While breast augmentation procedures only take a few hours and can be performed without the need for an overnight stay, recovery will take several weeks. It’s a big commitment, and it’s important you understand this process before undergoing the procedure.
Your surgeon will talk to you about what to expect, but let’s take a moment to explore breast augmentation recovery now.
Breast augmentation is carried out under either local anesthetic or general anesthetic and usually takes only 60 – 90 minutes but may take longer depending on the method used and if you choose to have implants inserted simultaneously.
Once you are fully anaesthetised, your surgeon will make a very small incision in a predetermined location, taking care to minimise any scarring.
Implants will then be inserted through the incision and placed deep beneath the pectoral muscle or right behind the breast tissue. Before the procedure, your doctor will discuss which method is better for you.
Once the implant is placed in the ideal location, the incision will be closed with sutures, surgical tape or adhesive. This is the first step on your road to recovery. Following the procedure you will remain in the clinic to be monitored and will be fitted with a surgical bra to protect your wound and help with the healing process.
Despite popular belief, larger implants will not require a longer recovery period, but some women may have difficulty adjusting to their larger breast size.
The recovery process takes time and while it usually takes place over several weeks, it’s important to remember that everyone is different and recovery times will vary.
The first 24 hours
Immediately after the procedure you will experience moderate pain and discomfort. To alleviate this, your doctor can prescribe pain medication. You may also experience some level of swelling, and bruising.
24 to 48 hours
Your wound is still in a fragile state, to ensure no unneeded tension is placed on it, arm movements must be restricted for the first 48 hours. It is important to note that this will prevent you from driving. It is also recommended that you dress appropriately with easily removable clothing, such as button up shirts.
Until your doctor recommends otherwise any physical activity should be restricted as well as the consumption of alcohol, nicotine and blood thinning medications.
The first 10 days
During this period you will need assistance for many day-to-day activities including getting dressed, preparing meals and simply moving around. However, you will be able to return to driving, as long as your doctor approves and you are no longer under the influence of medication. Some patients will also be instructed to massage their breasts. It is important to note that you should only do this if you are instructed too, otherwise you may risk damaging your implants. If you are unsure you can always discuss with your doctor who should organise a follow-up appointment during this time.
10 to 14 days
At this point, you should feel ready to resume some light activity. Lower body exercise like walking is ideal as it will not put tension on the wound. To decide what exercise is right for you, speak with your doctor and ensure you get their approval. It’s likely your doctor will also want you to return to daily activities and get back to work. However, despite this increase in activity, it is important not to get too excited, your body is still healing, and it’s vital that you continue to avoid any heavy lifting.
2 to 3 weeks
While you continue to get back to your regular activity and increase exercise, your doctor will still restrict you from doing most upper body exercises for about one month.
4 to 6 weeks
From the one month mark, you should be able to get a clear picture of the procedure’s results. The implants will have settled into place, and your breasts will sit in a natural position. From this point, you should not require any pain medication, and you no longer have to wear your surgical bra. Although a sports bra is highly recommended as your doctor will likely clear you to resume upper body exercise at four weeks and running at six weeks.
Several months after surgery
Your new breasts have taken shape, and you can now assess the incredible changes.
10 to 12 weeks
At this point, you should be able to resume all lower body exercises, and after three months your doctor will likely approve heavy lifting and all upper body exercises tool.
Over time, the scar tissue will begin to fade and blend with the surrounding skin. If properly cared for these scars should be almost indistinguishable from your skin after two years.
While you are well on your way to recovery, it is recommended that you still see your doctor for follow-up appointments. They will examine the incision, breast fold, and scar tissue to ensure it is healing correctly. This is also an opportunity for you to discuss the results of the procedure and any questions you have about your new breasts.
Post op tips
Your doctor will provide you with everything you need to know for a quick and healthy recovery.
Here are few great tips to get you started:
- Avoid certain medications that may thin your blood, for example, aspirin. If you are taking a prescription, consult your doctor.
- Don’t open bandages as this can increase the chance of infection.
- If recommended by your doctor, moisturizing can help avoid stretch marks.
- Let your implants settle. It’s normal for them to sit in a higher position at first, but over time they will gradually settle into a more natural position.
- When it comes to fashion, keep things relaxed and avoid tight-fitting clothing. As a simple guide, if you have to raise your arms to put it on, don’t wear it.
- Sleep, it’s your body’s way of supercharging recovery, so get as much of it as you can. However, don’t sleep on your side. Instead, sleep in an elevated position to aid recovery.
- Keep some nausea medication close by. Most patients will experience bouts of nausea post-op, but it’s nothing to be concerned about.
- If you experience lack of sensation in the nipples or hypersensitivity after surgery, don’t be concerned this is normal.
- Don’t hesitate to call your doctor. If you’re in extreme pain or bleeding excessively, there may be something wrong, and your doctor will be able to decide the best course of action.