Most patients who have breast augmentation report experiencing a relatively hassle-free recovery period, thanks to the safety of modern surgical methods. At the same time, however, there’s a lot you can—and should—do to help your body heal and lower your risk of post-surgical complications. Outlined below are a number of essential strategies you can use to ensure you have a smooth, pleasant recovery experience:
Arrange for a caregiver to help you after you have surgery.
You’ll be very tired and groggy for the first few days after you have your breasts augmented owing to the after effects of general anesthesia. As such, you’ll need someone to drive you home from the hospital, help you get into bed, make sure you take your medication on time, and help you perform other acts of self-care.
Note that if you have young children, you should hire a nanny to assist you in looking after them (unless grandma or grandpa are willing to temporarily stay with you and help you). You won’t be able to lift anything heavier than 5-10 pounds for at least a few weeks after you have breast augmentation surgery, so you’ll need someone there with you around the clock to help you carry your children, prepare meals, clean up, etc.
Treat your body well, both before and after your surgery.
As the old adage states, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Taking certain steps before you have surgery (such as quitting smoking, exercising regularly, and eating well) will make sure your body is in peak surgery-ready condition. Quitting smoking and taking up exercise will increase the amount of oxygen that’s available in your blood and improve your circulation, both of which will speed healing and lower your risk of complications. Eating a diet rich in whole, natural foods will give your body the nutrients it needs to repair tissue damage and combat post-surgical fatigue.
Create a designated “recovery area” for yourself.
While breast augmentation recovery is not usually particularly painful, you will probably find moving around uncomfortable for at least three to five days. You’ll need to get up and walk around a little bit each day to keep blood clots from forming, but minimizing bending and twisting movements is important. (By not bending or twisting your abdomen, you’ll reduce the amount of stress placed on your incisions and thereby prevent tearing). As such, we recommend that our patients set up a designated “recovery area” where everything they need will be within easy reach. Your recovery area should include:
- Your bed, outfitted with extra pillows. You’ll want at least two or three additional pillows so that you can keep your head and feet propped up while you rest. Likewise, if you tend to roll over during the night, you should place pillows beside you to prevent you from doing so. Sleeping on your back is required while you’re recovering from breast implant surgery. (Laying on your stomach could cause your implants to move before the tissue around them has fully healed.)
- A selection of healthy, light snacks you can eat. Soft foods like bananas, applesauce, and pudding will prove especially helpful as you may be a bit nauseous after surgery. (Note that it’s a good idea to eat something right before you take your pain medication. Taking pain medication on an empty stomach can worsen nausea.)
- Several large water bottles. Staying hydrated is always important, but it’s especially necessary after surgery.
- Any medications you will need to take on a daily basis. If you take vitamins or supplements, you should also put them beside your bed.
- Any mobile devices you use regularly and their chargers. Make sure you can plug your devices in without bending down or having to reach below your bed.
- Enough entertainment to keep you occupied for at least a few days. Gather up your favorite books and decide on a selection of movies to watch while you recover. If you enjoy any light creative activities, like crocheting, knitting, or sketching, you may want to arrange some craft supplies near your bedside. By about day four, your head should be clear enough that you’ll find yourself wanting to keep busy.
Follow the recovery advice given to you by your surgeon.
Dr. Livingston will give you specific instructions to follow while you’re healing (such as which activities to avoid and how to care for your incisions); it’s incredibly important that you take his advice. Even if you feel better after a week or two, attempting to exercise prematurely can easily do damage to your still-healing tissues. Don’t rush recovery—good things always take time.
Do you have any questions about breast augmentation recovery that weren’t answered in this guide? Feel free to contact us; we’ll be happy to explain anything else you want to know about recovering from this procedure.