If you're thinking about getting breast implants, one thing you're probably wondering is what the recovery period is like. Your recovery depends on several factors such as your age, general health, the size of the implants, the location of the incision, and the method of inserting the implants. Each person's recovery is unique, but here is an overview of the recovery process.
You'll Sleep With Your Head Elevated
Breast augmentation is usually an outpatient procedure, so you'll go home shortly after the surgery to begin your recovery. You'll want to have things in place to accommodate you. One of those is a place to sleep since you won't be able to sleep flat on your back, stomach, or side. You may want to sleep in a recliner or buy a wedge pillow so your upper body will be elevated when you're in bed.
You'll Need Compression Garments
You'll probably need to wear compression garments over your bandages 24 hours a day in the initial stage of recovery. These help control swelling and they keep your breasts from moving around as much and this limits pain. You might be instructed to wear a compression bra or a band depending on the type of implants you have. You may want to buy a couple of these so you can have a clean one to change into.
Pain Is To Be Expected
Your doctor may give you a prescription for pain medication that you should fill before the surgery so it is ready for you at home. It's possible your doctor will give you a long-acting pain injection instead so you can avoid pain pills. If you do take pills, take them on schedule as recommended so you can keep pain under control. You probably won't need them more than a few days. It helps to have a caregiver at your side the first few days to make sure you take your pain medications and antibiotics on time since you may be groggy and fatigued. You'll also need a helper to drive you home from the surgery and to drive you back the next day to be checked.
Strenuous Activity Should Be Avoided For Several Weeks
You'll slowly resume your usual activities at a rate recommended by your doctor that's determined by the type of surgery you have. You won't have to be sedentary, but strenuous activities and actions like lifting things over your head will probably be forbidden for several weeks. You won't be able to drive right away either, partly due to the surgery and partly due to the pain medications you receive. If you have a sedentary job, you might be allowed to return to work within a week, but if your job involves physical activity, you might be off work longer than that.
Showers Shouldn't Be Too Hot
It may be a few days before you can shower since you'll have drains in your incisions and you'll be wearing a bandage. When your doctor says it's okay to bathe, you'll want to avoid hot showers. Heat causes swelling and the steam from a hot shower and the hot water might cause swelling of the tissues around your incision. One goal of your recovery is to reduce the risk of swelling, so you may need to take showers that are only slightly warm or cool.
A complete recovery will take several weeks. Until that time, there will be swelling, and your incisions will be noticeable. Once you've healed, the new shape of your breasts will be apparent and you'll probably think the recovery phase was worthwhile.