FAQs For Breast Augmentation Recovery

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  1. What if I get sick and can't keep my medicine down?
  2. I am a very active person. How long should I wait after breast augmentation until I resume exercising?
  3. How long before my breast implants drop?
  4. Why do my breasts appear red and feel sunburned?
  5. Why are my breasts shiny?
  6. How long after breast augmentation will my breasts soften up?
  7. Am I too firm?
  8. What is "the strap" used for?
  9. How soon can I go back to work after breast augmentation?
  10. Will I regret my decision to get breast implants?
  11. When can I tan my new breasts?
  12. My bra is irritating my incision lines. What can I do?
  13. My new breasts are squeaking and gurgling! Is this permanent? When will it stop?
  14. My breasts look like cones or torpedoes. Is this permanent?
  15. My nipples are too sensitive and are constantly erect. What can I do to ease this?
  16. My nipples are pointing at the floor. Does this mean I needed a breast lift? Or that I have been "botched?"
  17. My breasts are too big! I hate them! When can I have a redo?
  18. I feel so depressed. Is this normal?
  19. When can I start jogging again after breast augmentation?
  20. What can I do about my breast implant scars?
  21. When can I begin having sex again after breast augmentation?
  22. Will I have to sleep on my back or side forever?
  23. My breasts are numb. Will I ever have sensation again?
  24. Can I drive myself home after breast augmentation surgery if I don't have general anesthesia?
  25. I have a ride home from the surgery center, but my friend can't stay with me that night. Is that OK?
  26. I am traveling out of town for my breast implant surgery and will stay at a hotel for a few days. Can I take care of myself?
  27. How soon after surgery can I fly?
  28. I plan on taking a vacation soon after breast augmentation. How long should I wait?

 

1. What if I get sick and can't keep my medicine down?

Taking your medication with food and water can help you keep it down during breast augmentation recovery. If you simply cannot keep your medications down, tell your surgeon. You may need to have your prescription changed.

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2. I am a very active person. How long should I wait after breast augmentation until I resume exercising?

Talk to your surgeon about when you can resume exercising after breast augmentation. Individual instructions may vary, but the usual advice is to wait at least two weeks. Although you may feel fine, you will not be completely healed at this stage. Doing too much too soon can set back your healing. You should not lift heavy objects, bend over, or take part in vigorous activities for at least three weeks after breast augmentation.

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3. How long before my breast implants drop?

For most women, breast implants rest a bit high for a short period after surgery, and then they drop into a more normal position. This usually takes a few weeks. The time it takes your breast implants to drop depends upon several factors, including the implant size, what size you were before your breast augmentation surgery, the implant surface type, implant placement, your muscle tone and whether you massage your breasts. Smooth breast implants drop faster than textured implants. If your implants are placed underneath the chest muscle, they will drop slower than if they are placed over the muscle. If you had very small breasts before, and get moderate to large implants, they will take longer to drop because of the tightness of your skin. Sometimes, one side will drop before the other side.

Some surgeons advise patients to push their breast implants down or massage them soon after surgery to encourage them to drop. If you are having problems, your surgeon may have you wear a wide elastic band around the top of your chest to help push your implants down.

If your implants still haven't dropped within six to nine months, breast augmentation revision surgery may be necessary. Talk to your surgeon.

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4. Why do my breasts appear red and feel sunburned?

Your skin has been stretched to accommodate the breast implants. The sunburned feeling and red color are caused by this stretching. This is a normal part of the healing process. Ask your surgeon what he or she recommends for your skin during your breast implant recovery. A moisturizer with shea butter may help.

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5. Why are my breasts shiny?

The shininess is a result of your skin being stretched. As your skin begins to relax, the shininess will go away.

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6. How long after breast augmentation will my breasts soften up?

This depends on the surface type of your implants, the type of filler, your muscle tone, the implant placement, and whether the implants are overfilled. Your breasts will be firm for a while because of the post-surgery swelling. Saline breast implants are usually firmer than silicone implants, textured implants may feel firmer than smooth ones, and overfilled implants are fuller still.

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7. Am I too firm?

Firmness is relative. Some individuals think they are too firm when they are only slightly firmer than before, while others crave firmness and fullness around the top side of their breasts. There is no one-size-fits-all answer.

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8. What is "the strap" used for?

The strap is a wide piece of elastic cloth that circles your chest and back above your breasts. It can help your breast implants drop. Some surgeons have patients use elastic bandaging, such as Ace bandaging, instead of a strap.

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9. How soon can I go back to work after breast augmentation?

This depends on your job, your incision type, your implant placement, and how fast you heal. If you have a sedentary job, you can generally go back sooner than if your job is physically demanding. If you have had a lift, your breast lift recovery will make your overall recuperation more involved. If you have transumbilical breast augmentation (TUBA) surgery, you can go back to work sooner than if you have breast implants and a full lift. During TUBA, a short J- or C-shaped incision is made within your belly button and empty saline breast implants are moved into place using endoscopy, a procedure in which the surgeon uses a tiny fiber-optic camera to view the interior of the breast. After the breast implants are in place, they are filled with sterile saline to the desired size.

Recovery is quicker with TUBA surgery because the milk ducts in the nipple are not disturbed. Plan to take about five days off after your surgery to heal properly. Be on the safe side: Ask your surgeon when he or she recommends you return to work.

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10. Will I regret my decision to get breast implants?

