Cosmetic Surgery Tips

8 Weeks After Breast Augmentation

At this point, it’s also possible that some swelling may still be present. Swelling after breast augmentation surgery is normal, but if it hasn’t gone away by now, it could mean there’s some inflammation or infection developing around your incisions. If this happens, it’s important that you let your surgeon know immediately so that they can take care of what needs to be done before any permanent damage occurs!

After 8 weeks, your breasts will be in their final resting place and you should see your surgeon for a follow up appointment.

In this blog post, we will cover what to expect after the first 8 weeks following breast augmentation surgery. During your first follow-up appointment, your doctor will be able to tell you how much the implants have settled into their final position. They will also be able to give you an idea of how natural they look and feel—the result of tension between the implants and surrounding tissues as well as gravity pulling them down against gravity.

8 Weeks After Breast Augmentation

Going on Holiday After Breast Surgery: 5 Things You Should Be Mindful Of

Medically reviewed by Mr T K Sankar, Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon

With COVID restrictions finally coming to an end, many people will be longing of a summer break. However, those that have recently had breast surgery will have questions about how it will affect their holiday. 

Your body needs to heal after surgery. This includes breast augmentations (‘boob jobs’ using breast implants), breast lifts, breast reductions and mastectomies (where the breast is removed). Not only could going on holiday too soon be harmful, but it will probably defeat the object of your trip — relaxing and having fun. You might not be planning an adventure-packed time, but it’s best to wait for at least 8 weeks after surgery so you can fully participate in everything your trip has to offer. 

How soon can I fly after breast surgery?

A popular question asked to aesthetic plastic surgeons is ‘how soon can you fly after breast surgery?’. Although advice varies on the optimum time for flying after breast surgery, most surgeons advise that it should be avoided for at least one week. 

It’s best to stay close to your plastic surgeon during this critical time frame as it’s when most serious postoperative complications tend to occur. Also, throughout this period, you may need the nurses and surgeons on hand for any concerns that may arise. 

The most dangerous threat from flying after plastic surgery is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) which occurs when potentially fatal blood clots form, most likely due to immobility. It’s therefore generally advised that you wait a minimum of two weeks for short-haul flights and four weeks for long-haul trips.  

How soon can I drive after breast surgery?

Driving after surgery can carry risks—both to the driver themselves and other road users. This is no different for common cosmetic surgery procedures, such as the tummy tuck or breast augmentation surgery. 

It is a legal requirement that the patient be pain-free before they get behind the wheel. Distracting pain and any prescribed medications may affect the driver’s ability to react safely. 

Mr T K Sankar, Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon says:

 “After breast implant surgery, you should be relatively pain free within 2 weeks. I recommend having someone with you when you drive to start off with. You may want to do short trips in the beginning, and if you are in pain you should not drive”

It’s important that you can drive safely without aggravating your surgical wounds and should be able to quickly and easily perform an emergency stop. Even if you’re feeling well, it’s essential to ask both your surgeon ‘how soon can I drive after breast surgery?’. 

What to Wear After Breast Surgery

Post-operative aftercare is very important. As well as avoiding running, stretching and lifting heavy items, it’s essential to wear a specially designed post-surgical compression bra for at least six weeks after breast augmentation surgery. 

Good support is still important for long-term results, as it avoids irritating your scars. You may therefore want to opt for a comfortable, supportive sports bra until three months after your operation.  

This should also influence your choice of bikini styles, once you are cleared from wearing the post-surgical compression bra. Click here to read our full guide on what to wear after a breast augmentation.

How Long After Breast Surgery Can I Swim?

Another common question we get asked is ‘how long after breast surgery can you swim?’ According to the NHS, you should wait until surgical wounds have healed and no longer cause pain. 

Mr Sankar also recommends waiting at least 2 weeks after the surgery before going for a swim or until the wound is completely dry. Swimming should be for a short duration. Water may create additional moisture and increase risk of infection, so the wound has to be fully healed and dry before going into the water. Swimming can also cause strain on the breast area, which is why you should never get into the swimming pool/ open water if the wound is open.

Sunbathing After Breast Surgery

UV exposure from spending time in the sun (or through the use of tanning beds) is not recommended after breast surgery. This is because stretched tissue from augmentation is more sensitive to sun exposure and therefore more likely to burn. According to Mr Sankar, there is also less sensation in the skin after surgery, so you may not feel the skin burning during sun exposure.

Scars may become inflamed and appear darker and more prominent (hyperpigmentation). Sunbathing after breast surgery also destroys collagen, causing the skin to weaken and become saggy. 

It may be safest to use fake tanning products, waiting up to three weeks to apply and taking care to cover any scar tissue to avoid infection. If you must sunbathe or use tanning beds, it is advisable to wait at least six to eight weeks after surgery and speak with your consultant first. Just be aware that these can increase the incidence of skin cancer at a later date in life. 

Extra care must be taken to protect the breast tissue by applying a high protection UVA/UVB sunblock or cream (at least factor 30) and covering up with clothing for 12 months after surgery. Plasters may also be applied to protect the scar area.  

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, 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 medications, sleep in the right position, engage in the right physical activities, and take the right precautions in everyday activities.

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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 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. 

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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. 

Example of Wedge Pillow

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 for 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 maintain 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 discontinued 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 hours a day 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 who are more prone to bottoming-out, it’s important to wear a supportive bra as often as possible to maintain the longevity of results. 

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Compression bra used after surgery

INCISIONS

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 next 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 using the provided bio-oil, rubbing it 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 is that 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. 

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