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Cosmetic Surgery

The Aftermath Of Breast Augmentation Surgery

Megan P.
The reason that plastic surgeons perform breast augmentation surgery is to leave the patient with a feminine-looking chest. Breast implants have so many aesthetic advantages, but it is, however, important to consider the changes in sensation that the enhanced size and shape of your breasts may bring about.
During your consultation, your doctor will cover the full scope of what this procedure entails, but realistic expectations will go a long way in ensuring patient satisfaction.
Augmentation

What To Expect From The Breast Augmentation Recovery Process

Breast augmentation patients often experience numbness after breast augmentation. This is completely normal.

It is common after any breast surgery such as an augmentation, a breast lift, or a reduction of breast tissue to experience a loss of nipple sensation and general nipple numbness. This is a normal part of recovery and it may take weeks or even months to regain normal sensation at the site of the surgical procedure.

Some patients have reported partially permanent numbness after breast augmentation. This may be caused by various factors of which one is most prevalent: The insertion of breast implants using an implant size that is much too large for your chest diameter.

If persistent numbness endures for more than 18 months following surgery, it is most likely to be permanent. This is, however, a very rare occurrence and choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon will help to prevent any such complications.

The opposite of nipple numbness may also occur. Some patients experience amplified nipple sensation which may cause some discomfort but is almost sure to normalize with time.

Augmentation

Is the breast numb after augmentation? Nipple numbness often results from nerve damage during surgery. Nerve injury is harder to correct the longer it is overseen.

It is therefore very important that you express your concerns to your consultant so that plastic surgeons know exactly what to be cautious of.

How To Prevent Numbness

  • Do your research and consult your surgeon on whether saline or silicone will be most compatible with your body.
  • Be mindful about breast size and shape as large implants in a smaller chest wall will increase the risk of numbness post-op.
  • Stop smoking. Nicotine is known to constrict blood vessels and thereby decrease the amount of blood that can facilitate the healing process.
Augmentation

Other Side Effects You May Experience

Numbness after breast augmentation is only one of a few temporary side effects you can expect. Side effects include but are not limited to:
  • Bruising
  • Discomfort
  • Swelling

The placement of the implants is always a major contributor to the rate at which patients heal after receiving plastic surgery. This applies to breast augmentation to a great extent.

If the breast implant was inserted above the muscle, the healing process may proceed faster and without complications. Alternatively, implants that are placed below the muscle may cause side effects for up to four weeks with swelling persisting for a couple of months.

Nerve regeneration is characterized by a burning sensation surrounding the relevant area. This may be followed by sharp pains, but they are nothing to worry about. This is simply a sign of healing. We are all familiar with the itchiness and discomfort we may have felt as children after getting a knee or elbow wound. The tingling sensation is a good sign!

Treatment Of Side Effects

As the nerves supplying the nipple are too small to be repaired using surgical methods, the best thing a patient can do is to minimize swelling.
  • Ice the area and apply subtle pressure frequently.
  • After around a month, you can ease into a workout routine that involves stretching and exercises that engage the pectoral muscles. Be cautious when doing this as you do not want to worsen the bruising and swelling. Yoga, swimming, and lightweight exercises are advised.
  • A delicate massage can increase blood flow to the area, facilitating the healing process.
  • B vitamins have been proven to aid in healing. Be sure to include them in your diet or even make use of supplements if you deem it necessary.
Augmentation

Your After-Surgery Guidelines

The First 24 hours:

If you choose to go home after your procedure, ensure that a family member or a close friend can drive you home and spend your first night by your side. You will be sedated and will need care in doing simple things like going to the bathroom.

Clothing:

Try to keep your dressing clean and dry to avoid irritating or infecting the wound. Do not change your clothing unless a doctor specifies otherwise.

Physical Activity:

Be smart about how and how much you move around. At least for the first couple of days, avoid doing any strenuous activity such as cleaning the house or rearranging furniture.

REMEMBER, you are going to feel good, but don’t trust that feeling because it is most likely due to pain medication. Your body is still in pain and working hard to heal and stay healthy.

Ice Packs:

To reduce swelling and bruising, use ice packs or packs of frozen foods to keep the area cool. Be careful not to freeze the area as you may not have regained full feeling yet.

Showering:

Doctors advise that patients do not shower or bathe until they have had a chance to inspect the surgical area and monitored the rate at which it is healing. Stick to sponge baths until then. It is for your own good!

Diet:

Some patients report nausea following their surgery. If this is the case, crackers and carbonated sodas might do the trick. If you feel normal, start with lighter meals and lots of liquids. It is very important to avoid the consumption of salt when you are recovering. Salt increases water retention which will only increase swelling and discomfort.

Smoking:

Smoking impairs blood flow to your wound and will have a substantial impact on the rate at which you will heal.

Alcohol:

Alcohol is known to dilate blood vessels as well as thin your blood. This could lead to unwanted bleeding after your surgery. Abstain from drinking until well after you have stopped taking your prescription medication and pain killers.

Driving:

You should avoid driving for around two days following your surgery. Sedating medication and general anesthesia will still be present in your system and will delay your response time substantially. Apart from the effects of the medication, it is best to wait until the surgical area has healed quite a bit as to not damage the area by having to exert sudden movements.

Sexual Satisfaction After Breast Augmentation Surgery

Breast augmentation is more than just another surgery. It has been reported to give people body confidence and self-esteem like they never had before.

As a result of simply feeling sexy, an increase in sexual drive and satisfaction can be expected.

In the midst of this influx of sexuality, it is important to remember that you are still recovering from surgery and your body needs rest and time to heal. Most forms of physical activity should be avoided for at least six weeks following surgery. This includes sexual activity, unfortunately.

Nipple sensation will return to its original sensitivity after plastic surgery, given that there were no complications and nerve damage involved. Some patients have even reported a heightened sensitivity in the nipple region.

If this is you, then sexual satisfaction will be unchanged or even improved upon.

If you fall within the 15% that experiences permanent numbness after their breast augmentation, this will not be the case.

If nipple sensation and stimulation greatly contribute to your sexual experience, then the risk might not be worth it.

Always reassess and thoroughly discuss these matters with your consultant before undergoing any form of plastic surgery as breast augmentation should never be an area of regret in your life.

Expectations

Although breast augmentation surgery is more often than not very successful, it is still important to manage your expectations. The results images we so often see of such a surgery are in fact models instead of actual patients. The results will depend on your individual body type and your compatibility with the implants.

Perfect symmetry is hardly the case in nature. Likewise, breast augmentation will not ensure perfectly symmetrical breasts but it may, however, improve symmetry if that was a concern before the surgery.

Breast surgery can sometimes stretch your areola. This is simply a result of the stretching that needs to occur to make space for the implant but don’t be disappointed when your nipples increase in size a bit.

Although it differs from patient to patient, you have to come to terms with the fact that you will be left with a tiny scar. Depending on where you chose to have the incision, there will be a mark where the implants were inserted. Similarly, stretch marks are likely to occur as a result of the expansion of the skin. This is not the end of the world and can be easily treated with the right oil and cream.

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