Cosmetic Surgery Tips

2 Weeks Post Breast Augmentation

2 Weeks Post Breast Augmentation

It’s been two weeks since my breast augmentation surgery and I’m feeling great! The swelling is gone, my incisions are healing nicely, and I’m already back to work part-time.

I’ll be writing a series of posts over the next few months about my experience with breast augmentation, including what led me to make this decision in the first place, what my recovery has been like so far, how much it cost me (and why), and how my body image has changed since making this change.

If you’re considering getting breast implants but haven’t decided yet whether or not it’s right for you… keep reading! There’s so much information on the internet about what breast augmentation is all about, but it can be hard to find real stories from people who have actually done it themselves.

Recovering From Your Surgery Breast Augmentation Recovery Oklahoma City

At Jones Plastic Surgery, we have learned that the aesthetics of a woman’s breast can greatly affect her confidence and body image, and experience and evidence have shown Breast Augmentation to be a very effective method for addressing this.  In addition, breast Augmentation is a procedure with a history of very high satisfaction with a very low complication rate and usually an easy recovery.

Despite the above, many women are fearful of the recovery process from Breast Augmentation.  As a result, we feel it is extremely important to not only employ advanced techniques in a state of the art facility, but also thoroughly educate patients of what to expect and how to care for themselves both before and after surgery.  This comprehensive approach aids to make recovery from breast augmentation as easy as possible with as little risk as possible.

Prior to Surgery

At Jones Plastic Surgery in Oklahoma City, OK, we feel the recovery process from breast augmentation begins prior to surgery. This process begins with proper nutrition at this time and stopping medications or supplements that can be harmful.  Our common recommendations to help prepare you for surgery include:

  • taking Vitamin A, C, and Zinc supplements to aid in future healing
  • stopping smoking and all nicotine products that can interfere with healing
  • stopping weight loss medications as they can interfere with anesthesia and healing
  • eating a nutritious diet with adequate calories and protein to enhance healing
  • stopping blood thinners such as aspirin and ibuprofen (as possible) to limit bleeding
  • stopping birth control or estrogen supplementation to limit the risk of blood clots
  • discussing all medical conditions with Dr. Jones and staff so they can be managed appropriately prior to surgery or the surgical plan adjusted as needed
  • stopping any muscle building of the pectoralis muscles (if planning on a submuscular technique)
  • stopping many herbals and supplements as many of their effects on healing and anesthesia are unknown (discuss with staff)

Immediately After Surgery

At Jones Plastic Surgery, you will undergo your breast augmentation procedure in a fully accredited surgical facility.  Dr. Jones will employ advanced techniques with optimal results, limited risk, and rapid recovery a focus.  Immediately afterwards, you will be transported to our recovery room where your recovery process will begin.  Here you will remain for an average of one hour while you are monitored by a Registered Nurse.  When you have passed protocol for discharge, you will be allowed to go home or to where you have chosen to recover for the night of surgery (within 30 minutes of our facility).  You must be with a responsible adult at all times.

Common experiences for the night of surgery:

  • Many patients have the feeling of a ‘tight’ chest/breasts
  • the breasts commonly look high and small
  • Pain varies, but is usually very manageable and more of a soreness/tightness for most
  • It is common to hear or feel fluid and/or air around the implants
  • You will be wearing a post-surgical compression bra and will have gauze covering your incisions
  • You will commonly take an oral antibiotic and oral pain pills
  • Most patients will begin icing their breasts (20 minutes every couple hours)
  • Most patients will begin anti-inflammatory medication (ibuprofen)
  • Most patients will begin gentle upper breast massage
  • You are encouraged to be up and around as you feel able, but DO NOT OVER DO IT.  

Many patients feel perfectly fine and normal almost immediately other than some tightness or soreness.  Some go out to dinner, etc.  (of course this varies)

CLICK TO VIEW THE POSTOPERATIVE SUGGESTIONS AND GUIDELINES

Early Recovery from Breast Augmentation

At Jones Plastic Surgery, Dr. Jones sees all breast augmentation patients the day after surgery.  During this visit, he will answer any questions you have, as well as examine you.  He will also review your instructions for care, as well as limitations of activity.

