Breast Augmentation: The Entire Journey
You can typically expect to return to normal activities the same evening or the following day of your breast augmentation surgery. In fact, you are encouraged to get moving right away!
Here's what you should expect to occur, from prepration to recovery.
Pre-operative: getting ready for your surgery
Prior to your breast augmentation you should follow the steps given to you by Dr. Kara. You'll be provided with a complete list of instructions to help you properly prepare for your surgery. Normally, this requires avoiding taking and doing things that would increase your risk of developing complications, such as refraining from drinking alcohol and taking specific medications. You'll also be asked to fast 12 hours in advance. Typically this means from approximately midnight the night before, depending on the time of your surgery. You must refrain from consuming both liquids and solids.
You will need to bring a sports bra with you for recovery purposes.
You must arrive for your surgery one hour in advance. You will be prepped by our nurse and changed into a hospital gown. Part of this preparation will include taking medications, which are prescribed in advance. You must bring them with you. The nurse will help you administer the medication, as we need to control your liquid intake.
You will have a short consultation with the anaesthetist. You will also have a short consultation with Dr. Kara and he will make the markings for the procedure. You would have already discussed this with Dr. Kara in consultation prior to the surgery.
In the operating room
You will be cleaned to minimize risk of infection. You should expect to be hooked up to monitors so that your blood pressure, heart rate and other vital signs can be monitored during the procedure. You will also be hooked up to an IV, which will be used to keep you hydrated and to provide you with anaesthesia.
Your surgery will take 30 – 45 minutes. Dr. Kara will create a pocket for the breast implant to be inserted. You would have discussed all of this pre-operatively, including breast size and pocket placement.
If you chose silicone implants, they will be inserted already filled. If you chose saline implants, they will be filled once inserted into the pocket. Dr. Kara will ensure symmetry prior to closing the incisions.
You will wake up in recovery with your sports bra already in place. You will have sterile strips on the incisions to reduce the risk of infection. These will naturally dissolve. You will also have stitches that will naturally dissolve.
You will be in recovery for approximately 45 minutes. You must ensure that you have someone available to take you home, as you will feel groggy and unable to operate a vehicle.
Immediately after your surgery
Most patients will have a nap when they return home. You must ensure that you do not sleep longer than two hours. Please set an alarm. Take a shower when you awaken, as it will make you feel better and loosen up the muscles. You should try to eat a substantial meal as soon as possible following the nap.
Eight hours following your surgery, you should take Kytril, an anti-nausea medication, if you still feel nauseated. If you are able to eat a meal, you should take your antibiotic in the evening. If you require pain medication, follow the directions as listed on the prescription. You should take these immediately, if necessary, as you want to wean yourself of narcotics as soon as reasonably possible. They could cause constipation. You should ideally be taking ibuprofen the day following the surgery.
When you go to bed, try to lie on your stomach for 15 minutes. Roll to your side to get up. You should aim to go to sleep no earlier than 10 pm. You should continue to lie on your stomach for 15 minutes every night for 4-6 weeks. You should sleep slightly upright for the duration of your sleep. You will continue to wear the sports bra 24 hours a day for a full 6-week period, including while you sleep.
We will provide you with some arm movements, similar to jumping jacks, which should be done 5 times per hour until bedtime. We will also provide you with compression techniques, such as laying on your chest for 5 minutes every hour. You should avoid heavy and intense exercises. You should perform your regular routine, as keeping moving is a good thing; for example, you can unload the dishwasher, make dinner, read to the kids etc. Just don’t go running a marathon! Regular movements will help with recovery, and could prevent the risk of capsular contracture.
The first few days after your surgery
You may experience fatigue for the first few days and some soreness in the upper body. You will likely feel some tightness and swelling in your breasts because the implants are forcing the skin to adapt to the changes. It is possible that you will experience some temporary loss of sensation in the breast and nipple or increased sensations. The discomfort level is typically minimal.
You should continue sleeping slightly upright. You should wake up and have a shower and do more arm movements in the shower; a set of 5 will be sufficient. You should continue to do regular movements, as this will help with recovery. Go to the mall, or out for lunch or something that keeps you moving. Normal movement is necessary, so put on your own seat belt, close your own door and carry some light shopping bags. Keep moving! You may require a nap at mid-day, and do so, as necessary. Make sure to get moving again following a nap.
