As a busy breast surgery practice we get questions from patients all over the country about a wide variety of issues related to breast augmentation surgery. Over the next year we will address some of the most common questions that we get in our monthly blog posts. In this blog we are going to address the commonly asked question,
“How do I prepare for my breast augmentation surgery?”
Patients are always curious about whether they can continue their exercise routine before surgery. For most cases it is absolutely fine to keep up with your normal fitness regimen up to the day before surgery. An exception could be extreme endurance activities that put tremendous stress on the body. For example, it would not be ideal for a patient to compete in an Ironman race the week before surgery. Whatever your routine is, we can address it during your consultation and figure out the best plan for you.
Whether you smoke one cigarette per week or a pack a day, we require our patients to stop smoking one month before surgery. The nicotine found in cigarettes constricts blood vessels in your body. This can lead to an increased risk of wound healing problems or infections after surgery. From a health point of view we prefer that our patients use this as an opportunity to quit for good. For those who can’t, we allow patients to resume smoking 4 weeks after surgery once we have determined that healing is sufficient.
We like to wait a minimum of 6 months before having breast surgery. If you breastfeed your child, we like to wait 6 months from the day of the last feeding. Waiting 6 months allows the breasts to go through the normal changes that are expected following pregnancy or breastfeeding. We don’t want to do a procedure and pick an implant size for a patient whose breasts are still actively changing.
Get a Mammogram:
In our practice we require that all patients over 40 have a screening mammogram to show that there is no evidence of cancer. Women in the United States have about a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer over a lifetime. There is some disagreement in the US as to the best time to start screening mammograms. Some societies suggest age 40, while others suggest 50. We perform a substantial amount of breast reconstruction after cancer in our practice, and commonly see cancers in patients 40-50 so we endorse mammograms starting at 40. If you are over 40 and have never had a mammogram we can help arrange this for you. If you are over 40 but unable to have a mammogram we can work with our breast cancer colleagues to help determine whether you can have an ultrasound or MRI to evaluate your breasts prior to surgery.
All patients must have a negative pregnancy test to be put under anesthesia for surgery. Patients 50 and over and those who have any chronic medical issues will also have some additional labs drawn 2 weeks prior to surgery to make sure that levels are normal.
Patients under 50 who have no medical problems and don’t take any medications typically don’t require clearance for surgery. We do ask all patients who are being treated for chronic medical issues to be seen by their primary care doctor to make sure they are ready for an elective surgical procedure. Most patients who we see in our practice are determined to be safe candidates for surgery.
About 2 weeks before surgery our patients come back to see us for their “preop visit.” During this time we will have patients sign consents for surgery, provide prescriptions for postop medications, and answer any remaining questions about the procedure. During this visit we always remind our patients to avoid spending time around sick people in the days leading up to surgery. We also ask patients to get good protein in the diet and stay well hydrated. Patients do best the day of surgery when they show up healthy and ready to go.