It’s been 5 days since I had my breast augmentation, and I just wanted to give you an update on how things are going.
The first two days were pretty rough. I couldn’t really sleep because the pain was so bad, and even though I didn’t have to use any painkillers at all, the pain was still intense. It was also hard to eat anything because of the soreness in my chest, which made me feel pretty weak.
But then! On day three, things started getting better. By the end of that day, the pain was almost gone—just a little soreness here and there—and I started feeling more energetic than ever before! The swelling has gone down a lot too; it’s still there but not as bad as it was before.
And now? It’s day five! The swelling is practically gone now (only a little bit left), and I feel great! So much energy again—I’m back to working out every day—and I’m really excited to see what happens next week when all this initial recovery is over with and we can start focusing on building muscle mass again!
5 days out after breast augmentation
What Should You Avoid After a Breast Augmentation?
If you’re planning to undergo breast augmentation, congratulations. This is one of the most exciting procedures available to women who want to add or restore feminine curves. And Dustin C. Derrick, MD, the lead plastic surgeon at Cosmetic Surgery of DFW in Fort Worth, TX, specializes in procedures like breast enhancement and mommy makeovers. You can therefore trust you’re in great hands before, during, and after your surgery.
What Should You Avoid After a Breast Augmentation?
After your body experiences a dramatic change, such as that brought by surgery, it needs time to recover. This is why you must take the appropriate time to heal. Equally important, you must also follow the post-op guidelines we provide. These will largely be tailored to suit your individual needs, but some suggestions are universal.
For instance, one of the first recommendations we’ll make is that you refrain from smoking. It’s best to quit one month before surgery, as the chemicals contained in cigarettes can negatively impact your ability to heal and surgery results. Nicotine in particular can put you at risk for infection and damage the capillaries near your surgical wounds. This effect impedes blood flow. If you’ve ever needed a reason to quit smoking, your surgery may provide just that.
Don’t Wear an Underwire Bra
You’ll need to wear a surgical or sports bra after surgery for three to four weeks. The support provided by these garments can keep your breasts in place and help you sleep more comfortably. An underwire bra, on the other hand, can irritate your incisions and prevent implants from properly settling.
With this in mind, you should also delay shopping for new undergarments. You might be tempted to invest in a few lush bras, but you won’t know your new cup size until your breasts ease into their final, more natural position. We recommend that you simply rest and enjoy taking some time for yourself. You’ll have plenty of time to shop for new bras after you’ve recovered.
Don’t Sleep On Your Stomach or Side
The position in which you sleep can greatly impact the appearance of your breast augmentation. This is why it’s crucial you sleep on your back for a short time after surgery. Your body should also be elevated, particularly while you sleep. This enhances circulation, reduces fluid buildup, and keeps the breasts in a more natural position during healing.
Sleeping while you’re elevated can also assist with mobility. You need some upper body strength to get out of bed. But after surgery, we strongly recommend you not use your arm or chest muscles (more on this in a moment). Sleeping upright can keep you from needing these muscles, and many patients sleep in recliners or against a stack of pillows to help them stay in the proper position.
Maximize Your Surgery Results
Sleeping on your stomach or side can apply pressure to your implants and incisions during the recovery process. Rest assured you can return to your normal sleep habits soon enough. In fact, you’ll likely be cleared to return to side sleeping while wearing a supportive bra within just two weeks. Sleeping on your stomach, however, is off the table until a member of our staff gives the go-ahead.
Don’t Take Aspirin
Unless your medical doctor has suggested otherwise, it’s generally not a good idea to take aspirin during your breast augmentation recovery. Aspirin disrupts the normal aggregation of platelets, which can lead to prolonged or abnormal bleeding after your procedure. Additional reasons to skip aspirin as you recover include:
- Potential interactions with prescription medicines
If you were advised by a doctor to take aspirin every day for your heart, you’ll need medical clearance to stop this regimen before surgery. You should never stop prescribed aspirin therapy without your doctor’s guidance. Doing so may increase your risk for a cardiovascular event.
