Summary: How do you know what you can really expect during the recovery process of a breast augmentation? This article digs deeper and reports a few things to expect after getting breast implants you might not have expected.
Breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the United States, and with good reason. Advancements in surgical techniques have made the procedure faster, safer, and more reliable than ever before, with more than 300,000 patients undergoing the surgery in 2013, according to statistics from The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Although the recuperation process is quicker and easier than it’s ever been, there are still some things to consider before pursuing the surgery. Here’s a quick guide to what to expect after a typical breast augmentation.
Dr. Thomas McNemar, a plastic surgeon who specializes in breast augmentation for Bay Areapatients, says on his website that most patients can get back to work and other light activity within 1 to 2 weeks. So what happens during that first week? You can expect to feel groggy and sore for the first 48 hours or so as the anesthesia wears off and you manage discomfort with prescription meds. Although most people use this time to relax in bed with their favorite books or movies, it’s important to move around at least a few times a day to prevent the development of blood clots. This doesn’t have to be exercise — a short walk around the house is plenty.
After the first 48 hours, your pain and discomfort will begin to improve, and you’ll start getting used to the presence of your larger breasts. Your skin will probably feel tight and stretched as it accommodates the implants, and your breasts themselves may feel firm or appear to sit too high on your chest. These symptoms are normal and will gradually diminish over the next few weeks as swelling reduces and your new implants settle into place, a process sometimes called “dropping.” Depending on the type of implants you have, your doctor may offer you tips for breast massage and other techniques to hasten dropping.
By the second or third day after surgery, you’ll likely have your first follow-up appointment. At this appointment, your surgeon will examine your breasts to ensure they’re healing properly. He or she may change your dressings and give you the go-ahead to bathe. You’ll have a special surgical bra to wear to support your breasts while they heal, and you’ll need to sleep on your back for several nights.
Plastic surgery is an emotional process, and some people report a brief period of depression after surgery, which can be exacerbated by pain medication. These feelings are normal, and it’s a good idea to talk about them with your surgeon or your loved ones instead of keeping them inside. Keep in mind that although recuperation following breast augmentation is easier than in years past, it’s still a process. Patience pays off, and you’ll be trying on new clothes, bras, and swimwear and feeling like your old self again before you know it.
Once you’re cleared to return to work, it’s important to take it easy. Be sure to avoid heavy lifting or a lot of strenuous activity, especially if it involves your upper body. Regardless of the type of work you do, if you’re struggling or feel like you’re straining yourself, talk to your boss about temporarily adjusting your hours, your workload, or even working from home.
Keep in mind that these tips are just guidelines. Your doctor will give you more specific instructions depending on his or her preferred surgical technique. The best things you can do during the healing process are to be patient, treat yourself well, ask for help when you need it, and follow your doctor’s instructions. A beautiful, enhanced figure is within your reach.