If you´re considering breast augmentation, it´s important to know all about the recovery process.
The recovery after any operation is vital, and having breast implants, a reduction or a breast lift is no different. Not only will you need to recover from the general anaesthetic, but you will need to take it easy and take care of your new body!
So, in this blog post we tell you everything you need to know about breast surgery recovery.
How fast is breast surgery recovery?
Recovery is completely dependant on you and your body! There are different factors that can increase or decrease the time it takes to recover, such as nutritional intake, medical history and overall adherence to the post-surgery plan.
Typically, after 4-6 weeks the majority of breast augmentation patients are back to their every day life. But, it will take around 2-3 months for the implants to properly settle and the muscles to relax.
How can I help my breast surgery recovery?
Everyone recovers differently, so listen to your body. However, there are some general tips to follow to help your recovery. Right before and after surgery, try to avoid using blood thinners such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin and ibuprofen etc.), Omega 3 fats, Vitamin E and alcohol, as this can cause more bruising and swelling.
Start massaging the implants every day, a week or 2 after the surgery. The massaging can be easier to do in the shower as the warm water helps to relax the muscles. Sleeping on your back for as long as you can after having a breast surgery will keep the implants in place and make sure they do not move as the surrounding tissue heals, it also helps to sleep with your head elevated for a month or so to reduce swelling. Throughout the recovery process it is important to stay hydrated and eat more protein rich and fibre rich foods.
Is recovery painful?
Each person has different pain tolerance, recovery response and overall health when it comes to recovery after a breast surgery. Surgical variables such as incision type, placement, type and size of the implant can affect how painful the recovery is. Subpectoral position (under the muscle) is usually more painful than subglandular position (above the muscle).
If the implant is large or the initial breast size was small before surgery, the recovery process is usually more intense. You will be given antibiotics to help recovery and prevent infection. A few days after surgery most people can change the prescription medication to regular pain killers. The pain should decrease from day to day. The first week will be the most uncomfortable and after that you should slowly but surely start to feel better.
What do I need to buy/have at home while I recover?
Before going in for your breast surgery, it will be wise to make sure you have everything you need at home to make your life easier as you recover.
Have clothes ready that don´t require lifting your arms and loose-fitting tops. Bendy drinking straws are a must-have as these make it easier to lay down whilst drinking. Baby wipes will be convenient, if you do not feel like showering for a few days. You will be given a post-surgery bra by your doctor, but you should have some soft bras without underwire at home, so you are ready when it’s time to take the post-surgery bra off.
Take good care of yourself as you recover. What we put in our bodies is really important. While recovering, pick protein-rich foods like chicken and eggs and stock your cupboard with these:
- Fibre-rich foods like nuts and seeds (cashews, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin-, sesame- and sunflower seeds) as this will help healing skin tissue and tissue regeneration.
- Fruits like banana, apple, orange, kiwi and pineapple will help boost your immune system.
Having someone at home with you after surgery is very helpful in case you feel sick or dizzy and to generally help you around your home.
When to see the doctor
After your surgery, your surgeon will book you a number of follow up appointments to check everything is healing as it should. The first one is after one week, after that it is usually three more consultations during the first year, more if necessary or if there are any complications. But, it is important to contact your doctor immediately if you are experiencing severe pain or pain in your abdomen.
Timeline for breast surgery recovery
First few hours:
- Once the team have given you the all clear, you can go home. You will be given antibiotics for recovery, a post-surgery bra to leave on for the next four weeks and a personalized follow-up plan.
The first week:
- Stay in bed as much as possible
- You can shower after 36 hours. Remove the bra but leave the gauze and strips/stiches on. Make sure to have another person with you, just in case you feel dizzy, weak or sick. Pat dry and put the bra back on straight after the shower.
- It is recommended to sleep on your back with your head elevated, as this can help reduce swelling.
- Keep the post-surgery bra on day and night, minimum 23 hours a day.
1 week after surgery:
- It is time for your post op consultation with your surgeon. If there are stitches, these will be removed at this consultation if the healing going as planned.
- Do not do any heavy lifting.
- Walking is ok, but no running or exercise classes.
- You may experience tingling as the nerves are starting heal and grow back.
- You can return to work if your job doesn’t involve heavy lifting or anything that can influence the recovery process.
2 weeks after surgery:
- You can start driving a car again.
3-4 weeks after surgery:
- You can slowly start exercising again. However, be careful when using the upper body. Be careful and talk to your doctor before you do high-impact sports, such as horseback riding or skiing.
4 or more weeks after surgery:
- The scar will continue to heal, it is normal if the scar is purple or red.
- It is recommended to keep the scar away from direct sunlight.
- After six weeks, you can start swimming in pools, lakes, ocean and going in hot tubs again.
- After six weeks, you can start wearing an underwire bra again. You should however wear a sports bra at night all the time.
- Swelling and bruising can continue for six months after surgery.
- It is okay to have mammograms done.
- The implants will drop, and therefore feel and look more natural.
One year after surgery:
- The scars will be more faded.
- Your implants will be settled.
- Remember that pregnancy, breastfeeding or weight changes can impact your breast surgery results.
Every patient is different and recovery times will vary but at Pietro di Mauro´s clinic, we ensure that our patients receive a comprehensive aftercare plan, which involves follow up appointments up to a year after your surgery and our team is available day and night to answer your questions and any concerns.