So you’ve had a breast augmentation, and now you’re wondering what the next 6 weeks will be like. Here are some things to expect:
First, it’s important to remember that everyone heals differently. While you may have heard from people who had their surgery in the past that they were back at work in a week or so, it’s important to take your own body into consideration when planning your return to work and other activities. You’ll also want to make sure that your doctor gives you the go-ahead before returning to any physical activity—some doctors may recommend waiting a few weeks before starting an exercise routine or going back to work.
You’ll probably have a follow-up appointment within a week after your surgery (or sooner), where your doctor will check on how your healing is going. The most important thing is that your incisions look healthy and aren’t red or swollen—if they are, talk with your doctor about them so they can help figure out what’s going on.
You should start noticing some improvement in how you feel pretty quickly after breast augmentation surgery—but as with all things, each person is different! Some people say they felt great right away; others
6 weeks post breast augmentation what to expect
Getting breast implants/a breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures. The risk of complication is low and the recovery period is typically straightforward.
If you’re considering a breast augmentation, what can you expect from recovery? Here is what the typical recovery period is like for patients that get breast implants.
Recovering From a Breast Augmentation
Recovering from a breast augmentation is relatively easy, there are just a few things to keep in mind.
Immediately Following Surgery
Since you’ll be coming out of anesthesia and will be on pain medication, you’ll need someone to drive you home after your surgery and stay with you for at least 24 hours. We cannot let patients drive themselves home following surgery.
Regarding medication, you will be on narcotic pain medicine for around 2 days following the surgery and NSAIDs (Motrin, Advil) are recommended for any pain after this time. You will be able to drive once you have stopped taking narcotics. Plan to take 2-3 days off of work and other responsibilities after your surgery. You will need this time to rest and recover.
Dr. Ortiz will send you home with instructions for changing bandages, cleaning incision sites, showering, and other post-op activities. He will also send you home with a prescription for pain medicine. Pain medication is not dispensed or held by North Raleigh Plastic Surgery.
Complications from breast augmentations are extremely rare, with the most common being infection of the incision site. Dr. Ortiz will discuss how to minimize the risk of infection during your consultations but if you think your incisions may be infected, call us immediately.
To lower your risk of infection, avoid taking baths, swimming, or using hot tubs for the first two weeks post surgery. You’ll be able to shower the day after your surgery.
You’ll have a post-op appointment with Dr. Ortiz approximately one week after surgery.
Up to Six Weeks After Surgery
Expect soreness, tenderness, and sensitivity during recovery, especially during the first six weeks post-op.
For six weeks following your breast augmentation, you will wear a compression garment (included in the cost of breast augmentation surgery). This helps hold the implants in place while you heal. At your pre-op consultation, Dr. Ortiz will discuss the type of bra that will be best for you to wear during your recovery.
You will not be able to exercise or do any heavy lifting and should sleep on your back or side during this time.
You’ll have a post-op appointment with Dr. Ortiz approximately two months after surgery. At this appointment, he will give you clearance to begin exercising again, if you are ready.
2+ Months Following Surgery
Around the six week/two month mark, the pain and tenderness should be gone. If your implants are still “riding high” on your chest at this time, it is completely normal. Around three months post-op, your breast implants should “drop” and settle into place.
You’ll have your final post-op appointment at the six month mark.
Breast augmentation is an invasive procedure that requires patients to follow post-operative instructions closely to achieve the best breast implant results and avoid post-operative complications after breast surgery. Breast augmentation recovery can sometimes be confusing however, and it can be overwhelming for some patients to remember and understand all aspects of the instructions provided by their surgeon. Often, patients can get lost in a sea of paperwork when trying to keep on top of their meds, sleep in the right position, engage in the right physical activities, and take the right precautions in everyday activities. This blog posts aims to summarise and simplify the post-op instructions for patients undergoing breast augmentation in Brisbane, by providing one clear, helpful resource.
