Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Breast augmentation hematoma recovery

Breast augmentation hematoma recovery is a common complication of breast augmentation surgery. Hematomas are collections of blood under the skin and can be caused by trauma to the area or by bleeding during or after surgery. If you have developed a hematoma, you may experience pain, swelling, discoloration of your skin, and/or bruising around your incision sites.

If you suffer from a breast augmentation hematoma, there are several steps that you should take to treat it properly. Read on to learn more about how to recover from this complication and get back to your normal life!

Breast augmentation hematoma recovery


A woman's hand holding her breast

These are a few of the most common reasons we may go back to surgery when a breast implant is placed. As an experienced breast surgeon in Austin, I feel it is really important to understand these when investing in your breast enhancement procedure.


Also known as a hematoma, bleeding can occur when a blood vessel starts leaking into the space created for the breast implant. This complication will be noticeable within a 5- to 10-minute period.

  • Symptoms: The breast tissue will enlarge up to 2 to 3 times, creating asymmetry between both breasts. The tissue might have some bruising noted as well. This can occur immediately after surgery or up to three weeks later.
  • Rate of occurrence: When we look at the statistics on a nationwide level, the rate of hematoma occurrence is between 2% to 4%. Our 10 years of data at The Piazza Center demonstrates that this complication only occurs 0.5% of the time. We attribute this to Dr. Piazza’s meticulous technique and attention to detail in the operating room.
  • What to do if you experience symptoms: If any signs of a hematoma have developed, notify The Piazza Center immediately. Abstain from eating or drinking anything until we have made the diagnosis and know the course of action we need to take.
  • Treatment: Treatment includes exploration of the breast to find the source of bleeding and stopping it. This procedure normally takes about an hour, and you will feel immediate relief from pressure.

Recovery in the affected breast will take approximately 3 to 6 weeks for the swelling to resolve from this additional procedure.


Every surgery carries a small risk of infection, but we take many steps to prevent infection. One of these precautions involves using the Keller Funnel®2 to reduce the risk of contamination to breast implants during surgery.

  • Symptoms: Signs of infection include warmth, drainage, redness, and inflammation around incisions. The most common period of time for infection to occur in our practice are between 3 to 5 weeks after surgery.
  • Rate of occurrence: Infection can occur 1% to 2% of the time when we look at the national statistics for breast implant placement. There have been only 4 implant infections out of 2000 breast implants placed (0.002%) since the practice was founded by Dr. Piazza in 2010.
  • What to do if you experience symptoms: If these symptoms were to occur, please notify the office immediately, and refrain from eating and drinking. The physician needs to evaluate you and determine if surgical exploration is necessary.
  • Treatment: Surgical treatment includes removal of the breast implant and a thorough wash-out of the space where the implant was located. Cultures will be obtained in surgery, and antibiotics will be tailored to the cultures. A small drain will be placed in the breast and removed around 6 days after surgery. The affected breast will not have an implant until we return to surgery approximately 6 weeks later. The breast will still look beautiful in the long run.

Capsular Contracture

Once an implant has been placed, a collagen capsule forms around the breast implant. In some cases, the capsule can thicken or tighten around the implant. This condition is called capsular contracture.

  • Symptoms: Capsular contracture may cause the breast to feel firm, look narrower, or remain higher in position. It also may cause discomfort and distort the breast. This phenomenon commonly occurs most often between 3 to 6 months postoperative.
  • Rate of occurrence: When we look at national statistics, this occurs in 1 out of every 10 to 15 patients and usually only on one side. Our 10-year review at The Piazza Center demonstrates that 1 out of every 30 to 40 patients who have breast implants placed will have capsular contracture.
  • What to do if you experience symptoms: If this complication occurs, we would return to the operating room when it is convenient for you.
  • Treatment: This revision procedure will entail replacing the implant, removing the abnormal scar capsule, aggressively washing out the breast with antibacterial solutions, and placing a brand new implant and biologic lining to prevent the recurrence of capsular contraction. The Piazza Center recurrence rate is only 9.7%. This means you have greater than a 90% success rate with this revision procedure to treat capsular contracture. Traditional treatment methods have a recurrence rate as high as 30% to 50%.


