After breast augmentation, you may notice some changes to your body. You may also experience some discomfort.
In this blog post, we’ll go over what to expect during the first 4 weeks after your surgery.
First of all, it is important to remember that everyone heals differently. You should expect to be uncomfortable for the first week or two following your surgery. The pain will likely be worse on one side than the other, but it should get better as time passes.
You may have trouble sleeping due to swelling and tenderness in your breasts. It is also common for patients who have had implants placed under their muscle to experience more tenderness in their chest wall. If this happens to you, try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever before bedtime or popping an ice pack into a baggie and placing it on your chest wall for 20 minutes at a time throughout the day.
It is normal for blood clots (hematomas) to form beneath the incision site within days after surgery. These can be as small as a pea or as large as an egg—but they should resolve themselves over time without any medical intervention needed from you. If they do not disappear by themselves within 2 weeks after surgery
4 weeks post breast augmentation what to expect
NIGHT AFTER SURGERY
Temporary bruising, swelling and numbness are common the first night after surgery. You may need to go to the bathroom frequently during the night because of the IV fluids you were given during your surgery. Drink a lot of fluids in order to keep up with this fluid loss. As your body begins to balance itself out, it will rid itself of this extra “water weight and everything will return back to normal. You should leave all of your bandages intact overnight including your Bra and elastic ACE wrap.
ONE DAY AFTER SURGERY
The next morning following your surgery, you will return to Dr Motykie’s office for your first post-operative visit. You should leave all bandages and dressings intact overnight and until you reach the office the following morning. Upon arrival to the office you will be escorted to a private examination room where your dressings will be changed and your operative sites will be evaluated. After your examination, you will be placed back into your surgical brassiere and ACE compression wrap and you will be allowed to return back to your home. All of your questions will be answered and you will be given instructions for the following week that will include the following:
You may feel tired and sore for several days following the surgery. Your breasts will be swollen and tender. The sensation/feeling in the areolas/nipples may also be diminished the immediate post-operative period and may take several months to return to normal. Specific instructions regarding exercise, bras, compression bandages/garments will also be provided. Strenuous activity, particularly utilizing the chest and arms, will be restricted for the first few weeks after surgery. You will most likely be able to return to work within a few days depending on your job. Patients may shower the next day after surgery with care taken to not soak the sticky tapes over the insertion site. Aerobic and impact cardio exercise should be avoided for one to two weeks post-operatively. Weight lifting should be avoided for 3-4 weeks post-operatively and chest exercise should not begin until 4-6 weeks post-operatively. The resumption of and amount of physical /athletic activity should be guided by the level of patient discomfort with “pain” being the ultimate guide.
ONE WEEK AFTER SURGERY
For the first week after surgery, you will wear an elastic ACE bandage and your surgical bra over gauze dressings. The results of your surgery will typically be obscured by swelling and bruising at one week after surgery. In fact, you may even notice during the first week or two after your surgery that your breast appear slightly “too large”. Do not be alarmed, this is completely normal and is due to swelling from the surgery. If the breasts were the perfect size immediately after surgery, they would most likely end up being too small after the swelling resolves. Your breasts will be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for a day or two, but the pain shouldn’t be severe. Any discomfort you do feel can be relieved with your prescribed medications but most women say that a mastopexy surgery is almost “painless.” Some people can return to work after a few days and some after one week. Most patients can drive their vehicles within a few days after surgery, but plan on having someone drive you to your first few post-operative visits anyway. In regards to an exercise program, use common sense and use pain as your guide; if it hurts, simply don’t do it! The majority of patients are allowed to return to light, low impact cardiovascular exercise after the first week of recovery. You can expect some loss of feeling in your nipples and breast skin, caused by the swelling after surgery. This numbness usually fades away as the swelling subsides over the several weeks or so.
During this time period, there may be some moderate pain, but it can typically be treated with your prescription pain medications. You may want to wear an athletic or support bra until the swelling has subsided (Bra information). Heavy lifting or straining should be avoided after surgery because this can cause the breasts to swell and increase pressure. You can typically return to work within a week and to full activity within a few weeks. Sensation in your nipples may be reduced temporarily, but should return to normal or become hypersensitive as your breasts heal.
ONE MONTH AFTER SURGERY
If you are still feeling a bit tired during this time don’t worry because it will take you a few weeks or months to feel completely like yourself again. Depending on the amount of physical exertion required to perform your expected duties, you should already be back into your normal rhythm at work. Exercise and workout routines may begin at this point in your recovery process with pain as your ultimate guide. Any activity that causes discomfort and/or pain needs to be avoided until further along in your recovery process. When you return to the activity, start at half speed and increase to your normal routine as long as you do not feel any pain during and/or the day after your workout. Although exercising will not adversely affect your end result, it may temporarily cause more swelling immediately after the exercise that will subside over the next few hours. The majority of my breast lift patients are back to their regular workout routine within 4-6 weeks after their surgery.
During this period, sensory changes of the nipples and breast are normal and only temporary. Typically, normal sensitivity will return slowly over time. Lastly, as sensation begins to return some patients experience a hypersentivity in the nipples and/or areolas. This is also completely normal and temporary, and is a sign that normal sensation is beginning to return to the breasts. Over the next several months many of the benefits of your breast lift surgery will begin to materialize and you will begin to enjoy the transformation you have received form your breast surgery.
- Surgical Bra: At this point in time you are no longer required to be wearing any surgical compression garment. However, many patients choose to continue some sort of light compression clothing during this time period including spanks or similar spandex type clothing.
