How Long is Breast Augmentation Surgery?
The decision to get breast augmentation and deciding on an implant size can be a crucial step in the life of a transgender individual. Once the decision has been made, you also need to find a board-certified plastic surgeon who can perform the procedure. Many transgender people want to find a surgeon specializing in breast implant surgery on transgender people instead of a surgeon who works mainly on cisgender women.
Getting breast implants can be a very liberating but also quite stressful time in the life of a transgender or gender-nonconforming person. And a significant influence over the whole experience is how the surgeon and their staff treat transgender patients.
Furthermore, patients need to be made aware of the timelines they are looking at. Breast implant surgery timelines can differ depending on several factors, and it is essential that your chosen board-certified surgeon discuss these elements of the breast implants procedure carefully.
Breast implant surgery or breast augmentation surgery is usually an outpatient procedure that takes about 2 hours to complete.
But that is not the only time frame that will be important to you if you are a transgender individual looking into breast augmentation surgery as part of your gender-affirming surgery plan. Depending on where you live, there will be a minimum time that you spend on hormone therapy before you can start discussions for breast augmentation.
Usually, most patients need to wait at least a year before looking into breast augmentation once they start hormone replacement therapy because some breast growth occurs. This will affect the breast implant size that you ultimately decide on.
Furthermore, you need to consider two different types of breast implants.
Silicone implants are more popular because they tend to feel more natural. However, if you have silicone gel implants, you need to undergo MRI scans regularly to ensure that the implants have not ruptured. A rupture with this breast implant is difficult to detect because the silicone gel holds its form well.
However, a rupture still needs to be surgically corrected as side effects can be severe if the problem goes untreated.
Saline implants tend to cause fewer stretch marks because they can be filled gradually, which is beneficial if you look at a large breast size for your breast augmentation procedure. It is also very easy to detect ruptures as the saline will quickly leak out of the implant.
There are also fewer risks involved with ruptures because saline (which is just sterile salt water) is easily absorbed by the body and is usually not considered harmful. Surgery to replace the implant can be done quickly, and complications are rare. It is not often that you would need to have your implants removed due to complications, replacements are often a viable option, and the procedure for replacement is usually performed along with the procedure for removal of damaged breast implants.
However, saline implants do not feel quite as natural as silicone implants, which makes more people undergoing breast augmentation surgery opt for silicone options instead of saline.
Breast Augmentation Consultation
In most cases, you will have to make an appointment for a breast augmentation consultation at least 2 to 4 weeks in advance. This is because most plastic surgeons are pretty busy, and their offices are pretty fully booked.
During your consultation, you will need to discuss numerous things with your plastic surgeons. Including, but not limited to, breast size, implant type, implant shape, your hormone regimen, what your expectations are, etc. The surgeon will also need to decide whether to perform the surgery under general anesthesia or local anesthesia as both are viable options for breast augmentation.
Many of the plastic surgeon’s decisions will depend on your expectations and your individual circumstances. The surgeon will also help you manage your expectations, and they will discuss possible complications with you as well.
A breast implant procedure is an outpatient procedure, which means that you go home on the day you are operated on. This means that possible complications are discussed in detail, as well as post-operative care.
After your breast augmentation consultation, it will be at least another 2 to 4 weeks before you can have your breast augmentation surgery.
Breast Augmentation Recovery
Breast augmentation recovery does not require a stay overnight or even a significant hospital stay. In fact, it is an outpatient surgery, which means that you go home on the same day as you receive surgery.
You will be required to spend some time in a recovery room so that you can be monitored shortly after surgery. But this will only be for a few hours.
You will not be able to drive yourself home after surgery, and there are some movement restrictions that you need to adhere to within the first few weeks after your surgery.
Pain and swelling after surgery are normal and to be expected. Your doctor will prescribe medication to help manage your pain during your recovery. Overall your recovery time will also depend on whether your implant was placed on top of or below your pectoral muscle. The shape and size of your breast implants will also have minor effects on your recovery.
What to Expect in the Recovery Room
You will likely be quite groggy in the recovery room and have drainage tubes. You will also not have an accurate idea of the shape or size of your chest due to the swelling and dressings that will be covering you. You will only be able to get a clear idea of what you will look like after breast augmentation surgery once your bandages are removed, and the tubes come out.
You will likely also feel quite heavy, especially if your implants are completely pre-filled.
Once you go home, you will need to avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for at least a week, preferably two weeks following surgery. You will need bed rest for the first few days after breast augmentation and will need to return to your surgery center for a follow-up visit with your plastic surgeon about a week after the initial surgery date.
After the first follow-up appointment, most of your dressings and drains will be removed. Then you will be able to take a shower. You will still not be able to lift heavy objects and need to keep away from strenuous activity for about another week. After that, your doctor might encourage walking, and you could return to work if you have a desk job. But it is best to discuss this timeline with your surgeon just to be sure.
You will also need to look out for possible risks and work on strategies to reduce swelling. Your doctor would have discussed all of this with you before you received your breast implants and shortly after waking up from breast augmentation surgery.