According to the latest cosmetic surgery statistics, breast augmentation and breast reduction surgeries remain some of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the UK. Breast surgery recovery is something you will need to go through following any breast procedure. One of the things you need to watch out for is infections. It’s important to know the signs of infection after breast surgery to monitor for. Understanding the post-op symptoms after breast surgery can be confusing for many people. Let’s dive in.
What Happens After Breast Surgery?
Breast surgery may involve breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast lift, or gynaecomastia. Whatever procedure you undergo, there are certain things you can expect as you recover from the procedure.
- Pain and discomfort – Pain after breast surgery is normal. The pain level varies from one individual to another depending on their pain threshold, the extent of the procedure, and skin type. You should be able to manage the pain and discomfort easily with pain medication. Most people report feeling like they are “sunburnt” on the chest. This feeling results from the stretching of the skin.
- Swelling and bruising – These are a normal part of the recovery process after breast surgery. You may have swelling on one or both breasts. Bruising can also appear down the torso and the surrounding areas of the breasts.
- Drainage from the breasts – Minor drainage from the incision site is expected on the first day. However, if the drainage is too much and continues for days, you should inform your plastic surgeon.
- The breast will be sensitive to touch – The first month following your procedure, your breasts will feel swollen and sensitive to touch. It is vital that you avoid any physical contact for at least 6 weeks.
What are the Possible Signs of Infection After Breast Surgery?
All invasive procedures come with the risk of developing an infection. Infections can end up setting you back on your recovery. That’s why it’s important to check for any signs of infection after breast surgery, or any surgery for that matter.
Infections usually occur within the first month after breast surgery, although they can occur months or years following the procedure. The signs of infection after breast surgery may include the following:
1. Excessive Pain and Tenderness
While pain and tenderness are common following a procedure, if they persist, it can signify that the incision site has become infected.
Some degree of swelling is normal after breast surgery. However, you should contact your doctor about rapidly expanding swelling under the skin.
3. High Fever
Fever is a classic sign of wound infection. If you start experiencing fever days or weeks after your breast surgery, contact your doctor immediately because it’s likely that your wound is infected.
Bleeding is also a sign that something else serious is going on at the incision site. At first, you will have a slight discharge, especially on the first day after your procedure. If the discharge is too much, accompanied by some blood and persists for days, your wound could be infected.
5. Pus Drainage from the Incision
Pus from the incision site is a tell-tale sign that your wound has become infected.
6. Redness at the Incision Site
Breast surgery comes with risks of bruising at the incision site and the surrounding areas. However, it could point to an infection if you notice excessive redness, especially at the incision site.
Diagnosing an infection can be a challenging process. An infection can exist on the skin’s surface or deep inside in the case of a breast implant. It can also be a superficial surgical site infection. Either way, a thorough medical examination is needed, which may include swabs of discharge, white blood cell count, or blood culture. An ultrasound may also be performed to check for fluid buildup around the implant or other complications.
What Can You Do to Prevent Infections After Breast Surgery?
After your breast surgery, your doctor will give you specific instructions which you should follow like:
- Avoid smoking before and after your surgery.
- Don’t shave since shaving can irritate the skin introducing infections under the skin.
- Maintain the sterile dressing your doctor applies to the incision for at least 48 hours.
- Take all antibiotics prescribed by your doctor.
- Wash your hands always before touching the wound.
If you are worried about a breast surgery infection, speak with your plastic surgeon as soon as possible. If you’re considering breast surgery or would like to speak to an expert breast surgeon, book an appointment today at the Harley Clinic.