Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)
Since the last BIA-ALCL update, all the plastic surgery societies and breast implant manufacturers have responded with information sheets. I am encouraged by the free flow of information within the Plastic Surgery profession and the industry that supports us.
ASAPS by the Numbers
The ASAPS has distributed a quick summary of the numbers related to BIA-ALCL. Here are a few.
How Many BIA-ALCL Cases Have Been reported?
Of the estimated 7 million women with breast implant throughout the world, 359 reports have been filed. Since the reports can be filed by patients, physicians or manufacturers, it’s important to note the MDRs (Medical Device Reports) are not individual cases, and multiple reports may be filed for a single case of BIA-ALCL. In contrast, there are currently 139 case reports of BIA-ALCL in the literature. It is also important to realize that this is a very small number in relation to the millions of breast implant patients. Lastly, the number is expected to rise because we are learning how better to identify and diagnose patients with the disease.
Smooth vs. Textured
Of the reported cases, over 90% occurred in patients who had textured implants at the time of their diagnosis. In the US database, there is a single case of a patient with smooth breast implants developing BI-ALCL; however, they had a textured tissue expander prior to the smooth breast implant placement. Unfortunately, the other 27 cases of BIA-ALCL reported in the world databases do not include past breast implant information, so while we can say that BI-ALCL is predominantly a problem with textured breast implants, it is unknown if a case has developed in a person who had exclusively smooth breast implants. Currently, 12.7% of US patients receive textured implants. This includes both textured round and all anatomically “shaped” breast implants, and includes both saline filled and silicone filled breast implants.
How Many BIA-ALCL Deaths Have Been Reported?
Of the 359 cases reported, 9 patients have died. Two patients died from stem cell transplants, one died from development of a second unrelated lymphoma, and 6 patients died from direct extension of the tumor. Early detection is key. Of the deaths, none of them received complete surgical excision at any point in their clinical history, none received targeted therapy, and most were significantly delayed in diagnosis or receiving any treatment (1-2 years from onset of symptoms). On the other hand, 93% of all patients are disease free at 3 years follow up. BIA-ALCL has an excellent prognosis when diagnosed early.
How Do We Diagnose BIA-ALCL?
Early diagnosis is key to successful treatment, so how do we accomplish this? Unilateral (one-sided) swelling or mass should lead to a thorough evaluation. This is common in the months following your breast augmentation. The possibility of BIA-ALCL should be considered in a patient with late onset, peri-implant seroma (fluid collection). The majority of patients present on average 8 years after implantation, but range extends from 2 to 28 years.
Ultrasound imaging followed by fine needle aspiration of seroma fluid should be obtained. Collected fresh seroma fluid should be sent to a qualified lab for immunohistochemistry testing for cluster of differentiation (CD30) testing. Anaplastic Lymphocyte Kinase (ALK) testing of the seroma fluid can help differentiate BIA-ALCL from systemic forms of lymphoma that may appear in the breast.
Current BIA-ALCL Treatment
Most patients with BIA-ALCL are cured by removal of the implant and capsule surrounding the implant, however a small number act more aggressively and may require additional treatments. For 2017, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network defines optimal treatment which is total capsulectomy and implant removal for the majority of patients with disease confined to the capsule (35% of patients) or a resectable mass (40% of patients). Advanced disease with lymph node metastasis (14% of patients) or organ metastasis (1% of patients) may require further treatment with chemotherapy using either CHOP anthracycline based-protocol or targeted therapy with brentuximab vedotin. Radiation therapy is only reserved for locally unresectable disease.
BI-ALCL is not breast cancer. Here are some additional numbers, and some links, to keep the worry about BIA-ALCL in perspective:
The average woman’s risk of developing breast cancer is 12.5%.
The risk of developing recurrent breast cancer after mastectomy is 5-8%.
The risk of capsular contracture through 10 years is 14%.
The risk of breast implant rupture through ten years is 10%.
