NIGHT AFTER SURGERY
Temporary bruising, swelling and numbness are common the first night after surgery. You may need to go to the bathroom frequently during the night because of the IV fluids you were given during your surgery. Drink a lot of fluids in order to keep up with this fluid loss. As your body begins to balance itself out, it will rid itself of this extra “water weight and everything will return back to normal. You should leave all of your bandages intact overnight including your Bra and elastic ACE wrap.
ONE DAY AFTER SURGERY
The next morning following your surgery, you will return to Dr Motykie’s office for your first post-operative visit. You should leave all bandages and dressings intact overnight and until you reach the office the following morning. Upon arrival to the office you will be escorted to a private examination room where your dressings will be changed and your operative sites will be evaluated. After your examination, you will be placed back into your surgical brassiere and ACE compression wrap and you will be allowed to return back to your home. All of your questions will be answered and you will be given instructions for the following week that will include the following:
You may feel tired and sore for several days following the surgery. Your breasts will be swollen and tender. You may also experience a feeling of “tightness” in the chest area. The sensation/feeling in the areolas/nipples may also be diminished the immediate post-operative period and may take several months to return to normal. Specific instructions regarding exercise, bras, compression bandages/garments will also be provided. Strenuous activity, particularly utilizing the chest and arms, will be restricted for the first few weeks after surgery. You will most likely be able to return to work within a few days depending on your job. Patients may shower the next day after surgery with care taken to not soak the sticky tapes over the insertion site. Aerobic and impact cardio exercise should be avoided for one to two weeks post-operatively. Weight lifting should be avoided for 3-4 weeks post-operatively and chest exercise should not begin until 6 weeks post-operatively. The resumption of and amount of physical /athletic activity should be guided by the level of patient discomfort with “pain” being the ultimate guide. Any excessive inflammation can lead to an increased risk of scar tissue formation and eventual capsular contracture that can be fraught with numerous chronic problems.
ONE WEEK AFTER SURGERY
The results of your surgery will typically be obscured by swelling and bruising at one week after surgery. In fact, you may even notice during the first week or two after your surgery that your breast appear slightly “too large”. Do not be alarmed, this is completely normal and is due to swelling from the surgery. If the breasts were the perfect size immediately after surgery, they would most likely end up being too small after the swelling resolves. Some people can return to work after a few days and some after one week. Most patients can drive their vehicles within a few days after surgery, but plan on having someone drive you to your first few post-operative visits anyway. In regards to an exercise program, use common sense and use pain as your guide; if it hurts, simply don’t do it! The majority of patients are allowed to return to light, low impact cardiovascular exercise after the first week of recovery.
During this time period, there may be some moderate pain, but it can typically be treated with your prescription pain medications. You may want to wear an athletic or support bra until the swelling has subsided (Bra information). Heavy lifting or straining should be avoided after surgery because this can cause the breasts to swell and increase pressure. You can typically return to work within a week and to full activity within a few weeks. Sensation in your nipples may be reduced temporarily, but should return to normal or become hypersensitive as your breasts heal.
ONE MONTH AFTER SURGERY
If you are still feeling a bit tired during this time don’t worry because it will take you a few weeks or months to feel completely like yourself again. Depending on the amount of physical exertion required to perform your expected duties, you should already be back into your normal rhythm at work. Exercise and workout routines may begin at this point in your recovery process with pain as your ultimate guide. Any activity that causes discomfort and/or pain needs to be avoided until further along in your recovery process. When you return to the activity, start at half speed and increase to your normal routine as long as you do not feel any pain during and/or the day after your workout. Although exercising will not adversely affect your end result, it may temporarily cause more swelling immediately after the exercise that will subside over the next few hours. The majority of my breast augmentation patients are back to their regular workout routine within a couple of 4-6 weeks after their surgery.
During this period, sensory changes of the nipples and breast are normal and only temporary. Typically, normal sensitivity will return slowly over time. Lastly, as sensation begins to return some patients experience a hypersentivity in the nipples and/or areolas. This is also completely normal and temporary, and is a sign that normal sensation is beginning to return to the breasts. Over the next several months many of the benefits of your breast augmentation surgery will begin to materialize and you will begin to enjoy the transformation you have received form your breast surgery.
- Surgical Bra: At this point in time you are no longer required to be wearing any surgical compression garment. However, many patients choose to continue some sort of light compression clothing during this time period including spanks or similar spandex type clothing.
- Breast Massage Routine: You breast massage routine should be continued for at least the first few months post-operatively. Massaging your breast hastens the healing process and it will help to keep them as soft and natural as possible.
- Healing Process: There are some procedures/ treatment modalities available that can support and/or may accelerate your healing process such as Endermologie, Ultrasound and/or Radiofrequency treatments.
- Scar Therapy: Although all women are concerned with scarring following a breast lift procedure, the healing process has been accelerated and modified by numerous scar therapies and scar treatment modalities that are now available. These include topical scar creams, silicone sheeting and laser scar treatments.
LONG TERM RESULTS
All patients vary in their ability and speed to recovery after surgery but most commonly you can expect the final result from surgery to be evident at six months after surgery. During this time period, I recommend continuing your breast massage routine at least until the point in time when the breasts become naturally soft and non-tender. During this time period, it is critical to let your surgeon know about any dental work, colds, fevers, sore throats, injuries, breast pain or other surgeries you may be planning in the first six months post-operatively. By this point in time, your breasts should be close to their final shape and size and it is therefore the proper time to begin shopping for additional bras and swimwear.
I inform my patients to be careful after their breast augmentation for at least six months after surgery in order to avoid this complication. Capsular contracture is caused by inflammation inside the breast pocket that can lead to hardening of the breasts, deformity, asymmetry and pain. The best way to avoid developing this complication is to perform your breast massages routinely and avoid anything that could possibly cause inflammation of the breasts and/or your body.
Lastly, this is the time period when scars typically begin to fade to an inconspicuous mature state. All breast lifting techniques require removal of excess skin which will create scars on the breast. However, most scars fade away to thin lines with time and they are strategically located in areas that are covered by bathing suites and clothing. Most patients find these scars to be very minimal in comparison to the improvement in the shape and size of their new breasts. In addition, there are now numerous way to treat breasts scarring during and after the healing process utilizing scar therapies and laser treatments if necessary.
Since one of the most common reasons women seek breast lift surgery is a prior pregnancy/breast feeding that has led to deflated, droopy breasts, a breast lift surgery may be combined with other body contouring procedures such as liposuction and/or a tummy tuck which is commonly termed a “Mommy Makeover.”