Frost Bite on Chest Post Breast Aug Surgery?

I got breast aug 2 weeks ago and have been using ice packs for the swelling. 3 days ago, I realized that I must've left the pack for too long and the area turned pale color and felt rubbery. Now it's red and irritated. Went back to my doctor and she says we will have to treat it as first degree burn but for now, use aquaphor. I'm suppose to go back in 3 days for another check up. Will this scar?

Doctor Answers 8

Frost Bite After Surgery

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First degree burns will be red for a long time and eventually will fade. It is very important that you never put ice packs directly on the skin. Even with a protective barrier you can still get frost bite. You should be fine and things will heal well over 6-12 months. 

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Icing after Breast Augmentation Surgery

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Use of ice after surgery is a very useful and successful way to help reduce pain. Cold therapy decreases swelling, which can increase one's discomfort. We encourage patients to use ice packs after surgery, but there are a few guidelines. Application of ice packs for no more than 10-15 minutes per hour while awake and NEVER apply the ice pack directly to the skin; always use a cloth or towel.


Lawrence Iteld, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Frost Bite on Chest Post Breast Aug Surgery?

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 Your plastic surgeon will always be your best resource when it comes to specific postoperative care instruction/advice. Generally speaking, patients need to be very careful about the direct application of ice (or heat) over surgical sites.  These areas may be insensate (numb);  cold or heat injuries may result without the patient even being aware… If you do decide to utilize ice,  do not apply directly ( place it over a towel) and use it for short periods of time. Best wishes.

Frost Bite on Chest from Ice packs Post Breast Aug Surgery

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I am surprised we don't see this more often. Fortunately, this does sound like a first degree burn type injury, and should not leave any permanent marks. A blister would define a deeper or 2nd degree injury. Full thickness injury or 3rd degree injury implies tissue loss, and eventual permanent scars. 

It sounds like the treatment is appropriate. Best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Frostbite Post Operatively

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Thank you for the question. In order to leave a visible scar the wounding needs to penetrate through all of the layers of the skin. It is unusual for a first degree burn (confined to the top layers of the skin) to leave a scar, unless it was not taken care of and was complicated by further wounding or infection which then would convert it to a deeper wound. If there is any noticeable sequela to your frostbite it may be more related to the pigment of the skin which can be affected by the inflammation from the injury.

It is important that you continue to follow up with your plastic surgeon so that they may monitor your progress and intervene early if needed. I hope is helps.

Best wishes.

Frost Bite and Sunburn after Breast Augmentation.

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Sorry to hear that you had a first degree frost bite injury from ice pack use.  The blood supply to your breast skin is impaired by breast enlargement surgery for about 4 weeks.

Simply stated, the skin does not stay warm enough with an ice pack and does not stay cool enough in the sun during this early month of healing.  Although I have not seen frost bite injuries after breast enlargement, we warn our patients to avoid over-cooling and suntanning for the first four weeks.

As a plastic surgical resident in Texas, I saw two patients, who ignored these instructions during the summer. Both young women had second degree burns on their breasts after sun exposure during the first few days after their surgery. They both required many days of burn cream care.   They fortunately, did not scar.

Keep up your follow-up appointments with your surgeon and I wish you a speedy recovery.

Best Regards,

Douglas J. Raskin, MD
Colorado Springs Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Frost bite?

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It is too early to determine whether it will leave a permanent scar or not.  Follow your surgeon's instructions and good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Frost bite

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Generally first degree burns have low risk for scarring as long as you protect the wound while it is healing and avoid direct sun exposure.

Leonard T. Yu, MD
Maui Plastic Surgeon

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.