Surgeons and patients must work together to make a procedure as effective and safe as possible. Every plastic surgery procedure carries its risks and breast augmentation is no different.
Because of these risks, many of the women who might once have considered breast augmentation will shy away from the procedure, never fully knowing if the procedure could have changed their bodies, their self-images, and their confidence.
If you’re a prospective patient of breast augmentation surgery, it’s important to learn about how much you can really help your surgeon make your procedure as safe as possible. Follow these tips to protect yourself before, during, and after your breast augmentation surgery.
Know Your Potential Risks
It’s true that no one likes to talk about the fine print, especially when it comes to a cosmetic surgery that has so many positive benefits.
It’s also true that today’s modern techniques for performing breast augmentation have greatly minimized the risks that once existed for patients. Still, there will always be some risks to safeguard against and that safeguarding begins with understanding what those risks are.
- Infection occurs in only 2-4 percent of patients, usually as a result of bacteria living on the skin that is transferred internally through the incisions.
- A hematoma, or pocket of blood, forms inside the wound in about 1-6 percent of breast augmentation patients. This complication can increase a patient’s level of discomfort and pain. A hematoma can be easily drained by your surgeon without causing lasting damage to the breast area.
- Seroma, which is the collection of fluid around breast implants, may increase your pain or swelling during recovery. Most often, this collected fluid comes from the nearby blood vessels damaged during surgery. If left untreated, the blister-like seroma can become infected and lead to additional discomfort and complications. Notify your surgeon so that your seromas can be either removed or drained, based on the circumstances.
- Sometimes, a capsular contracture can occur around the implant. This is the result of excess scar tissue that builds up after surgery, often changing the breast shape, hardening the area, and creating extra discomfort for the patient. In severe cases of capsular contracture, a secondary surgery may be necessary.
Of course, the risks of breast augmentation sound very unappealing, but thankfully your plastic surgeon will take every measure to provide you with a safe surgery and smooth recovery process. Just by following his or her instructions, you can promote your own health and safety from the beginning to the end of the breast augmentation process.
Tips for Reducing Your Infection Risk
Because your risk of infection is directly related to how your surgery is performed, infections are best prevented by cleanliness and proper procedures. Choosing an experienced and reputable plastic surgeon to perform your breast augmentation is the best way to safeguard yourself against poor conditions that will increase your risk for infection. A trained surgeon will be able to take the measures necessary to ensure safe placement of your incisions and a very low risk of infection.
Some of these steps may include the injection of a single dose of antibiotics before your surgery begins, enabling your body to fight any bacteria that may enter through your wounds. Next, your surgeon will prep the surgical area by swabbing it with an antibiotic solution. With the bacteria now removed from the skin, any transfer is highly unlikely. With respect to breast augmentation, this skin-cleansing step is essential for patients who suffer from chest acne breakouts, which can spread acne bacteria across the skin.
As an added precaution, your surgeon might opt to rinse your implant pockets before placing them inside your breasts. A highly effective antibiotic treatment is used to clean the implants, eliminating even the strongest and most resistant strains of infection including both staph and MRSA.
Last but not least, you should expect any plastic surgeon to wear surgical gloves and clothing and use only sterilized surgical instruments during your surgery. A surgeon who is highly experienced and well-trained will take every measure to ensure your total safety during your breast augmentation.
Tips for Preventing Hematoma and Seroma
Unfortunately, both hematomas and seromas are potential risks associated with nearly every type of surgery. The good news is that, as far as complications are concerned, both conditions are also very easy to resolve.
Left untreated, however, a hematoma or seroma can pose more serious risks like infection or tissue damage to the surgical area. To protect yourself against the formation of hematoma or seroma, go over all of your current medications with your surgeon upfront, as some drugs like blood thinners may cause them to form.
Remember that if you do see a hematoma or seroma after your breast augmentation surgery, it’s not reason to panic yet. The best way to safeguard yourself against more serious risks as a result of these conditions is to be diligent about caring for your surgical wounds and reporting any unexpected changes to your surgeon.
Tips for Preventing Capsular Contracture
While an increased production of scar tissue can affect any surgical patient, the formation of capsular contracture around breast implants is a mystery unique to breast augmentation surgery. Although it is not a common occurrence following surgery, this condition is still troubling to plastic surgeons because its cause remains unknown.
Some surgeons believe that bacterial contamination during surgery encourages this excess scar tissue growth, but there are no definitive answers yet. If this is true, then taking the same measures to reduce your exposure to bacteria in the incisions will help to battle capsular contracture. Rinsing the implants in an antibiotic solution may also decrease your risk.
To take your prevention methods one step further, talk to your doctor about his recommendations for breast implant patients. He might offer you instructions for special exercises for breast implant displacement, exercises which have been shown to keep artificial breasts soft and looking natural.
Don’t forget to follow all of your after-care instructions closely to make sure you’re taking every measure you can to prevent capsular contracture and any other risk you may be facing after your surgery.
Finding the Right Plastic Surgeon
Ensure your safest breast augmentation surgery by finding a credentialed facial plastic surgeon who will work with you to stay safe while achieving your desired results. Schedule your consultation with Dr. Robert Kessler, a board certified general and plastic surgeon, to find out if you’re a good candidate.
He completed his medical degree with honors from Tufts University in Boston and completed a distinguished General Surgical Residency with North Short/NYU in New York, before a Plastic Surgery residency with the US Air Force and the University of Texas.
Today, Dr. Kessler operates two practices in California, has worked as a surgical consultant and surgical assistant on ABC’s Extreme Makeover, and has lectured nationally and internationally on topics including facial rejuvenation, plastic surgery, and body contouring after substantial weight loss. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kessler, contact his office, located at 2121 E Pacific Coast Hwy #200, in Newport Beach, California by calling 949.644.6544.