Recovery After Breast Augmentation
Most women are delighted when they realize the surgery and recovery are much easier than they expected. This comes from the expertise of Drs. Gordon or Reid and the precise, gentle manner in which they perform surgery. There is rarely any bruising, no need for drainage tubes or wraps, and swelling is minimal because of their atraumatic techniques using complete muscle relaxation and the Keller Funnel.
How long will the discomfort last?
A long-lasting local anesthetic will be placed around the implant to minimize discomfort. You can expect to be sore and stiff for several days. You will have three prescriptions to minimize your discomfort; a pain medication, a muscle relaxer and an anti-inflammatory. You will need to take it easy for several days to optimize your recovery and allow yourself time to heal. Most patients use the narcotic pain medication for the first 3 days after surgery. You will not be able to drive, as long as you are on pain medication or muscle relaxer. The muscle relaxers may be needed longer at night if the chest muscle(s) remains tight. The soreness usually lasts for a week.
Diminished sensation of your breast skin and/or nipple may also occur during this time and is normal.
Will I need to take any other medications after surgery?
You will be given 5 prescriptions at your pre-operative appointment; an antibiotic that you are required to take to prevent infection, an anti-nausea medicine if needed, a narcotic medication for pain, a muscle relaxer and Celebrex, a strong anti-inflammatory or NSAID medication. Celebrex is the only NSAID that can be used after surgery because it is the only one in its class that does not interfere with platelet function or increase your risk of bleeding. If you are prone to vaginal yeast infections while on antibiotics, please let us know so that we may prescribe oral Diflucan to prevent this. Also, please remember that some of these medications may interfere with the efficacy of oral contraceptive pills, so you must use another method of birth control during this time.
Are there any other medications or vitamins I should avoid or take during this time?
The narcotic pain medication can cause constipation, so we recommend that you start Colace, an over the counter stool softener, when you start taking the pain medication. During your pre-op appointment, we will tell you what medications to avoid before surgery, and you will want to avoid them for 2 weeks after surgery. We will recommend surgical vitamins and supplements, which will help to minimize bruising and swelling.
How soon after surgery can I shower?
You will be able to remove your dressings and shower 48 hours after surgery. Steristrips directly on your skin incisions will remain in place until your first post-operative appointment. Sutures are dissolvable.
When is it safe to soak or submerge my incisions in water – Take a bath, go swimming or sit in a hot tub?
Do not submerge your incisions in water for 3 weeks after surgery.
When can I go back to work after breast augmentation?
You can go back to work within 5 days, and your implants will continue to settle for the first 6 weeks. Patience is a must, as it takes time for the muscles and skin to adjust to your new breast size.
When can I begin exercising after breast augmentation?
You should refrain from any strenuous activity or heavy lifting for 2-3 weeks following surgery. You may return to light exercise around 10-14 days after surgery depending on your progress. You should avoid any twisting, weight lifting or high impact exercises for at least 3 weeks. The positions and motions of yoga, Pilates, tennis, golf, and aerobics, and the pressure of push-ups or bench pressing can cause injury to the muscles and tissues that are healing and adjusting to support your breast implants.
Will I need to purchase a particular type of bra to wear after surgery? What about a strap?
You will be placed in a supportive, soft bra after surgery that will be provided. Most patients do not require a strap, as the implants will settle into position on their own. If you need a special type of bra, it will be provided for you. We ask that you avoid any type of push-up bra in the first 6 weeks and avoid underwire bras, which can aggravate your scars. We will let you know when you may get sized for a new bra, usually 6 weeks after surgery.
What am I going to do with all of my old bras that no longer fit?
You can join us in our support Breast Oasis. Breast Oasis was created following the realization that many breast surgery patients were throwing away their perfectly good bras following their procedures. It’s a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to supporting communities by providing women who may not be able to afford them with clean, certified, gently used bras. Breast oasis is about women helping women and we give 100% support to that. Find out more but visiting their website at BreastOasis.org or by watching this How To Donate video.
How long will it take before I’m completely healed?
Within a few weeks, you will be fully recovered, but your breast shape and scars will continue to refine over the next several months. It can take up to 8 weeks for the swelling to completely subside. It can take 3-6 months for the breast muscles to completely relax and stretch out, which allows the implants to come forward. Chest muscles following surgery are tight, causing them to push the implants into the ribs. This can make the breasts appear flat and wide. Different patients have varying degrees of tightness based on muscle mass and genetics. Over time, the muscles relax and the implants will come forward and feel softer. Nerves in the breast area also take several months to heal. As they do, increased or decreased sensation in the nipple will normalize.