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Bandages to Bikinis: Post-Op Care Following Breast Augmentation Surgery

Here’s what to expect following your breast augmentation surgery and the steps to take to ensure a full, successful recovery.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, breast augmentation surgery, aka “boob job,” is considered major surgery, albeit cosmetic surgery.  And, like any surgical procedure, proper care needs to be taken during the crucial follow-up phase to ensure a speedy recovery with desirable results.  Here are some tips to take once you’ve emerged from the surgery center that will help you recover quickly and just in time for swimsuit season:

  • Be prepared to experience pain, pressure, and interrupted sleep.  However, you will be prescribed pain medication plus antibiotics to fight infection.  Be sure to finish ALL your antibiotic medication.
  • Speaking of sleep…you’ll want to avoid snoozing on your side or stomach for the first 2-3 weeks post-op to avoid unnecessary pressure and discomfort to the chest area. 
  • Kick those butts to the curb!  Cigarette smoking impedes the body’s natural, healthy healing response.  
  • You may or may not have a Jackson-Pratt® drain inserted into your chest to relieve the underlying tissues of excess blood and fluid buildup after surgery.  Your nurse or doctor will show you how to properly clean and care for you drain before leaving the surgery center.
  • You will leave the surgery center with bandages/gauze held in place by your bra that will need to be changed at least once daily until your follow-up appointment.  You will be given plenty of gauze to take home.
  • You may experience a slight fever (near 101°F) following your breast augmentation surgery, which is completely normal.  This is simply your body’s response to surgery and is part of the healing process.  However, if you fever reaches over 103°F and last for more than a few days, please consult your doctor immediately.
  • The skin on your breasts and around the incision site may become reddened or appear pink. Again, this is simply your body’s healing response.
  • Don’t shower or bathe for the first 48 hours following your breast augmentation surgery.  After 48 hours, you will be able to shower, but will need to discuss bathing techniques regarding your Jackson-Pratt® drain (if applicable) with your doctor.  
  • After 48 hours has passed, you can begin showering, but only while facing away from shower head spray to avoid bandages and incisions from getting saturated.  
  • Avoid submerging in baths, hot tubs, or swimming pools for at least the first 6 weeks post-op. 
  • Discuss the usage of deodorants, creams, and lotions near incision sites with your doctor prior to application.
  • Stock up on sports bras!  Refrain from wearing any bra or bralette with underwiring for six weeks or longer following surgery.  You will also need to wear your sports bra while sleeping.  
  • While most light, day-to-day, normal activities can be resumed immediately following surgery, the following is to be avoided for at least six weeks or longer:  exercises/movements that engage/tighten the pectoral muscles, lifting objects heavier than 5 lbs., running/jogging, overhead reaching/lifting, Cross Fit/HIIT workouts, jumping jacks, jumping rope, etc. 
  • Expect to return to work/school about 2-3 weeks following surgery, but will need to be cleared with your doctor.
  • Once incisions have completely healed, you will be instructed to massage your implants to boost blood flow, promoting healing and aesthetically appealing breasts.  

While you’ll certainly feeling tightness, tenderness, pulling, and pressure in the chest area for 2-6 weeks following your breast augmentation surgery, the discomfort level will lessen with each passing day.  You will also notice your implants are sitting unusually “high” on your chest, but expect them “drop” and settle into place after about 3 months.  By the 6-month mark, your aftermarket makeover should fully soften due to the natural stretching of the surrounding breast pockets.

A Perfect Time to Pamper and Prettify

Because your physical activity go-to’s will be dramatically limited for the first 2-6 weeks following your breast augmentation surgery, now would be the perfect time to catch up on some much-need rest, relaxation, reading, sleep, skincare, self-care, social media scrolling, and Netflix binging.  Maybe book a long-overdue brunch date with your bestie or boyfriend?  Although you will be spending a lot of time on the sofa, resist succumbing to your insatiable sweet tooth cravings and other junk food indulgences.  Instead, support your body’s recovery process by implementing a wholesome, antioxidant-rich diet and guzzling gallons of hydrating H20.

As with any surgery, if you’re heating up with high-grade fevers accompanied with body chills or experiencing excessive bleeding, pain, or other adverse complications, you may be suffering from infection and should contact your doctor immediately.

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Contact our office for more information about how to treat gynecomastia. Dr. Jaime Schwartz, a board-certified plastic surgeon, will talk to you about your needs and help you achieve your aesthetic goals.