Breast Augmentation provides fullness and support. Not only can a Breast Implant enlarge a small breast, but it can restore shape and volume to a breast that has changed due to pregnancy, weight loss or aging.
Breast Augmentation on Body Beautiful
Breast Augmentation was also the first topic discussed on this week’s Body Beautiful. Body Beautiful is a live show, dedicated to the latest in Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery procedures, that airs on the San Francisco Bay Area’s News Station, KRON 4.
Breast implants come in a large variety of sizes and shapes. The best size for you is subjective; however, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon can supply you with professional guidance in selecting the Breast Implant that will best provide the result you are looking for.
If you are considering Breast Augmentation or have Breast Implants and are looking for Breast Augmentation Revision, give me a call at (925) 943-6353 for a personalized consultation and specific recommendations tailored to your needs.
Dr. Mele and Body Beautiful host Janelle Marie in the KRON 4 Bay Area News studio.
Board Certified San Francisco Bay Area Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Joseph Mele, MD, FACS, will be discussing cosmetic plastic surgery, live at noon today (8 March 2017) on KRON 4. Topics include:
Breast Augmentation (breast implants)
Gynecomastia Reduction (male breast reduction)
Arm Lifts (brachioplasty)
Chin Augmentation (chin implants)
But you never know what will come up on live television.
Tune in or DVR us at Noon Today
If you have the chance, tune in today at noon and get the latest plastic surgery news, live, on your television. If you are reading this too late to tune in, don’t worry. Segments of the show will be posted to the San Francisco Plastic Surgery Blog and to my web shortly after airing.
You can check out past episodes here by selecting “Videos” in the “Search By Category” drop-down menu in the margin, or on DrMele.com.
The 2016 diagnostic algorithm for BI-ALCL, shown in the flowsheet above, is still the recommended treatment. If you experience breast implant enlargement, breast inflammation, breast pain, a breast lump, a breast sore or feel like there is fluid around your breast implant, follow up with your plastic surgeon or primary medical doctor ASAP. (Click image for larger view.)
It’s been about six months since the last San Francisco Plastic Surgery Blog ALCL update. Recently, more information on the subject has become available, and it is about to be published. Two articles stand out. The first is from the United States, and the second is a global review of what is known to date. Both were recently e-published, ahead of print, in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ (ASPS) journal, “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.” Here are the latest facts…
What is BI-ALCL?
Breast Implant Associated – Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BI-ALCL) is a T-cell lymphoma that arises around breast implants. It is an extremely rare tumor, which makes it difficult to study; however. earlier data suggests that it is primarily associated with textured breast implants.
The Latest Plastic Surgery News
The first article by Doren et al, entitled: United States Epidemiology of Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, reviews all cases of Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BI-ALCL) in the United States since the first documented case in 1996 up to and including cases reported in 2015. The study is retrospective, so it is not an ideal study for determining the incidence of the disease; however, it’s the best guess we have to date, and the conclusions seem fair. Although rare, all cases of BI-ALCL with adequate history have involved a textured breast implant. The incidence and prevalence of BI-ALCL was determined based on a literature and institutional database review of BI-ALCL cases and textured breast implant sales figures from implant manufacturers’ annualized data.
2017 United States BI-ALCL Data
One hundred pathologically confirmed BI-ALCL cases were identified in the United States. Mean age at diagnosis was 53.2±12.3 years. Mean interval from implant placement to diagnosis was 10.7±4.6 years. Forty-nine patients had breast implants placed for cosmetic reasons, 44 for mastectomy reconstruction, and seven for unknown reasons. Assuming BI-ALCL occurs only in textured breast implants, the incidence rate is 2.03 per 1,000,000 person-years (203 per 100 million), which is 67.6 times higher than that of breast ALCL (3 per 100 million; p<0.001). Lifetime prevalence was 33 per million persons with textured breast implants.