On your first day following the surgery, you should apply polysporin over the sterile strips 3 times per day. You should continue to do this for 3 weeks following the surgery. You will apply it to the wound once the sterile strip has naturally dissolved.
You may want to take an ibuprofen on the first day following surgery for pain management. You may start to feel sore around the end of day one or day two. The soreness is simply fluid moving through the body. The bloated felling should subside within 5-7 days. We do not recommend that you continue using the narcotic for pain management unless absolutely necessary. To prevent constipation, we recommend that you drink lots of fluids and eat foods high in fiber. You should start taking Docusate Sodium to prevent constipation; it is a stool softener.
You will be required to come in for a follow up 24-48 hours following your surgery; depending on the time of day you had your surgery.
First week after your surgery
You should continue to sleep slightly upright to prevent swelling. As necessary, apply the ice bilateral breast to reduce swelling.
Keep an eye on your incision site for signs of infection, for example, any bleeding, redness, fever, greenish/yellow discharge and increasing pain. Leave your sterile strip in place for the first 7 days, or until it falls off naturally. Continue to put polysporin on over the sterile strip until it falls off and on the wound, thereafter.
You may feel uncomfortable so continue to take ibuprofen. You should take 600 mg with breakfast, one with lunch and one at bedtime. Please take all prescribed ibuprofen pills. You can reduce the amount per day but it is best to use every pill. If you need additional pain relief you should take 2-200mg of Advil around dinnertime. You can take Benadryl for the first 5 days at bedtime. This is not mandatory and should not be continued following the first 5 days after surgery.
Keep your sports bra on 24/7. Your breasts may appear hard, swollen and high one week following surgery. It is not something to be alarmed about.
You should continue your arm exercises this week and for a full 3 weeks following surgery. You should not engage in sexual activity and there should be no one touching your breasts at this point, until after the 3-week consultation.
3 Weeks after your breast augmentation
You should come in for your follow up appointment to ensure your scars are healing, and your implants have settled as expected. Further, this will help us assess and ensure there are no complications at the 3-week mark.
You should continue to protect your incision site for 3 full weeks, meaning no heavy intense exercise until after your 3-week consultation to see if it appropriate for you to begin intense activity. You should continue your regular arm movements until the 3-week mark at minimum, but may wish to continue. You should also be lying on your stomach for at least 15 minutes per night for 4-6 weeks following surgery.
You will still be wearing your sports bra but the sterile strips and stitches have fallen out by now. At the 3-week consultation mark we will discuss the length you should continue to wear the sports bra. At this point you can start your scar treatment if your scars are thicker and raised, which is included in the price of the surgery. You can continue scar treatments every 6-8 weeks following the surgery. You will be given some massage techniques at the 3-week mark too.
At the 3-week mark, you can consider whether you would like to re-introduce sexual activity back into your routine, if you are sexually active.
3 Months after your surgery
At 3 months, we expect you to come in for another consultation to ensure you are recovering appropriately. You should begin to see the final results of the surgery. Your scars should begin to heal and dissipate. However, they will continue to improve for approximately 12-18 months following surgery. You can continue the scar treatment regimen provided for with the surgery until satisfied with the results.
You should refrain from smoking prior to your surgery and following your surgery. We recommend at least 3 months prior to surgery. Smoking can have an adverse effect on your ability to heal, as nicotine causes blood vessels to shrink, compromises red blood cells and lowers the level of oxygen in the blood. For wounds to heal, the cells must divide and grown; without adequate oxygen this process can be delayed significantly. Nicotine will also hinder the ability of your white blood cells to fight infection and foreign entities in the body. This can greatly increase your chances of infection.
You should also mentally prepare for the surgery. This will ensure an optimal process. If you follow the instructions provided by our consultants and Dr. Kara, you will do great!
You can contact us at any time, outside the 24/48 hour, 3 week and 3 month required follow up consultations, as you wish. We are always happy to hear from you and hear about your journey.