Breast Implant Recovery
Recovery is a major consideration before any operation, and is often one of the major concerns my patients have before deciding to have cosmetic surgery. There are many little tips and tricks that can make your recovery easier. In today’s post, I’m going to give some tips for a great breast implant recovery if you decide to have breast augmentation surgery.
Although pain and discomfort are a given after any type of surgery, there are a few factors specific to breast augmentation that can affect your recovery:
Factors that affect breast implant recovery:
- Size of breast implants: Larger breast implants mean the tissue has to stretch farther. This generally means more discomfort. So if your goal is a significant increase in size, it’s quite possible you’ll have more feelings of pain and pressure after surgery.
- The position of the implants: Breast implants can be placed either above or below the muscle. There are benefits to each, which is something your surgeon should discuss with you at your consultation. But if you opt to have your implants placed under the muscle, you will most likely have more discomfort and tightness after surgery.
- Your expectations: I think most of us know how well we deal with pain. Many of my patients are very concerned about how much pain they will have after surgery. This is very normal, and I reassure them that we will manage the pain they do have. But they do often seem to have more discomfort after surgery, or maybe just to be aware of the pain. Other patients seem totally unconcerned, and often they have a history of having other surgery where pain was not a big issue. Long story short, we all experience pain differently. If you expect a fair amount of pain after surgery based on your prior experience, this will probably be true for breast implant recovery as well.
- Your medical history: If you have a history of chronic pain or fibromyalgia your body is more sensitized to pain. This is important to bring up with your surgeon, so she can make sure your postoperative pain is well-managed.
Tips to help your breast implant recovery:
- Get up and move: The more you get up and move around after surgery, the better you will feel. Obviously this is within limits- don’t be going for a 10 mile hike the week after surgery! But at least taking a shower, getting up to fix your own meals, and doing some light stretching will make you feel worlds better than simply laying on the couch all day.
- Anti-inflammatory medications: Narcotic pain medications such as Percocet or Vicodin dull the pain, but they don’t actually treat the underlying cause, which is inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen or Celebrex treat the underlying inflammation, and are actually more effective. But some of these medications increase the risk of bleeding. So be sure to check with your surgeon before taking them.
- Follow instructions: The instructions your surgeon gives you for after surgery are all there to help smooth your breast implant recovery. So following those instructions is very important! I’ve had patients do things like exercise too soon, or not wear their postoperative bra long enough, and they often end up with a slower recovery as a result.
- Have help available: You will have stuff that doesn’t get done in the weeks after your surgery. This okay (really!). But having help available to make sure the essential stuff does get done will make your recovery much easier. Your body does a better job healing when you give it the rest it needs.
- Set your expectations: You are definitely going to have some pain the first couple of days after surgery. This is totally normal. Expecting there will be some pain actually makes your recovery easier because when you expect it, the pain is usually more manageable.
I hope you found these tips for breast implant recovery helpful. If you have other great tips I’d love to hear them in the comments!
Dr. Greer is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Cleveland, OH. Learn more about Dr. Greer at her practice website: www.greerplastics.com.