Preparing For Breast Augmentation FAQ
As the big day — the day of your breast augmentation surgery — draws closer, you likely have many questions about what you can do in advance to prepare for your surgery, and what to expect in the days leading up to your surgery. Following are nine of the most frequently asked questions about preparing for your breast surgery.
- What kind of lab work is required before breast augmentation surgery?
- How long should potential blood thinning medications like aspirin be stopped prior to breast augmentation?
- Is it important to quit smoking before breast augmentation surgery?
- Are there any supplements to take before surgery that can help minimize bruising and swelling?
- What should I bring to my breast augmentation surgery consultation?
- How can I prepare my home for after my surgery?
- How much time should I take off work to recover from my breast augmentation surgery?
- Is there any type of special pre-breast-augmentation diet?
- What supplies should be brought to the hospital?
- What can be done to ease preoperative fears?
Your surgeon will provide a complete list of your preoperative instructions. This will include all the requisite testing. In general, you will need a complete blood count (CBC). This screening test measures red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. A CBC can determine if you are anemic (low iron levels in your blood), have an elevated number of white blood cells (a sign of infection), or have problems with blood clotting. Your blood sugar levels may also be evaluated, in which case your surgeon may ask you not to eat before the blood test. You may be asked to get a baseline mammogram or breast X-ray as well. You will also need a full physical examination. Taken together, the results of all these tests will help ascertain that you are healthy enough to undergo breast augmentation at this time. If you have any specific concerns regarding your health status, discuss them with your surgeon during the consultation or the preoperative visit.
Stop taking aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) at least one week before your breast augmentation surgery. Certain herbal supplements like Vitamin E, as well as alcohol, can also increase bleeding risk, and should be stopped before your procedure. Ask your surgeon for specific instructions about when you can have your last alcoholic beverage.
Make sure your plastic surgeon has a complete list of all medications that you currently take. He or she will be able to advise you about which are safe and which are risky, as well as when you should stop taking them. For more information, visit our A to Z list of medications to avoid before surgery.
Yes. Smoking will interfere with the healing process on top of all the other adverse effects it has on your health. You should quit three weeks before surgery. Don't start again until at least two to three weeks after your surgery. This may be a good time to quit smoking for good. Ask your surgeon about your smoking cessation options. Nicotine patches and other nicotine replacement systems can't be used as smoking cessation aids immediately before or during surgery, as they cause some of the same problems with wound healing as smoking.
If you smoke marijuana, quit that too. It can increase the effects of anesthesia, upping your risk of an anesthesia-related complication.
- A list of questions to ask your surgeon
- A detailed list of the medications you take, including vitamins, dietary supplements and herbal or homeopathic remedies.
- Some photos that help illustrate what you want or don't want your new breasts to look like.
- A friend, family member or spouse
- Bathing suits, bras or tops to wear while you try on implants for size
There is a lot you can do in advance that will help your recovery process go smoother. For example, you can purchase all the medications and supplies you will need and stock up on easy-to-prepare meals and snacks. For more ideas, including what should be on your night table during your recovery, print out our nuts-to-bolts preoperative checklist.
Most people take off five days but if you have an extremely physical job, you may need to take off longer. Ask your surgeon for more specific advice. Do not return to work without first getting clearance from your breast surgeon.
It is important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet in the weeks leading up to your breast augmentation surgery. Optimal nutrition will help ensure that you are in the best possible health before and during your surgery.
- Comfortable, loose-fitting clothing with slippers.
- Any medications you will need.
- Your surgery bras, or any compression garments or bandages your surgeon suggested.
- Pillows to make the ride home a bit more comfortable.
Ask your surgeon what else he or she recommends. It is also helpful to ask other women who have had breast augmentation what they brought with them, and what helped them the most.
It is normal to be nervous before any surgery. Carve out some "you time" by taking a relaxing bath the night before your breast augmentation. Sometimes just sitting quietly and taking deep healing breaths can help make you feel more centered and calm. If you are still feeling jumpy the day of your surgery, ask your surgeon or anesthesiologist about anti-anxiety medication such as Valium (diazepam) or Xanax (alprazolam), which can be taken orally an hour to an hour and a half before your surgery.