2017 Global BI-ALCL Data
The second article by Srinivasa et al, entitled: Global Adverse Event Reports of Breast Implant-Associated ALCL: An International Review of 40 Government Authority Databases, reviews all federal database submissions relating to BI-ALCL in 37 countries representing the majority of breast implant markets worldwide with available adverse event reporting. Database queries were performed for Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Japan, Mexico, National Competent Authorities of the European Member States, New Zealand, South Korea, and United States. Demographics, device characteristics, pathology, treatment modalities, and outcomes were assessed when available.
The United States MAUDE database included 459 entries in total for the search terms “Anaplastic” and “ALCL” as of September 2015. Excluding for duplicate entries, the MAUDE database had 258 unique cases of BI-ALCL of which 130 had pathologic markers performed. Implant surface was textured significantly more than smooth (50% vs. 4.2%, p=0.0001). Treatment, when reported (n=136), included explantation (n=125, 91.9%), chemotherapy (n=42, 30.8%), radiation (n=25, 18.4%), and/or stem cell transplant (n=9, 6.6%), and 5 deaths were reported. For the 40 countries queried, 340 unique cases were reported for lymphoma associated with breast implants.
They concluded that worldwide federal reporting of BI-ALCL has significant limitations in providing data regarding clinical history, treatment, and oncologic follow up. Country-specific total implant and textured implant sales data is needed in order to determine critical incidence and prevalence analysis. Detailed BI-ALCL patient registries such as American Society of Plastic Surgeon’s PROFILE and centralized tissue banking are necessary in acquiring accurate complete data for sound decision making. The good news for American’s here is that the American Society of Plastic Surgeons are leading the way in accurate and appropriate reporting.
What To Do If You Think You Have BI-ALCL
The most common presentation of BI-ALCL is a collection of fluid that occurs around your breast implants years after surgery. BI-ALCL is not the most common cause of these late seromas, but sending a sample may be the fastest way to make the determination. Other presentations include a mass attached to the capsule, tumor erosion through the skin, regional lymph node involvement, or sometimes it is discovered during revision surgery. Risk estimates ranged from one in 500,000 to one in 3 million women with implants.
The typical presentation of ALCL is a large seroma (fluid collection) around the breast implant causing obvious enlargement and asymmetry of the breast augmentation.
If you suspect there is a problem with your Breast Implants, whether related to BI-ALCL or not, contact an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in your area. If your original Plastic Surgeon is still in practice near-by, this would be the best place to start. They have your clinical information, and a head start in the investigation. If you have moved, or your plastic surgeon has retired, try to get a copy of your medical records. This will help your new Plastic Surgeon get to the facts much faster.
Breast Augmentation and pregnancy, the combination is the source of many questions in my San Francisco Bay Area Plastic Surgery Clinic. The answers center around a few themes: timing, breast feeding and how breasts change.
Pregnancy brings many changes including changes to the breasts. If you are considering Breast Enlargement, or if you already have Breast Implants, and you are contemplating pregnancy, this post is for you.
Breast Augmentation and Pregnancy: Timing
If you are done having children, the timing is ideal. The dramatic changes that can occur with pregnancy and breast feeding are over, and the focus is on getting back the breasts you had, or the breasts you always wanted to have. Details like size and shape tend to change slowly with age, but may swing widely with pregnancy. Having this behind you is a big plus in the direction of predictability. Additionally, details like inverted nipples, enlarged nipples or enlarged areolae can also be addressed. The Mommy Makeover can also be discussed if your belly has been stretched and has not recovered to your satisfactionx.
If you are planning to have children whether to have Breast Augmentation now depends on how soon you plan to get pregnant. If you are actively trying to get pregnant, you should wait. Your breasts may change with pregnancy. The changes may be small or dramatic, there is no way to predict. Even from child to child, there may be variation. If you get Breast Implants, and then things change dramatically, Revision Breast Augmentation may be needed to restore the breasts’ volume or shape.
