Augmentation mammaplasty, more commonly known as breast augmentation, or a "boob job," is the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure for women. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons' "2016 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report," 290,467 people underwent breast augmentation, up 4 percent from the previous year.
A breast augmentation—whether using implants or fat transfer—can increase breast size, correct breast asymmetry, and restore breast volume lost as a result of pregnancy, breastfeeding, or significant weight loss. It's important to understand, however, that a proper recovery is critical to achieving optimal results.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from Breast Augmentation?
Since this is an invasive surgery requiring anesthesia, there is a significant recovery period. However, every patient is unique, and its exact duration varies, dependent on several factors.
• The location of the incision
• The size of the implant
• Whether the implant was placed above or below the pectoral muscle
• Your age
• The elasticity of your skin
• Your physical condition
Your plastic surgeon can also impact your recovery time. An experienced specialist will not only increase the likelihood of attaining the optimal results, but also a speedier recovery time. A reputable surgeon will additionally know the best techniques to limit scarring.
How to Recover From a Breast Augmentation
Before undergoing this procedure, ensure you've scheduled enough time off from work and other obligations to heal. If you have children, make sure you've arranged for the proper assistance while you rest.
Immediately following your surgery, You'll need to have a friend or family member drive you home once you're awake and alert. Your surgeon will instruct you on post-surgery care. It's important to follow all your plastic surgeon's instructions carefully.
For the next several days, you'll be requested to wear a support bra over the bandages covering your breast augmentation incision. This will limit breast movement and help minimize swelling and stress on your stitches.
Once you arrive home, you'll be exhausted, so rest up. Sleep on your back wearing your post-operative bra while significant swelling remains. Expect to stay at rest for the first few days, since your breasts will be swollen and sore.
During the first week, you'll likely feel some discomfort from the stitches and swelling. Continue to wear your support bra as instructed. Your bandages will be removed on your first post-operative visit, the stitches used will probably be dissolvable. Postpone driving until after your first post-operative visit to avoid straining your incisions.
If you develop a fever, experience excess swelling or pain, or have any related concerns, reach out to your surgeon as soon as possible. Most women can usually return to an office work environment a week after their breast augmentation.
For the next several weeks, remain gentle and careful with your body. You may perform light exercises after about three weeks, but be careful not to lift anything over your head, and avoid intense workouts for up to six weeks.
Your scars will gradually fade over time, and may eventually resemble thin, white lines.
How to Ensure a Speedy Recovery
In addition to following all of your surgeon's instructions, here are several tips to help ensure your body heals as quickly and as safely as possible:
• Be gentle, and be careful not to bump your surgical incisions.
• A hot shower or associated steam can worsen swelling, so try to take showers that are warm, not hot.
• Smoking and alcohol interfere with healing, so avoid them for at least two to four weeks before and after surgery.
• Stick to a healthy diet.
• Avoid sunlight on your incisions, since it can darken your skin and make scars more noticeable.
As your breasts fully heal, it's important to understand that the size, shape, and feel of your implants can change over time. Pregnancy, weight loss, or menopause may influence the appearance of your augmented breasts throughout your life. If you experience complications, or the size and shape of your breasts change dramatically , contact your plastic surgeon.