Talking about the possibility of complications after your breast augmentation can be a bit... scary.
But it's a really important part of your breast implant journey to know what to expect.... the good bits and the not-so-good-bits.
This is the only way you can make a true fully informed decision about getting breast implants.
What is a Hematoma After a Breast Augmentation?
One possible complication after a breast augmentation is a hematoma.
A hematoma is a collection of blood inside the body.
Sometimes the reasons for post-op bleeding are unknown.
But- there are a few things that can increase your risk of experiencing a problematic post-op bleed:
Taking certain meds before or after surgery that thin the blood (e.g. aspirin or anti-inflammatories) - make sure you tell your surgeon if you're taking an medications to check if it's okay to continue them leading up to (and after) your surgery.
Drinking alcohol before your breast augmentation - as tempting as it may be to have a grown-up grape-based drink to settle any pre-op nerves or excitement it's not worth the risk... alcohol thins the blood.
High blood pressure - it's normal for your BP to spike a bit when you're nervous or excited but if you genuinely have high blood pressure (hypertension) be sure to discuss with your surgeon how it will be managed to reduce your risk of post-op bleeding.
Blood disorders - some existing medical conditions can increase your chance of post-op bleeding. This is why your surgeon will take a thorough medical history before considering you fit for surgery. Be sure to tell them if you bruise easily or have heavy periods.
Physical exertion after surgery - surgery is trauma and trauma needs time and a gentle-approach to heal well. This is why you need to be very careful and follow your post-op instructions, not to over-exert yourself until you're healed up.
What causes a hematoma?
Your surgeon will do their best during surgery to minimize any bleeding (and may place drains after your breast augmentation if bleeding does occur so that it doesn't cause any problems).
Bleeding vessels will be cauterized (with an electrical current, which forms a clot - a normal body response) during surgery. When you're healing these clots can fall off (either by themselves or because you've over-exerted yourself), which makes blood vessels start bleeding again.
A hematoma can occur slowly (within several weeks after your breast augmentation) or appear like wild fire (immediately following surgery).
What does a hematoma look like?
If you experience any of the following it's important you contact your surgeon for advice:
Bruising and discoloration – some is normal, just keep an eye on it
How to deal with a hematoma?
A small hematoma will usually resolve by itself. Large hematomas, however, require some kind of medical or surgical care.
BUT you shouldn’t be the one to judge. If you suspect something isn't right, contact your surgeon. Let them check you out and decide the best course of action.
No one likes a medical emergency but if you do have a hematoma that requires some immediate intervention it does mean going back in to surgery. Your surgeon will need to re-open your wound, remove any blood clots and stop the source of bleeding.
This sounds quite scary but be reassured your surgeon will only make the decision to treat a hematoma surgically if it's absolutely necessary.
I'm gonna say it (but don't shoot the messenger) that the outcomes of a hematoma can be infection or wound separation (when it doesn’t heal, or splits open). If left untreated, bleeding can cause pressure that will damage the breast tissues. The worse case scenario of all this is that implants need to come out ASAP to allow everything to heal.
The risk of getting a hematoma after a breast augmentation is less than 2%!
Hematomas are rare. And if they do occur, know that everything will be done by your Board Certified surgeon to resolve the problem.
Following pre-op and post-op instructions is your role in reducing the chances of complications. If you take one thing from this it should be that if anything concerns you after surgery, you need to pick up the phone and contact your surgeon for advice.