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Bruising and Swelling

It is important to know that bruising and swelling is a common occurrence after a surgical procedure. This article provides information on how to minimize bruising and swelling after breast augmentation top surgery, previously known as MTF top surgery or MTF breast augmentation. This includes steps such as quitting smoking, avoiding certain medications and supplements, low sodium diet, and natural healing remedies. Additionally, we discuss the time it takes for the permanent scarring and final top surgery results to settle in to help guide your expectations for your gender confirming surgery.

Nearly every patient experiences bruising and swelling after surgery. It’s your body’s natural response to surgical trauma. The degree of your bruising and swelling will ultimately depend on your body’s natural healing response and the procedure you had done. For most patients, bruising and swelling reach their peak within 48 hours of surgery.

Most bruising will subside within 7-10 days, but some mild bruising may continue to linger for up to one month. Usually, 80% of postoperative swelling will be gone within three weeks and the remaining 20% will gradually subside over the course of several weeks to months.

Steps You Can Take to Speed up Recovery

There are several steps that you can take to minimize swelling and bruising during your recovery that will be discussed during the consultation process.

Quit Smoking – Cigarette smoke delays healing and can increase your risk of undesirable scars. You are required to quit smoking at least three weeks in advance of your procedure and continue to be smoke-free for an additional three weeks following surgery.

Avoid Certain Medications and Supplements – Anti-inflammatory medications, blood thinners and certain over-the-counter supplements can delay healing and increase your risk of post-surgical bruising. You should provide your surgeon with a detailed list of medications and supplements you’ve taken in the last month to determine if they must be discontinued.

Eat a Low Sodium Diet – A high sodium diet can cause your body to retain water, which can delay healing. A low sodium diet (1500 mg or less per day) in advance of your procedure and especially in the week or two following can minimize post-surgical swelling.

Natural Healing Remedies – Our practice frequently recommends Arnica Montana and Bromelain to patients. These natural supplements have been used for hundreds of years to reduce bruising, swelling, and pain.

Breast Implant MassageOur surgeons often recommend that patients massage their implants as they are healing. Please do not massage your implants unless you receive explicit instructions to do so. Click here to read and download our handout to learn more about the benefits of massaging your breast implants.

Seeing Your Final Outcome

It will take time for your breast implants to heal and settle into their final position. For this reason, you shouldn’t begin to assess their appearance for the first month after surgery. After about three months, you will have a good idea of what your breasts will look like in the long-term. However, your breast implants will continue to heal and settle for the next year.

It’s important to remember that every patient is different. For some it may take longer for the skin and tissue to stretch into its final position. Additionally, the larger the implant, the more time it will take for the tissue to stretch.

Permanent Scarring

Scarring is an inevitable result of breast augmentation. The size and location of your scars will depend on the techniques used during your procedure.

  • Periareolar – Incisions run along the circumference of the areola (pigmented area around the nipple).
  • Transaxillary – Incisions are made in the armpit, in the natural folds of the skin.
  • Inframammary – Incisions are made near the fold or lower bottom of the chest muscle.

The type of implant you chose can also affect the size of your scars. Because saline implants are typically filled at the time of surgery, they require smaller incisions than pre-filled silicone implants. During your consultation, you will have the chance to view prior patient photos that will give you a better idea of what your scars will look like.

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