If you are planning to have children later, it may make sense to have Breast Augmentation now. If you consider the immediate gratification of the Breast Enlargement, and you feel you will have enough time to enjoy the results, before possibly needing a touch-up, then go for it. The decision is not purely black and white. Breast Augmentation Revision is not always needed after pregnancy, and Breast Implant Revision Surgery may be necessary, even without becoming pregnant.
Before: This young woman had Breast Augmentation before pregnancy. After two children, the skin of her breasts relaxed, dropping the breast tissue off her Breast Implants. After: Her Breast Implants were exchanged to adjust volume and a Breast Lift was performed to reshape and rejuvenate her breasts.
Breast Augmentation and Pregnancy: Breast Feeding
If you have Breast Implants, there is no reason not to breast feed normally. Breast Implants do not taint the milk, and in many cases, the advantage that breast milk gives your infant is significant. Breast Augmentation may decrease the absolute volume of milk produced. The exact mechanism is unknown, but the easiest way to think about it is that the breast may be tricked into thinking it is already full. The volume of the implant may inversely effect the breasts’ milk production. On the other hand, I have had many women who had Breast Augmentation in their twenties, who later went on to breast feed successfully.
If you are currently breast feeding, and wondering when you can have Breast Enhancement Surgery, it is recommended to wait until the milk has dried up for a minimum of three months. This allows the breasts to finish their post pregnancy changes, and decreases the risks of operating on a lactating breast. However, it is never too soon to have a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, and in the San Francisco Bay Area, there are many to choose from.
Sometimes Breast Augmentation alone is enough to rejuvenate the postpartum breasts, as demonstrated in the above Breast Augmentation before and after pictures.
Breast Augmentation and Pregnancy: Breasts Change
We touched on this a little above, but breasts do change with pregnancy. Some change very little, some quite dramatically, and sometimes one changes more than the other. If your breasts change a little, then Breast Augmentation after pregnancy will be very similar to Breast Augmentation before surgery. On the other hand, if the breasts increase rapidly in size for lactation, and then shrink, often to a volume smaller than their original size, adjustments will be needed in your Breast Enhancement. These adjustments depend on the size and shape of your breasts.
Size is perhaps the easier of the two to understand. If breast lose volume, more stuffing is required to perk them back up to the desired size. In cases when the breasts enlarge, but do not shrink back down to the original size, it may be advantageous to have a Breast Reduction, especially when the sizes are uneven. When the breasts shrink too much, Breast Implants are used to restore volume and improve both the shape of the breasts and the fit of clothing.
The shape of the breasts is determined not just by their volume, but mostly by the breasts’ skin. When the volume of the breast shrinks, but the skin doesn’t, excess sagging occurs. Breast Augmentation alone may not be enough. A combination of Breast Augmentation and Breast Lift is needed in as many as 40% of women after pregnancy. The Breast Lift is used to reshape the breast and remove the skin excess, while Breast Implants can restore volume and increase the bust.
Breast Augmentation Consultations
If you are considering Breast Augmentation, give me a call at (925) 943-6353, and schedule a private, personalized consultation appointment. It is never too early to get the facts, and there is no better way to get a plan tailored to your needs than with an in-person consultation with an experienced, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Mastopexy Augmentation is the combination of Breast Augmentation and Breast Lift. When is Breast Augmentation alone enough? When is a Breast Lift the best choice? When should a combination of Breast Augmentation Lift be performed? It’s a big subject, and requires an in-person consultation for your specific needs, but some general rules for the procedures are explained below. There are many options, so be certain to consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon before making the decision.
Breast Augmentation Lifts Come in May Sizes
Breast Augmentation with Breast Lift was used to enlarge the breasts, elevate the nipple and tighten the breast skin, especially the skin that hangs at the bottom of the breasts. The technique used, a horizontal breast lift, does not require the vertical scar seen in the anchor or inverted-T type breast lifts.