A hematoma is a collection of blood in any part of the body. A bruise, for example, is a mild hematoma. Because breast augmentation is a surgery just like any other, you can expect to see some bruising, as blood collects around the broken capillaries and around the incision. This is no cause for alarm. In rare cases, however, woman experience a more severe hematoma under the implant itself. Most doctors require their patients to come in for an evaluation to determine what can be done about this problem.


Because there is some discomfort, swelling, and pain during the first few weeks after a breast augmentation, some women ignore the signs of hematoma, thinking them to be simply part of the typical healing process. The signs of hematoma are, however, not typical. Severe swelling and pain are two of the first signs that blood is collecting under the implant. While there will be some natural swelling and pain as the body adjusts to the implant, both should dissipate in the days and weeks after surgery and when patients follow the surgeon’s post-operative instructions. When pain does not lessen with pain killers, that is an indication of a problem. A greatly enlarged breast, beyond the size of the implant and beyond normal swelling, is also cause for concern. Other signs include severe darkening of the skin around the implant. It will look like a massive bruise and it will not fade with time.


Hematoma occurs when the body has been through trauma. Surgery is considered a trauma, even if it is elective. Because an incision has been made and a foreign object has been introduced to the body, the body may not respond well. Anytime a blood vessel or artery is damaged, there is the possibility that it will begin to leak and cause a hematoma. Any damage to the breast area will cause some leakage, but it is only a serious problem when blood begins to pool beneath the breast.


If a woman experiences the signs and symptoms of a hematoma, it is imperative that she make an appointment with her surgeon immediately. The most common treatment for hematoma is a draining technique, where a tube is inserted beneath the implant, and the pooling blood is suctioned out. This will reduce the pain and swelling.

If the hematoma is small, however, it may be left in the body, where, through the natural healing process, it will clear away. If there is any concern about the existence of a hematoma, patients should contact their doctor immediately. The presence of too much blood in one area can affect the healing process and the results of the breast augmentation procedure. If not properly treated, the hematoma can cause further damage and even harm the implant itself.


Infection can be a serious concern with any kind of surgery. However, with today’s advanced plastic surgical techniques and medications, there is far less of a risk than there once was. In order to completely minimize this risk, there are necessary precautions that all patients should take. Plastic surgery has an especially low risk of infection, as all candidates must be healthy in order to receive a breast augmentationbreast lifttummy tuck, or other surgery.


Though the incisions are small, procedures like liposuction and breast implantation can actually cause internal trauma, which may leave the body open to infection in these areas. While this is no reason to not get these surgeries, it is reason to carefully take the antibiotics the plastic surgeon prescribes after the surgery. Many people will stop taking their antibiotics once they stop taking their pain medications, but it is vitally important to take them until they are gone, just as the doctor has prescribed. Taking only half of the prescription could actually allow an infection to occur.

Caring for the Incision

In general, doctors recommend that patients keep the incision site covered during the day, and if possible, let it breathe at night. It is important to regularly, but gently clean the incision site, so it is not exposed to dirt or other infectious material. Whether the doctor uses stiches or tape to close the area, he or she will probably provide a care sheet to ensure you know how to properly care for the incision site. Most importantly, do not rub at the incision, put any kind of cream or lotion on it, or get it wet. In order to shower, a plastic film can cover the incision and dressing to ensure that it does not become saturated with water, as this makes it a breeding ground for bacteria.

To properly clean the site, use gentle soap and clean water, being sure to remove any dried blood or other crust that forms at the site. Never use any kind of caustic agent like hydrogen peroxide to clean to area, as this can actually make it harder for the incision to heal. After gently cleaning the area, pat it with a clean towel until it is completely dry, and then apply clean dressing. All of this washing and new dressing will minimize the possible that any bacteria enter the area to cause an infection.

Normal sensations after plastic surgery are itchiness (try not to scratch), tingling, and tenderness. Bruises and some oozing are actually normal. What is not normal is when a bad smell is coming from the incision, it feels warm, looks especially red, is increasingly painful, is oozing continuously yellow or green, or continues to bleed through dressing. If any of these signs appear, it is vital that a doctor is consulted.

Though there is always a risk of infection, with the right care and attention, this risk can be effectively minimized. The vast majority of people have no problem whatsoever with their plastic surgery procedures.

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