Don’t Take Medications Unless Prescribed
The first two weeks of your recovery are generally the most important. It is for this reason that you must be cautious with the medications you take. The best rule of thumb is incredibly simple: only take those medications prescribed by our office or your doctor. This protocol ensures you don’t take any medications that might interfere with your healing.
We know what you’re thinking: showering is a part of good hygiene. But for at least 48 hours, you must avoid this common practice. Incisions need about two days to completely close. Getting incisions wet too soon after surgery can cause them to re-open, interfere with the healing process, and even lead to infections. Once you’re outside of the 48-hour window, you can gently wash your breasts – but don’t scrub or rub the treated areas.
Getting into a pool, lake, or ocean can expose your incisions to bacteria, meaning you may be vulnerable to infection. We therefore recommend you resist swimming for a bit and simply relax poolside or walk along the beach. You should likewise avoid jacuzzies and hot tubs to further protect your incisions.
Don’t Sit in the Sun
As you’re outside enjoying nature, you should not expose yourself to the sun. Ultraviolet rays can, again, interfere with the way your incisions heal. Even after you receive clearance to go swimming, you should use caution in the sun. The same is true for tanning beds. Avoid them until we give the necessary approval. Or, better yet, make a conscious decision to stay out of the sun and tanning beds from this point forward.
Don’t Engage in Strenuous Activities
This recommendation is important enough that we’ll likely repeat it a few times. All strenuous activities, especially exercise, must be avoided for about a month. You can and should go walking during this time to encourage strong blood flow throughout your body. But other exercises are off the table.
We’ll likely clear you to engage in lower body exercises after your first month of healing. Then, gradually, you can start to again incorporate upper body exercises.
Don’t Lift Heavy Objects
Most surgeries require that you not lift heavy objects for a while. Breast augmentation is no exception. After your procedure, you won’t be able to carry groceries, pets, or even your child for at least a few weeks. This promotes rapid, healthy healing and beautiful results.
As long as you’re watching what you lift, it’s also important you not raise your arms above your head. This means no reaching for objects or lifting your arms to get into a shirt. With this in mind, you should plan to wear button- or zip-up shirts for a brief time.
Don’t Drink Alcohol
A small amount of alcohol is, for most people, absolutely fine. But you can hasten your recovery by abstaining for a couple of weeks. Alcohol is known to inhibit healing by:
- Impeding the immune system
- Contributing to dehydration
- Increasing the risk of bleeding
Don’t Get Steamy in the Bedroom
It’s best to delay intercourse for a brief time after surgery. You and your partner may want to try, but we recommend you wait. If you do decide to be intimate, you need to wear a sports or surgery bra and avoid placing pressure on your breasts.
Don’t Eat the Wrong Foods
A diet low in protein and vitamin C can put you at greater risk for post-operative complications. Your body needs these nutrients to heal, and vitamin C is crucial to collagen formation. You should therefore choose wholesome foods during your recovery like:
- Leafy greens like kale and spinach
- Red and yellow peppers
- Greek yogurt
If you cannot enjoy a diet rich in these nutrients for health reasons, such as digestive issues, it’s important you speak to our office. We can likely recommend dietary supplements that will provide the nutrition you need without compromising your well-being.
Don’t Neglect Your Rest
We’ve mentioned multiple times that your body needs to rest after breast augmentation. The exact amount of time you need to heal will depend on your body, but most women can safely return to work after about one week.
The time you are at home should be spent relaxing. This means napping when you need to and enjoying plenty of downtime. You’ll probably feel more like your old self after just a few days, but we urge you to continue resting. Your body will thank you by healing more quickly.
What’s It Like to Recover from Breast Augmentation Surgery?
- Breast augmentation recovery stages
- Surgery types
- Recovery tips
- Finding a surgeon
Breast augmentation is a surgery that increases the size of a person’s breasts. It’s also known as augmentation mammoplasty.
In most surgeries, implants are used to enhance breast size. Fat from another part of the body can also be used, but this method is less common.
People typically get this surgery to:
- enhance physical appearance
- reconstruct the breast after a mastectomy or another breast surgery
- adjust uneven breasts due to surgery or another condition
- increase breast size after pregnancy or breastfeeding
People seeking male-to-female or male-to-nonbinary top surgery might also get breast augmentation.
