Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need to stay in hospital?
- What about Complications?
- Breast Screening
- How important are psychological factors in relation to this procedure?
Do I need to stay in hospital?
The surgery is generally performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure can be done with local anaesthetic and sedation or under general anaesthesia. The operation usually takes about 2 hours. There is no need for taping after the procedure and dissolving sutures are used so none need to be removed afterwards. Generally you will be able to go home 2 hours after surgery.
Some discomfort may arise from the stretching of the breast tissues, but it largely resolves within two to three days and is well-controlled with simple oral medication such as Panadeine. Showering is allowable 48 hours postoperatively.
Patients generally return to work within one week, but should avoid exertional activities over the 6 to 8 weeks required for bruising and swelling to resolve.
What about Complications?
Breast augmentation is an open surgical procedure that is associated with a low incidence of complications. At your consultation these will be discussed with you and you will be able to ask any questions you have about them.
Post-operative complications include blood accumulation or infection adjacent to the implant. Both problems occur infrequently, but can necessitate a second operation or temporary removal of the implant. Because implants are a medical device, they can fail at any point after implantation. This is uncommon, but may require implant replacement surgery.
Some patients develop a firm layer of scar tissue around their implants which can make the breast hard to the touch or painful. Called “capsular contracture,” this can cause the breast contour to be asymmetrical and may require secondary procedures for improvement. Nipple sensation can be increased or decreased by the procedure though most women will experience some decrease in sensation around the nipple and outer breast which will be more noticeable in the few months following surgery but will improve with time. Most patients are able to breast-feed following augmentation.
The scar following breast augmentation is 6 cm long and sits under the breast in its crease. The scar will be reddened and more noticeable for 6 months or so but can be expected to fade dramatically over 12 to 18 months.
Breast cause very little interference with the ability of mammography to detect early breast cancers. This is an important consideration that patients should discuss with a physician, particularly patients with a first-degree relative who has had breast cancer. All augmented patients need to inform their radiologists of their implants so the screening technique can be favourably modified.
Despite these limitations, approximately two million women are estimated to have undergone breast enlargement surgery. The overwhelming majority are satisfied with the results.
How important are psychological factors in relation to this procedure?
Emotional stability is the primary factor to be considered before any aesthetic surgery is performed. A “new body” does not guarantee a new life or solution to personal problems. It is mostly the mental attitude of the individual that determines a successful outcome. Breast augmentation can improve your appearance and renew your self-confidence. It is a procedure you do for yourself, not for anybody else.
Should there be any questions regarding breast augmentation, be sure to get them answered in advance by Dr Drielsma. Well meaning friends are not a good source of information. Find out everything before proceeding with the operation – a well informed patient is a happy one.
Finally, remember the realistic aim of this operation is improvement, not perfection.
Beware of the pitfalls of shopping around for the cheapest costs for thisoperation as this often leads to disappointment with results. Often “packages “ that appear attractive use cheaper inferior implants and may involve unqualified or inexperienced operators.
Please note: The above information does not necessarily cover all of the benefits and complications of a breast augmentation. This information should not be regarded as a substitute for information and advice provided by Dr Drielsma during consultation.