The A to Z of breast surgery
Considering breast augmentation surgery, but do not know where to start or what to expect? We have asked medical professionals to break down the breast augmentation journey down into 12 stages from the initial consultation stage right through to the recovery stage (remember this information should not replace your own consultation with a doctor):
The research stage:
Once you have decided to grab the bull by the horns and get a breast augmentation surgery, the next step is to conduct the groundwork into what surgeon, breast implant, and type of surgery you would like. Breast augmentation surgery is a decision that should not be made lightly. It should be made armed with reliable, consistent, and objective information to make smart, beautiful choices about your surgeon, breast implant, and surgical procedure. With many options out there, it can be, well, a little bit overwhelming. But, fear not! We have the right tools to help you get started. Not only do we have a nifty surgeon locator tool to help you locate your local experienced Motiva surgeon, but we also have lots of blogs full of handy information to consider before your surgery.
Your consultation is a great time to get to know your surgeon and ask any looming questions or gather further information to help you decide. The relationship between you and your surgeon is key, as your relationship with your surgeon does not end after your surgery and can last for many years after it. In a recent study, women who undertook breast surgery found the most important factors when choosing their surgeon, was not the cost of the surgeon, but the surgeon who took the time to answer their questions coupled with skills and experience in breast surgery. Not sure what questions to ask during your consultation? Fear not, we created a list of key questions to ask your surgeon during your consultation to help you make.
Before your operation, you will be asked to attend what is commonly referred to as a “pre-assessment’’ appointment. At your appointment, the nursing team will run through your medical history, discuss any current medications you are taking, and undertake further evaluations to ensure you’re fit enough for your surgery. Undergoing a surgical operation and general anesthesia is a bit like a work out for the body. Therefore, ensuring you are fit enough for your surgery is key to ensuring smooth surgery and a speedy recovery.
The day before the big day:
Before your surgery, you will be asked to fast to empty your stomach ready to induce anesthesia. This is to reduce an anesthetic complication known as aspiration. Although fasting times vary, most doctors will instruct you to fast from midnight the night before surgery. Therefore, making sure you get plenty of food throughout the day until midnight can help you load up on energy before the big day.
Depending on your individual circumstances and time of your surgery, you may be required to stay overnight in the hospital, and therefore you will need an overnight bag.
Items may include:
- Magazines/ books/ Kindle/ iPad
- Dressing gown and slippers
- Phone charger
- Support bra
- Any medication you take daily, including the original packaging and labels.
You will also be asked to remove any jewelry, eyelash extensions, and nail polish or acrylic nails. This is to avoid disrupting the equipment, which monitors your vital signs throughout your procedure. Therefore, it is best to remove these before arrival at the hospital.
The day of surgery:
On the big day, unless indicated otherwise by your doctor, you should skip breakfast to ensure you have adequately fasted for your operation. If your surgery is scheduled for later in the day, you may be allowed to have a light breakfast early morning. During your surgery, your vital signs will be monitored by your anesthetist and anesthetic nurse. Unfortunately, make-up, nail varnish, and acrylic nails can all interfere with the monitoring equipment; therefore, it is important to make sure they are removed before your arrival to the hospital. Tape will also be placed over your eyes during your procedure. Therefore, it is also recommended not to wear false eyelashes to avoid damaging your eyes during tape application and removal. Jewelry and piercings will also be removed to prevent burns, which can occur from the surgical equipment used during the procedure.
On arrival to the ward:
If not done so already, your surgeon will run through your consent form to ensure you fully understand and consent to the procedure and the complications associated. Your surgeon will then draw surgical marks on your breasts; this is to help the surgeon place your breast implants and make your incision.
In the anesthetic room:
On arrival to the anesthetic room, your operating department practitioner (ODP) or nurse will run through some final checks before your anesthetic. This usually includes a last check of the procedure you are having, any allergy checks, have removed all metal ware, and have adequately fasted for your procedure.
