Real Tips for Recovery After Breast Augmentation Surgery

Published: February 25, 2021
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Category: Dr. Nathan Leigh, Breast Augmentation

Having Breast Augmentation surgery can be one of the most exciting chapters in your life. For some, this surgery helps turn back the clock and regain the shape and fullness their breasts once had. For others, a Breast Augmentation can bring the body’s proportions into better balance and help them embrace the shape they’ve always dreamed of. But, it’s also important to consider how you will recover after your surgery to ensure that you achieve the best possible results.

Before and After

“Some women bounce back to their daily lives surprisingly quickly after Breast Augmentation surgery, while others may feel out of commission for up to two weeks,” explains Dr. Nathan Leigh, a Board-Certified Plastic Surgery with Edina Plastic Surgery. “A woman’s age, fitness level, lifestyle, and type of Breast Augmentation are just some of the factors that contribute to how she heals.

Regardless, it’s important to understand that how you approach your recovery can impact your final results from surgery. The better you prepare yourself and your home for healing, the better your outcome may be.”

Preparing Your Home for Recovery

#1 – Set up your recovery area and stock it for success.

Whether it’s your bedroom or the living room couch, you will need to establish a comfortable domain to recuperate after surgery. While some of us prefer the dark and solitude of a quiet bedroom, others can’t relax unless we’re in the heart of the house and interacting with our families. Regardless of which group you fall into, establish this area early and prepare it.

plastic surgery partnership

“I encourage my patients to look at their recovery from plastic surgery with equal importance as the actual surgical procedure itself,” says Dr. Leigh. “For some, this may feel a little intimidating because it suggests that you have some responsibility and control over your results – which you DO! Plastic surgery is a partnership between you and your surgeon, and we each have important jobs to do both in and outside of the operating room.”

How do you prepare your recovery area? Stock up on the following:

  • Extra pillows for elevating yourself comfortably.
  • Extra blankets for napping.
  • Bedside and couch side tables for easy reaching at waist level.
  • Books, magazines, DVDs, Netflix, Kindle, and Audible downloads for stationary entertainment.
  • Healthy snacks and water bottles within easy reach.
  • An organizing and tracking system to manage all medications you have been prescribed should be readily accessible.
  • Extra tissues and baby wipes for freshening up until you can shower.
  • Your cell phone, laptop, and chargers within reach.

#2 – Pillow talk.

“After surgery, it’s essential that you keep yourself upright, at about a 45-degree angle, to reduce swelling and bruising,” advises Dr. Leigh. “You can see why having a few great pillows of various sizes and varying firmness can make life a lot more comfortable after surgery then. I recommend that my patients get at least one large body pillow and a donut-shaped pregnancy pillow, so they have different options depending on what positions feel most comfortable after surgery. Suitable pillows in strategic positions can also prevent you from turning on your side at night, which we want to avoid after Breast Augmentation surgery. Also, consider purchasing a small neck pillow to place under your seatbelt strap for the first few weeks of recovery.”

#3 – Fill your fridge with healthy options.

Yes, you will have downtime after surgery. No, your surgeon doesn’t want you utilizing this time trying to prepare meals in your kitchen. You will have several movement restrictions after surgery, especially when it comes to lifting and reaching. It’s best to have a fridge stocked with fresh, healthy prepared meals and snack options so you can focus on healing and not on making dinner for your family.

Avoid too much take-out or delivery food that can be loaded with sodium and cause dehydration. Recruit family and friends to contribute by taking turns in the kitchen or prepping some healthy casseroles and salads.

#4 – “Netflix and Chill” with ample ice packs ready for rotation.

“Patients generally experience the most swelling in the first three to five days following Breast Augmentation surgery, so you’ll want to ice frequently – 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off,” says Dr. Leigh. “I recommend the reusable gel pack kind in various sizes that can be easily molded to your body. These stay soft and flexible. Have plenty of these ready to rotate in the freezer when you get home from surgery.”

Preparing Yourself for Recovery

#1 – Get moving, but take it easy.

Although it may feel like the last thing you want to do after surgery, it’s essential to get up and moving. Movement reduces swelling. People who lie in bed after surgery and stay sedentary may experience more pain, swelling, and delayed healing. Simply walking around the house or the block a few times a day will suffice at first. Remember to take it easy and follow all post-care guidelines in regards to movement restrictions as well.

get moving

#2 – Stay hydrated on the inside AND outside.

“Staying hydrated is an essential step in recovery from any surgery,” explains Dr. Leigh. “Water keeps all of our body’s systems running efficiently, including your lymphatic system, which aids in healing and recovery. Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day after surgery.”

It’s also important to keep your skin hydrated after Breast Augmentation surgery. Breasts can feel dry and tight for a few weeks following your procedure. Using a rich shea butter or cocoa butter moisturizer can help soothe skin and keep it supple and comfortable.

#3 – Back up. Let’s talk about constipation.

“Let’s face it, no one likes to talk about constipation, but it does go hand in hand with some pain meds prescribed after surgery,” says Dr. Leigh. “We want your pain to be managed after your Breast Augmentation, but it is advisable to transition to non-narcotic pain management as quickly as possible to avoid constipation.”

Increasing your water consumption and walking can help relieve constipation, as will consuming certain foods like prunes and other dried fruits. Be careful not to consume too much fiber if you’re not drinking enough water, as this can also cause constipation. Communicate with your surgeon if you have persistent issues, as constipation can be very uncomfortable and impede your recovery if not resolved.

#4 – Put function over fashion – wear your post-operative garments.

It’s important to follow ALL of the post-care instructions given to you after your Breast Augmentation surgery. This includes wearing all post-op garments recommended by your surgeon. You will be provided with a post-operative bra that is easy to remove, breathable, and extra soft. Many women purchase underwire-free sports bras with front zippers or enclosures to graduate to after their post-surgical bra. Remember that you’ll have some difficulty reaching behind your back, so front enclosure hooks and zippers may be most comfortable.

This approach goes for clothing too. Consider cozy sweatshirts that zip in the front and oversized flannels that button up. You will want to avoid certain movements like reaching over your head or behind your back for a while, so make sure your fashion choices can accommodate this.

“Believe me, your surgeon knows how excited you are to wear beautiful bras after your Breast Augmentation surgery and that our post-op garments are anything but glamorous, but it’s important to power through this stage of recovery,” laughs Dr. Leigh. “Don’t worry, before long you’ll transition to any style undergarments you choose and loving how they look on your new body!”

Are you considering Breast Augmentation surgery? If so, schedule a complimentary in-person or virtual consultation with an Edina Plastic Surgery Plastic Surgeon by calling (612) 688-3177 or CLICKING HERE.

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