The decision to receive breast implants is one that should be taken with due consideration. It is essential to:
- Choose a qualified and experienced surgeon
- Decide on implant material and size wisely
- Familiarize yourself with the augmentation procedure
- Set realistic expectations
Although often overlooked it is also important to:
- Educate yourself regarding what to expect during the recovery process
Each individual’s healing process will be unique in some ways but there are some basic commonalities. Here are some general guidelines regarding what to expect in the first month after surgery.
Knowing what to expect and being prepared will help you relax and recover without undue anxiety. Being patient as the body heals will help ensure you don’t suffer a setback!
After Surgery: Week 1
Following a time of observation immediately after surgery it will become possible for you to return to your own home to rest. You will need to be driven home.
The first 2-3 days are likely to be the most uncomfortable of your entire recovery. Your doctor should ensure that you have an appropriate and effective pain management plan. Prepare to spend the first several days, relaxing and reclining, perhaps watching series, reading your favourite books or indulging in magazines. The initial emphasis after your procedure and your priority is to rest.
Expect to notice swelling and possible bruising. Remember, it takes time for implants to settle so do not stress out if implant placement seems high in the first few days. The position and appearance of the implants will change as the body accommodates them. To help in achieving the best possible results it is important that you wear suitable supportive bra’s, or post-operative bra’s as directed.
After a week it will be possible for you to begin showering (i.e. getting your incision/s wet). Depending on the procedure and type of closures used, your doctor should give you personalized instruction regarding this.
Recovery Tip: Definitely have a friend or partner who has agreed to help you during the first few days of recovery. They should be educated with what to expect and be willing to lend a hand especially in the first two days. The importance of this cannot be overemphasized.
Why? Even simple things like opening the bottle on your painkillers may require assistance.
After Surgery: Week Two
As long as your employment is not physically demanding, it is now most likely safe to go back to work. If you are unsure at the time, contact your doctor.
Pain should lessen during this time period. Inflammation should be controllable and ought to be subsiding from the previous week. Implants will continue to shift and settle. Traditional stitches are usually removed around this time. Dissolvable stitches, tape, or glue also generally last a few weeks.
Physical movement can be increased and most women will be showering and washing their hair with more ease by this point. It is still not recommended to go swimming, including a minor dip into a jacuzzi. If recommended, breast massage can now begin.
Recovery Tip: Take photos during the first and second week.
Why? During the recovery process it can sometimes feel like nothing is changing, however a review of photographs from day one will show you just how much has!
After Surgery: Week Three
The risk of infection or complication will have dropped considerably by this time. The vast majority of women will have switched to Over the Counter Painkillers by this point.
The majority of swelling should be down. Some women report “Pins and Needles” nerve sensation in the nipple area as nerve connections heal.
The majority of daily activities can be resumed by this point. Gentle exercise can now be pursued. In the majority of cases it is now okay to go swimming in the pool or at the beach etc.
For many women this is around the time they start to feel more like themselves and begin getting used to their new shape.
Recovery Tip: Expect to experience a range of emotions through the recovery period and continue to make self-care a priority.
Why? Women report that it often takes an adjustment to get used to an aesthetic change. Be kind to yourself and allow for your own unique experience as you recover.
After Surgery: Week Four
Swelling should be substantially subsided and in many cases gone. Bruising is normally healed by this time too. By the end of the month, pain relievers should no longer be necessary in most cases.
It is now safe to resume a physical fitness routine. Be cautious about exercising your chest muscles to avoid a healing setback or injury. A good motto when working out is: if it hurts don’t do it!
I would recommend continuing with a supportive, non-underwire bra for the first three months after surgery.
Recovery Tip: As the month closes out it may be a nice treat to go shopping for a new undergarment but think carefully before investing immediately in a whole new collection.
Why? Implants are likely to continue to settle until about 3 months and therefore comfortable sizing could still change for you.
Personalized Care that is Right for You
Personally, I shall recommend the do’s and don’ts of recovery, along with individual instructions to address your unique needs in detail.
Following medical advice will contribute to helping you achieve the best results from your procedure. As your surgeon, I make myself available to answer questions or speak to concerns that may arise during your recovery process.
Feel confident to contact me anytime, in between your scheduled post-operative check-up appointments.