Following your checks, your doctor or nurse will place a cannula into the back of your hand, which will be used to administer your anesthetic. Monitoring equipment usually consists of sticky dots on your chest, a peg on your finger, and a blood pressure cuff to monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and the oxygen levels in your blood throughout your procedure.
Once your monitoring equipment is placed, you will be given oxygen to breathe for around 5 minutes before your doctors administer your anesthetic. This ensures you have lots of oxygen in your lungs while your anesthetist places a breathing tube in your mouth for your operation (this will be done once you are asleep). Your general anesthetic typically consists of a sleepy drug, a pain killer, an anti-sickness medication, and sometimes a muscle relaxant. Once your anesthetic has started, and you are fully asleep, you will be wheeled into the operating room, and your surgery will begin.
The operating room:
Your procedure usually takes around one hour, but maybe slightly more if you are having customized surgery such as our exclusive designed surgeries. During your procedure, your anesthetist and nurse will be by your side the whole time and will continue to monitor your vital signs throughout the procedure. At the end of your procedure, your theatre nurse will apply a surgical dressing and a support bra, and you will be taken to the recovery room.
In the recovery room:
The recovery room is usually where you wake from your procedure, generally with an oxygen mask that is to be kept on until the anesthetic is flushed out of your system, and your oxygen levels are normal. You may feel confused, disorientated, and you may have a sore throat from the breathing tube- however, this is only temporary. It is not uncommon to experience an itchy nose or shivering after your operation; these are effects that some people experience from the general anesthetic. You will be kept in the recovery department until you are fully awake, warm, and comfortable. You may experience some slight pain and, in some cases, sickness; however, your recovery nurse will administer medications to minimize these before you return to the ward.
Back to the ward:
In the ward, you will be seen by the surgical team for review, and then once eating, drinking, and walking around, you will be allowed to go home. The first 48 hours following a general anesthetic, you may still feel tired and disorientated, and therefore it is paramount you do not drive and arrange help at home. Particularly if you have children, as not only will you have the effects of the general anesthetic lingering, but your surgeon will also recommend restricted your arm movement to avoid displacing your breast implants or agitating your wound.
Recovery Period/ aftercare:
Your surgeon will provide you with aftercare instructions which must be followed to ensure optimum results. Although surgical instructions vary, it is usually recommended to avoid driving and heavy lifting in the first few weeks, avoid strenuous exercise for 6 weeks, and maintain your surgical bra for 6 weeks. During the first week or so, you may experience slight tenderness and pain, which can be controlled by taking regular over the counter pain relief. Some pain medication can also cause constipation, and therefore, in addition, you may want to acquire some over the counter laxatives too.
Your breasts may be swollen for several weeks after surgery, and it may take up to several months for your breasts to fully settle into their final position. Do not be alarmed if one breast heals quicker than the other, this is common and will settle. For more information on post-operative recovery and tips on aftercare, visit our post-surgery blogs.
Follow up appointments:
Your first follow up appointment is usually one week after your surgery. Your wounds will be reviewed by your clinic nurse, and your dressings changed. Your following appointments typically occur at 3 months, 6months, 12 months, and then every 3 years. These follow-up appointments are perfect to ask any unanswered questions or concerns you have about your breasts. Unfortunately, sometimes surgical complications can occur; therefore, it is important to check your breasts in between your follow-up appointments regularly. This includes regular self-examination for lumps and bumps; breast cancer can affect women with and without breast implants. Therefore, just as we recommend to women without breast implants, it is essential to continue regular self -breast examination checks.
Not sure how to self-examine with breast implants? No sweat, we have created a how-to video guide here.
For further information on Motiva products and services or to hear more about surgery tips, click here.
*The information provided is for informational and educational purposes only, the content herein is not intended as a substitute for consultation with a physician. Motiva Implants® are not yet commercially available in the US and are undergoing clinical investigation pursuant to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations for investigational medical devices.