Of course you want your breast augmentation to go well. But aside from choosing the best surgeon for the job, how can you make sure you’re setting yourself up for success? One of the best ways to do that is to educate yourself and make sure that you’re prepared for the recovery period after your surgery.
Self-care is one of the most important factors in your breast augmentation recovery. In fact, it will partly determine your final results. Before you head to your doctor’s office, here are some do’s and don’ts of your breast augmentation recovery, so you can ensure you’re caring for yourself properly after surgery.
Do: Wear the Right Bra
Many women wonder if they should wear a bra after surgery, or whether that will cause problems with healing. You should wear a bra—but only the right kind of bra. Your breasts will need support following surgery, but it’s important not to wear a garment that will distort the shape of the breasts. A basic, supportive bra will be the best option, and your surgeon can give you recommendations for what to purchase.
Do: Avoid Heavy Lifting After Surgery
Many people, especially mothers of young children, have trouble avoiding heavy lifting after surgery, but it’s crucial to your recovery. You should not lift your arms above the shoulders for the first two weeks. If possible, it’s best to have someone stay with you immediately after surgery, and to help around the house for the first few days. Stretching, reaching, bending and lifting can all cause complications, compromise your incision, and cause bleeding. Don’t lift anything heavy until your doctor says it’s okay!
Do: Rest and Take it Easy
While light activity after the first day is encouraged, it’s easy to overdo it. Rest and take it easy—your body needs time to heal from the surgery. Furthermore, you risk complications by doing too much too soon. Make sure you prepare your home before surgery so you’ll be able to rest. Prepare a recovery area beforehand, clean the house, and make sure things you’ll need are in easy reach.
Do: Eat Healthfully
You might feel like grabbing any junk food you can find after surgery. For optimal healing, however, it’s best to follow a healthy diet. Prepare for your recovery by stocking your freezer and refrigerator with healthy food you can prepare and eat quickly—think crock pot meals or healthy microwaveable dinners. High sodium and poor nutrition will slow down the healing process, so think ahead!
Do: Be Patient and Follow All Instructions
After your surgery, you may be skeptical that all your surgeon’s instructions are really necessary. Don’t fall into this trap! It’s essential that you follow all your surgeon’s recovery instructions and take pain medication to ensure your comfort. Your surgeon will be specific about any massage or exercises you should perform, and any other important instructions to follow, so don’t discount any directions you are given. Be patient—it takes a while for your body to recover from surgery, and you won’t see the final results right away.
Do: Keep a Positive Outlook
Recovery from surgery can be uncomfortable, and it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel (your great results). Try to keep a positive outlook during your recovery. Staying optimistic will help you keep up with your post-op instructions and heal more quickly.
Don’t: Sleep on Your Side or Stomach
While you might be most comfortable sleeping on your side or stomach normally, you must sleep on your back during breast implant recovery. This will help prevent strain on the incisions and keep your healing even on both sides.
Don’t: Wear an Underwire or Pushup Bra
Your implants need to settle after surgery, and this process takes several months. It’s important to wear the right support garments after the procedure. Don’t wear an underwire or pushup bra, as these can affect the final shape of your implants or put strain on your incisions. Just stick to the bras your surgeon recommends for at least a month.
Don’t: Take a Bath
After the first few days, you will be allowed to shower, as long as you keep the healing incisions as dry as possible. However, you should not take a bath or get into a hot tub until you’re given the green light by your surgeon. Submerging the incision in hot water can allow bacteria to enter the wound and cause complications.
Smoking is very dangerous for your health, particularly before and after surgery. Do not smoke during your recovery, since it can slow down and impede healing by reducing oxygen flow in the body. The last thing you want is cigarettes to compromise your results, so make a vow to quit well before your procedure.
Don’t: Poke, Prod, and Worry
Your breasts will feel strange after the procedure, and it will be tempting to poke and prod at them. Don’t! Give your breasts time to heal undisturbed, and only touch them when absolutely necessary. They will feel tender, sensitive, and you may experience tightness in the area as your skin adapts to the size of the implants. Hands off until you’re healed!
Keep in Contact With Your Surgeon
After your procedure, you will need to return to your surgeon for several post-op appointments. Don’t skip these! It’s important to keep in contact with your surgeon and to notify him or her immediately if you think there is a problem. Call your doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary, and call 911 if necessary. Don’t brush off possible complications—it’s not worth the risk.
If you’re still looking for an experienced plastic surgeon to perform your procedure, consider a consultation with Dr. Douglas Steinbrech in New York, NY. Dr. Steinbrech is a highly respected board certified plastic surgeon and works actively in research and educating the next generation of surgeons. For more information, call (646) 681-7126 to schedule your consultation.