What is a Revision Breast Surgery?
Revision breast surgery is a corrective surgical procedure to improve or change the shape or look of your breast following a previous breast removal (mastectomy), breast reconstruction, augmentation, or breast implant surgery. It is a complex surgery. The goal of revision breast surgery is to restore your breast's natural appearance and feel and increase your confidence.
What are the Indications for a Revision Breast Surgery?
Revision breast surgery is recommended:
- If you have had a previous breast surgery and are unhappy with the results.
- If your previous breast removal or reconstruction surgery resulted in breast soreness, numbness, pain, or asymmetry.
- If you develop complications from previous breast surgery such as implant rupture, capsular contracture, improper positioning, or displacement of the breast implant.
- To change the implant size- either increase or decrease your breast size.
- To change the implant from silicone to saline and vice versa.
- To rectify scar formation in your breast following a previous surgery.
- To enhance your aesthetic appearance.
Pre-Surgical Preparation for Revision Breast Surgery
In general, preparation for a revision breast surgery includes the following:
- A thorough examination by your doctor to check for any medical issues that need to be addressed prior to the procedure.
- You may be required to undergo blood tests and a mammogram to help detect any abnormalities that could threaten the safety of the procedure.
- Inform your doctor about any allergies or your current medications and supplements.
- Refrain from taking any anti-inflammatory drugs, blood thinners, or aspirin as they may increase the risk of bleeding during the surgery.
- Refrain from smoking before and after the surgery for a specific period of time, as this may hamper proper healing and increase your chances of areolar or nipple damage, tissue necrosis, and other complications.
- A written consent will be obtained from you after the procedure has been explained in detail.
- The site of the breast incision is marked and if implants are to be placed, removed, or reshaped, then the appropriate size of the implant is determined by taking your breast measurements.
- The type of implant: silicone or saline is also determined prior to the procedure.
Revision Breast Surgery Procedure
The general steps for a revision breast surgery include:
- General anesthesia is administered to make you sleep by injecting a sleep-inducing medication.
- The breast incisions are made along the marked areas.
- The corrective changes related to the implant such as its positioning and sizing are made by placing a more suitable implant in your breast pocket.
- In case other changes such as scar tissue remains or there is improper breast symmetry, then these are also corrected.
- A drainage tube may be placed temporarily under your arm to drain excess fluid or blood.
- The incisions are sutured and the operated breast is covered with a waterproof dressing.
Recovery and Post-Surgical Care for Revision Breast Surgery
Most patients can go home within a couple of days after the surgery if no complications are noted. The drains are usually removed in about a week or two from the surgery.
The basic postoperative care instructions and recovery include the following:
- You may notice sensitivity, tenderness, swelling, and bruises over the operated breast. Pain and anti-inflammatory medications are provided as needed.
- Your physician will also provide you with antibiotics to prevent the risk of infection.
- Refrain from any physical activity using your upper body for at least 2 to 4 weeks to promote healing.
- You will be able to have a shower from the first day after surgery. A waterproof dressing will protect your surgical site.
- Avoid heavy lifting or any strenuous activities as you recover.
- Your doctor will provide you with instructions on diet and wound care.
- You are recommended to wear a supportive bra for at least 2 days post-procedure.
- Refrain from using anything too cold or too hot on your operated breast skin as your breasts will lack normal sensation.
- You may need to take off from work for at least a week to facilitate recovery.
- You will be able to resume normal activities within a couple of weeks but may have certain activity restrictions.
A periodic follow-up will be scheduled to monitor your overall progress.
What are the Risks and Complications of a Revision Breast Surgery?
As with any surgical procedure, revision breast surgery may also have certain risks and complications such as:
- Formation of blood clots
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Poor healing of surgical cuts
- Necrosis or tissue death
- Accumulation of fluids in breast tissue
- Loss of sensation in the breasts or nipples
- Uneven breasts
What are the Benefits/Advantages of a Revision Breast Surgery?
Some of the benefits of revision breast surgery include:
- Improves your physical appearance which enhances your self-esteem and confidence
- Helps you lead a better quality of life
- Allows you to wear a variety of clothes