Breast augmentation (aka augmentation mammoplasty) is a surgery to increase the size of breasts with implants or fatty tissues. It can be a dream come true for those of us who desire bigger breasts, symmetrical breasts, reconstruction post-mastectomy. However, post-operative care after breast augmentation can go a long way in ensuring you receive the best results and maintain it over time.
Additionally, while you are recovering from the surgery, proper aftercare can prevent unwanted complications from arising, such as capsular contracture.
What to expect after a breast augmentation
During a breast augmentation with breast implants, the plastic surgeon makes a skin incision and insert an implant through it, ensuring proper placement and then stitches it close with sutures. Breast implants are ideal for those who desire fullness and perky bulge to the breasts.
Post-operative care is no-where less important than the surgery itself. Any lacunae (gap) such as improper wound care can rip the benefits of surgery and may land you in severe complications such as a surgical site infection.
Apart from wound-care, post-op care also includes daily essentials such as when to rest, shower, what to avoid, how to dress, how to move your hands, and more. These are crucial to enhance the healing process and understanding these tips beforehand enables you to make post-op arrangements prior to your surgery.
What is recovery like after a breast augmentation?
You may not be on your toes immediately after the surgery. There is a proper healing process which takes time.
During your consultation prior to the surgery, a good plastic surgeon will explain the protocols and the aftercare routine with you to ensure that you receive the best care for optimal outcomes.
|Time scale||What to expect in breast augmentation recovery?||Post-operative care|
|First 48 hours||Slight fever, pain, pinching sensation, swelling, discomfort||Have ample rest, eat healthily, take prescribed medications, proper wound cleaning, change wound dressing, restricted hand movements and extra-care towards implants.|
|Day 3 – 7||Mild discomfort||Start minor exercises and normal household work. Appointment with plastic surgeon to remove dressing after one week, wear a surgical bra for support, avoid swimming or using hot tubs.|
|2 – 6 weeks||Scars fade, almost nil discomfort||Start your normal routine. Avoid upper body exercises.|
|6 weeks +||No symptoms||Resume normal activities.|
*Every individual is unique; routine may vary to some extent according to your plastic surgeon.
Do’s after a breast augmentation:
Usually scheduled a week after your surgery, your doctor will remove your wound dressings and check on the wound for any post-op bleeding, unusual healing, or scars. He will also remove any sutures if needed, and guide you on further scar and healing management as well.
Maximize your healing progress with the following do’s after breast augmentation.
Always follow the instructions religiously
In breast augmentation, a wound is created on the body and an artificial accessory is inserted inside your chest. Your body’s self-defence may be activated at this point, thus it is important to reciprocate in a certain way. To tackle them, doctors prescribe certain medications which are a must to follow:
- Antibiotics: To prevent post-op infections.
- Painkillers (i.e. Tylenol) or muscle relaxants: The surgical wound and the stretched chest muscles due to implant insertion necessitate these drugs.
- Anti-nausea medicine: To facilitate intake of other medicines and food.
- Allergy medication: To prevent formation of a capsular contracture which is a hard scar tissue formed around an implant as an allergic response.
Apply ointment on surgical wounds as prescribed
Your plastic surgeon will inform you before the surgery of the best placement for your breast implants, and these might result in some visible scars. Do not neglect these scars – with proper healing, the scars can fade and eventually become less noticeable.
- Make it a routine to soften your scar with cortisone and vitamin E loaded creams. Not only do they hydrate but they also help to reduce the scar size and facilitate smooth healing.
- Antibacterial creams may be prescribed. These are vital to prevent infections.
- Gently massage with the creams prescribed to increase blood flow around the wound site to accelerate healing.
Strictly avoid labour work or carrying heavy things
Heavy labour or strenuous exercises can raise blood pressure and may cause bleeding from the wound site during the initial days. Lifting heavy objects can also stretch the chest muscle, affecting the implant as well as the surgical wound. It is critical that you let your body rest and avoid vigorous activities. This will help the wound heal quicker.
Don’ts after a breast augmentation:
Bye-bye regular brassieres
A surgical bra will be provided to you after your breast augmentation to be worn every day for the next 6-8 weeks. These bras are specifically designed to provide support and stability to your new implants with comfortable fabric and compression to ensure proper circulation and a speedy recovery.
An underwired bra may affect the wound or may displace the implant, thus it is advisable to use the proper undergarment for a period of time.
Do not ignore pain or nausea during the recovery period
Nausea and pain may come hand in hand with most surgical procedures. But if they persist longer or increases in severity, it should raise an alarm for impending complications. Seek medical assistance immediately should this happen.
Do not dive back into work so soon
Rest is crucial after a surgery. It is good to request some time off or to work from home during this time. Rushing, labour work, or excessive movement during the first few weeks of your healing may result in complications. Allow your body to rest and heal properly.
Plastic surgery demands time and effort. It is recommended to be well-versed with the procedure, benefits, side effects, durability, as well as your desired goals before deciding on breast augmentation.
Everyone is unique and have different bodily responses to a surgery. Be patient and listen to your body during your healing process. Give yourself time to settle and adjust so that you can enjoy the best possible results.
If you are considering a breast augmentation procedure but not quite sure which to go for, a consultation with a breast plastic surgeon will help to alleviate your thoughts.