might need an MRI scan. The FDA recommends routine monitoring with MRI after three years. However, recent studies show that there's little data to support routine screening unless you have symptoms.
What can I expect on the day of breast augmentation surgery?
Your breast augmentation surgery may be performed in a hospital, free-standing ambulatory facility or office-based surgical suite. Most breast augmentation procedures take at least one to two hours, and may be 1-2 hours longer if breast lifting is also being performed.
. Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure.
. General anesthesia is commonly used during your breast augmentation procedure, although local anesthesia or intravenous sedation may be desirable in some instances.
. For your safety during the surgery, various monitors will be used to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse and the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood.
. Your surgeon will follow the surgical plan discussed with you before surgery.
. After your procedure is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area, where you will continue to be closely monitored.
Following insertion and placement of breast implants, your surgeon will use sutures to close the surgical incisions. Many plastic surgeons will wrap your chest area with a gauze bandage or dress you with a surgical compression bra to provide support and assist with healing. Occasionally, drainage tubes may be used for a short time following surgery.
Breast augmentation with autologous fat transfer requires two procedures: liposuction and fat injection. Using liposuction techniques, your plastic surgeon will remove your fat cells from a predetermined location with a cannula, process the fat and then inject the fat into your breasts. Your liposuction incisions will be closed with sutures, and you will wear compression garments over the liposuction areas and your breasts.
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You may be permitted to go home after a short observation period unless you and your plastic surgeon have arranged other plans for your immediate post-operative recovery.
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