As you will likely hear from many sources, including breast augmentation experts such as Dr. Phil Richardson, (Brisbane Plastic Surgeon) it takes around 6 weeks to fully recover from breast augmentation surgery. Full recovery refers to complete mobility and freedom to return to all of life’s activities including the gym, swimming, and any other physical activities you desire. There are a number of important milestones throughout your breast augmentation recovery that will be discussed from day 1 to week 6 and beyond, but arguably the most important thing to understand is that your breasts will change dramatically over this time. For the first 6 weeks they may look strange, boxy, small, asymmetrical, and completely the opposite of anything you desired. This is the settling process, and you should prepare yourself mentally for this period, and avoid judging your results until the 6 week mark. In fact, your breasts will continue settling and improving for months to come, and you should trust the process, and avoid analysing your results before this time.
WEEK 1 POST-OP
The first day after surgery is an important part of breast augmentation recovery in Brisbane. Directly following surgery, patients are required to have someone to accompany them home, and stay with them for the first 24 hours post-operatively. It’s important that patients have assistance and monitoring during this time as the general anaesthetic begins to wear off and the patient acclimatises to their levels of pain and mobility, and adjusts to their medication schedule. Here at Brisbane Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery, we provide patients with a post-operative bag containing all the essentials for recovery. This bag includes medications including antibiotics, panadeine forte, Valium, and tablets to prevent constipation that can occur as a result of the painkillers. It is important that patients only take the medications approved by Dr. Richardson, as other medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen can increase the risk of bleeding and should not be taken. The post-op bag also includes you surgical tape, bio oil, and most importantly a detailed post-op booklet to ensure you understand all your instructions thoroughly. This booklet is especially helpful for remembering the recommended medication schedule and managing pain after breast augmentation.
For the first 1-2 days after surgery, patients must apply soft ice packs or frozen peas to the top of the breasts to minimise swelling and bleeding inside the breasts. 20 minutes out of each hour during the day should be sufficient for the first 48 hours. Here at Brisbane Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery, our clinic nurses will call each breast augmentation patient the day following their surgery to check in, ensure they are on top of their antibiotics, and remind them of any other aspects of recovery. The nurse will then book you in for your post-op appointment that will fall between the 5th – 7th day post-op.
SHOWERING AFTER BREAST AUGMENTATION
When patients return home from surgery, they will notice a small dressing on the wound site under the soft bra they are fitted with. These are to be kept dry until the post-op appointment (5-7 days post-op). The dressings will be removed at the post-op appointment, but until then, patients must avoid getting the dressing area wet. It is recommended that patients opt for a detachable shower head to bathe the lower half of their body for the first week, and to use a sponge or wet wipes to clean their top half—avoiding the dressing area. After the first post-op appointment where the dressings are taken down, patients can shower normally.
SLEEPING AFTER BREAST AUGMENTATION
Once you are home, the most important thing for recovery is to rest. You may have heard that sleeping after breast augmentation can be troublesome, as you are required to sleep elevated on 2-3 pillows for the first week to reduce swelling. From the experience of Dr. Richardson’s breast augmentation patients, the best sleeping set-up involves elevating your upper body with a wedge pillow, or a couch cushion which supports the whole back, neck and head, as opposed to a stack of pillows that only elevates the head and shoulders. Having additional bed pillows to rest your head to the side or support your neck further is said to be the most comfortable sleeping position for patients post-operatively. The key is to produce a steady incline by supporting the back as well as the shoulders and head.
COMPRESSION STOCKINGS AND BLOOD FLOW
When you leave the hospital, you will have your compression stockings still on from the surgery. These stockings are to be left or a minimum of 4 days, and longer if possible to prevent complications from arising. Patients should make a conscious effort to stand up every hour during the day and continue moving their legs and feet while resting to keep up blood flow. The rationale behind the compression stockings and consistent movement is to prevent the development of a DVT (deep vein thrombosis), or blood clot. The risk of blood clots following breast augmentation surgery are relatively low (but can be high for some patients with a history of clotting), however it is still incredibly important for every patient to keep their compression garments on and promote blood flow consistently to prevent this complication.