Breast implant complications: Common problems, risks, and symptoms
  • you will view your breasts without a bra and the tape (steri strips) covering your incisions. Dr. Jones will answer any questions about your breasts and recovery.
  • Dr. Jones will review with you the care of your dressings and incisions
  • you may shower 48 hrs after surgery and then pat the strips dry and take a blow dryer to them on the cool setting to assure dryness.  Then place clean gauze between the bra and tape.
  • Dr. Jones will also teach you the massages for your breasts usually 3 massages performed 3 times a day, 10 reps each, to begin on postoperative day 3 (see video)
  • Dr. Jones will also review your limitations at this point:
  • do not work up a sweat or get your heart rate or blood pressure up for the next 2-3 weeks (until further notified)
  • limit any activity or motion that will stress your chest muscles or incisions (ex. reaching high above your head or behind you)
  • do not lift greater than 10 lbs (Dr. Jones will teach you how to lift/hold your ‘little ones’.
  • do not operate machinery (including a vehicle) until you have finished taking narcotics and you feel you can operate the machinery safely and appropriately
  • wear a soft, stretchy bra similar to your postop bra that does not irritate your incisions

Common experience at this point:

  • many patients are able to stop narcotic pain pills in the next day or two and take only Ibuprofen and Tylenol (not ALL patients, which is normal and ok)
  • breasts are commonly tight and high (can take 2-3 months to soften and settle-varies)
  • very common to have tingling pain and numbness at this point (usually resolves)
  • many patients resume normal leisurely activity
  • minor differences in breast swelling and shape are very normal at this time
  • patients are commonly concerned that breasts look small
  • a small amount of blood on the dressings happens on occasion and is ok
  • bruising does not usually occur, but does in some patients and is usually ok
  • some patients will experience shooting pain from nerves stretching
  • dry skin can be very normal from the stretching and surgical solutions

2-3 Weeks after Surgery

By this time, most patients are feeling back to normal and are ‘itching’ to do more. At this visit, Dr. Jones will again examine you and answer any questions you may have.  He will also review your massages and check to see how your implants are beginning to move.  As before, you will also review you instructions for care and limitations of activity.

On this visit:

Breast Augmentation in Minneapolis St Paul MN
  • examine breasts for softness, implant position, mobility, etc.
  • will remove dressings and examine incisions and review incision care-if any
  • may commonly be able to begin using scar creams at this time
  • will review breast massages
  • will again review activity restrictions
  • you may commonly resume low impact exercise at this time.  This includes a stationary bicycle, walking, low impact leg exercises, an elliptical without using the arms, etc.  You may work up a sweat and get your heart rate and blood pressure up, but no jogging, running, pectoralis exercises or any exercises that will stress your incisions.  Still be careful lifting greater than 10 lbs.
  • will review the type of bra you can wear (commonly still a soft, stretchy bra, but with more options like a bralette or spaghetti strap cami, etc. as directed by Dr. Jones)
  • answer any questions

Common experience at 2-3 weeks after breast augmentation:

  • Many patients will be pain free at this time and will have a hard time limiting their activity (but it is very important to still be careful)
  • Some patients can still feel that their breasts are small and tight and high (or boxy)
  • pain or soreness can still be common – especially shooting pains on occasion or point tenderness
  • feeling or hearing fluid can still be very normal
  • numbness can still be very normal
  • some patient’s dressings fall off on their own at this time.  Please notify Dr. Jones if this occurs.  This is very normal, but we want to know so we can asses your incision asap
  • noticeable swelling has usually mostly resolved

6 Weeks after Surgery

By 6 weeks after surgery, most patients are more than ready to do whatever they are allowed.  Many patients have settled and softened as much as they would like and are just wondering if they have any more restrictions and what bras they can wear to maintain their result.  Some still need to settle and soften more, which is very normal.  As with your other visits, Dr. Jones will examine you closely and answer all questions and review your restrictions.

