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Self-Care After Insertion of a Permanent Breast Implant

This information will help you care for your surgical site after your breast implant surgery.

After Your Surgery

  • You will have a gauze bandage covering your incision (surgical cut). This bandage will be held in place by your bra or clear tape. 
  • You may have a plastic drain in place when you leave the hospital. This is inserted near your incision at the end of your operation to drain extra fluid. The drain is usually removed at your follow up appointment. Your nurse will teach you how to care for it.
  • If you will be traveling by car, place a small pillow or towel between the seat belt and your reconstructed breast. The skin over your reconstructed breast is often thin and can easily be scraped which can lead to infection.

At Home

Caring for your chest

  • If you have a loose gauze dressing, change in at least once a day. 
  • To create a natural fold under your breast, your doctor may have closed your incision with stitches under the skin. These stitches dissolve on their own and do not need to be removed. These stitches may cause you to feel a pinching or pulling sensation. This is normal and should not cause any pain.

For the first 48 hours after your surgery:

  • You may have a slight fever. Your temperature could reach 101° F (38.3° C). 
  • The skin of your reconstructed breast may become pink or red. 

These are not signs of infection. They are signs that your body is adjusting to the implant. Call your doctor’s office if the redness or fever doesn’t improve 48 hours after your surgery.

Showering

  • Do not shower or wet your dressing for the first 48 hours after surgery. 
  • If you do not have a drain or have a drain that is covered with a clear waterproof cover, you may shower 48 hours after your surgery. 
  • If you have a drain and you do not have a waterproof cover or the cover has fallen off, you can shower 48 hours after your drain has been removed. You may shower from the waist down while you still have the drain. 
  • Avoid baths, hot tubs, and swimming pools for at least 6 weeks after your surgery. 
  • Speak with your doctor or nurse before you use deodorant, lotion, or cream anywhere near your surgery site.

Clothing

  • Wear a soft supportive bra for 6 to 8 weeks after your surgery. Wear your bra even while sleeping. You may remove your bra when you bathe or shower.
  • Do not wear a bra that has underwire.

Medications

  • You will be given medication to treat your pain as needed.
  • You may be given a prescription for antibiotics. Take the medication as it prescribed to you by your nurse or doctor.

Restrictions on physical activity

You can resume most activities right after your surgery, but below are some exceptions. 

  • Do not do any exercise that will tighten your chest muscles.
  • Check with your doctor or nurse before starting heavy exercises, such as running, jogging or lifting weights 

When you exercise wear a soft and supportive bra.

Call Your Doctor or Nurse If You Have: 

  • A temperature of 101° F (38.3° C) or higher 
  • Redness, warmth or increased pain in the breast area
  • Shaking chills 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Drainage or oozing from an incision 
  • Any type of skin infection on any part of your body