Although my patients are always excited to see the results of their breast augmentation in Chicago, they almost always have some concerns about the recovery period. Whether they’re busy professionals, active mothers, or devoted athletes, worries over things such as mobility and discomfort are common and natural. In this blog post, I’m hoping to put some of those concerns to rest, as I’ve done before on the popular online forum RealSelf, where I’ve answered a number of questions related to recovery.
Here are 7 tips that my patients have found to be very helpful for their recovery process, and I think you will appreciate them, too:
1. Be prepared to take a few days off work. Although most of my patients feel well enough to return to work after 3 days if they have a desk job, each patient’s recovery process is unique to her body and its ability to heal. Recovery time is also related to the size of the implants; larger implants involve more stretching of the muscle and tissue around the breast. Therefore, your recovery time will be a little longer if you choose larger implants. During your consultation, your surgeon gives you a better idea of your recovery timeline and suggests when it is ideal for you to return to work depending on your job. Remember that it’s important to listen to your body as you recover. If you feel you need more downtime after your augmentation, take the needed time to heal.
2. Take the proper steps to reduce pain and swelling. If prescribed by your doctor, pick up pain medication before your procedure. It’s better to have it and not need it! If you don’t receive a prescription for medication, your surgeon will likely suggest that you take over-the-counter medicines as directed to manage any discomfort. Again, this depends on your body and its unique ability to heal. Regardless, you’ll feel some discomfort for a few weeks after the surgery, as this user inquired about on RealSelf. In my answer, I explained that the body’s “normal response to muscle stretch is pain.”
To treat swelling, use cold compresses, remain sitting upright throughout the day, and refrain from moving around too much. Wear your surgical bra or a bra without underwire at all times during the weeks after your surgery to ensure your breasts are supported in the proper position (more on that in No. 3). Regardless of the precautions you take, your breasts will remain noticeably swollen for up to 3 weeks after your surgery. After that, you will still have some minor swelling for about 3 months as your breasts settle into place, but likely at a level that only you will notice.
3. Purchase the appropriate clothing. During your consultation, you should ask your surgeon about proper undergarments to wear after your surgery. Many of my patients are most comfortable without a bra for a few days, and then wear a bra without a wire for a few weeks. Other times, patients will wear a supportive surgical bra that is soft, breathable, and supports their enhanced contours. These choices depend on the patient and her body. However, every patient will want to have some soft, comfortable clothing to wear during the days after surgery. Tops should be easy to remove from the front as it may be hard to reach over your head; zip-up and button-up tops are perfect choices. Clothing that is stretchy, breathable, and will not irritate the skin is best, so be sure your favorite sweats are ready to wear.
4. Eat and drink as you normally would. One of the most important things you can do after your surgery is stay hydrated. Drink lots of healthy liquids like water, juice, and Gatorade. Hydration will help you get back to feeling like yourself more quickly, manage swelling, and prevent other issues that could arise. Immediately after your surgery, you may want to only consume bland foods like toast or soup. Because you may be sore for a few days, you may find it helpful to prepare some meals ahead of time and pop them in the microwave or oven when you’re ready to eat. However, you’re not restricted to any particular diet, so eat as you please!
5. Ask for support. While you will be required to have an adult friend or family member drive you home after your procedure, don’t hesitate to ask them to a take time to check on you as you heal. Anesthesia from your surgery will make you feel drowsy and “out of it” for a day or 2, so as I mention in this RealSelf answer, you won’t be able to drive for 18 hours after the surgery or perform some tasks around the house. Additionally, you may find it difficult to care for children and pets as you normally do, so having someone willing and able to help you watch your kids and critters at this time will ensure your safety and a speedy recovery.
6. Set up a comfortable space. After your augmentation, you’ll spend a few days sleeping on your back propped up and sitting upright with limited mobility. It’s important to have a comfortable place to sit and relax while you recover. The night or morning before your surgery, set up pillows in a bed or arm chair so you can prop yourself up in a supportive position. Additionally, place some drinks, snacks, books, the TV remote, and other sources of entertainment within arm’s reach so you’ll be most comfortable.
7. Time it right. If you want to be able to enjoy your results by the summer, the winter is the time to start planning. Although you can usually swim within a couple weeks after your procedure once your incisions are healed, it takes the breasts several more weeks after that to “settle” and adopt their final shape as your body gets used to the implants. Because of this, it is best to undergo breast augmentation in the fall or winter when you spend more time indoors and have plenty of time to heal and recover. Consider the season before scheduling your surgery.
To learn more about breast augmentation options, procedures, FAQs, and more, I invite you to visit the breast augmentation section of my blog. To see some of my actual patient results, look through my online breast augmentation photo gallery. If you’d like to discuss your candidacy for breast augmentation in person, I invite you to contact my office today to schedule a consultation.