Everyone woman is different, which is why there’s no “one-size-fits-all” option for breast augmentation. The type of implants you choose and the size of those implants can be very different from the type and size of implants chosen by another person. Just as there’s no one-size-fits-all breast augmentation surgery, there’s no one-size-fits-all recovery process. How you feel during your recovery from surgery might be very different from the feelings and experiences of another.
That said, there are some commonalities to the recovery process that can help you better prepare for it and give you a fair idea of what to expect as you recuperate. Generally speaking, the initial recovery after surgery takes about a week or two. Many people are fully recovered and back to their usual lives within four to eight weeks. Here’s a basic idea of what to expect during that time.
The First 24 Hours After Surgery
You’ll most likely be given general anesthesia, which will put you completely under during breast augmentation surgery. After the surgery is complete, you’ll stay in a recovery room while the anesthesia wears off. As you wake up, you might feel a little out of sorts or groggy.
Once the anesthesia has fully worn off, the surgeon will most likely clear you to go home the same day as your breast augmentation. You’ll want to make arrangements with a relative or friend beforehand so that you have someone to drive you home and stay by your side overnight.
During that first day, you can expect to have some swelling, bruising and discomfort in the chest area. Your surgeon will recommend that you not wear a bra during this time (and for several weeks afterward), to help the implants settle into the pocket of tissue. If you find the discomfort severe enough, you can take acetaminophen or a pain reliever prescribed by your surgeon.
The First Week After Surgery
A good rule of thumb to follow for the first week after your breast augmentation is: Take it easy. Request time off from work and try to relax at home as much as possible. You don’t have to stay in bed, but you should avoid any strenuous activity. It’s also a good idea to avoid lifting your arms up over your head. Ask others to lift items up for you or to reach items on high shelves.
What can you do during the first week after breast augmentation? Quiet activities, such as watching movies, reading books or chatting with friends, are usually best. You might not feel up to more vigorous activities, including things like cooking dinner or cleaning your house.
Your plastic surgeon will more likely than not show you how to do breast implant exercises to help keep the pocket in the chest wall open and to reduce the risk of capsular contracture or other complications. You’ll want to do the exercises frequently during the initial recovery time after surgery and should continue to do them for as long as you have the implants.
The First Month After Surgery
Usually, by the end of the first month after surgery, people who have had breast augmentation are starting to feel back to normal. You might have considerably less discomfort in the breast area and swelling and bruising might have gone down a lot. Depending on the type of work you do, you might be back in the office or otherwise back on the job.
At this point, you might be wondering if it’s appropriate to resume activities such as exercise or playing sports. While some people might be healed enough to get back to the gym or back on the field after four weeks, others might need a little extra time. Talk to your surgeon to find out what he recommends and to get a sense of when it might be safe to return to your exercise or sports routine.
How to Make Your Recovery Go As Smoothly As Possible
Knowing what you can generally expect during the recovery period after breast augmentation can help to ensure your comfort during the process. Having a plan for the recovery time can also help it go smoothly.
For example, it’s a good idea to stock your refrigerator and freezer with easy-to-prepare meals and snacks so that you don’t have to worry about meal planning during the first few weeks after your breast augmentation. If you usually eat most of your meals out, have a plan to have take-out or delivery sent to your home.
If you have children or pets at home, see if you can arrange to have someone watch them or take them in, particularly during the first week of recovery. Your recovery period can be the perfect excuse for your kids to visit their grandparents or have a week-long sleepover at their cousins’.
Since there are variations in the recovery timeline and because you might experience something different from what another patient experiences, feel free to speak with your plastic surgeon at any point during the recovery period, especially if you have questions or concerns. Your surgeon will most likely schedule at least one or two follow-up appointments with you. You can use those appointments to get more details and to learn more about what you can do to enjoy a comfortable recovery.
A top-rated, board-certified plastic surgeon in Houston, Texas, Dr. Paul Vitenas performs hundreds of breast augmentation surgeries each year and has three decades of experience. To learn more about what you can expect after your surgery and what recovery will really be like, call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation today. You can also book a virtual consultation.