Below is a list of frequently asked questions about breast augmentation recovery. For answers to additional post-operative breast augmentation questions, see Q&A with Dr. Pfeifer.
- What can I expect the day of surgery?
- When can I shower after surgery?
- How long will I need help around the house?
- Which medications should I take?
- How long does swelling last?
- How long do I have to sleep on my back?
- When can I exercise?
- When can I pick up and hold my kids?
- When can I go back to work?
- When will I see my final breast augmentation results?
- How soon can I have a breast surgery revision?
Immediately after your breast augmentation, you will still be feeling the effects of anesthesia and will need a ride home, as well as post-operative care from a friend or family member for at least 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Dr. Pfeifer uses a specifice medication protocol to minimize discomfort that works beautifully. It includes muscle relaxants, non-steroidal medication such as Motrin and very small amounts of narcotic pain medication such as Vicodin (only if necessary). Using this protocol, patients maintain their comfort level at a 2 or 3, on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is the least discomfort.
Typically, patients are allowed to shower 48 hours after breast augmentation.
After breast augmentation, you'll need help around the house the first few days after surgery. In about five to seven days, you will be able to resume most normal activities that don't involve vigorous exercise or lifting more than 5 lbs. You should be able to drive 5-7 days after surgery.
Pain medication and antibiotics will be prescribed to you after breast augmentation. Arnica Montana, an herbal supplement, is recommended to help with bruising, and vitamins C and E arerecommended to bolster your body's natural healing process and prevent capsular contracture.
About 80% of your swelling will clear up within two to three weeks. The remaining 20% will likely take a few months to completely resolve. Icing your breasts will also help reduce swelling.
You will only need to sleep on your back for about the first 10 days after surgery, as doing so will help reduce your swelling and discomfort. After this time, you may return to sleeping on your side or stomach if you feel comfortable.
Moderate exercise and aerobics will not be allowed for at least two weeks, and a minimum of four to six weeks must pass before more vigorous exercise, weight training and contact sports may be attempted. Remember that sex is also considered exercise.
With submuscular breast implants it will take longer for you to be able to lift and hold or carry your children than with subglandular breast implants. It is best to wait at least one to three weeks to lift, hold or carry children, especially if they weigh more than 15 lbs.
If your job doesn't require any strenuous activity or heavy lifting, you should be able to return to work within one week. Treat all strenuous work activities as vigorous exercise and wait at least three to four weeks before attempting them. Note that breast implants placed submuscularly require a longer recovery period and may inhibit your activities longer than with subglandularly placed implants.
Don't even begin to assess your breast augmentation results for the first month after surgery. After about three months you will have a good idea what your final outcome will look like, however your breasts will still be fully healing and settling for the next year.
Because the breasts are still healing for several months after your initial breast augmentation, it is best to wait at least six months to one year before having a breast surgery revision.