Breast Augmentation lifts, like the breasts themselves, come in many shapes and sizes. When the shape of the breast is good, but a larger version is desired, Breast Augmentation with a Breast Implant is often enough. When the size of the breast is good, but the breast tissue sags, a Breast Lift alone may be enough. The exception in this case is when there is no upper pole fullness, often seen as gapping of the upper bra. A small implant may be beneficial to add a bit of volume to the upper breast in these cases. When the breasts are small and saggy, the Breast Augmentation Lift is the procedure of choice.
The case above is an unusual lift in that a periareolar (defined below) and an inframammary incision (hidden in the crease beneath the breasts) were used, but there is no vertical scar. The “Horizontal Breast Lift” is great for breasts that have bottomed out or for breasts with more extreme sagging.
Breast Augmentation Lift for Tubular Breast
Smaller Breast Lifts require smaller scars. In the case above, a periareolar scar was used to reposition the nipple and reshape the breasts. Periareolar literally means “around the areola”. The areola is the pigmented skin that surrounds the nipple. While this does provide the smallest scar, it does the least. It tends to flatten the end of the breast and it is not great for reducing the size of the areolae.
The Breast Augmentation and Breast Lift combination with the smallest scar is the Periareolar Mastopexy Augmentation. An incision around the areola is used to raise the nipple and insert the Breast Implant. In the above case, the flattening effects of the periareolar lift are exploited to help reshape these tubular (tuberous) breasts.
For cases of Tuberous Breasts, flattening of the shape of the breast is a plus. It can be used to prevent the puffy nipple from sticking out like a cherry on top of a sundae. This patient’s breasts are narrow at the base, and the constriction gives a narrow, elongated, tubular breast. The Breast Implant helps to round the breast out, but it may not correct the areola when it is puffy.
Bigger Sagging, Bigger Problems, Bigger Breast Aug Lifts
For patients with severe postpartum breast involution (shrinkage), and for patients after massive weight loss, the breast volume has left the building, leaving only a loose, empty flap of skin. Breast Augmentation Lifts are the only solution to this problem. Breast Implants are used to restore the breasts’ volume, and it is combined with a Breast Lift to restore the breasts’ shape.
Severely deflated breasts, like those seen above after massive weight loss, need more volume and bigger lifts. An Anchor shaped scar was needed to raise the nipple, remove the overhanging lower breast skin and to tighten the breast skin in the horizontal direction, too.
Often, I will see on the Internet the misconception that if a big enough implant is placed, you will not need a lift. This is not true. Imagine an implant, the size of the one used above, placed under the skin of the pre-op picture. The breast would be the same size; however, the loose skin holding the nipple would hang off the end. In the above case, only a Breast Lift can correct the problems with the breasts’ shape, nipple position and excess skin at the bottom of the breast.
More Scar = Happier Patient?
The ultimate goal of Cosmetic Plastic Surgery is a happy patient. So how can more scar lead to a happier patient? It all depends on the circumstances. If a scar is not needed, then more scar is bad. I have had patients on the borderline of needing a lift elect to not have lift because of the extra scar. Some are happy with their decision of not completely correcting the sagging, and not having extra scars. Others have come back for a Breast Lift after their Breast Augmentation, and are much happier now, after the Breast Lift. Staging does make it easier to see what each procedure has to offer the final result.
The main goal of Cosmetic Plastic Surgery is a pretty result. The Breast Augmentation Lift allows for control of both the size and the shape of the breasts. The cost is additional scar. In this case, an Inverted-T scar was needed.
Above, an inverted-T Breast Lift was performed along with placement of a Breast Implant. A periareolar lift would have left the nipples low, the areolae much larger and the end of the breasts flat. A vertical lift would not have tightened the lower pole sufficiently, or coned the shape of the breast as beautifully. In my experience, the incision underneath the breasts is well hidden. By keeping its length short, the scar will hide in the shadow under the breasts.
Breast Augmentation Lift Consultations
If you are considering a Breast Augmentation, Breast Lift or the Combination Augmentation Mastopexy, be certain to consult an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. While there are advantages to combining the procedures, it is also more complicated than both procedures done separately.
