Breast augmentation surgery (also known as augmentation mammoplasty) can be a life-changing experience for women seeking to achieve fuller, perkier breasts or a more youthful appearance. Women seeking to reverse the effects of aging, childbearing and gravity often opt to combine breast augmentation with a breast lift.
Following a breast augmentation, there is a natural recovery period. Here Dr. Ronald Schuster explains some of the processes involved in recovery, along with what to look for in the unlikely event that there is a problem.
What You Will Experience After Surgery
Breast augmentation surgery stretches the breast tissue somewhat. This can be uncomfortable or painful, especially when implants are inserted behind the pectoral muscle. However, most patients do not experience nearly as much pain as they worry about. Dr. Schuster believes in using a lot of long-acting numbing medicine that is injected before the incision is even made. If the tissues are numb beforehand, the patient will not “feel” the pain associated with the procedure. Additional medicine is placed during the surgery and finally, intravenous ibuprofen is given, which dramatically helps to reduce post-op pain. Your breasts may be sensitive to touch, and your skin can feel warm or itchy. There may be a small amount of bloody drainage through the bandage placed over the incisions; this is nothing to worry about.
To alleviate any discomfort, Dr. Schuster will advise you about the proper type and dose of pain medicine to take. NSAIDs and Arnica Montana are the basics to reduce pain, and a light narcotic is also prescribed “just in case.” The pain begins to improve after 48 hours and will get progressively better as time goes on.
Right after surgery, it is not unusual for there to be swelling and even some asymmetry between the right and left breasts. Ice packs can help reduce swelling and reduce discomfort. Taking Arnica Montana can also help. Swelling gets worse over 48 hours and then starts to subside. Swelling can last six to eight weeks. It takes about three months for the breasts to regain their softness and look natural. Even after the swelling subsides, the breasts continue to attain their final shape for up to a year after surgery.
Returning to Work and Activity
Plan to rest for several days and up to a week after surgery. You can shower beginning on the third day after breast augmentation.
If you don’t have a physically demanding job, it may be possible to return to it after a few days. You can drive after one week, as long as you are comfortable enough to stop in an emergency.
During the healing process it is advisable to refrain from strenuous exercise. Returning to work and to your normal routine should be done only after consulting with Dr. Schuster.
Wearing a Bra
Dr. Schuster will determine whether or not a post-operative bra should be worn. If so, wear it at all times, removing it only to shower, until you are advised to do otherwise.
The best way to discuss your questions and concerns about breast augmentation is to meet with Dr. Schuster in person. During your appointment, he will discuss the recovery process, and will recommend the type of surgery he feels will provide the optimal results. Please contact our Baltimore office to request an appointment with Dr. Schuster today.
Problems to Look For
It is very rare to experience a real problem after breast augmentation. Sudden, very painful swelling in one of the breasts is not normal and could indicate a hematoma. High fevers or chills are also not usual after surgery. Severe nausea with or without vomiting is not desirable. If any of these occur, you should contact Dr. Schuster through the office for further help and instructions.