Too many times, women who are considering breast augmentation surgery are told a dizzying number of estimates concerning how quickly their post-op recovery will take. Since we’re talking about the most popular plastic surgery in the world, it’s even more important to rely on the experience and advice of board certified plastic surgeons.
Beware of anyone who guarantees you can recover from breast augmentation surgery either way too fast or abnormally slow. Especially those surgeons who don’t give you safe guidelines about how quickly you can return to your normal lifestyle, including an active workout schedule. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Stephan Finical of Charlotte describes the amazing, true recovery of breast augmentation, and the weeks that follow the rapid surgical recovery.
First Things First
One thing that is true about modern breast augmentation is the speedy surgical recovery. The surgery itself has been honed to provide patients a recovery within 24 hours – meaning pain will more or less dissipate and patients can return to most of their daily routines, save exercise.
During your breast augmentation recovery, your breasts will be wrapped in gauze dressings and an elastic bandage or support bra will minimize swelling and support the breasts as they heal. Right after surgery, you will be taken into a recovery area for close monitoring. You may be given the green light to have someone else drive you home when you are stable for discharge, typically after at least an hour or so.
Before leaving, you will be given specific post-operative instructions for your breast implant recovery and a follow-up appointment with your plastic surgeon. You may also receive medications or a prescription, but many plastic surgeons prescribe post-operative medications in advance. Your prescribed medications may include pain pills and an antibiotic to prevent infection.
Wear your support garment (a bra or elastic band, called a bandeau) around the clock as instructed by your plastic surgeon. Some surgeons may ask patients cleanse the incision sites and apply ointment, while others will ask their patients to keep tape or a bandage on. Instructions vary, so it’s important to follow all your plastic surgeon’s directions carefully.
“It’s the most common procedure we do in our practice, so recovery is real important,” says Dr. Finical. “And most ladies will recover from that in a long weekend. So if we did a surgery, let’s say on a Thursday, see the patient back in the office on Friday. Make sure they’re doing well, that their medicines are doing well for them. They’ll have a post-op bra on. If that one’s working for them, I’ll give them a second one so they can wash one and have one to wear.”
One Big No-No: Lifting Anything More Than a Gallon of Milk
Because it is possible to bleed into the pockets around the breast implants for the first several days, take it easy until you have permission to increase your activity level. Acute pain typically subsides after one to five days, but you may experience soreness and swelling for a few weeks. Resume exercise and normal activity according to your plastic surgeon’s directions.
“For the first 10-14 days you can shower, but you can’t soak in a tub,” Dr. Finical continues. “You can’t get in a hot tub, you can’t get in a pool. And you can’t jump in the ocean.”
Contrary to popular belief, those who opt for larger implants will not experience a longer recovery period following cosmetic breast augmentation. They may, however, have more difficulty adjusting to their new breast size than those who opt for a subtler increase.
OK, I’m Itching to Get Back to the Gym
Each recovery carries its own individual timetable, but the 30-day post op mark is generally a safe date to consider returning to your health club.
“Usually then at that time, I’ll tell people they can start to get back to exercise,” shares Finical. “And they’ll ease themselves back in over the next couple of weeks. So essentially four weeks after surgery they’re doing what they were the day before their surgery.”