After having breast augmentation, it can be difficult to know what is a normal part of the healing process and what might indicate a potential problem. To help you out, we’ve outlined a few of the most common things that patients experience after breast augmentation, and some symptoms you should watch out for.
Chest feels tight
It takes time for your muscles, breast tissue and skin to adjust to your implants. Until these tissues have healed sufficiently, you can expect to feel (possibly intense) tightness in the chest area, particularly if your implants are place underneath the muscle.
In cutting the skin, small nerve endings are also cut that can result in numbness around or adjacent to the surgical area. Sensation usually returns a matter of months or years as the small nerve endings re-grow. Rarely is an area permanently numb. Most numbness goes away with time.
Sharp shooting pain
As nerve endings heal after surgery, it’s totally normal to feel sharp but short-lived pain in your breasts, particularly in the nipples. They can take your breath away for sure, but they are a positive sign that your nerves are recovering and sensation is returning. These pains are usually most intense in the weeks following surgery and will have faded around the 3 – 6 month mark.
Sutures protruding through skin
As you heal after your surgery, your body dissolves the internal sutures. However sometimes instead of dissolving the sutures, your body will push the foreign object out of your body.
It can feel like a little bump, maybe be a little red, almost like a zit. The top may open with a little discharge (which looks like a small dab of “pus”- most likely just white blood cells and other things) and you will see a little fishing line sticking out. Usually this happens along your suture line (incision/ scar).
This is completely normal and quite common after your surgery. The best thing to do is not to pull on them, just go see your GP to have them cut. Then the remaining stitch with will burry down under the skin and it will dissolve by itself.
If you notice irregularities in regard to the size and/or positioning of your implants immediately after breast augmentation, don’t worry as this is completely normal. Some initial swelling in the breasts is a common side effect of surgery, and it often occurs in varying degrees that may make the breasts appear uneven in the first few days – or even weeks – following your procedure.
Additionally, implants take time to fully settle into their final position, and its common for one breast to settle in quick than the other. Typically around the 3 month mark is when your breasts should be pretty close to their final shape, though it can take longer than this for some people.
NOT SO COMMON
A hematoma is a collection of blood in any part of the body. A bruise, for example, is a mild hematoma. Because breast augmentation is a surgery just like any other, you can expect to see some bruising, as blood collects around the broken capillaries and around the incision. This is no cause for alarm.
In rare cases, however, woman experience a more severe hematoma under the implant itself. These do need to be addresses immediately, and will most likely need to be drained. The signs of a severe hematoma are often very obvious and dramatic in appearance. Signs to watch out for are rapid swelling, extensive bruising and significant, constant or worsening pain. These are the three main warning signs for a post-operative hematoma.
Infection is a common worry after breast surgery and many clients may have symptoms that they believe are due to infection. However majority of the time, these symptoms are common during your recovery or could be from a minor infection that can be treated by oral antibiotics. It is always best to get checked by your surgeon or GP and they will be able to take a swab to check if it is an infection, and put you antibiotics if needed.
Sever infection, on the other hand, are very rare and mostly develop within a few days to a few weeks following surgery, however, it is possible for them to occur at any time after surgery.
If you get an infection that does not respond to antibiotics, your breast implants will most likely need to be removed, at least until the infection has been taken care of. Typical symptoms to look out for include, very high fever, swelling, tenderness, pain, fatigue and breasts that are hot to touch.
Although an implant with a strong outer covering is used, abnormal stress or trauma applied to the breast may result in its rupture. This has also happened without a history of trauma to the chest or breast. Implants may rupture at any time following surgery even without apparent cause. The most common cause of rupture is injury.
If you have Saline implants, a rupture will apparent quite quickly as you will notice a marked reduction in size or change of shape.
With Saline implants, the silicone gel from a ruptured implant will stay within the capsule of tissue formed by the body around the implant. As there may be no symptoms, either physically or visually, this type of rupture can go unnoticed for several years.
When the silicone gel does move outside the capsule, the shape of the breast may be altered. In some cases, the gel will migrate away from the breast and collect together in the chest, armpit or arm area to form small lumps. The area around these may feel sore and tender.
Silicone-gel ruptures are usually slow acting, meaning the material leaks out over a period of months or years.
It you suspect your implant has ruptured it is recommended that you contact your GP or surgeon as soon as possible and arrange for an assessment. They will most likely send you for an MRI to determine if it is a rupture.
We always recommend that if you have any concerns whatsoever, its always best to check with your surgeon or GP! Its better to be safe than sorry.