Why Monitoring After Breast Augmentation Surgery Is So Important
Cosmetic surgery, of both nonsurgical and surgical procedures, is used to alter specific features in one’s body to enhance his or her appearance. Breast augmentation, often referred to as a breast implant procedure, is one of the more popular forms of cosmetic surgery that involves restoring or reshaping breast volume to achieve a more rounded or symmetrical chest, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
While post-procedure feedback shows that nearly 98 percent of women who received breast augmentation were satisfied with their results, there’s still a risk for complications during surgery and recovery time. Let’s take a closer look at what takes place during the procedure and the recovery process, plus risks you take by undergoing breast augmentation surgery.
Breast augmentation can take place in a hospital, surgery center or doctor’s office, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. It may be performed under local anesthesia or general anesthesia, depending on whether the patient wants to be awake or asleep for the procedure. Once the anesthesia goes into effect, the surgeon makes an incision along the underside of the breast, under the arm, around the nipple and through the mastectomy scar. The implants are normally placed under the arm using an endoscope and other surgical tools to ensure the silicone goes into place. The implant goes above or below the chest wall muscles. Once the implant is in place, the surgeon stitches the cuts or places temporary drains before closing the incisions to prevent fluid or blood accumulation.
The Recovery Process
Once surgery is complete, patients are taken to a recovery station immediately for close monitoring, according to the ASPS. The new breasts are wrapped with gauze or elastic bandages above a bra to support the breasts and reduce swelling during the healing process.
Before patients are sent home, the surgeon provides specific care instructions and medications to ensure a healthy recovery. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection, and some surgeons may suggest cleaning the incision sites often. Others may recommend keeping the tape or bandage on until the follow-up appointment. Each surgeon provides his or her own recommendations, so it’s critical for patients to follow these specific instructions carefully to reduce infection and complication risk after surgery.
Risks and Complications
As with any major surgical procedure, there are numerous risks and complications that come with undergoing breast augmentation surgery. According to the FDA, some of the adverse outcomes that could occur include:
- Needing additional surgeries, with or without removal of the original implant.
- Capsular contracture – when scar tissue forms around and squeezes the implant.
- Severe breast pain after the recovery time.
- Change in nipple and breast tenderness or sensation.
- Rupture with deflation.
Other severe complications occur in nearly 1 percent of patients who received breast implants at any given time. Patients may need additional surgery or treatment if any of the following complications occur after the initial procedure:
- Asymmetry – The size, shape or breast level is uneven.
- Breast tissue atrophy – Skin shrinks and thins out after surgery.
- Calcium deposits – Hard lumps form under the skin and on top of the implant.
- Chest wall deformity – Underlying rib cage becomes deformed.
- Severe deflation – A partial or complete collapse of the implant.
- Delayed wound healing – When the incision site doesn’t heal normally.
- Extrusion – The implant appears through the skin.
- Hematoma – A collection of blood near the surgical site causes swelling, bruising and pain.
- Infection – When wounds are contaminated with bacteria or fungi.
- Inflammation – The occurance of severe redness, swelling, warmth or pain.
- Lymphedema – Swollen lymph nodes.
- Malposition – When the implant is not in the correct position, shifting during or after recovery.
- Necrosis – Dead tissue or skin forming around the breast.
- Palpability – When the implant can be felt through the skin.
- Ptosis – When the implant begins to sag like a normal breast.
- Seroma – The collection of fluid around the implant.
- Skin rash – Severe rash develops around the breast.
- Severe wrinkling or rippling – When wrinkling occurs around the breast.
Why Single-use Tools are Critical
Since there’s a risk of surgical site infections, clinics are recommended to consider utilizing single-use devices to eliminate risk of cross-contamination often associated with reusable surgical tools. ONETRAC Single-Use Surgical Retractor with an integrated LED light source from OBP Medical is a durable ready-to-use device that reduces risk of cross-contamination in the surgical setting by making reusable devices and fiber-optic light cables obsolete. Request your free sample today.