On this visit:

  • examine breasts for softness, implant position, mobility, etc.
  • will again examine incisions and review incision care-if any
  • will review breast massages (commonly reduce massages at this visit)
  • will again review activity restrictions
  • you may usually resume all activity at this time, but pectoralis muscle exercises are discouraged for patients with submuscular silicone breast implants
  • will review the type of bra you can wear (may be able to wear more supportive bras at this time depending upon implant position)
  • answer any questions

3 Months after Surgery

By 3 months after surgery most patients feel completely normal and ‘recovered’. Most patients implants have settled completely (or almost completely) and are in a good position.  There are usually no activity restrictions and many patients have been exercising for over a month.  This visit is commonly a review of how things have gone and education for the future.

On this visit:

  • examine breasts for softness, implant position, mobility, etc.
  • will again examine incisions and review incision care-if any
  • will review breast massages (commonly reduce massages again at this visit and educate for lifetime implant care)
  • will again review activity recommendations
  • some patients are discouraged from pectoralis building exercises depending upon their body type and implant position
  • will review the type of bra you should wear and if you should sleep in a bra
  • answer any questions
  • will commonly take postop photos, which are emailed upon request
  • will schedule one year postop visit, or others as necessary

One Year Postop

For most patients, one year after surgery is very similar to three months postop.  The breasts are commonly soft and most patients are very comfortable with them by now.  Many women state that their breasts now feel ‘like their own’ and they have settled into what bras they like, etc.  By now most incisions have faded nicely and any swelling that may have been present still at three months is gone.  This visit is a good time to review the care of implants going forward and to answer any questions.  It is possible to still have numbness and tingling at this time and this may still improve.

3 weeks post breast augmentation exercise

What to Do Before Your Surgery

Before you have your breast augmentation surgery, there are several steps you should take to ensure that you are fully prepared for the procedure and for the recovery process. These steps can help your recovery go much more smoothly.

Read All Instructions Provided by Your Surgeon

Your plastic surgeon will provide you with plenty of written information about postoperative care, and about general expectations, you should have following your surgery. Take the time to read through all of this is well before the surgery itself, ensuring that you have plenty of time to ask follow-up questions and get clarification as needed.

Fill Your Prescriptions

You will need prescription medications to take before and after surgery including a pain management prescription as well as an antibiotic, and other medications. Be sure to pick up your prescriptions well in advance of surgery.

Your plastic surgeon may offer further guidelines for you to abstain from certain medications, supplements, and herbs especially those that can cause bleeding.

Stop Smoking and Vaping

Among the many adverse effects of nicotine is that it can impede your body’s ability to heal, increase your risk of complications such as infection, and worsen the appearance of your scars. If you smoke or vape, make sure you cease all nicotine products for at least 6 to 12 weeks before and after your procedure.

Arrange For a Support Person

You are going to need someone who can drive you home following the surgery and stay with you for the first 24 hours. But really, it is best to have a spouse, friend, or relative who can help out for the first day or two, helping you with meal prep, child care, and household maintenance. Remember that you are going to have limited energy and mobility and will appreciate the extra help. Be sure your support person has access to your written post-op instructions from the surgeon.

Go Shopping

After surgery, you will not be able to run a lot of errands. Make sure you stock up on healthy foods and snacks, water, and Tylenol. (This is the safest option with regard to over-the-counter pain management.)


Recovering from Breast Augmentation: Important Guidelines

In preparing for surgery and recovery, patients can be overwhelmed by all the information given to digest. In the following checklist, we have distilled some of the most important tips and guidelines for you to know in the immediate aftermath of your breast augmentation procedure.

