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Exchange of Breast Tissue Expander(s) for Permanent Implant (Saline/Silicone) Post-Operative Instructions


  • Have someone drive you home after surgery and help you at home for 1-2 days.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Follow balanced diet.
  • Decreased activity may promote constipation, so you may want to add more raw fruit to your diet, and be sure to increase fluid intake.
  • Take pain medication as prescribed. Do not take aspirin or any products containing aspirin for one week after surgery.
  • Do not drink alcohol when taking pain medications.
  • Even when not taking pain medications, no alcohol for 3 weeks as it causes fluid retention.
  • If you are taking vitamins with iron, resume these as tolerated.
  • Do not smoke, as smoking delays healing and increases the risk of complications.
  • Bring a pillow to pad chest while wearing seat belt.


  • Start walking as soon as possible, this helps to reduce swelling and lowers the chance of blood clots.
  • No driving for 2 to 3 weeks after surgery as directed by your surgeon.
  • Refrain from vigorous activity for 4 weeks.
  • Restrict excessive use of arms for at least 5-7 days.
  • May start range of motion immediately.
  • Refrain from physical contact with breasts for 3-4 weeks.
  • Body contact sports should be avoided for 6-8 weeks.
  • Social and employment activities can be resumed in 10-14 days (depending on your occupation).

Incision Care

  • Same incision will be used for exchange of tissue expander for permanent implant.
  • No shower for 48 hours after surgery.
  • Avoid exposing scars to sun for at least 12 months.
  • Always use a strong sunblock, if sun exposure is unavoidable (SPF 30 or greater).
  • Keep steri-strips on.
  • Keep incisions clean and inspect daily for signs of infection.
  • No tub soaking for 4 weeks.
  • You may pad the incisions with gauze for comfort.
  • Wear garments (bra, ace wrap, taping) as directed by your surgeon.
  • Refrain from sleeping on your stomach for 4 weeks.

What to Expect After Tissue Expansion

  • Expect some drainage onto the steri-strips covering the incisions.
  • You are likely to feel tired for a few days, but you should be up and around in 4-5 days.
  • Maximum discomfort will occur in the first few days after surgery.
  • You may experience some numbness of nipples and operative areas.
  • You may experience temporary soreness, tightness, swelling and bruising as well as some discomfort in the incision area.
  • Your breasts may be sensitive to stimulation for a few weeks.


  • Most of the discoloration and swelling will subside in 4-6 weeks.
  • Scars may be red and angry looking for 6 months. In time, these usually soften and fade.

Follow-Up Care

  • Sutures will be dissolvable. They are under your skin and released at the end of each incision. They are clear in appearance and will be trimmed to the skin line in 1-2 weeks.
  • Continue with routine mammograms at a radiology center where technicians are experienced in the special techniques required with implants.

When To Call

  • If you have increased swelling or bruising.
  • If swelling and redness persist after a few days.
  • If you have increased redness along the incision.
  • If you have severe or increased pain not relieved by medication.
  • If you have any side effects to medications; such as, rash, nausea, headache, vomiting.
  • If you have an oral temperature over 101.5 degrees.
  • If you have any yellowish or greenish drainage from the incisions or notice a foul odor.
  • If you have bleeding from the incisions that is difficult to control with light pressure.
  • If you have loss of feeling or motion.

For medical questions, please call:

  • (734) 998-6022, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • After hours and on weekends, call Hospital Paging at (734) 936-6267 and ask for the Plastic Surgeon on call.