Hematoma after Breast Augmentation

February 24, 2015

Hematomas are one of several complications that may occur following a breast augmentation procedure. They occur when blood pools in pockets under the skin around the incision site. According to the University of Michigan Medical Center, Department of Surgery, approximately 1 to 6 percent of women who undergo a breast augmentation procedure will develop a hematoma within the first one to three days following the procedure. Although this complication is rare, it can be very frustrating for patients who are eager to show off their new figure. First and foremost, Drs. Crawford and Bailey want to reassure patients that hematomas are not life-threatening and may resolve on their own.

What Causes Hematomas?

Hematomas may occur more often in those who have taken vitamin E, estrogens, or aspirin or ibuprofen (both of which are known blood thinners). Hematomas are also more common in patients with elevated blood pressure or any sort of bleeding or clotting disorder, such as hemophilia (in which the blood may not clot properly). They may also occur as a result of excess heat or exertion following surgery.

What Are the Symptoms of Hematomas?

Symptoms of hematomas generally include bruising and discoloration around the incision area, raised blood blisters, or swollen or hardened breasts that may be tender or painful to the touch. It is not unusual for only one breast to develop a hematoma. While most hematomas are small and will completely drain on their own, and the blood re-absorbed into the body, those that are causing moderate to severe pain should undergo a follow-up visit to see Dr. Crawford or Dr. Bailey.

What Are the Treatments for Hematomas?

Fortunately, the vast majority of hematomas will either go away on their own or will only require draining, which is a simple office visit procedure. The hematoma is pierced with a sterile needle and allowed to drain. In some cases, a surgical drain may be inserted into the breast to prevent blood from simply re-pooling in the same location. Drains are small surgical tubes that lead out of the breast, with a small bulb attached to collect blood and other fluids. In particularly severe cases, the patient may have to undergo a second surgical procedure to remove the breast implants, drain the hematoma, and then re-insert the implants. However, the chance of a patient developing a hematoma requiring surgical removal of implants is very rare.

What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk of Developing Hematomas?

Drs. Crawford and Bailey give their patients special compression garments to wear following breast augmentation procedures. These snug-fitting garments are designed to reduce the amount and duration of bruising and swelling, and may also help reduce the chances of hematomas forming. Ice and cold compresses may be applied over the incision sites once they have completely healed over. Taking the herb Arnica montana may also prevent hematomas from forming.

Although patients may be concerned that they will need to undergo a revision surgery if a hematoma forms, the chances of this are very unlikely. 


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