- Healing Process: There are some procedures/ treatment modalities available that can support and/or may accelerate your healing process such as Endermologie, Ultrasound and/or Radiofrequency treatments. There are several scar therapies on the market and there are many different types of laser scar removal treatments that can be utilized at different times in the course of the overall healing process that were not available 5-10 years ago,
LONG TERM RESULTS
All patients vary in their ability and speed to recovery after surgery but most commonly you can expect the final result from surgery to be evident at six months after surgery. By this point in time, your breasts should be close to their final shape and size and it is therefore the proper time to begin shopping for additional bras and swimwear. If you become pregnant after the surgery, the operation should not affect your ability to breast-feed, since your milk ducts and nipples have been left intact. All breast lifting techniques require removal of excess skin which will create scars on the breast. However, most scars fade away to thin lines with time and they are strategically located in areas that are covered by bathing suites and clothing. Most patients find these scars to be very minimal in comparison to the improvement in the shape and size of their new breasts. In addition, there are now numerous way to treat breasts scarring during and after the healing process utilizing scar therapies and laser treatments if necessary.
Breast lift surgery corrects breast sagging using a combination of techniques that allows for the removal of excess breast skin, reshaping of the breast mound and repositioning of the nipple. A breast lift alone, however, may not provide sufficient upper breast mound fullness in patients that feel that their breasts have also “deflated” in addition to becoming droopy. In this case, a breast implant can be inserted to add volume and upper pole fullness at the same time as the breasts lift surgery. Some surgeons may recommend breaking this surgery into two separate surgeries which ends up being much more expensive, stressful on the body and time consuming for a patient that needs to schedule additional time off from work. Dr Motykie, however, prefers to do both surgeries at the same time because it allows the surgery to be more affordable for my patients as well as having them undergo one anesthesia, one recovery process and one time period off from work. Dr Motykie is very experienced in performing combined breast lift/augmentation procedures using both saline and silicone breast implants as well as being proficient in performing all the most current and effective breast lifting techniques. Lastly, since one of the most common reasons women seek breast lift surgery is a prior pregnancy/breast feeding that has led to deflated, droopy breasts, a breast lift surgery may be combined with other body contouring procedures such as liposuction and/or a tummy tuck which is commonly termed a “Mommy Makeover.”
5 Stages of Healing after Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures performed in the United States. Each year, hundreds of thousands of women experience the life-changing benefits associated with an improved breast appearance.
Before moving forward with your procedure, it’s important to understand what to expect during every stage of the process. Breast augmentation is major surgery, and there is a significant recovery period. While the overwhelming majority of women find that it’s worth undergoing this lengthy healing process, you should be aware of the road to recovery that lies ahead of you.
Stage 1: The Day of Your Surgery
Breast augmentation is performed on an outpatient basis, and you will return home the day of your procedure. Since you’ll still be under the lingering effects of anesthesia, you’ll need to arrange for someone to drive you home. It’s also important to have someone around the house for the rest of the day in case you need assistance.
You’ll need to get plenty of rest and stay hydrated on this first day of recovery. We recommend that you set up a comfortable recovery area prior to your procedure. It should include:
- Extra pillows and blankets for optimal comfort
- A place to easily access water and snacks without bending over
- Plenty of entertainment (movies, books, music) to keep you occupied while you relax
We recommend that you prepare some healthy, nutritious meals in advance that you can easily reheat since you won’t feel up to cooking. You should also fill all prescriptions in advance so that they’ll be on-hand when you get home from surgery.
Stage 2: First 5-7 Days after Surgery
This is typically the most uncomfortable phase of your recovery. It’s common to experience:
- Bruising and swelling around the breasts which will gradually subside as you heal
- Discomfort which can be managed with pain medication
You should start feeling much better towards the end of this first week of recovery. Dr. Lee encourages light walking as soon as you feel up to it. This will facilitate proper blood flow and help prevent blood clots. Always listen to your body and rest if you feel you need to.
Stage 3: 1-3 Weeks after Surgery
During this phase of recovery, you will be able to gradually resume your regular routine. In general, most women are able to return to work within one to two weeks after breast augmentation. If your job requires heavy lifting or other strenuous physical activity, you may need to take additional time off to ensure your body is sufficiently healed.
Bruising, swelling and discomfort should have substantially subsided by this point. Dr. Lee will carefully monitor your recovery and let you know when it is safe to resume normal activities and light exercise. Light cardio activities can be incorporated into your routine at this point, but you will still need to refrain from strenuous activities. When resuming exercise, it’s important to start slow and gradually ramp up your efforts as your body gets stronger.
Stage 4: 4-6 Weeks after Surgery
By now, you will be sufficiently recovered to begin adding more strenuous activity back into your routine. Always wait until Dr. Lee tells you it is safe to resume specific activities to prevent complications.
Intense cardio and lower body exercises can be resumed after about four weeks. However, you’ll need to refrain from heavy lifting and chest exercises until you are roughly six weeks out of surgery.
Stage 5: Final Results
It can take as long as three to four months before you are able to see your final results. This is due to the fact that it takes time for your breast implants to settle into their proper position and for all residual swelling to subside. While you’ll want to experience your new appearance as soon as possible, it’s important to be patient during this process.
Dr. Lee recommends waiting to purchase new bras and bikinis until your final results are visible since your breast size and appearance may still undergo slight changes for several months.