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Breast Augmentation: After Surgery FAQ

How long will I be out of work?

This obviously depends on the type of work being done. Some general guidelines are as follows. Upper arm movements like reaching should be avoided for the first 1-2 weeks. Driving can begin after this time as long as the patient no longer needs pain medication. Patients should not lift anything heavier than 5 pounds for six weeks after the operation. This lifting restriction may prevent some women from returning to work.
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How long before I can exercise?

It is recommended that patients begin walking immediately after surgery. However, women should not perform any intense physical exercise for six weeks following the operation. Physical exercise including weight lifting, biking, jogging, and other forms of intense activities may cause implants to shift position or cause wound healing problems that may alter the appearance of the breasts after surgery.
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How long before I can drive?

Women may start driving a car one week after surgery as long as they are not taking any pain medications.
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How much pain will I have?

The pain from breast augmentation surgery generally can be well controlled with medication in the first 1-2 weeks following the surgery. It is important to note that severe or untreatable pain following surgery can mean infection or another complication.
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What breast size will I be?

"Breast size" as measured by bra-size is variable and is often not a good way to measure final size. As a general rule, every 125-150cc of implant volume equals an increase in a single cup size. However, every patient's body is different.
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Will my implants affect my physical functioning such as working, lifting weights, or lifting heavy objects?

Unlikely. Depending on the size of the implant, most women find no trouble performing most physical activities following the surgery. Weight lifting, or lifting heavy objects will not affect the implant once the scar has properly healed. In fact, women body builders with implants attest to this!
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Can I still breast feed after breast augmentation?

Yes. Placement of the implant below the breast tissue, as in subglandular placement, does not affect the ability of the breast to produce milk. Similarly, submuscular placement, or implant placement below one of the chest muscles preserves proper breast functioning. With the peri-areolar incision, an increased risk of breast-feeding problems may exist. In one study, 7/8 patients reported problems with breast-feeding following peri-areolar breast augmentation surgery. For women who choose the infra-mammary or trans-axillary incision, (incisions under the breast and through the armpit), breastfeeding is usually not a problem.
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Is breast-feeding safe after augmentation?

Yes. Studies have shown that babies that are breast-fed by mothers who have received breast implants are not at increased risk of any disease.
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Will the implants affect cancer detection in later years?

Many studies have addressed this question. It has been found that cancer detection is not delayed by having the implant behind the breast tissue. In addition, the risk of developing breast cancer is the same, as that in women without implants. Women with implants that do develop cancer have the same survival rates as women without implants. Breast implants do make it slightly more difficult to examine the breasts with mammography. However, special views during mammography are used to examine more of the breast tissue. It is slightly more difficult to see the breast tissue with mammography when the implants are placed in the subglandular versus the submuscular position.
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Will the silicone in my implants affect my health?

The saline implants that are currently in use have a shell or envelope made of silicone plastic. Silicone "gel" implants that were used from the 1960's until 1992 have been the subject of much controversy and even resulted in the short term ban of silicone gel implants in 1992. After much investigation, the FDA declared in 2001 that silicone implants do not place women at increased risk of disease.
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Will I ever need any additional operations?

Sometimes additional surgeries may be required if there are complications from breast augmentation surgery including implant rupture, capsular contracture, or the development of breast asymmetry. In addition, implanted breasts will age just like any other body part and in the future some woman choose to have additional operations to correct the results of gravity and aging.
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