Breast augmentation can create beautiful results when performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon. However, getting these results also depends on you. What happens during breast augmentation recovery depends on following your surgeon’s post-op care instructions.
Below are some breast augmentation recovery tips—a few do’s and don’ts that will ensure you have as smooth and comfortable a recovery as possible:
Breast Augmentation Recovery: The Do’s
1. Be patient.
Good things take time. Immediately after surgery, your breasts may appear high, tight, or swollen. It may take 6 to 12 weeks for the breasts to reach their final position. As your implants settle, they will begin to soften and take on a more natural-looking appearance. Your scars may take up to 1 year to fully heal. Your results will be worth the wait, as you can see in our patients’ before-and-after photos below and in our photo gallery.
2. Get plenty of rest.
Sleep is essential to a healthy immune system and a smooth recovery. Your body works hard to heal after surgery, and when we sleep, the body can dedicate more blood flow to injured tissues. The increased oxygen and nutrients will promote healing. Try to sleep on your back with your body elevated to minimize fluid buildup and enhance circulation.
3. Stretch out your muscles.
During the first day or 2 after your surgery, begin walking a short distance around your house. Light movement will help reduce swelling, build strength, and support the recovery process. Failure to walk may cause constipation and fatigue. It can also put you at a higher risk for infections and blood clots.
4. Ease back into your workouts.
For the first 2 weeks after surgery, avoid all exercise besides walking to reduce the risk of post-op bleeding. After 2 weeks you can resume lower body exercises, and at 3 weeks you can begin light to moderate upper body exercises. Gradually begin incorporating more intensive workouts into your routine, but don’t overexert yourself! Listen to your body. For more information about exercising and what to expect from life after breast augmentation, read our related blog post.
The Don’ts of Breast Augmentation Recovery
1. Don’t shower immediately.
Wait about 48 hours after your procedure before showering. Be very gentle during your shower, and do not scrub near your incisions. Make sure to pat dry when you get out. Also, do not take a bath or submerge your incisions for about 4 weeks. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons offers more information about breast augmentation recovery.
2. Don’t rush back to work.
Take it easy for the first few days post-op. Most patients can return to “desk work” 3 to 4 days after surgery, but your time off work may need to be longer if your breast augmentation is combined with a breast lift, tummy tuck, or other surgery as part of a Mommy Makeover. However, you may need to take off more time if your job requires more activity, such as that of a police officer, food server, or at-home caregiver. Additionally, you won’t be able to drive until you have stopped taking prescription pain medications.
3. Don’t fly after surgery.
Refrain from flying for at least a couple of weeks after surgery. For instance, after 1 week, your breasts will likely still be swollen, sore, and healing, and you will need to go to follow-up appointments with your surgeon during this time. Additionally, you should not lift anything heavy, including luggage, until your body has had time to heal.
I always tell my patients that there is no definitive way to measure the healing process, either by time or appearance. But as a board-certified plastic surgeon, I will monitor your progress and be available if you have any concerns.