Generally, recovery takes about 6 to 8 weeks. It may take more time depending on how you heal and your overall health. Every person is different, so it’s best to talk to a surgeon if you’re concerned about the recovery process.
Read on to learn about what you can expect during breast augmentation recovery.
Breast augmentation recovery time
In most cases, recovery lasts about 6 to 8 weeks. Here’s what the timeline may look like:
Immediately after surgery
Most breast augmentation surgeries involve general anesthesia. This means you’re asleep during the procedure.
Once the surgery is done, you’ll be transferred to a recovery room. You’ll slowly wake up as a team of medical professionals monitors you. You’ll likely feel achy and groggy.
If the implants were placed under the pectoralis muscle, you may experience tightness or muscle aches in the area. As the muscles stretches and relaxes, the pain will decrease.
Hours after surgery
After a few hours, you’ll feel less sore and sleepy.
You can usually go home after several hours, but you’ll need someone to drive you.
Before you leave, your surgeon will wrap your breasts with a bra or elastic band. This will support your breasts during recovery. Your surgeon will also explain how to care for your incision sites.
3 to 5 days
During the first 3 to 5 days, you’ll likely experience the most discomfort. Your doctor will have prescribed medication to help control the pain.
You might have minor bleeding at the incision sites. This is normal. But if you’re concerned about any bleeding, talk to your surgeon.
As you approach 1 week, you may be able to manage the pain with over-the-counter pain medications.
The pain should be minimal after the first week.
With your surgeon’s approval, you can gradually return to light daily activities.
Next few weeks
During this time, you’ll still have some soreness and swelling. But it should slowly get better.
If you have a physically demanding job, you’ll need to be out of work for 3 weeks or more. You’ll also need to avoid heavy lifting and intense physical activities, like running.
After about 2 months, you should be nearing full recovery, though this depends on how well your body heals.
Your doctor will let you know if you can resume normal
As with all types of surgery, breast augmentation poses potential complications.
General surgery complications include scarring, wound infections, and bleeding problems, like blood loss. It’s also possible to go into shock or develop issues related to blood clots.
Anesthesia can also trigger an allergic reaction, but this is rare.
Complications specific to breast augmentation include:
- scarring that changes the breast shape
- asymmetrical breasts
- breast pain
- breast numbness
- undesired or poor cosmetic results
- nipple changes in appearance
- breast or nipple sensation changes
- breast cellulitis
- breasts appear to merge (symmastia)
- incorrect position of implant
- implant is seen or felt through the skin
- skin wrinkling over the implant
- fluid accumulation (seroma)
- scarring around the implant (capsular contracture)
- implant leak or break
- breastfeeding problems
- breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma
- breast implant illness
To heal some of these complications, you may need surgery to replace or remove the implants.
On average, breast implants last about 10 years before the shell ruptures or leaks. You’ll eventually need surgery to replace or remove them.
Types of breast augmentation surgery
There are two main kinds of breast augmentation:
- Cosmetic breast implants. A silicone or saline implant is inserted behind the breast tissue or below the pectoralis, or pushup, muscle.
- Reconstructive surgery. If your breasts were removed in another surgery, breast implants or fat tissue from another part of the body can be used to rebuild them.
Breast augmentation can be combined with a breast lift, or mastopexy. This surgery changes the shape of your breasts, but it doesn’t alter the size.
Tips for a healthy recovery
Successful breast augmentation depends on how well you heal. To increase the chances of a smooth recovery, you can:
- Wear recovery bras. Follow your doctor’s instructions. Recovery bras provide support and manage pain and swelling.
- Care for your incisions. Depending on your surgeon’s preference, you may have to wear a bandage or apply ointment. Always follow the directions.
- Take your medication. During the first week, pain medication will help you feel more comfortable. If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take the entire course.
- Prepare your home before surgery. Before the procedure, finish any housework and meal prep. You’ll need to rest when you’re back home in recovery.
- Wear loose clothes. Loose-fitting, breathable clothes will help you feel more comfortable.
- Avoid intense activity. Strenuous movement can delay the healing process.
- Eat nutritious foods. A healthy diet will help your body recover. Consume lots of lean protein, fruits, and vegetables.