This educational writing reviews normal recovery, timeline, and tips to heal well after breast augmentation or enlargement. Recovering from breast surgery can actually be easy! It is important to have realistic expectations about your surgery and your recovery. This means understanding what to expect after your operation. A patient from Dover, Delaware who had recent breast implants by me asked for this writing. Please also see my educational writing on understanding breast implant results- “A Bigger You.”
I try to give patients a thorough and complete description of what to expect after their augmentation surgery. I review the entire process, and this begins with the day of surgery. Surgery for breast implants takes about an hour to an hour and a half. Pre-operative instructions covering showering, not eating or drinking after midnight, and other important rules should be read before the day of surgery. Please read them more than once.
The Day of Surgery:
Patients are asked to show up an hour before surgery at the surgery center. The surgery center is an extremely clean and state licensed center with all of the latest safety features. During the first hour you will meet your nurse and anesthesia provider. You will also have a chance to review important questions and issues with me before the operation begins.
After about an hour, you will be taken to the dressing room to get changed into a gown. Breast implant patients can leave their underwear and pants on. This provides comfort and warmth, as completely undressing for breast enlargement is unnecessary. After the dressing room, you will go to the operating room. At this time an IV is placed. I will also take confidential pictures and make surgical marks for the operation. You will then gently drift off to sleep for surgery. This is painless and easy.
“Surgery is an art!”
I won’t rush your operation – nor another patient. Please be patient. Surgery for breast implants takes about an hour to an hour and a half. Most patients show up early for surgery. So it is important for the patient and family to understand there might be waiting on the day of surgery. Please be patient during your stay on the day of surgery. Most woman should plan on about half the day at the surgery center. Please realize there is variability in the schedule. This means it might be later than you think! Plan appropriately with babysitters, rides, and other accommodations at home, so no one gets disappointed.
The First 3 Days After Surgery:
The first three days after surgery are some of the most important days. The main goal during this period is to be comfortable and to take it easy. I use a post-operative “Pain-Buster” to help with a woman’s discomfort after her breast implants. This is a device that delivers lidocaine under the muscle to dramatically reduce post-operative pain. It lasts three days, which usually is long enough to get over the worst pain period shortly after surgery. The lidocaine is a non-narcotic, so it is extremely safe and doesn’t cause nausea and vomiting.
Physical activity is to be minimized during this period. Most woman rest at home and mainly are relaxing or watching TV. I believe it helps a woman to heal well by taking it easy and allowing bruising and swelling to diminish. Showering is allowed after 72 hours. The woman is then instructed to wear a sports bra. Avoid underwires or sports bras with built in cups.
Days 4-7 After Surgery:
During this period you can gradually return to most normal activities. This includes driving when you are comfortable to drive defensively and to be responsible for your own actions driving. You can also resume most cooking, cleaning, and household responsibilities.
Now activity can be increased even further. Stationary bicycles and tread mills are allowed. No running yet, however. Ellipticals are ok as well, but don’t use the arms.
Upper body exercises and more strenuous activity should be delayed.
At this time, the breast massage exercises should be emphasized and performed properly. Please see my video on my web page that outlines and demonstrates clearly these activities.
Days 15- 28 After Surgery:
Essentially the same as day 7-14 but with increasingly hard workouts. Be wise. Don’t push to hard yet. Remember there is a lot of internal healing going on. Slow and steady wins the race. Woman who are aggressive in workouts should be cautious and wise not to overdo it too soon and cause injury.
After One Month:
All activities are allowed. I recommend really supporting the breasts during upper body activities such as weights. Even using two bras for hard workouts is recommended. This might minimize the muscle excessively pushing on the implants and might prevent pocket stretching.
All bras are allowed.
Continue with massage exercises.
Discuss scar treatments to help with fading of the scar.
I am a board certified plastic surgeon who practices exclusively cosmetic surgery. Please come in for a complimentary consultation. Details of your cosmetic procedure and your surgical plan will be discussed completely. I hope this writing helped with breast augmentation and recovery timeline and tips.