A safe and successful breast augmentation requires caring for your body and listening to your surgeon’s advice throughout your recovery process. If you’re considering a breast augmentation procedure, here’s a quick guide to what to expect for your postoperative care.
Understanding the Recovery Process after Breast Augmentation
The breast augmentation recovery timeline is unique for every patient, but the breast augmentation recovery stages and recommendations for a smooth recovery are generally the same.
What to Expect during the First Week
Your surgeon will send you home with instructions for cleaning incision sites, showering, and changing bandages.
During the first 24 hours, you may feel sore and groggy, but these side effects should subside relatively quickly. The first three to five days are the most uncomfortable, but your doctor will prescribe pain medication to help you rest easier during this time.
By the fifth day, you will likely start to feel better overall. Approaching the one-week mark post-surgery, you may switch from taking prescription pain medication to over-the-counter painkillers, like ibuprofen. By the end of the first week, some patients already feel well enough to return to their desk jobs and other light activities.
Postoperative Care for Breast Augmentation: Dos and Don’ts
There are several proactive steps you can take for an optimal breast lift and augmentation recovery process.
- Get plenty of rest. – Breast augmentation is an extensive surgical procedure, and your body needs time to heal and regain strength. Take at least a week off work, school, and other daily activities to recuperate after your surgery.
- Sleep in a fetal position or elevated in a recliner or with the help of a pillow. – Your implants are still settling into place, and these positions should help you heal, keep you comfortable, and achieve optimal results.
- Take your medication exactly as prescribed. –You’ll be prescribed painkillers, but you may ask what kinds of over-the-counter medications you can take as well. Follow instructions even if it means waking up in the middle of the night to take a dose. Effectively and proactively managing pain is the best way to stay comfortable after surgery.
- Stay hydrated. – Drink plenty of water to avoid constipation, which is common after surgery. Staying hydrated also reduces swelling.
- Eat healthy food. – Give your body the nutrition it needs to heal and gain strength. Consume plenty of proteins, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains.
- Perform breast massage. – Once cleared, practice breast massage by moving your implant up, down, in, and out, or as instructed by your doctor. Breast massages reduce external and internal scarring and help the implants stay soft and settle faster.
- Contact your surgeon for questions and concerns. – Don’t hesitate to contact your surgeon if you have questions about the healing process. Keep all your post-operative appointments to ensure you have a smooth recovery and can address any potential concerns promptly.
- Smoke or use tobacco products. – These products constrict blood flow and slow down the healing process. Avoid smoking for at least two months before surgery and remain tobacco-free for at least a month after surgery.
- Do any heavy lifting the first week while you are recovering. – The extra weight and pressure on your body may prevent you from healing properly and achieving the best possible results.
- Swim. – Avoid swimming pools, bathtubs, and Jacuzzis to minimize water from entering your incision site and increasing the risk of infection.
- Perform any strenuous activity or exercise for the first week or two. – While light activities like walking may be resumed after a few days, activities that cause the breasts to move excessively (e.g., running, cardio classes) need to wait until about 2-4 weeks after surgery.
How to Minimize Scarring
To minimize the visibility of your breast implant scars after your surgery, you can:
- Avoid tobacco products before and after surgery to ensure a better healing process.
- Minimize your scars’ sun exposure.
- Stay hydrated and eat healthy.
- Consider medical-grade products, topical ointments, and vitamin-fortified creams for scar treatment.
- Seek laser treatments to promote cell renewal and collagen production that reduces the appearance of scarring.
- Follow all post-op instructions from your surgeon.
Returning to Work and Normal Activities after Breast Augmentation
For those with desk jobs, the average recovery time for breast augmentation is approximately one week. Those with physically demanding jobs (e.g., lifting and carrying items) should wait at least another week to avoid possible complications.
High-impact activities, such as weight training, running, and lifting heavy objects should be avoided or limited for up to six weeks after breast augmentation. Your surgeon will evaluate your healing process to determine when it is safe for you to resume various activities.
Follow-Up Appointments and Monitoring during Breast Augmentation Recovery
During your first follow-up appointments, your surgeon may remove sutures and examine incisions to be sure they are healing properly. During these appointments, you have the opportunity to discuss your recovery, progress, and any concerns you may have along the way.
By attending all recommended follow-up appointments, your surgeon can monitor and assess your healing so you can avoid complications and ensure you achieve your desired results.
At Bronx Plastic Surgery in New York, we are committed to providing the highest level of care. Our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Robert Goldstein, can answer all your questions and concerns about breast augmentation surgery recovery. To learn more about how to prepare for breast augmentation and its recovery process, contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Goldstein.