If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, give me a call at (925) 943-6353, and schedule a private comprehensive consultation. Your options will be reviewed and the best course selected to optimize you breast aesthetics.
Every Mommy Makeover includes enhancement of both the belly and the breasts. The most common combination is Breast Augmentation with a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty). However, other options include:
Breast Implants with Breast Lift
Mini Tummy Tucks
Other Body Enhancements
Brazilian Butt Lift
Lower Body Lift
The combination best for you depends on what you need, tempered by safety and predictability.
Mommy Makeover Video Presentation
The television segment included below is all about Mommy Makeovers and includes many of the most popular variations. The Mommy Makeover Video includes Mommy Makeover Before and After Pictures that illustrate what the procedure has to offer.
The following video segment is from my latest appearance on the San Francisco Bay Area’s New Station, KRON 4. The show gives me the opportunity to talk about the latest Cosmetic Plastic Surgery News.
Mommy Makeover Video
Make Your Mommy Makeover Consultation Appointment
When considering a Mommy Makeover, be certain to find a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in your area who has years of experience with the techniques currently available. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and would like to schedule a personalized appointment in my Walnut Creek Plastic Surgery clinic, give me a call today at (925) 943-6353.
Excellent Breast Enhancement is about obtaining the right size and the right shape. If your breast shape is good, more volume is all that is needed, and Breast Augmentation is usually enough to get the results you are looking for.
However, when breasts are the wrong shape, bigger is not always better. For congenital deformities like Poland’s Syndrome or Tubular Breasts, a Breast Implant alone is often not enough. A Breast Lift is added to reshape the breast mound and relocate the misplaced nipple.
Breast Augmentation With Breast Lift Video (Mastopexy Augmentation)
Below is a segment from my latest KRON 4, Body Beautiful show. Several Breast Augmentation With Breast Lift Before and After Pictures are included and narrated, to help illustrate what Breast Augmentation With Breast Lift has to offer. Examples of both the correction of the typical breast deflation with sagging (breast ptosis) typically seen after pregnancy or weight loss, as well as congenital deformities like Poland’s Syndrome or Tubular Breasts are reviewed.
The splash screen of the video above shows Mastopexy Augmentation used for a woman with tubular breasts and very low nipples. Breast Augmentation alone would give her larger breasts; however, the nipple areola complex would still be puffy and the location of the nipple would remain at the bottom of the breast. A more ideal nipple shape and location was obtained by combining the use of Breast Implants for enhanced volume with a Vertical Breast Lift for a better shape. The result is a happy patient.
Breast Augmentation and Breast Lift Consultations
If you are considering Breast Augmentation or a Breast Lift, be certain to choose an experienced and Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who understands how to address your specific breast anatomy and your goals. In the San Francisco Bay Area call (925) 943-6353, to schedule a personalized and private consultation appointment.
Dr. Joseph Mele appears on the Bay Area’s News Channel, KRON 4’s Body Beautiful this week discussing Breast Augmentation, Breast Lifts, Tummy Tucks, Liposuction and Mommy Makeovers.
Body Beautiful Live Wednesday at noon on KRON 4
San Francisco Bay Area’s News Station, KRON 4, will be airing the latest installment of Body Beautiful this week. The show will be broadcast live, at noon, this Wednesday (Dec 7, 2016) on channel 4, and will include the latest in Cosmetic Plastic Surgery with the emphasis on Body Sculpting.
Liposuction – Sculpting the body by removing disproportionate fat
Abdominoplasty – Using a Tummy Tuck to tighten the abdominal wall and remove excess skin and fat
Mommy Makeover – Combining Breast Enhancement with Abdominal Enhancement to reverse the damage done by pregnancy
So Many Topics; So Little Time
I try to keep the show fast-paced, accurate and informative, but I did not learn about these topics in a half-hour television show. More information is available online by clicking on the links above, but nothing can substitute for an in-person consultation tailored to your specific needs. If you are serious about learning what Cosmetic Plastic Surgery can offer you call my Walnut Creek Plastic Surgery Clinic at (925) 943-6353.