LIFTING KIDS/HOUSEHOLD CHORES
A common concern patients with children have is the “no lifting” rule imposed on patients for the first 6 weeks following surgery. For mothers, we recommend trying your very best to organise help with the kids during this time, but in the event you do need to pick up your child, try to do so from a sitting position where they can assist you. Patients may be relieved to hear they should refrain from household chores such as making the beds, hanging washing, packing the dishwasher, gardening etc. for 2-3 weeks. It’s recommended that you try and get everything in order pre-operatively, bring any commonly used utensils or objects to countertop level so you aren’t reaching up to cupboards, do your major washing and bedding, and set up the house in a way that is low maintenance and convenient for you. This will make a world of difference in the first few weeks after you’re surgery.
2-6 WEEKS POST-OP
DRIVING AFTER BREAST AUGMENTATION
Patients should avoid driving for the first week following breast implant surgery in Brisbane, due to the reduced mobility of the upper body as well as the effect of pain killers on awareness. After pain killers have been ceased, and after the 1 week mark, patients are fine to return to driving but should proceed with caution and ensure that it is comfortable for them to do so and does not involve any strain.
SWIMMING AFTER BREAST AUGMENTATION
After 2 weeks, swimming in the pool or ocean is permitted, however it’s important to understand that you should not do anything strenuous or work the upper body. You can wade in the ocean or pool, but don’t take it as an opportunity to swim laps or exert yourself as this can have serious complications.
THE COMPRESSION BRA
At your first post-op appointment—one week after your surgery—the nurse will fit you with a compression bra, which will be an integral part of shaping your dream results. The compression bra is so important for the first 6 weeks of recovery as it ensures the breast implants are healing correctly, and scar tissue is forming in the correct way to maximise results. It’s recommended that the compression bra be worn as close to 24/7 as possible. Wearing supportive bras will become the new norm for many patients, particularly when exercising. Failing to wear a supportive bra when engaging in dynamic activities can cause significant strain on the lower-pole of the breast which can result in bottoming-out of implants. In some patients that are more prone to bottoming-out, it’s important to wear a supportive bra as often as possible to maintain the longevity of results.
At your first post-op appointment you will also have micropore tape placed on the scars at your incision site. This is to ensure proper healing of the site and help flatten the scar in the first 6 weeks. This tape is to be changed weekly for the 6 weeks, and should be removed, cleaned in the shower, pat dry, and replaced with fresh tape directly after.
6 WEEKS POST-OP AND BEYOND
After the 6 week mark, patients are cleared to engage in any activities they wish, but are advised to proceed with caution when it comes to any high intensity activities by wearing a very supportive bra to reduce impact on the lower pole of the breast. Patients with weaker skin integrity are strongly advised to wear their compression bra or an equivalent supportive bra as often as possible. To treat scarring, patients should begin the use of the provided bio oil, rubbing this into the scars twice a day for 3 or more months. Additional scar therapy such as silicone gel, silicone tape, and LED light therapy may be advised to soften the appearance of the scars, and is available for purchase from the Brisbane Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery clinic.
EXERCISING AFTER BREAST AUGMENTATION
After the 6 week mark, patients can resume all gym activities freely. It is recommended that very supportive sports bras are worn at the gym, and if chest exercises can be avoided, this is generally recommended. The rationale behind this as consistent use of the pectoral muscles can lead to a distortion of the appearance of the implant. Unless you have your heart set on training chest, it’s generally best to avoid this muscle group.
BREAST IMPLANT REVIEWS
Here at Brisbane Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery, we offer a life-time follow-up guarantee to patients who have had cosmetic breast surgery with Dr. Richardson, (Plastic Surgeon in Brisbane) and for any patients who have had surgery elsewhere and require a review. Dr. Richardson advises his breast augmentation patients to have yearly review at our BRAS clinic, which is entirely bulk billed with no out-of-pocket costs. This review involves a physical check and routine ultrasound to check the integrity of the breast implants. This is a pivotal aspect of long term maintenance and breast implant health.