After I perform your breast augmentation, my patients feel it takes about 3 weeks to feel like themselves again.
About two days after surgery, my patients come into the office so I can remove their initial dressing, and put them in a post-operative bra, which clips in the front, making it easier to maneuver. Once the large surgical dressing is off, you can apply ice to the chest to help with swelling and any discomfort.
I like my patients to wear their surgical bra for three weeks after surgery, to stabilize the breast position. Of course, you may remove the bra to wash it, and/or to shower.
Head elevation is useful for the first 48 hours to keep swelling away from the chest. Diet is normal as tolerated.
Pain lessens after the swelling improves, about 36-48 hours after surgery. I will give you pain pills to help reduce the pain.
For the first three days after surgery, I recommend keeping your arms near your sides and not to reach for things, to minimize pectoralis muscle motion, and therefore minimize the risk for bleeding.
After three days, I encourage arm motion to avoid any limitation in shoulder motion. The goal is to raise both hands straight above your head so the backs of your hands touch each other. Once there, you are good to go, though do avoid heavy lifting (20 pounds or more) for three weeks.
Then the only limitations are to avoid any medications that could “thin” the blood and increase the chances of bleeding for two weeks before and after surgery. I will provide you with a list of what medications to avoid.
Also, smoking should be avoided for three days before and three days after surgery to optimize the chance of successful wound healing.
The last restriction is to keep the wound clean and dry until sutures are out (about 10-14 days post-surgery). Now there are some excellent water-proof bandages on the market (e.g., Nex-Care) that you can put over the wound and dressing (usually Steri-Strips), shower, and then remove. If the dressing still gets wet, use a hair dryer to blow it dry. Note too there are some types of dressings which allow showering right away (Dermabond – a clear adhesive), and is now able to be used in some cases. This will gradually peel off on its own as you shower over the following days.
Once sutures are out, there is no further limitation in activities. Go ahead and do what you want, but always let pain be your guide. If it hurts, wait, and try again in a few more days. If it’s comfortable, then proceed.
You can drive after about five days, once you are sure you could slam on the brakes if you had to stop suddenly. Remember, one can’t predict what other drivers will do.
When you can go back to work depends on your job. If there is no heavy lifting (defined as 20 pounds or more), then as soon as you feel up to it, probably in about one to two weeks. If your implants are placed on top of the muscle, they don’t hurt as much since your muscles don’t have to stretch, and usually you can return to work in a week.
No underwire bra for six weeks after surgery. You may find you don’t even need one at all due to the new look and position of the breasts.
I would love to hear from you. To obtain more information about breast augmentation and to schedule a consultation, please call my office at (727) 547-9244.