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Breast Implants

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Recovery After Breast Implantation

Your breasts will be covered with gauze after the surgery. You may have drainage tubes, which will be removed in a few days. You may need to wear a surgical bra as you heal.

You'll need to take it easy for a few days after your breast augmentation surgery. For instance, you shouldn't do any heavy lifting for up to six weeks after getting your implants.

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen may help relieve discomfort. Your doctor may also prescribe pain medication for you.

You will probably have some swelling in the area where the surgery was done. Over time, the swelling should ease and the scars will fade.

Possible Complications

Although it is a cosmetic procedure, breast implant surgery can have risks, such as:

  • Breast pain
  • Changes in sensation in the nipple and breast
  • Scar tissue forming and hardening in the area around the implant
  • Scarring
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Problems with the size or shape of the implants (for example, the breasts may not be symmetrical)

It is also possible for implants to rupture and leak. If saline implants rupture, the saline will be safely absorbed by the body. A silicone leak may stay inside the implant shell or leak outside of the shell. When a saline implant ruptures, it will deflate. But silicone breast implants may cause no obvious symptoms when they rupture. This is called silent rupture.

Maintenance

Breast implants are not designed to last a lifetime. You may need to have the implants replaced if you have complications or if the size and shape of your breasts change over time.

Women who have silicone gel-filled implants will need to get an MRI scan three years after the implant surgery and then MRI scans about every two years to check for silent rupture. If your implants rupture, you will need to have them removed or replaced.

Having breast implants can make it more difficult to get a mammogram, but special X-ray views can be done. There is a chance breast implants may make you more likely to get breast cancer. Breast implants also may make it harder for you to breastfeed.

Cosmetic Surgery: Before-and-After Pictures

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on May 09, 2012
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