Breast Augmentation Recovery Information

by Edie Pastis

Breast Augmentation Recovery Information

When planning for breast augmentation surgery, knowing what to expect during the recovery period should be of similar or equal importance to the surgical preparation itself. A breast surgery patient should always conduct personal research, as well as consult with their plastic surgeon prior to the procedure; to educate themselves and to inform their expectations for breast augmentation recovery and results. Read on for more details about the breast augmentation recovery process!

Breast Augmentation Recovery Timeline

Before we list and discuss individual variables that can affect your breast surgery recovery, let's examine a basic timeline for breast augmentation recovery. It's helpful to have an idea of what most breast augmentation recovery patients go through, before considering personal risk factors and recovery options.

24-48 Hours into Breast Augmentation Recovery

The first 24-48 hours of breast augmentation recovery are naturally the most difficult and uncomfortable for the patient. Immediately following surgery, patients often feel sore in their back and arms, stiff, and possibly sleepy and/or nauseous. Some patients also report a tight feeling in their chest, and may experience swelling, bruising, and minor pain or discomfort in the incision areas. OTC pain relievers like Tylenol are recommended to ease this first stage of breast augmentation recovery.

Depending on the surgeon's recommendations and the patient's status post surgery, a breast augmentation recovery patient may:

  • Remain at the hospital overnight
  • Go to a licensed recovery facility
  • Stay at a hotel or spa with on-site healthcare professionals to monitor them
  • Return home under the supervision of a responsible friend, loved one or hired caregiver for a minimum of 24 hours post surgery

During the first 24-48 hours of breast augmentation recovery, patients need lots of rest and should avoid physical activity as much as possible. It's very beneficial to have someone remain with the patient throughout this period to prepare meals, help administer pain medication, and assist them with other recovery needs.

For the first day or two after surgery, patient's breasts may also be covered in gauze and/or placed in a surgical bra to maintain shape and add protection. Tubes may initially be attached during breast augmentation recovery to alleviate drainage, but these can usually be removed in a day or two—unless otherwise dictated by the surgeon.

1-2 Weeks into Breast Augmentation Recovery

At 1-2 weeks into their breast augmentation recovery, patients will usually notice that swelling, bruising, pain and numbness have partially or fully subsided. Incision scars may still be noticeably red or pink, and firm to the touch. The specifics of breast augmentation recovery in this time frame vary greatly from patient to patient. Some patients may experience a total reduction of bruising and swelling within 4-5 days, and others may exhibit these symptoms well into their second week of recovery. Occasionally, patients report having no bruising whatsoever post surgery.

By the first or second week, breast augmentation recovery patients should be able to remove the surgical bra, and start resuming their normal dress and routine. Depending on how the patient feels—and unless they work as a fitness instructor—they may be able to return to work at this juncture of their breast augmentation recovery. Intense physical activity or strenuous exercise should still be avoided for a few more weeks to be on the safe side.

One Month into Breast Augmentation Recovery

After a month has passed, most patients' breast augmentation recovery should be at or near completion. Some find that the breasts are still sensitive, and the implants may still be shifting into their permanent placement, but patients should generally be resuming their normal routines at this point. Incision scars will continue to fade past this point, although they will never disappear entirely.

Many doctors and plastic surgeons will still advise breast augmentation recovery patients to limit strenuous exercise and breast contact at this point. Rushing through the recovery process, especially if you're still experiencing swelling or other symptoms, is not the best way to facilitate top results.

Personal Breast Augmentation Recovery Risks and Options

Now that you are familiar with the standard timeline for breast augmentation recovery, it's worthwhile to skim over other personal variables and surgical options that can affect your individual breast augmentation recovery. This knowledge will give you realistic recovery expectations, and can even help minimize your breast augmentation surgery risks.

Here is a list of some personal characteristics and surgical options that can affect the length of your breast augmentation recovery, the ease with which you recover, and the quality of your results, among other things:

  • Age: The older we get, the less efficient and effective our bodies become at repairing us.

  • Skin: Patients with hyper-sensitive skin types will likely exhibit bruising, swelling and scarring to a greater degree than other patients.

  • Medical History: Certain illnesses, conditions and medications could affect the ease and length of breast augmentation recovery. Health problems could also lead to surgical complications.

  • Implant Type: Adjustable breast implant types like saline, which can be filled and adjusted post insertion, usually require smaller incisions and create less tissue trauma. Both of these benefits can lead to a swifter recovery.

  • Implant Placement: It's widely held that submuscular breast implants (below the chest muscle) make for longer, occasionally more difficult breast augmentation recoveries compared to subglandular implants. Placing an implant below the muscle, as opposed to just below the skin, creates more incisions and overall disruption, which will stretch and change the course of recovery.

  • Incision Type: There are 4 main types of breast implant incisions, inframammary (in the breast crease), periareolar (along areola edge), transaxillary (armpit), and TUBA (belly button). Each incision type carries pros and cons in terms of scarring, internal tissue trauma, etc. The incision you and your doctor choose will likely affect the length and ease of your breast augmentation recovery, as well as the permanent scarring results.

Other things to keep in mind when planning your breast augmentation recovery include in-patient accommodation costs, the amount of time off work you'll need for a full recovery, and potential surgical complications and breast augmentation side effects.

Planning Your Own Breast Augmentation Recovery

If you've already decided that you want to have breast augmentation surgery, or are seriously considering it, a licensed and board-certified plastic surgeon can give you all the information you need to plan the surgery and the recovery the right way!

By meeting with a qualified breast augmentation surgeon in your area, you can discuss all of your pre and post breast surgery options, receive knowledgeable treatment recommendations, and plan your breast augmentation recovery and surgery with the help of an expert!

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