Breast augmentation at our Barrington, IL, practice is one of our most popular procedures. In fact, it has been the number-one cosmetic procedure in the U.S. for several years running. Because breast augmentation is so common, we think it is important to write informative blogs about all aspects of the surgical process, including post-op healing. Here are a few things we believe all patients should keep in mind during your breast augmentation recovery.
1. Some Sensations Are a Normal Part of the Healing Process.
Knowing what to expect during recovery helps ease your mind while you’re recovering from breast surgery. Some common patient questions include:
When do breast implants feel normal?
It is not uncommon for breast augmentation patients to feel tightness, and sometimes even slight numbness, around your breasts. These sensations can take up to 3 months to subside, as it takes time for the muscle, breast tissue, and skin to adjust to your implants.
How long after breast augmentation does swelling go down?
During recovery, you can expect a moderate amount of swelling, and tightness is due in part to the swelling that occurs. Your breasts size will continue to change for several months after surgery as the swelling fades and your implants settle. We walk more about breast swelling and worry that breasts appear too high immediately after surgery in a related blog post.
We suggest that you wait until the tightness is gone and your breasts are at a stable size before you start buying the bulk of your bras. Don’t risk wasting hundreds of dollars on bras that may not fit after a couple months—buy just a few to hold you over. To envision what your final results might look like, visit our photo gallery to see before-and-after photos of some of our patients.
Is numbness normal after breast augmentation?
Patients who choose larger implants, have an areolar incision, or combine their augmentation with a lift are more likely to experience some numbness. However, if you feel severe numbness, we recommend calling your surgeon right away. It is important to be completely transparent with your surgeon, especially during the early recovery stages.
2. Though uncommon, there are some risks associated with breast augmentation.
Complications are rare but may include pain, infection, bleeding, rupturing, and leaking. Choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon with years of experience performing breast augmentation will surely minimize these risks. Board certification ensures that your physician has completed rigorous schooling, training, and exams.
It is important to schedule follow-up visits with your surgeon to make sure you’re healing properly. Be sure to contact your surgeon immediately if you notice that your bandages are soaking through quickly or the incision site is bleeding. You should also call if the area around the stitches is puffy and red, you have a fever, or you have intense shooting pain—these may be signs of infection. Lastly, if any of your stitches open, get medical attention right away to prevent further complications.
3. Post-surgery care is very important.
There are certain aspects of post-op instructions that vary from surgeon to surgeon, such as how long to wait before taking a shower. Some surgeons recommend waiting 48 hours, while others recommend waiting upwards of a week. Additionally, we typically tell our patients to return to light activities within a day or 2 after surgery and to hold off on more rigorous movement until after 2 to 3 weeks. Be sure to check what your surgeon advises. You can learn more about breast augmentation recovery from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
4. Follow your doctor’s instructions.
It is very important to understand and follow your surgeon’s instructions. Straying from the prescribed post-op care plan can diminish your results and, more importantly, put you at risk for complications. During recovery, your body is still fragile and must be cared for appropriately. If you forget or aren’t clear on your post-op instructions, contact your doctor’s office. We always encourage our patients to ask questions; our staff is always here to help.
If you are a patient have questions about your recovery process, give us a call at (847) 250-9193. If you are in the greater Chicago area, including Schaumberg or Arlington Heights, and considering breast augmentation, request a consultation online or call our Barrington office at (847) 382-4400.