Once you have finished doing your research on breast augmentation and have committed to working with a surgeon, you can take a big sigh of relief because the hard work is officially over! Now, all you need to focus on are the instructions given to you by your surgeon to ensure that you are physically prepared to undergo surgery and enjoy an optimal recovery.
There will be a lot of instructions to follow as you prepare for and recover from your breast implant surgery. If any of the instructions you receive from your breast surgeon are confusing or unclear, be sure to ask for clarification right away to avoid any unwanted complications throughout the process.
Clarifying Your Instructions: Don’t Hesitate to Call
Your breast augmentation surgeon and his/her staff will go over the instructions with you, in person, at your consultations–and provide a list of written instructions as well. Never hesitate to ask for more detail to ensure you understand how to proceed after your consultation. Your breast surgeon should always be available to provide a further explanation of things if you have any concerns.
During your early recovery period after your breast augmentation, your surgeon will welcome calls to reassure you or clarify instructions. Your surgeon will be available 24/7 to speak to you and will have you come to the office if he or she feels the need to examine you (between regular follow-up visits), based on your concerns.
Remember that you have chosen your surgeon after thorough research and have confidence in their abilities–so relax, follow the guidelines given to you and lean on your surgeon if necessary.
Getting Ready for Your Breast Augmentation Surgery
Your breast surgeons’ instructions may differ from these general guidelines to prepare you before breast augmentation surgery—so be sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions specifically. Here is an outline of the tips and instructions you may be given to get ready before your breast implant procedure:
- Avoid blood-thinning medications and supplements for 2 weeks before breast augmentation surgery. Examples include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil, Aleve, Anacin, Bufferin, Motrin, Vitamin E, fish oil and others.
- Arrange for a friend or relative to drive you to and from the surgery center on the day of your procedure. Ideally, they should wait for you during your surgery, which may take 1 to 3 hours.
- This person, or another responsible adult, should remain with you for 24 hours
- Fill prescriptions in advance.
- Supplements for bruising or swelling: Ask your surgeon if he or she recommends Bromelain or Arnica montana taken leading up to surgery. Some surgeons prefer that you do this only after breast augmentation surgery and some recommend against these supplements altogether. Follow your surgeon’s instructions.
- Take an antibiotic the day before surgery, if recommended by your surgeon.
- Review with your surgeon the details of your procedure: the size and type of implants, incision choice and placement/location of the implant.
- Purchase in advance: ice or cooling gel packs and/or frozen peas. Have them ready to use as soon as you arrive home after the procedure. (These will help reduce swelling and pain after your surgery.)
- Purchase a wedge pillow to allow sleeping with your torso propped up – or you may use pillows or a recliner chair.
- Ask if your surgeon will provide a post-op bra. If not, purchase one that fits your surgeon’s guidelines in advance.
- Let your surgeon know immediately if you suspect a cold or infection before breast augmentation surgery.
- Shower the night before, and the day of your surgery, using surgical soap provided or recommended by your breast surgeon.
- Wear comfortable, loose clothing that does not go over your head. Choose something that buttons or zips up the front on surgery day.
- Do not wear earrings, body piercing jewelry, or makeup on the day of surgery.
- Do not eat or drink anything at all after midnight, the night before your breast augmentation surgery.
- Leave jewelry or valuables at home on surgery day.
- Use a sanitary napkin or pad if you are menstruating. No tampons during surgery.
The Breast Augmentation Procedure
After your anesthesia takes effect, your plastic surgeon typically makes incisions behind each of your breasts, creating a pocket–like space for each implant. In some surgeries, you and your surgeon will have planned other tasks, if necessary, such as lifting the breasts and/or moving the nipples up higher on the breast mound.
In some cases, the areolae are reduced in size. In cases where you have had breast surgery in the past, scar tissue may be removed by your surgeon before placing the new implants. After your surgeon places each implant in its pocket, he or she will check for proper breast symmetry. Then, your surgeon closes your incision site(s) in the breast crease, around the areolae and/or under the arm, with stitches, glue and/or tape. The entire process may take 1 to 3 hours.
Recovering After Breast Augmentation
Your recovery period after breast implant surgery is one of the most crucial phases of your journey to the new, improved shape that you desire. Be sure to concentrate on taking it easy – rest and don’t push yourself too fast in resuming upper body activity.
Follow your surgeon’s directions carefully and monitor your health as instructed. This is key to achieving the best result from your breast augmentation procedure. Now is the time to navigate through, without rushing, the healing process.
The moment that your surgery is complete, you begin the recovery and healing process. Take good care of yourself to ensure that your body has time to heal properly.
Here’s an outline of what you can expect in the days and weeks following your surgery. Remember, your surgeon is there to guide you through the recovery process—feel free to contact him or her between your follow-up visits if you have any concerns.
- Expect to feel fatigue and soreness for several days after breast augmentation. Rest and relax as much as possible.
- Try to walk around the house a bit, with your friend at your side, when you arrive home after your surgery. This will help avoid blood clots and improve circulation. Don’t exercise or strain your upper body—just walk a bit every few hours.
- You’ll feel tightness in your breasts as your skin adjusts to your new size and implants.
- You may feel reduced sensation in the nipples and breast tissue. Your breast implant surgeon may recommend breast massage to relieve discomfort.
- Wear your post-op bra or compression bandage as instructed during the healing process.
- You’ll have follow-up visits scheduled by your surgeon, starting the day after surgery.
- Any drains and sutures may be removed 24 – 48 hours after breast augmentation surgery unless you have dissolvable stitches.
- Take care of your incisions as your surgeon instructs. Use medication prescribed, in pill and/or cream form. Take medication as directed and/or apply cream or ointment to your incisions. Watch for infection: signs include pain unrelieved by your prescriptions, fever, excessive bleeding, and/or discharge or pus from the incision.
- Sleep with the torso elevated to limit swelling after breast augmentation.
- Depending on your type of work, you may be able to return a week or so after breast augmentation.
- Do not resume strenuous activity that might raise your blood pressure or require the vigorous use of arms or chest, until your surgeon ok’s this activity, usually after several weeks.
- Your breasts will still be swollen and somewhat sensitive for 6 weeks or more.
- Watch for and contact your surgeon right away if you get a fever, excessive swelling, increasing pain and/or redness. These could be signs of infection.
- Avoid sun exposure, bathtub bathing, hot tubs, the ocean and swimming pools until your surgeon gives the ok.
- A variety of factors affect the length of recovery after your breast augmentation, including your age, skin color, skin elasticity, heredity, history of smoking/lifestyle choices and chronic illness. Your surgeon can tell you what to expect according to your specific medical history and other details.
For the majority of breast augmentation patients, the recovery process is nearly complete in a few weeks. Breast soreness, bruising, swelling and discomfort will decrease, although some swelling can remain for 9 months. Larger breast implants, certain surgical techniques and implant placements may require longer to heal.
As swelling diminishes, breasts get softer and begin feeling more natural. Throughout this time, you’re beginning to enjoy your body shape more and more, as your new silhouette emerges. During the year, your breast augmentation scars will continue to heal gradually and may fade to thin lines. When wearing a bikini top or low cut top, of course, scars are generally completely invisible.
Need to Find the Right Surgeon for Your Breast Augmentation?
At Cohen/Winters Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery in Bergen County, NJ, breast surgery is our calling. We are dedicated to helping you achieve the best outcome from your breast implant procedure, including preparing you before and after breast augmentation. If you’re considering breast implants, we are happy to provide a no-risk consultation. We invite you to bring your questions and share your goals for breast augmentation. Please visit our contact page or give us a call to make an appointment.