Having breast implant surgery usually involves either enlarging your breasts or changing their shape. It is also known as breast augmentation or mammoplasty.
You may have a number of reasons for wanting breast implants. Many women are simply unhappy about the size or shape of their breasts. Your breasts may be uneven in size, or have changed in appearance, perhaps as a result of having children. The majority of breast implants are performed to make the breasts larger. However, implants can also be used to make drooping breasts firmer, and to even out unequally sized or unevenly shaped breasts.
What happens during the operation
Breast augmentation surgery is usually done under general anaesthetic. You will be asked to follow fasting instructions before your operation. Typically, you can not eat or drink for six hours before having the anaesthetic. Surgery takes between one-and-a-half and three hours. You are usually required to stay in hospital for one night.
Aftercare and recovery
Immediately after your breast implant operation, you will experience some swelling, pain, and bruising. Your chest may also feel tight, and you may feel that your breathing is restricted. This is normal, and your symptoms will start to improve over the next few weeks.
While you are recovering from your surgery at the hospital or clinic you will usually rest in a semi-upright position as this will help to minimise any swelling, and should also help you to feel more comfortable. If you are in pain, you may be given painkilling medicine to help ease your symptoms.
You may be able to go home the same day, but many patients will spend one night in hospital. Post-operative pain in these procedures is easily controlled. Patients will be mobile from day one and should be back to full exercise within six weeks. Patients are recommended to take around two weeks off work immediately after the operation in order to ensure they recuperate fully.
The nature of the scars will depend on the technique that has been used. Scars tend to be quite red in the first six weeks, changing to purple over next three months and then fading to white.
Risks and complications
All surgical procedures carry risks so it’s important that as well as the benefits of cosmetic procedures you are also fully aware of any complications that may arise such as an adverse reaction to the anaesthetic, excessive bleeding and blood cots.
A degree of altered sensation in the breast area is very common after breast enlargement. This usually gradually gets better, but there is a slight risk of losing nipple sensation completely. After your surgery you may be worried that your implants look unnatural following your surgery. This is normal and your breasts are likely to feel quite taut, or rigid, at first. However, within a few months, they will start to appear more natural as the breast tissue, muscle, and skin stretches to accommodate the new implants.
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You may also experience changes in feeling in your breasts, with different areas becoming more, or less, sensitive than they used to be. Although most of these sensation changes are temporary, some may be permanent and this is not unusual.