Breast surgery can include breast reconstruction, breast augmentation, breast lift, breast revision, and breast reduction surgeries. Surgeons can rebuild, enhance, reshape and revise a woman’s profile and contribute to her wellbeing and self-confidence. However, as with any surgical procedure, breast surgery does carry a minimal risk of complications. That is why it is important to follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions very carefully and communicate anything of concern to him or her.
How Common Are Post-operative infections From Breast Surgery?
According to breastcancer.org, studies show that the overall risk of postoperative infection is about one to five percent. The risk varies depending on the type of breast surgery.
Why Is It Important to Follow Post-Operative Instructions After Breast Surgery?
Following post-operative instructions is important to keep the risk of infection low and speed up your recovery. Depending on the type of breast surgery you get, you may have some or all of the following: bandages, dressings, compression, and drainage tubes on or in the incisions, so keeping these clean is vitally important. In addition, your surgeon may prescribe antibiotics both before and after surgery to lessen the chance of an infection. Your surgeon will send home post-operative instructions that you should follow closely, but it is vital to stay in full communication with your surgeon if you have any concerns.
What are Do’s and Don’ts After Breast Surgery?
There will be swelling and discomfort, so investing in one or two breast surgery recovery bras that provide built-in compression is important. Your surgeon will generally guide you on the best type to purchase, but you can look for bras with breathable fabric, seamless design, adjustable straps, and a pressure-free fit.
Make sure you prepare your home before surgery. Have all the laundry, grocery shopping, and house cleaning done? It is also a good idea to fill your pain prescriptions before your surgery to avoid unnecessary trips outside the house since you more than likely will be restricted to driving for a short period of time.
Having a friend or family to help with household chores is important especially if you have children. You won’t be able to lift small children for several weeks.
Finally, it is imperative to not smoke, as well as get plenty of rest and eat healthy foods to help speed your recovery.
What Are the Post-Operative Stages of Breast Surgery?
Immediately following surgery you will feel groggy like a hangover as the effects of the anesthesia wear off. It’s important to have someone to drive you home and stay with you for the first day.
You should expect to feel some discomfort your first week after surgery. Your surgeon will likely prescribe pain medication to minimize this discomfort. As an alternative you may choose over-the-counter pain medications to alleviate the pain; however, both should not be taken without the advice of your surgeon. Most patients can return to work at a desk job after a week or so depending on the type of surgery and the individual person.
Generally, most patients can resume full normal activities after about two months but again, it is important to follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions.
The key takeaway is that most women will not develop an infection following breast surgery, but following your surgeon’s instructions both before and after surgery is key to minimizing the risk.
If you believe you have an infection from your breast surgery, we recommend that you call and schedule an appointment for an evaluation as we have offices in Atlanta, Cumming/Forsyth, and Canton.