Breast Augmentation Surgery Tips
Size & Shape Options
The size of your breasts after surgery depends largely on your current size and how large an implant you choose. Many women tend to obsess over the perfect size, but the important thing is to have realistic expectations.
Pre-Breast Augmentation Surgery
Once you have elected to have breast augmentation surgery, chosen your implants and the incision location, there are a number of smaller tasks you will have to take care of before and after the surgery. While the larger health and cosmetic questions may be foremost in your mind, there are some smaller, practical matters to be addressed. Here are some tips:
At the initial consultation:
- Bring a list of any medications (prescription or over-the-counter) and herbal or vitamin supplements that you're taking
- Know your medical history and be able to provide the names and phone numbers of any doctors that you’re seeing
- Advise the doctor of any surgical complications you’ve experienced in the past, such as with anesthesia
- Get directions to the facility where you plan to have the procedure
- Request a list of pre-operative and post-operative instructions, which may include: discontinuing certain medications, showering recommendations, a list of medications to take prior to the procedure, a requirement of no eating or drinking after midnight and a list of supplies you will need after surgery
- Determine the type of support offered by the practice throughout recovery
- Request emergency contact phone numbers
The days before breast augmentation surgery:
- Purchase anything you may need for recovery
- Follow instructions provided by the doctor regarding medication
- Find someone who can drive you home after the procedure and stay with you, if necessary, for the first few days after surgery
- Fill any post-operative prescriptions necessary
- Stop smoking as long as two weeks before surgery. Smoking can cause nausea and aggravate the lungs during surgery. Smoking can also slow the recovery process
The night before breast augmentation surgery:
- Pack your bag, bringing any personal items you might need
- Remove credit cards or valuables from your purse the night before surgery.
- Bring a container to hold your eyeglasses or contact lenses
- Bring comfortable clothes to wear after the procedure
- Bring your insurance card, advance directive, living will, or medical power of attorney if you have these documents
- Follow instructions regarding food and drink. Most surgeries require no eating or drinking after midnight
What will the day of breast augmentation surgery be like?
- The surgery may be performed in a hospital, free-standing ambulatory facility or office-based surgical suite
- Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. Frequently, local anesthesia and intravenous sedation are used for patients undergoing breast augmentation, although general anesthesia may be desirable in some instances
- When surgery is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. Your breasts will be wrapped in gauze dressings or a surgical bra
- You may be permitted to go home after a few hours, unless you and your plastic surgeon have determined that you will stay in the hospital or surgical facility overnight. Be sure to arrange transportation help if needed
Post-Breast Augmentation Surgery
How will my breasts look and feel after the breast implants have been inserted?
Stitches are removed about a week after the surgery. You may experience discoloration and swelling at first, which is normal and should diminish quickly. Most residual swelling will resolve within a month.
When can I expect to resume my normal activities after breast augmentation?
While it will take several days to return to normal activities after your breast augmentation, it is important to your recovery that you get up and move around within a couple of days following surgery. You can usually shower after just a few days or a week, as well as return to work -- depending on the amount of physcial stress your job involves. You should avoid physical activity for at least the first couple of weeks following surgery. Of course, you should follow your doctor's recommendations for the exact time you should allow yourself to recover.
Discomfort after surgery varies from patient to patient. On average, discomfort is mild to moderate following implant placement over the muscle. Discomfort is moderate to severe following implant placement under the muscle.
Swelling is less of an issue if the breast implants are placed over the muscle and most if placed under the muscle. In either case, it is usually at its peak three to five days after surgery and improves thereafter. If your implants are over the muscle, 75 percent of the swelling will be gone in two weeks and the rest will resolve over the next several weeks. If your implants are placed under the muscle, 75 percent of the swelling will be gone in two to four weeks, and the rest will resolve over a few months.
Most plastic surgeons will let you remove your bandages and shower within a few days (so it’s a good idea to shower the morning prior to your surgery).
Post Breast Augmentation Operation Tips
- It’s important to get plenty of rest, even if you’re having an easy recovery
- Make sure you have someone take you home after surgery and stay with you for at least the first 24-48 hours
- Don’t take pain medications on an empty stomach. Eating usually helps ward off any potential nausea
- Have easy-to-wear clothes ready, such as button-up shirts and pull-on pants, so you don't have to search for them after the surgery
- Have your surgeon’s phone number, as well as emergency or after-hours number, by your phone
- Clean your house and do your laundry a day or two before your surgery, so you don't have to worry about it for several days
- Go grocery shopping for two weeks' worth of food prior to the surgery. Buy simple, light foods like crackers, puddings, soups and applesauce in case you don't have much of an appetite. Meal replacement drinks rich in vitamins are also a good idea
- It’s a good idea to have plenty of books, magazines and movies on hand for the first few days or week, but avoid comedies since laughing will cause your chest muscles to flex
- If you have a dog that needs to be walked, you should make arrangements with someone to do it for you for at least the first week
- If you have problems with itching, putting lotion on your breasts should help -- just be sure to avoid the incisions
- Drinking plenty of water and moving around will help the post-op swelling go down
- If necessary, take whatever anti-nausea medication your surgeon prescribes. If you don’t have any or have run out, try ginger or peppermint, both of which are supposed to help with nausea
- Walk with your shoulders held back -- don’t slouch -- to avoid back pain
- Call your doctor immediately if you notice any signs of infection like fever, redness, pus, inflammation or excessive swelling
- General anesthesia, pain medications and lack of sleep from surgery can cause mood swings. This is normal and should pass in a few days
- It’s common for the nipples to be extra-sensitive after surgery. Try numbing creams, nursing pads and silk camisoles to help
- Don’t submerge your incisions in water until they’re completely closed, as this can lead to infection. Showers are best, as the pressure of the water will help relax the sore chest muscles