  • Following your surgery, you are going to feel very fatigued. You should not plan on doing anything but resting for your first week or so of recovery.
  • For the first two or three days, it is crucial that you avoid any activities that could elevate your blood pressure. This can cause bleeding which may necessitate further surgery.
  • It bears repeating: You need someone staying with you for at least the first 24 hours, and ideally the next day or two if you have young children, toddlers, or infants. Your support person can help around the house, but also keep an eye open for any unexpected complications.
  • You may feel tightness, soreness, or pain in your chest for several days. This is why you will have medication options, both over-the-counter and prescription.
  • You cannot shower for the first 24 hours. And, you will want to avoid any still water, such as bathtubs and swimming pools, for at least 2 to 6 weeks.
  • Do not plan on traveling for the first week or two.
  • Be alert to the common signs of infection: Warmth, redness, and fever. If you exhibit any of these symptoms, call your plastic surgeon’s office ASAP.
  • For the first 6 weeks, you will need to wear either a post-surgical bra or other non-underwire bras at all times.
  • Avoid bending over, reaching up or across your body, and do not lift anything that weighs more than 5 pounds.
  • Due to the medication and anesthesia in your system, you may have constipation for your first few days of recovery. Be prepared for this with Colace or other over-the-counter constipation medications.
  • Do not sleep on your stomach. Ideally, you should lie on your back with your head slightly elevated.

By sticking to these basic tips and guidelines, you will be well on your way to a smooth, fast, and safe recovery.


Breast Augmentation Recovery: Timeline

One of the most common questions that patients ask before breast augmentation is how long is it going to take for them to feel fully recovered.

There is no simple answer to this question as all patients are different. Your recovery time can vary depending on the type of implant and the type of incision, as well as your healing progress. Adherence to your surgeon’s post-op instructions will help you to recover more quickly.

For some patients, it takes just a few days to a week before they are able to resume most of their daily non-strenuous household activities. For others, it may take more time. Even if you have a perfect recovery, you should wait at least 3 to 6 weeks before returning to the gym or engaging in any strenuous exercise, and always check with your surgeon when in doubt.

With that said, here is what you can expect in terms of a general timeline.

The First 24 Hours

Breast implant surgery will usually take less than one hour to complete. After surgery you will be taken to a recovery room, where your condition will be monitored for another hour then you will be cleared to head home with a caregiver.

When you first wake up, you will likely feel some pain and soreness in your chest. Your movement will be limited, and you may also have some minor dizziness and fatigue.

Once you get home, you are just going to want to rest. Follow your doctor’s orders with regard to painkiller use.

The First 48 Hours

You will likely need pain medication for the first 2 or 3 days. Hang in there and remind yourself that this is temporary. You will soon begin to feel quite a bit more normal.

You may experience varying levels of pain, swelling, and bruising. Use your pain medication as directed by your surgeon, and make sure you stay consistent with your antibiotic use.

One thing to keep in mind: Some patients develop a very mild fever during the first couple of days. This is not necessarily a sign of infection. If the fever worsens or persists, let your surgeon’s office know.

Do not shower until cleared by your surgeon. Remember to avoid still water, including baths and swimming pools.

The First Week

For the first 4 to 7 days, you should stay home from work and continue resting as much as possible. Avoid strenuous activity of any kind. By the end of the first week, you should notice your energy coming back to you and your pain and soreness lessening quite a bit.

Another important note about the first week is that your incision will still be covered with gauze bandages and/or surgical tape. Follow your surgeon’s instructions with regard to changing and checking your dressings.

Your implants may appear to be too high, especially if placed under the muscle. This is normal and will take weeks to months to settle into the correct position.

Weeks 3-6

Fast forward to week three: By this point, any pain, discomfort, or soreness should be significantly abated. At this juncture, you are free to resume most of your regular physical activities, except high impact activity or upper body exercises including yoga, pilates, and golf unless cleared by your surgeon.

Continue to wear your support bra, or a sports bra, to ensure that your breasts are supported, especially during high-impact activities.

First Two Months

Once you move out of the initial recovery phase, your plastic surgeon will let you know when it is okay to stop wearing a support bra. Additionally, after two months or so, most patients will be cleared by their surgeon to resume all of their normal activities, including vigorous workouts and other physically strenuous endeavors.


When Can You See Results from Your Breast Augmentation?

When you first start thinking seriously about getting breast implants, it is natural to feel excited about seeing your new figure. However, it is important to realize that you are not going to see the final results immediately from your breast augmentation. There will of course be some swelling and bruising. Swelling in the area of the sternum is common which may make your cleavage look less pronounced. This is normal.

