A breast augmentation is a cosmetic surgery procedure that is performed to increase the size of the breasts and enhance their shape. During the procedure, the patient is sedated with general anesthesia. The surgeon makes an incision in one of four places: the inframammary fold, the outer edge of the areola, the armpit or above the belly button. From that incision, the surgeon places the implants either beneath the pectoral muscle or the breast tissue. Patients receive either saline or silicone gel implants depending on their desired outcome and the recommendations of the plastic surgeon..
After closing the incision, the surgeon often places the patient in a soft surgical bra or compression garment to support the implants. Upon waking from surgery, patients may feel heaviness in their chest. If the implants were placed beneath the pectoral muscle, the patient will experience muscle soreness resulting from the stretching of the pectoral muscles. This muscle soreness can make simple tasks such as raising one’s hands over their head very painful, and therefore patients should limit this movement immediately following the procedure. Patients are allowed to return home the same day of the procedure. It is common for patients to experience some bruising, swelling and muscle soreness following the breast augmentation procedure.
After your procedure:
Full recovery from a breast augmentation procedure generally takes between six to eight weeks depending on the general health of the individual. There are several do’s and don’ts that can make recovery from this procedure go more smoothly. First and foremost, patients should follow the aftercare instructions given to them by their surgeon. Here are a few general suggestions to ensure you’re back to your normal life in no time.
How much should I rest?
Rest is an important component of healing. During the healing process, it’s important to listen to your body when trying to ease back into a normal routine. When you rest, you should avoid laying on your side or stomach as this could cause complications. You should sleep on your back in a reclining position instead until their healing process is complete. This relieves the pressure of the implants on your chest. To stay in this position, it is recommended that you place pillows on each side of you.
The first week:
In the first week, you should avoid any strenuous activity. For the first one to two days, you should rest at home. After five to seven days, most people are able to return to work and resume most normal activities. You should not however, lift, push or pull anything weighing more than ten pounds. During the first week, you should limit their exercise to light walking. This improves circulation, reduces swelling and expedites recovery.
Weeks two through five:
At this time, you can increase the intensity of your workout a little bit by walking up an inclined surface or stepping onto the treadmill. Doing leg exercises such as lunges and leg presses during this time is permissible as long as the breasts remain stable. Avoid high intensity aerobic exercises that cause your breasts to bounce. Toward week five, you can resume some upper body workouts, avoiding your pectoral muscles.
Although everyone heals at different rates, you should be able to resume your regular workout routine around this time. You should, however, listen to your body as you exercise. If something doesn’t feel quite right, try something else and discuss it with your plastic surgeon.
What can I eat and drink?
Maintaining a healthy diet and fluid intake after your surgery is important to speed up the recovery process and help your body heal.
First 24-48 hours:
If your doctor prescribes pain medication following your surgery, do not drink alcohol while taking it. In case the pain medication causes constipation, you should stock up on fiber-rich foods. Be sure you drink plenty of fluids to help your body heal.
As you heal:
Make sure you continue to eat and drink plenty of fluids after your surgery. It’s important that your body receives the nutrients it needs to mend itself. There are a few things you can add to your diet to ensure your healing process is as quick as it can be:
- Protein (found in meats)
- Vitamin A (found in squash, carrots and yams)
- Vitamin C (found in citrus fruits, potatoes, and broccoli)
Can I get wet?
After your procedure, it’s important to avoid getting your incision wet. Your surgeon will give you post-surgery guidelines, but here are some general rules to follow.
First 24-48 hours:
Depending on your surgeon’s specific instructions, you can take your a shower within this time frame. You should avoid submerging your incision in water, so don’t take a bath, go swimming or get in a jacuzzi.
After three weeks:
At this time, your incision has healed enough that you can resume normal activities such as swimming and bathing. Be careful not to exert yourself too much if you choose to swim since your body is still healing.
What kind of bra should I wear?
Immediately after your surgery, it’s important to wear supportive garments that keep your implants in place, allowing your breasts to heal. The type of bra you wear and how often you wear it is important.
The first week:
During this time it is important to keep your breasts supported. For the first week, you should wear the postoperative bra given to you by your surgeon. You should wear this bra at all times except when you’re in the shower.
Weeks two through three:
You can begin wearing a sports bra with cups at this time.You should still refrain from wearing bras with an underwire. Continue wearing a bra at all times except in the shower.
Week three and beyond:
At this time you can wear a regular bra. It’s no longer necessary to wear a bra all day.
Breast augmentation is a big investment for many patients, and proper postoperative care is important in preserving your implants. Make sure you follow your plastic surgeons recommendations after surgery to ensure your health and happiness.