With Spring Break and the summer bathing suit season a few months away I am seeing the usual ‘Spring rush’ for breast augmentation, which is the most common cosmetic operation in the US. Recovery period is a common concern for the patients and so I wanted to go over so generalities about return to work, exercise, swelling etc..
The biggest determinants of recovery are 1) placement location 2) Implant size and 3) your starting point. Implants that are placed below the muscle lead to more recovery than above the muscle. When the muscle is lifted and manipulated it swells and gets sore. Under hurts more than over. Larger implants stretch your tissue out more and so the more stretch the more pain. And the final aspect is how tight your skin is to begin with. If you have had pregnancies and your skin has stretched it will feel much less tight than say an A cup woman who has never been pregnant. Again, more stretching means more discomfort.
So how long will you be sore? Well, assuming you go under the muscle as most people do, the first two or three days post op are the worst. These first few days you will need to use your pain meds and muscle relaxants. These will help a lot and keep you comfortable but the side effect is you will be groggy. You will be mobile and able to do basic day to day things but you will be sore if you try to do too much to soon. Most patients, if they have a desk job, are able to get back to work within 5-7 days. If you have a job that involves heavier lifting, pushing, pulling etc…you might need several weeks to recover. As far a exercise, you can start some light aerobic stuff at 2 weeks, but start slow. Full bore exercise is probably more likely at the 4-6 week point or longer.
Bras and Bikinis. Do NOT run right out and buy a whole slew of new bras and bikinis! It takes at least 6-8 weeks to even start to see what your final size and shape will be. Go buy some inexpensive bras at first to ‘bridge the gap’ from where you started to your end result. Your surgeon will be able to tell you when you can go shopping based on your exam.
Considering Breast Augmentation? Check out our websites at www.CorbettCosmeticSurgery.com or www.KentuckyBreast.com
Lee Corbett, MD