It may be about two full months or more before you can truly, clearly see the outcome of your breast augmentation, and really assess the change to your body. Our advice: be patient and do not be discouraged. It can be frustrating to go through surgery and not see a perfect outcome immediately. Scars should begin to slowly fade until they are only faintly visible. Keep in mind that it takes 12 to 18 months for scars to fully mature so be patient during this transitional process.


Dealing with the After Effects of Breast Augmentation

During your recovery period, you can anticipate some discomfort, swelling, bruising, and more. Your plastic surgeon can provide you with some practical remedies. In the meantime, here are some general thoughts on handling these common side effects.

Dealing with Discomfort

The most common side effect of breast augmentation is physical discomfort. Patients describe the pain as being either mild or moderate in nature, and it usually takes the form of tightness, or a feeling of pressure, in the chest. Symptoms of pain may last for up to two months.

Your plastic surgeon will prescribe you a painkiller that you can use as needed and also direct you to the best over-the-counter remedies. Just remember that any discomfort is temporary and that rest and time will help.

Dealing with Swelling and Bruising

Breast augmentation patients should also anticipate some swelling and bruising. Again, this is no cause for alarm unless the swelling and/or bruising are significant. There are homeopathic medications such as Sinecch or Arnica Montana that will help minimize swelling and bruising.

Your swelling should go away completely within several weeks or months. We do not recommend the use of cold packs or ice.

Dealing with Bleeding

Another side effect to watch for is bleeding. Although it is uncommon, bleeding can actually occur even a week or two after your surgery but is most common immediately following surgery. If you do notice any excessive swelling or bleeding, especially if one breast suddenly appears much larger than the other, call your plastic surgeon’s office right away. It may be a sign that there is a hematoma that may require reoperation.

Dealing with Fatigue

Following any major surgery, you are bound to feel tired. For those who get breast implants, it is normal to feel very fatigued for the first few days to two weeks of recovery.

First and foremost, we urge you to be patient with yourself. Surgery takes a lot out of your body, and being tired is in no way a sign of weakness. It is a natural response to a physically taxing event.

Beyond that, we simply recommend preparing a comfortable place in your home where you can rest for the first five to seven days, minimizing physical activity as much as possible. This is another reason why having a support person, is so crucial; it ensures that you do not have to get up to handle chores around the home.

Dealing with Limited Movement

For the first several weeks, you may be instructed to strictly limit your upper body movements, avoiding reaching up overhead or forward. This is to allow the pockets where your implants are placed to heal without disruption. Take it easy and do not do too much!

Dealing with Infection

Although it is exceedingly rare, it is understandable for patients to be concerned about infection. Patients are usually treated with IV antibiotics during surgery and placed on a short course of oral antibiotics post-operatively. Please be sure to complete the full dose of your prescribed antibiotics.

You should be concerned about the possibility of infection if, after two weeks, you do not seem to be making any progress in your recovery; and especially if you have a persistent fever or discharge such as pus from your incision(s). If you believe you have an infection, contact your surgeon right away. Often, early infections can be treated very simply with antibiotics.

Something else to keep in mind is that, by showing up for all the recommended follow-up appointments, you give your plastic surgeon an opportunity to assess your healing. These follow-up appointments can help you avoid more serious issues down the road, so make sure you keep them.

Dealing with Capsular Contracture

Following breast augmentation, every person develops scar tissue around each implant. This capsule is what holds the implant in place. Scar tissue forms around an implant that is placed in the body whether it be a breast implant, chin implant, hip implant, et cetera.

In rare cases, the capsule forms more aggressively, causing it to feel firmer than it is supposed to and sometimes distort the shape of the breast. Medical researchers are not totally clear on why this happens although there may be a genetic predisposition to forming thicker scars or capsules.

If a patient develops severe capsular contracture, the treatment is to replace the implant and remove the scar tissue. This is called a capsulectomy or capsulotomy. The good news, beyond the fact that this is not very common, is that a capsulectomy usually corrects the problem, and often it does not recur.

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