Breast augmentation surgery can leave you feeling like you got hit by a car. You may feel pain, fatigue and weakness. How do you deal with the recovery and the side effects of pain medication? Here are tips on how to recover from surgery:
Believe it or not, there are a variety of things you can do before your surgery takes place in order to significantly increase your comfort throughout the recovery process.
A great caregiver is key for a speedy recovery. Your caregiver can be a spouse, friend, family member, or someone you trust to be helpful and reliable during your recovery. You can also hire a caregiver if needed which can be referred to by your surgeon.
As with any large life event, it is crucial to have a strong support system. Undergoing plastic surgery is a big decision, and ultimately a life-changing one. It is important to find people who support you and who can relate to what you are going through. Whether this means enlisting some extra help around the house from your friends or finding a local support group to compare your experiences, don’t be shy when it comes to your self-care.
Your caregiver will need to be with you starting at the beginning of your procedure to ensure you have a safe ride home since you will not be capable of driving yourself after surgery. Following the procedure, you may need a caregiver for at least 5 days, and if you have small children, as long as six weeks, since you cannot do any heavy lifting during that time. It is recommended that you don’t lift anything over 30 pounds for the first month following your breast augmentation procedure, but always listen to the post-op advice from your surgeon.
Due to the medication you will be given during your breast augmentation procedure, line up a driver for your day of surgery. Also, avoid driving for a week after your surgery; your doctor will tell you when it is okay to get back behind the wheel.
If silicone implants were used in your breast augmentation, you can keep them soft, in place and avoid capsular contractures if you massage them every day, starting 24 hours after the surgery. However, if your breasts have textured implants, don’t massage them as it will only slow down the recovery process.
Your surgeon may give you written instructions on how to change your bandages and clean your incisions. It’s important to follow these instructions to prevent infection and minimize scarring. If your surgeon didn’t give you specific instructions, here are some guidelines:
The support bands and bras are an essential part of your recovery. They may feel uncomfortable, but they keep your breasts supported. If you do not wear your supportive bra, your stitches may tear or your incisions may open. You may also be at risk of infection since there will be less airflow underneath your breasts and sweat can be trapped against the incision. Supportive bras also help to compresses your breasts to prevent swelling. You might find it easier to wear a supportive bra with frontal closure or zipper since your arm lifting movements will be limited for the first few days after surgery.
You may take a shower 24 hours after your surgery. Before you shower, remove your supportive bra. Wrap your bandages with plastic wrap to prevent them from getting wet. If your bandages do get wet, remove them immediately after your shower and put on fresh bandages. When showering, be sure to raise and lower your arms slowly. Never raise your arms above your head during the healing process. Lifting your arms above your head can cause the implants to shift out of the pocket before it is healed properly which can create a need for a correction surgery in the future.
After your shower, immediately put on your supportive bra. You may not take a bath for two weeks after surgery. Keep the incision sites dry following your procedure; no swimming or soaking in tubs for three to four weeks after your surgery. If the incisions are damp or moist, it could be a breeding ground for infection.
If you have a family and a house to take care of, ask your caregiver to do major tasks such as mopping and taking out the garbage. After your surgery, the last thing you want is to have to lug a big mop bucket around. Complete chores that are easy, like dusting or wiping counters. Ask your caregiver to put away heavy plates. If needed, get a lightweight or handheld vacuum to clean up quick messes.
Plan on doing very little after your breast augmentation surgery. For instance, your doctor will order no heavy lifting for six weeks following your procedure; watch what you push, pull and carry during recovery. The doctor may recommend some simple stretching that can aid in healing the week following your procedure but do not exercise until they give the go-ahead.
Eating can help with the queasiness that often accompanies surgery and subsequent medication; vitamins A and C promote healing of wounds, so foods like fresh citrus and squash are great options after your surgery. Dairy products are full of protein and helpful for healing but could lead to constipation, so choose low-fat options when possible. Incorporate these foods that help with healing into your post-op diet:
If you are having trouble eating or have no appetite, blend up a nutritious and healing smoothie; combine almond milk, protein powder, a frozen banana and a handful of blueberries to the blender. This will provide dense calories and plenty of nutrients to help you heal.
During your recovery, you need food that is full of vitamins and protein to speed your recovery. You also need food that is easy to prepare. Here are some tips:
You must take good care of yourself after surgery and follow your surgeon’s instructions. If you need more tips and information about recovery, contact your plastic surgeon.
Avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours after surgery. Also, be aware of alcohol’s interaction with prescription medication that you could be taking post-op.
You will need at least a week off from work, though you should not rush it. Also, don’t buy new bras just yet, since you won’t know the right size until the swelling subsides.
Your surgeon is the best resource for tips related to healing and recovery after breast augmentation surgery. Keep a list of questions queries and concerns that may crop up as they arise for your provider during post-operative and follow-up appointments.
If you love exercising, you shouldn’t go to the gym for at least a month. If you do need to exercise, you may start less strenuous exercises like walking a few days after the procedure, with your doctor’s permission.
To promote speedy recovery after breast surgery, you have to sleep in an upright position and not on your stomach for at least two weeks after the surgery.
To see more in-depth on what we consider best practice for sleep check out our breast augmentation recovery sleep guide
Contact us today to schedule your appointment with the renowned plastic surgeon and breast & body specialist Dr. Mark Schusterman. Take your first steps to a more beautiful you.
1200 Binz St Suite 1198, Houston, TX 77004