Breast Augmentation remains one of the most frequently requested Cosmetic Plastic Surgery procedures.
Breast Augmentation – The Procedure
Breast Augmentation is simple to understand. Breast Enlargement is performed by placing a Breast Implant behind the breast tissue to increase the breasts’ volume. Of course, there is more to it than that, and it is important to seek the advice of an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, before your Breast Enhancement Surgery.
Breast Implants are placed in the operating room, almost always under general anesthesia. This provides maximal safety and predictability of the operation, especially when Silicone Breast Implants are being placed behind the muscle, or when a Breast Lift is also being performed.
Breast Augmentation Recovery Time – The First 24 Hours
After the anesthetic is given, the next thing you will know, you will be in the Recovery Room. It feels instantaneous. Your breasts will be sore and many patients feel pressure, like an elephant is sitting on their chest. Pain is present, but should be manageable. Local anesthesia is frequently placed around the Breast Implants to help with the initial discomfort. Medications will be given intravenously to make you feel better. The primary goals are to allow you to wake-up and to reduce your discomfort.
At home, prescription pain medications are often used for the first few days. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is also safe, because it does not increase the risk of bleeding like aspirin can. Acetaminophen should be taken instead of, not with, your prescription pain medication because most prescription pain medications already have acetaminophen in them, and too much, can cause liver damage.
RICE Therapy for the Breasts
Post-operative discomfort can also be helped with RICE. The acronym RICE stands for:
REST – Not overusing your chest muscles after surgery can speed your recovery. Your Plastic Surgeon should review what precautions to take after surgery. To read a copy of my Breast Implant Instruction Sheet, click the following: Post-Operative Breast Augmentation Instruction Sheet.
ICE – I cannot stress the importance of icing down after surgery. Like after any injury, ice can effectively decrease swelling and discomfort after surgery, often better than pain medication. Ice should not be applied directly to the skin, to avoid frostbite. A thin cloth should be placed between you and the ice, and the ice should be applied hourly for 15 minutes at a time.
COMPRESSION – The amount of compression will vary by Plastic Surgeon. Some surgeons recommend no support, while others bind the chest. Remember, your Plastic Surgeon will choose the method that works best for the surgery they perform. I prefer the combination of Bra and Band to keep the Breast Implants in their proper position, and to provide some post-operative support and comfort.
ELEVATION – Keeping the head elevated day and night the first few days after Breast Augmentation also helps reduce swelling and discomfort in the breasts. Sleeping on an extra pillow or two is all that is needed. If you are not used to sleeping on your back, a pillow behind the knees can help. It helps you maintain the correct position while you are sleeping and makes your back more comfortable.
Getting Back To Normal
After the first few days, your activities will begin to get back to normal. Most patients can drive by three or four days. However, if you are still sore or are taking pain medication, you should wait. By the end of the week, office work is usually doable. After two weeks, light physical activity is encouraged, and by six weeks, you should be able to return to all your usual activities.
It is also important to know that your results will vary. Good results and experiences are a product of teamwork. Choosing a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who you are comfortable with is paramount. Doing the Breast Enhancement well is only part of my job, getting you through the recovery is equally as important to a good result.
Breast Augmentation Questions
If you have questions about Breast Augmentation, please call my San Francisco Bay Area Plastic Surgery Office today at (925) 943-6353, and schedule a private consultation appointment. While a lot of good Breast Augmentation information is available here, on the San Francisco Plastic Surgery Blog, and the links provided, an in-person consultation allows us to discuss the details specific to your Breast Enhancement.