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General risks of surgery 

The general risks of surgery include: 

  • A anesthesia reaction, such as an allergic reaction and problems with breathing 
  • Bleeding, which can lead to shock
  • Blood clot, in particular a deep vein thrombosis that develops in the leg or pelvis. A blood clot can travel to your lungs, heart or brain and cause a pulmonary embolism, heart attack, or stroke.
  • Infection and septicemia, which is the spread of a local infection to the blood

Potential complications of breast augmentation surgery

Complications of breast augmentation surgery include:

  • Capsule contracture or thickening. Your body normally forms a capsule of scar tissue around the implant. This capsule may become abnormally tight, thick or large causing shape changes, hardening or pain.
  • Change in breast appearance due to pregnancy, weight loss, or menopause
  • Change in nipple or breast sensation, which may be permanent
  • Difficulty breastfeeding
  • More difficulty reading mammograms and finding breast lumps with a manual exam
  • Need for implant replacement surgery because they may not last your entire lifetime
  • Rippling of the implant that may be visible
  • Rupture and leakage of the implant
  • Scarring
  • Uneven nipple positions

Reducing your risk of complications

You can reduce the risk of certain complications by following your treatment plan and:

  • Following activity, dietary and lifestyle restrictions and recommendations before surgery and during recovery
  • Notifying your doctor immediately of any concerns, such as bleeding, fever, increase in pain, or wound redness, swelling or drainage 
  • Informing your doctor or radiologist if you are nursing or if there is any possibility that you may be pregnant. It is also important to tell your doctor if you plan on becoming pregnant, breastfeeding, or losing weight in the future.
  • Taking your medications exactly as directed
  • Telling all members of your care team if you have any allergies
  • Wearing a post-surgical support bra as directed by your healthcare provider 

How do I prepare for my breast augmentation surgery?

You are an important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before surgery can improve your comfort and outcome. 

You can prepare for breast augmentation surgery by:

  • Answering all questions about your medical history and medications. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.
  • Getting preoperative testing as directed. Testing varies depending on your age, health, and specific procedure. Preoperative testing may include a breast exam, mammograms, chest X-rays, blood tests, and other tests as needed.
  • Losing excess weight before the surgery through a healthy diet and exercise plan
  • Not eating or drinking before surgery as directed. Your surgery may be cancelled if you eat or drink too close to the start of surgery because you can choke on stomach contents during anesthesia.
  • Stopping smoking as soon as possible. Even quitting for just a few days can be beneficial and help the healing process.
  • Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed. This may include not taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and blood thinners. 

Questions to ask your doctor

Facing surgery can be stressful. It is common for patients to forget some of their questions during a doctor’s office visit. You may also think of other questions after your appointment.  Contact your doctor with concerns and questions before surgery and between appointments. 

It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your appointments. Questions can include:

  • Am I a good candidate for breast augmentation surgery? Are there any other options for me?
  • Which type of breast augmentation surgery procedure will I have?
  • What results can I expect?
  • What options do I have if I am not satisfied with the results?
  • What other implant-related surgery should I expect to have over my lifetime?
  • What should I expect if I have the implants removed?
  • How long will the surgery take? When will I go home?
  • What restrictions will I have after the surgery? When can I return to work and other activities?
  • What kind of assistance will I need at home?
  • How do I care for the incisions? When can I bathe or shower?
  • How do I take my medications? 
  • How will you treat my pain?
  • When should I follow up with you?
  • How should I contact you? Ask for numbers to call during and after regular hours.