Breast Augmentation Done with Cauterization

Does a breast augmentation done with cauterization result in a faster recovery? I heard this is new technique that results in less bleeding/bruising therefore less pain.Do any surgeons out there have experience with this?

Doctor Answers 26

Cautery and breast surgery

Virtually every surgeon uses cautery in the vast majority of their procedures. It has been around for decades and does reduce bleeding but there is no proof that it reduces pain.  Cautery is essentially always used during breast augmentation surgery. I would recommend that you not trust a surgeon who claims that their cautery technique is better or that it reduces pain.

Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Cauterization reduces bleeding and bruising with breast augmentation

Cauterization refers to making the pocket for your breast implants by heat-sealing the tissues as they are elevated.  When compared to "blunt" dissection with a metal instrument or the surgeon's gloved fingers, cauterization results in less bleeding.

In my experience performing over 2000 breast augmentations with cauterization, I have noticed the following in my patients:

1. Virtually no bruising.

2. Low rate of reoperation for hematoma (bleeding).  My rate is 0.25% versus national published rates of up to 2.0%.

3. Reduced rate of capsular contracture (excessive firmness of implants due to constricting scar tissue).

This technique is neither new nor unique, but it is generally more time-consuming than blunt dissection.  As a result, most surgeons still use blunt dissection.  

While cauterization does have these advantages, I do not believe that it speeds the recovery process with regard to postoperative pain or activity limitations.

Ronald Friedman, MD
Plano Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

No Bleeding Breast Augmentation

Yes I follow the technique of electrocautery dissection described by Dr. Tebbetts and I feel it has several advantages. First there is very little or no bleeding which seems to result in a quicker recovery when combined with the stretching exercises he recommends.  There is little swelling and bruising and I think it is the best way to perform breast augmentation

Richard Linderman, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Breast augmentation with cauterization = quicker recovery?

Your question has certainly sparked many thoughtful answers from my colleagues. As plastic surgeons we rely heavily on the use of electro-cautery particularly when doing procedures on the breast and body. Gentle handling of the tissues and atraumatic techniques which as plastic surgeons we are presumed to be adept at, has a significant contributing factor to fewer complications and quicker recovery time. The use of electro-cautery in breast augmentation as reported by Dr. Tebbits from Dallas quite a few years ago, is essentially used by all of us and not a new concept.

That being said, the speed of a patients post operative recovery is greatly influenced by the patient herself. Most of us will perform a straight forward augmentation in a consistent fashion from case to case. Our techniques we develop over time and incorporate those that we find efficacious and discard those that are of no benefit. I have seen patients with rather extensive procedures who feel fine within a day or two and are pushing to increase their activity.

On the other hand, there have been patients with a far less of a procedure who find the post operative period difficult. Thus two patients who were both augmented as atraumatically as possible utilizing cautery may have different post operative responses to the procedure. Also as mentioned by others, the size of the prostheses, location of the implant, and the size of the patient, are all variables that contribute to the post-operative experience. Again, the use of electro-cautery and gentle surgical techniques, are not new. 

William F. DeLuca Jr, MD
Albany Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 181 reviews

Cautery and Breast Augmemtation

Using cautery is not a new technique. It's not really even a technique, but rather, a surgical instrument referred to as a bovie pencil. Most surgeons use cautery for many different types of operations. Cautery is the use of electric current to both cut through tissues and stop bleeding. It looks like a pencil and is used in the majority of surgeries performed.

The factors that reduce bruising are a controlled dissection where any and all bleeding is stopped using the cautery. In addition, delicate handling of the tissues as well as avoiding trauma to the ribs (if the implants are going under the muscle) will decrease the amount of pain after surgery.

However, you should expect some pain with breast augmentation, especially if the implants are placed under the muscle. The pain is variable, usually lasts 2-4 days and is easily controlled with pain medications.

Hope that helps and good luck!

Dr. Babak Dadvand

Babak Dadvand, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Breast augmentation: cautery is not new

I think we all use cautery to do breast augmentation.  Cautery stops bleeding, which speeds healing.  This is not new, and if someone is using this as a "selling point" for their breast augmentation, I think you should look more closely at their credentials.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Breast augmentation

Breast augmentation and for that matter almost any surgery that I perform uses some form of cauterization to stop any bleeding. This is not new.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

New Techniques in Breast Augmentation

Breast Augmentation Done with Cauterization
Does a breast augmentation done with cauterization result in a faster recovery? I heard this is new technique that results in less bleeding/bruising therefore less pain.Do any surgeons out there have experience with this?

Electrocautery has been around for ages and is used in almost every surgery that is done.  Now if one is having breast augmentation via axilla (arm pit) or belly button, then there may not be any electrocautery used and only blunt dissection.

Electrocautery does help with bleeding and is less traumatic to the tissues than blunt dissection that is performed by the arm pit or belly button incision, that being one of the many reasons to not have your surgery done by the belly button or arm pit incision.

Hope that helps.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Breast Augmentation with Cautery

This is a very common technique employed universally by all surgeons to treat bleeding vessels during surgery.  It is also used to dissect your tissues in procedures such as breast augmentation, breast lift, tummy tuck, and various body contouring procedures.   Therefore use of cauterization is  the standard of care, not a new technique.   

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Atraumatic Breast Augmentation Speeds Up Recovery

The use of atraumatic techniques in breast augmentation DOES SPEED UP recovery and using electrocautery is one of these operative techniques that does assist in the dissection along with helping to minimize or prevent bleeding .  In the past,  blunt dissection was used , in which there was alot more bleeding and trauma to the chestwall and this did delay recovery and return to work for many patients undergoing breast augmentation

In summary, it is important to ask your Plastic Surgeon what techniques he/she uses to dissect the implant pocket as it does make a difference!

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.