Breast augmentation surgery is a popular cosmetic procedure with a consistently high rate of satisfaction *, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
The surgery is typically а same-day procedure. Most women usually get their procedure done in the morning, spend а few hours in the recovery area and then go home and rest.
You can choose to have your breast implants inserted via incisions in one of three locations: your underarms, around your nipples or the folds beneath your breasts. Board-certified San Francisco plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Kulick will walk you through all these choices so you feel fully confident in your decision.
Though recovering from breast augmentation surgery and taking good care of your incisions is relatively straightforward, there are some steps you can take to ensure an easier healing process.
Diminish Breast Implant Scars With Proper Pre-Surgery Prep
As critical as the recovery process is, there are some things you can do to minimize scars from your breast augmentation incisions even before you arrive on the day of your surgery.
The first thing you should do is choose your surgeon wisely. An experienced surgeon who has honed perfect technique will ensure your incisions are as small as possible, heal cleanly and are well-placed.
Secondly, make sure you and your surgeon have thoroughly discussed where your breast augmentation incisions will be. That way, you won’t be surprised to discover you have sutures or surgical drains in an unexpected location.
Dr. Kulick will help you prepare for your surgery by explaining what to do in the days and weeks leading up to your procedure, as well as afterward. You can reduce both your healing time and the appearance of your breast implant scars by carefully following all the instructions he and your designated patient care coordinator give you, both before and after your surgery.
In the weeks leading up to surgery, you should also:
- Stop taking ibuprofen and aspirin, which thin your blood ** and increase your risk of bleeding.
- Stop taking or gradually step down your dosage of any herbal supplements or medications.
- Not smoke. Smoking delays healing.
Your Guide to Caring for Your Breast Augmentation Incisions After Surgery
The recovery time after your breast augmentation surgery is a critical time during which your body heals and your new breast implants settle into their final position and shape. As part of your recovery process, you will need to keep your breast implant incisions scrupulously clean.
Avoiding infection should be your primary goal as you care for your breast implant incisions. Examine your surgical site (do NOT remove the bandages applied) for signs of infection, which include an increase of swelling, yellowish or greenish drainage and “hot skin” beyond the surgical site. If any of these symptoms appear, contact our office without delay.
Тhе area аrоund your breast implant incisions may be red and swollen for sеvеrаl weeks. For the first 48 hours following surgery, you can apply ice packs to your breasts to provide comfort. However, this will not reduce the usual, postoperative swelling! Make sure to keep your incisions dry during this process. They must stay dry to heal properly.
Do not immerse your incisions in water until they have fully healed, so put off your indulgent bubble bath for at least three weeks after surgery. You can shower, but make sure to not get your incisions wet. This usually requires a “sponge bath” vs. normal shower
The scars from your incisions may be red and angry-looking for several months, but will soften and fade over time. Ask Dr. Kulick about whether you should massage your scar tissue *** as it heals.
If you have drainage tubes in your incisions, usually inserted for reconstructive procedures, take care not to disturb or dislodge them. Wear loose clothing to ensure nothing is rubbing or pushing into the tubes as you move around. Dr. Kulick will remove the drains when you come in for your first follow-up visit, which is usually a week after the surgery.
Avoid activities that cause you to lift your arms above your head, such as washing your hair and reaching for items on tall shelves. Тhе physical act of raising your arms will put undue stress on the sutures. If your stitches get pulled out, your incisions will reopen. If you notice any loose stitches, don’t try to remove them yourself, as that will do more harm than good. Call the office to see Dr. Kulick.
Continue to wear your special support bra until Dr. Kulick clears you to stop doing so. Do not wear an underwire or push-up bra for at least six weeks after surgery, unless Dr. Kulick instructs you to do this.
For six to eight weeks after surgery, avoid sleeping on your stomach or sides.
Don’t run, jump or perform any other vigorous physical activity that will make your breasts bounce and potentially break open your incisions or displace your implants. Avoid exercise until Dr. Kulick gives you his approval to proceed.
Do not try to examine your incisions by pulling your breasts or raising your arms, because you risk breaking open your wounds.
Avoid getting direct sun on your implant incisions for at least 12 months following your surgery. If you must go out in the sun, use a full-spectrum sunblock of 30 SPF or higher on the surgical incisions.
As long as you follow all your post-operative care instructions to the letter, your healing process should be smooth and easy as you recover from your breast augmentation. However, contact our office if you ever have any questions about caring for your incisions. Dr. Kulick remains committed to helping you love your results, and that starts with how you handle your healing process.
* Source: plasticsurgery.org, May 2013
** Source: FDA.gov
*** Source: realself.com