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Can I take HRT During My Breast Augmentation Recovery?

Can I take HRT During My Breast Augmentation Recovery?

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that as many as one-third of all women in the United States and in the U.K. take some form of hormone replacement therapy, or HRT.

Hormone replacement therapy can be prescribed for different purposes, including to manage the challenges of menopause and to assist with gender reassignment therapy. In these and other contexts, the use of medicinal hormones can be an important part of a patient’s overall health management plan.

However, there can also be instances where taking hormones may put a patient at greater risk during and after a surgical procedure. In these cases, sometimes it is advisable to cease from taking hormone replacement therapy for a limited time.

What Is the Risk of Taking HRT While Having Breast Augmentation?

Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment that is recommended when the potential benefits outweigh the potential drawbacks of the therapy.

Because hormone replacement therapy is associated with a higher risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT, or blood clots) after having surgery, sometimes surgeons will ask or require a patient to cease from taking HRT before having a surgical procedure.

However, this can have its own negative consequences for the patient, who is taking hormone replacement therapy to manage another serious medical condition.

Similarly, if a patient is under a doctor’s care and taking hormone replacement therapy as part of a complete gender reassignment transition, there can be a negative impact on that patient’s appearance goals to be asked to stop taking hormone replacement therapy while having breast augmentation.

This is something the patient and surgeon should discuss, and if necessary discuss as a team with the HRT-prescribing physician as well, to determine the best approach for the patient’s overall wellbeing.

If the patient has a personal or family medical history of deep vein thrombosis, this should also be taken into consideration. It may be possible to administer a blood thinning medication on a very temporary basis following breast augmentation surgery to avoid putting the patient through the trauma of ceasing the HRT therapy.

Can I Take HRT During Breast Augmentation Recovery?

This is a very personal decision, and is usually an informed decision that is made only after consulting with the prescribing physician and the surgeon performing the breast augmentation.

If the patient has no prior history (personal or family) of deep vein thrombosis and no risk factors are identified, the decision may be to continue the hormone replacement therapy with close monitoring post-operatively.

However, if the patient does have a personal or family medical history of DVT, the patient may be advised to wean off the hormone treatments for a period just prior to the breast augmentation procedure and continuing for a short time following the procedure.

What Are the Other Risks of Breast Augmentation Surgery?

Here, it is important to remember that blood clots are just one of several risks associated with having a breast augmentation procedure.

While breast augmentation is a popular and common procedure today, every patient reacts differently. As well, for any invasive procedure, there is always a slight risk of bleeding, blood clots, reaction to anesthesia, infection at the surgical sites, poor wound healing or uneven results.

These risks may or may not be compounded by the use of hormone replacement therapy during and after the procedure itself. For this reason, there is no single “right” answer to whether an individual patient should cease from or continue to use HRT while having a breast augmentation done.

What Is Recovery From a Breast Augmentation Procedure Like?

In the same way that hormone replacement therapy can take an initial period of time to deliver the desired results, so too can it take a few weeks or months for the full results of a breast augmentation procedure to be visible.

Keeping the patient calm and comfortable during and after breast augmentation surgery is a very important facet of achieving a complete recovery and realizing the patient’s appearance goals.

If continuing to take HRT is a help to the patient in maintaining the calmest and healthiest state during and following surgery, this can help to minimize other unavoidable discomforts following a breast augmentation surgery.

These discomforts can include some tenderness, bruising and swelling at or around the incision sites plus a feeling of chest tightness that will subside over time. While there are medications that can effectively manage this temporary discomfort or pain, it is also important that the patient stays comfortable and calm overall during the recovery period and is able to rest well. These are all things that HRT is designed to support.

Should I take HRT During Breast Augmentation Recovery?

So really, the right question to ask is: should you specifically take hormone replacement therapy while recovering from breast augmentation surgery?

If you can stop taking HRT during and for up to a week or two following your surgery, this is advisable to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots).

If your physician recommends against stopping HRT due to health reasons, then it is important to discuss alternatives with your surgeon to manage the risk of blood clots, such as taking a very temporary blood thinner post operatively.

Dr. Robert Tornambe, MD, the founder and medical director for Madison Plastic Surgery, is a world-renowned plastic surgeon with two decades of expertise in facial, breast and body procedures as well as non surgical rejuvenation approaches.

Dr. Tornambe is an accomplished lecturer, author, instructor and media guest who has made appearances on CNBC, NBC, Discovery Health and the hit television series “Extreme Makeover” among many others. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery with a global clientele.



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