Postoperative pain and recovery time are major concerns for any patient undergoing surgery. I think this may be even more of a concern with cosmetic surgery patients, because getting time off work can be tough. Today we’re going to talk about breast augmentation recovery, including what type of pain you can expect, what your doctor may offer in terms of pain control, and how long you may need off work afterward.
Every person responds to pain differently, of course, so I can only speak in generalizations. But breast augmentation is often less painful than patients expect. When you meet with a Plastic Surgeon to discuss breast augmentation, ask him or her what medications will be prescribed for pain. Many physicians will prescribe a narcotic pain medication. Some will also prescribe a muscle relaxant as well, especially if the implant is placed under the pectoral muscle. In addition to medications, my patients can also request a pain pump- a tiny catheter which diffuses local anesthetic into the surgical site for the first three days, significantly reducing pain. Also, be aware that larger implants generally are more painful than smaller implants, because they are stretching the overlying tissue more.
How long you need to be off work really depends on the type of work you do. If your job does not involve any heavy lifting, you may be able to return to work after several days to a week. I do limit lifting for the first month, however, because it increases the risk of bleeding and developing a hematoma (a collection of blood) at the surgical site. Even with these limitations, however, it is important to continue moving your arms and stretching your upper body after surgery to decrease pain and stiffness. Your surgeon may give you several stretching exercises to start the day of surgery.
Here are some questions to keep in mind and discuss with your surgeon regarding your recovery from breast augmentation:
- Will my implants be under or over the muscle?
- How large will my implants be?
- What will I be given for pain after surgery?
- What are my activity restrictions after surgery?
- How long will I need to be off work?
Do you have any questions regarding breast augmentation?