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Can I have a breast augmentation after lung surgery?

Q:

I'm recovering from a spontaneous pneumothorax that resulted in surgery to remove the tissue that would not heal on my left lung. However they found blebs on my right lung as well. Would getting the implants and having the surgery increase my chances of this happening? Should I even consider implants after the surgery I have had and the surgeries I may need if it happens again?

A:

You are at a higher risk of developing further lung problems.  However you have 2 options for the anesthesia for breast augmentation.  The first is general anesthesia.  This carries the highest risk if, during anesthesia pressure within your airway is increased.  Most good anesthesiologist, however, can provide excellent anesthesia without the risk of increasing airway pressure.  If you choose this option, you need to make sure that a board certified anesthesiologist provides the anesthesia and have a consult with the anesthesiologist before surgery.  The other option is local anesthesia with sedation.  This allows you to breathe on your own so that there is minimal risk of increased airway pressure.  The only other major risk is developing pneumonia or problems secondary to the anesthesia requiring deep breathing and coughing.  This risk, however, for breast augmentation is minimal.  If you wish to pursue breast enlargement, make certain that the surgeon you see is a board certified plastic surgeon.  Discuss your medical history at length with this person and whomever will provide anesthesia.  Also make certain that your surgery will be in a certified surgical facility.

A:

Jennifer,

Thank you for your question.  Having general anesthesia after your pneumothorax and lung surgery certainly raises the risk of complications.  In addition if there are significant surgical scars on your chest these may also interfere with the placement of breast implants.

I would recommend that you discuss this very thoroughly with the surgeon who performed your lung surgery.  I'm sure that you will have to have the approval of the surgeon who performed your lung operations before a plastic surgeon would consider doing breast augmentation.

Good luck

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