Choosing a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon is priority number-one when it comes to a successful—and natural-looking—breast augmentation, but what happens after surgery is just as critical to the final result. Here, top surgeons offer up their top piece of advice for a better breast augmentation recovery.
Do: Plan Ahead
New York plastic surgeon David P. Rapaport, MD says preparations for breast augmentation recovery should actually begin several weeks before the breast augmentation itself. The reason? “The overwhelming majority of breast augmentations are performed in the dual plane position, commonly simplified as the ‘under the muscle’ position,” he explains. “When implants are placed this way, the lower part of the pectoralis major muscle is actually divided by the surgeon.” To prepare, Dr. Rapaport advises patients to avoid directly exercising their pectoralis muscle for four to six weeks before surgery. “By allowing the muscle to become more ‘lazy’, it will be less bulky and therefore bleed less and cause less pain after surgery.”
Don’t: Panic About Your Results
New York plastic surgeon Mokhtar Asaadi, MD’s number-one piece of advice to all of his breast augmentation is simple: relax. “Remember that smooth breast implants settle in the next few months after surgery,” he says. “The fullness that is present in the upper part of the breast will go away and the final result will be beautiful, natural-looking breasts.” Englewood, NJ plastic surgeon Shwetambara Parakh, MD agrees: “Practice patience through the healing process and follow your post-op instructions. It takes a few weeks for the implants to settle down in place.”
Do: Take it Easy
“A key factor in breast-augmentation recovery that many patients do not understand is that even a very small amount of blood around the breast implant can cause capsular contracture or hardness of the final result,” adds Dr. Rapaport, noting that the amount of blood that can cause a contracture would not necessarily be detectable to the patient at all. As such, Dr. Rapaport emphasizes that patients must truly take it easy for the first two weeks after surgery, particularly for the first few days.
“This is because any activity which causes their blood vessels to dilate or their blood pressure to rise significantly can cause bleeding.” On the list to avoid: “Any form of sexual activity including or not including the breasts, any aerobic exercise—walking is fine and encouraged—taking a hot bath or long hot shower, or consumption of alcohol.” Dr. Assadi agrees, adding exercises that puts pressure on the pectoralis muscle, like pushups, should be avoided for up to three months post-surgery.
Don’t: Wear Your Old Bra
Dr. Parakh busts the myth that you never have to wear a bra agains after a breast augmentation. “You do need to continue wearing bras long-term to provide support to the breasts and help them in their daily fight against gravity.” Dr. Parakh says a supportive post-surgical bra with gentle compression will help to minimize movement after your augmentation. “Avoid wearing a push-up bra that creates unnatural pressure on the implants while the tissue around the implant pocket is healing.”
Do: Avoid Certain Medications
While taking an OTC medication for pain might seem second-nature, Dr. Asaadi instructs against it. “During the recovery period, patients should never take aspirin or aspirin derivatives for pain,” he says, as avoiding anti-inflammatories such as aspirin will reduce swelling and bruising throughout the recovery process. As always, a conversation with your plastic surgeon will be your best course of action for pain management and post-operative care.
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