Instructions for Recovering from Breast Augmentation
NIGHT OF Breast Augmentation SURGERY
- Movement is Important. Make sure to get out of bed and be up and walking around immediately after your surgery. When lying down in bed or on the couch, make sure you are moving your legs and ankles. Take deep breaths frequently to keep your lungs clear.
- Sleep. Sleep on your back with your head elevated about 30-40 degrees (2-3 pillows). Do not sleep on your side. Keeping your body more upright will minimize swelling. Continue this for one week.
MEDICATIONS after Breast Augmentation
- Pain. You will be prescribed a pain medication for post-operative pain control. If your discomfort after surgery is not strong you are welcomed to take Tylenol in place of the prescribed medication. Do not take the Tylenol with the pain medication, as most often the medication you are prescribed will have Tylenol in it. Do not exceed 4,000 mg of Tylenol in any 24 hour time period. Take medication with food to minimize risk of nausea.
- Nausea. If you are experiencing nausea, which is common after general anesthesia as well as a known side effect of some stronger pain medications, we advise that you take your nausea medication. You may have been given a Scopolamine patch that is placed behind your ear. This will deliver anti-nausea medication for three days after its placement.
- Constipation. You will experience constipation if taking narcotic pain relievers. Miralax or other over the counter laxatives are recommended. Do not wait to take until you are constipated. Begin treatment with narcotic use.
- Medications to Avoid. Take only those medications approved or prescribed by your surgeon. Avoid medications containing aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen, others) for two weeks before and after surgery. These medications increase bleeding.
- Substances to Avoid. Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine, for these will dramatically slow the healing process.
NUTRITION after Breast Augmentation
- Diet. A light low-fat diet is best after surgery. You may start a regular diet after your surgery as long as you are not feeling nauseated or vomiting.
- Hydration. Stay hydrated by drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day. Avoid alcohol for two weeks and while you are still having to take pain medication.
ACTIVITY after Breast Augmentation
- Exercise. Light physical activity may be resumed 2-3 weeks after surgery. Remember to start easy and build back up to your previous exercise levels. At 6- 8 weeks or when further instructed by our plastic surgeons, more intense exercise can be started. Just know that swelling may transiently be worse with exercise.
- Arm Movement. Limit your arm use to daily activities such as brushing your teeth, eating, and combing/shampooing your hair. Avoid rigorous movement and do not lift more than 5 lbs. Let pain be your limiting factor. If it hurts, please don’t do it.
- Surgery Bra. Expect to wear a special bra for the entire first week after surgery and then as recommended by your surgeon. The bra should fit snug but not too tight. The surgical bra is to provide support while you heal from surgery.
- Driving. Do NOT operate a vehicle or make important decisions until you have been off pain medications for 24 hours. Use good judgment.
- Return to work. Most patients require approximately 5-7 days off work depending on their job responsibilities. Returning to work with a light schedule initially or even part-time can be beneficial as well.
- Sexual Intercourse. Sexual activity can be resumed when you feel ready with no restrictions. Incisions should be well healed. Patients typically feel ready after one month.
- Displacement Exercises. Unless instructed otherwise, breast exercises are not needed after a breast augmentation with our plastic surgeons. This is particularly true if anatomical-shaped implants have been used. These maneuvers can cause malrotation of the shaped devices. If it appears in your follow-up evaluations that stretching is needed along the lower portion of the breasts, these exercises may be advised. Our plastic surgeons will provide any necessary instruction at that time.
- Sleeping. It is advised that for the first few weeks you sleep on your side or your back in order to avoid putting too much pressure on the breasts.
BATHING after Breast Augmentation
- Showering. You may shower with assistance the day following surgery. Remove your bra. Incisions are covered with a waterproof dressing and require no special attention. Put your bra back on after your shower.
- Hot Tubs/Baths/Swimming Pools. No tub baths or Jacuzzi until your incisions have healed, and approved by your surgeon, which is usually around 2 weeks. It is best to wait one month for hot tubs as they tend to have more bacteria than regular chlorinated swimming pools.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR INCISIONS after Breast Augmentation
- Incisions. Your incisions are covered with a waterproof dressing. No dressing changes or incision care is required. After your first postop visit, the dressing will be removed and tape will be applied. This special brown tape actually helps with scar healing and improves the appearance of your scar. Continue to cover your incision sites with the brown tape for as long as our plastic surgeons suggest.
- Stitches. All stitches are dissolvable.
- Scar ointment. Scars are small and hidden in the breast crease. They may take up to a year to fully heal. After your incisions have completely healed and when your doctor has told you it is safe, you can begin to use silicon based ointment on your scars to improve healing.
WHAT TO EXPECT after Breast Augmentation
- Bruising. You can expect to have bruising. Most bruising will resolve after about 2-3 weeks. The bruise will go from a purplish color to a yellow/green shade as it starts to resolve.
- Swelling. You can expect swelling particularly in the top half of the breasts. This can take 3-4weeks to improve and the swelling is responsible for the feeling that the implants are high. As the swelling resolves, it seems as though the implants drop into a lower position.
- Itching. Itching at the incision sites is normal for a few days. You may take Benadryl to help with this.
- Pain. It is normal to experience tightness, pressure, soreness, itchiness, and fatigue for several days to weeks following surgery as your skin and muscle adjust to your breast implants.
- Implant Position. Implants may appear higher in position, firm, and uneven due to swelling during the healing process. After 3-6 weeks the implants should show a more final result with significantly reduced swelling.
- Sensory Changes in Skin. You may feel reduced or heightened sensation in the nipples, incision sites, and breast tissue. This is normal. You can expect return of normal sensation after a few weeks to months.
- Crackles/Sloshing Sounds. Air and fluid are left behind as a normal part of the surgery and it takes time for it to be resorbed by your body. These sounds are normal after a breast augmentation and will resolve in 5-7days.
- Purchasing new bras. We advise waiting 8 – 12 weeks before purchasing your new size bra. During this waiting period swelling will go down and you will be better to assess your bra size. In the interim, a t-shirt bra from Walmart or Target is a reasonable investment. Most patients like to wear their surgical bra at night only after the first post op visit.
DO NOT’S after Breast Augmentation
- Do NOT apply hydrogen peroxide to incision sites. Keep postop dressings in place until follow-up.
- DO NOT soak in baths, Jacuzzis or hot tubs until all incisions have fully healed.
- DO NOT take Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen or other blood thinners until your surgeon advises you it is safe.
- Do NOT apply heating pads or ice packs to the treated areas unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon.
EMERGENCY SITUATIONS after Breast Augmentation
- Signs of Infection. Spreading redness, worsening swelling, increased drainage or drainage of pus, worsening pain and warmth at incision site. Temperature over 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Excessive Bleeding. If the dressings are saturated with bright red blood and you are having to make very frequent dressing changes.
- Other Emergency Situations. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chest pain, lightheadedness that does not quickly resolve, severe vomiting, pain or asymmetric swelling in your legs.
SHOPPING LIST after Breast Augmentation
- Prescriptions: fill prescriptions prior to your surgery date
- Bra: provided to you by the Naderi Center
- Arnica: an herbal supplement that can reduce swelling and bruising.
- Laxative: to reduce constipation that may be caused by anesthesia or narcotic pain medications.