Breast Augmentation remains one of the most frequently requested Cosmetic Plastic Surgery procedures.
Breast Augmentation remains one of the most popular cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, but what is the recovery like after Breast Implants?
Breast Augmentation – The Procedure
Breast Augmentation is simple to understand. Breast Enlargement is performed by placing a Breast Implant behind the breast tissue to increase the breasts’ volume. Of course, there is more to it than that, and it is important to seek the advice of an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, before your Breast Enhancement Surgery.
Breast Implants are placed in the operating room, almost always under general anesthesia. This provides maximal safety and predictability of the operation, especially when Silicone Breast Implants are being placed behind the muscle, or when a Breast Lift is also being performed.
Breast Augmentation Recovery Time – The First 24 Hours
After the anesthetic is given, the next thing you will know, you will be in the Recovery Room. It feels instantaneous. Your breasts will be sore and many patients feel pressure, like an elephant is sitting on their chest. Pain is present, but should be manageable. Local anesthesia is frequently placed around the Breast Implants to help with the initial discomfort. Medications will be given intravenously to make you feel better. The primary goals are to allow you to wake-up and to reduce your discomfort.
At home, prescription pain medications are often used for the first few days. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is also safe, because it does not increase the risk of bleeding like aspirin can. Acetaminophen should be taken instead of, not with, your prescription pain medication because most prescription pain medications already have acetaminophen in them, and too much, can cause liver damage.
RICE Therapy for the Breasts
Post-operative discomfort can also be helped with RICE. The acronym RICE stands for:
REST – Not overusing your chest muscles after surgery can speed your recovery. Your Plastic Surgeon should review what precautions to take after surgery. To read a copy of my Breast Implant Instruction Sheet, click the following: Post-Operative Breast Augmentation Instruction Sheet.
Ice is Nice: Ice provides natural pain relief with few side-effects.
ICE – I cannot stress the importance of icing down after surgery. Like after any injury, ice can effectively decrease swelling and discomfort after surgery, often better than pain medication. Ice should not be applied directly to the skin, to avoid frostbite. A thin cloth should be placed between you and the ice, and the ice should be applied hourly for 15 minutes at a time.
COMPRESSION – The amount of compression will vary by Plastic Surgeon. Some surgeons recommend no support, while others bind the chest. Remember, your Plastic Surgeon will choose the method that works best for the surgery they perform. I prefer the combination of Bra and Band to keep the Breast Implants in their proper position, and to provide some post-operative support and comfort.
ELEVATION – Keeping the head elevated day and night the first few days after Breast Augmentation also helps reduce swelling and discomfort in the breasts. Sleeping on an extra pillow or two is all that is needed. If you are not used to sleeping on your back, a pillow behind the knees can help. It helps you maintain the correct position while you are sleeping and makes your back more comfortable.
Breast Implants have been an option for women with small breasts for over fifty years. During that time, the Breast Implants, the techniques and the recovery time have all improved.
Getting Back To Normal
After the first few days, your activities will begin to get back to normal. Most patients can drive by three or four days. However, if you are still sore or are taking pain medication, you should wait. By the end of the week, office work is usually doable. After two weeks, light physical activity is encouraged, and by six weeks, you should be able to return to all your usual activities.
It is also important to know that your results will vary. Good results and experiences are a product of teamwork. Choosing a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who you are comfortable with is paramount. Doing the Breast Enhancement well is only part of my job, getting you through the recovery is equally as important to a good result.
Breast Augmentation Questions
If you have questions about Breast Augmentation, please call my San Francisco Bay Area Plastic Surgery Office today at (925) 943-6353, and schedule a private consultation appointment. While a lot of good Breast Augmentation information is available here, on the San Francisco Plastic Surgery Blog, and the links provided, an in-person consultation allows us to discuss the details specific to your Breast Enhancement.