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Self-Care After Insertion of a Permanent Breast Implant

After surgery you will be taken to a recovery area to be monitored. Your breasts will be wrapped in gauze or a surgical bra.

Your surgeon should describe the usual after surgery (postoperative) recovery process, the possible complications that may occur, and the recovery period. Following the operation, as with any surgery, you can expect some pain, swelling, bruising and tenderness. These effects may last for a month or longer, but should disappear with time. Scarring is a natural result of surgery. Prior to surgery, ask your surgeon to describe the location, size and appearance of any expected scars. For most women, scars will fade over time into thin lines. The darker your skin, the more prominent the scars are likely to be.

Your surgeon may prescribe medications for pain and/or nausea. If you experience bleeding, fever, warmth, redness of the breast, or other symptoms of infection, you should immediately report these symptoms to your surgeon. Your surgeon should tell you about wound healing and how to care for your wound.

You may need a postoperative bra, compression bandage or jogging bra for extra support as you heal. At your surgeon’s recommendation you will most likely be able to return to work within one to two weeks, but you should avoid any strenuous activities that could raise your pulse and blood pressure for at least two weeks.

Ask your surgeon about a schedule for follow-up visits, limits on your activities, precautions you should take, and when you can return to your normal activities, including exercising. If you received silicone gel-filled breast implants, the FDA recommends that you receive MRI screening for silent rupture 3 years after receiving your implant and every 2 years after that.

Continue to get mammograms to screen for breast cancer. Be sure to tell the person giving your mammogram that you have breast implants. Breast implants may make it difficult to see breast tissue on standard mammograms, so they may need to use different techniques.

If you are enrolled in a clinical study, be sure to ask your surgeon for a schedule of follow-up examinations set by the study plan.