Breast augmentation surgery is a big decision and requires careful consideration. If you’ve decided to go through with breast augmentation, you probably know that the procedure itself is relatively painless, but the recovery process can be painful.
When it comes to typical recovery time and recommendations, there is a range of information available. Some people say that you can get back to work within five days after breast augmentation; others say much longer.
The bottom line is that every patient responds differently to breast augmentation surgery and the best way for you to know how your body will react is to educate yourself on what you can expect during recovery.
Here are 12 things you can do to stay healthy during breast augmentation recovery:
1. Drink Lots of Water
It’s important to drink plenty of water after your surgery so that you can avoid constipation and dehydration. Your body needs water for many functions, including blood circulation and digestion. If you don’t drink enough fluids after surgery, it can slow down your recovery time and could lead to serious health problems such as kidney failure or heart failure.
2. Practice Proper Wound Care
Your incisions will be closed with stitches (sutures) or staples, which will need to be removed after eight weeks. You should take care when removing the stitches so as not to break them or cause any bleeding. Practice proper hand hygiene so that you don’t introduce germs into your incisions and cause infection.
3. Avoid Prolonged Sitting and Standing
During recovery, avoid prolonged sitting or standing. This type of activity puts pressure on your chest wall and can lead to blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis), which may travel through the bloodstream to reach other organs such as the lungs (pulmonary embolism).
When possible, sit with your legs uncrossed and feet flat on the floor with knees at 90 degrees or less for 15 minutes every hour. If sitting for longer periods of time is necessary, make sure your back is supported by a chair at all times when sitting upright in an office chair. When sitting in another type of chair such as an airplane seat or car seat, use pillows under your legs so that they are elevated above heart level when lying down.
4. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
The night after your breast augmentation surgery, you will be in pain and uncomfortable. The best way to deal with these issues is to get a good night’s sleep. This means getting plenty of rest during the day and going to bed early enough so that you wake up refreshed in the morning.
5. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that promote good health. These foods can also help you feel full, which may prevent overeating or snacking between meals.
Choose lean proteins. Protein helps build muscles and other body tissues needed for recovery from surgery. Lean sources of protein include skinless chicken breasts, fish or tofu. You can also choose plant-based sources of protein such as beans or lentils.
Fruits and vegetables – Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins A, C and K, as well as potassium, magnesium and calcium. These nutrients help keep bones strong and healthy. They also promote healthy skin cells and can help prevent anemia.
Whole grains – Whole grains are high in fiber which aids digestion and helps keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. Whole grains can also help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.
6. Get Enough Rest.
The first few days after breast augmentation surgery you will probably feel tired and sore. You need to get plenty of rest and allow yourself plenty of time to recover from the surgery. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication, but this is only meant as a short-term solution until you can move around more easily and begin exercising again. Avoid strenuous activities that could lead to swelling or bleeding.
7. Stay positive throughout the process.
Breast augmentation surgery can be uncomfortable, but you should avoid focusing on any negative aspects of your recovery. It’s normal for swelling and bruising to last for weeks after surgery, but these symptoms will gradually improve over time. Use positive affirmations to boost your self-confidence and take control over your emotions during this difficult time.
8. Protect your breasts from sunlight.
Your doctor may recommend that you wear a surgical bra or support garment after surgery. This will help keep your breasts in place while they heal, but it also protects them from sunlight. Sun exposure can cause pigmentation changes (darker spots) on the skin and increase your risk for developing skin cancer over time. So when possible, avoid direct sunlight and cover up with clothing that covers your chest when outside or at home during the day.
9. If you are a smoker, quit!
Smoking slows down healing and increases your risk of developing an infection after surgery. It also increases your risk for developing complications such as capsular contracture (hardening of scar tissue around the implant), so it is worth quitting.
10. Put ice packs on your breasts.
Ice packs can help reduce swelling and bruising, which can cause pain and discomfort. You don’t want to put the ice directly on your skin, though; instead, use little pieces of cloth around the area that need cooling down — it will be much more effective than just putting ice directly on your skin.
11. Take a shower instead of a bath.
Taking a shower is easier on your body and less taxing than taking a long soak in the tub. Showers also keep your stitches dry so they don’t become infected or irritated.
12. Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous activity and exercise.
Your breasts are swollen and tender after the surgery and can be easily injured if you engage in physical activity too soon. You should avoid lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) for at least two weeks after your procedure. If you have an occupation that requires heavy lifting or strenuous activity, such as nursing or teaching, ask your doctor what type of light-duty tasks may be permitted while still protecting your recovery.
Now that you’ve had breast augmentation surgery, you need to take care of yourself. Follow these 12 tips during your recovery process to ensure your full health.