You may feel sad and depressed after your breast augmentation. This is common, and may be due to any number of factors, including medication side effects and reactions to the anesthesia as well as post-surgical stress. Some women may think that the bruising, swelling and pain will never go away, which can increase feelings of sadness and anxiety. Give yourself time to heal and the breast implants time to settle before you even consider thinking about regrets.

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11. When can I tan my new breasts?

Tanning is not good for any part of your body, including your new breasts. Tanned skin is damaged skin. If you want to tan anyway, you are going to have to wait at least until your skin is no longer red and shiny. Tanning too early after your breast augmentation surgery can increase your risk of hyperpigmentation, a condition in which patches of skin become darker than the surrounding skin.

Keep your incisions out of direct sunlight for six months to a year after surgery. Scars take about one year to mature, so cover them! The skin on your breasts will also stretch out and heal before your scars, so if you start tanning, cover your scars with some kind of tape, not just sunblock.

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12. My bra is irritating my incision lines. What can I do?

If your incisions have closed, you can either wear an elastic bandage around your breasts and wear your bra on top of it, or use foam padding like EPIfoam™ from BioDermis. Talk to your surgeon.

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13. My new breasts are squeaking and gurgling! Is this permanent? When will it stop?

Do not panic if you hear gurgling, squeaking or crackling noises coming from your new breasts. These noises can result from a fluid build-up or air bubbles within the implant pocket, or from the implant settling in. Give it a few weeks. Although the noises might be disturbing, this is normal after breast augmentation.

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14. My breasts look like cones or torpedoes. Is this permanent?

Your breasts may be odd looking because your skin has been stretched over them. Don't worry, this is likely temporary. If your breasts look like torpedoes, your implants probably haven't "dropped" yet. The lower half of each breast is probably still tight, forcing the breasts into a high, hard-cone shape.

In the weeks immediately after your breast implant surgery, you may think your breasts are too big, too small, too round, not round enough, too square, too high, too low, too ugly, too this, and too that. This will pass in time. If your implants were placed under the chest muscles, it may take some time for the muscles to relax. If you are right-handed, your right breast may not drop as fast as your left one.

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15. My nipples are too sensitive and are constantly erect. What can I do to ease this?

Many women complain of very erect and sensitive nipples after breast augmentation. If your nipples feel very sensitive when your clothing rubs up against them, try covering them with round Band-Aids, large corn pads, or nursing pads. These products can protect your nipples from the abrasiveness of your clothing, and shield your erect nipples from the eyes of the public.

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16. My nipples are pointing at the floor. Does this mean I needed a breast lift? Or that I have been "botched?"

This is a normal phenomenon after breast augmentation, so don't worry. Your implants will likely rest high up on your chest at first, especially if they are placed underneath your chest muscle. This may cause your breasts to point to the floor.

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17. My breasts are too big! I hate them! When can I have a redo?

Take a deep breath. In the weeks after breast augmentation, your breasts will be swollen and you will not be used to them yet. They may also be relatively high up on your chest. Wait until the swelling goes down before you decide that they are too big and/or that you want revision breast augmentation surgery.

If you still think they are too big after a year, talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in revision breast augmentation removing breast implants to see if you are a candidate.

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18. I feel so depressed. Is this normal?

Many women who undergo breast augmentation feel sad or anxious during their recovery. You may begin to second-guess yourself and wonder if you should have had the surgery in the first place. Some women begin to think their new breasts are ugly and that the bruising and swelling will never go away. This is common, and may be due to any number of factors, including medication side effects and reactions to the anesthesia, as well as post-surgical stress. See our Postoperative Depression Section for more information on this subject.

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19. When can I start jogging again after breast augmentation?

You need to be fully healed before you can start jogging again. Activities like jogging, jumping rope, basketball and horseback riding subject your breasts to a lot of up-and-down movements. Jumping without good support for your breasts can stretch your skin, ligaments, and connective tissue, causing sagging. Talk to your surgeon before you take part in any strenuous activity. And when you do start up again, wear a good support bra.

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20. What can I do about my breast implant scars?

There are several products that promote healing and improve the appearance of breast implant scars. These include Mederma®, BioDermis' Xeragel® and silicone sheeting. While the incisions are closing, some surgeons use tissue sealant (like fibrin glue) or medical paper tape products such as Steri-Strips™. Ask your surgeon which product or products he recommends.

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21. When can I begin having sex again after breast augmentation?

Sex is exercise. You should not participate in any activities that can significantly raise your heart rate or cause excessive movement in your breasts for a week or two after your breast augmentation.

The antibiotics that you are taking to prevent infection may interfere with your birth control pills, so use another form of protection while you are on antibiotics if you do not want to become pregnant.

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22. Will I have to sleep on my back or side forever?

No. Just like the swelling, pain and redness, this is only temporary. You should sleep on your back with your head elevated for the first five to 10 days after surgery to reduce your discomfort and swelling. You can sleep on your side or stomach after 10 days.

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23. My breasts are numb. Will I ever have sensation again?

In almost all cases, the sensation in the skin does return after breast augmentation. The nerves in the skin have pressure on them from the swelling and from the skin being so tightly stretched over the implant. This pressure may temporarily numb the area. What's more, nerves around your incisions may be cut, and this can take longer to heal.

As the breast envelope relaxes and your swelling subsides, you will notice sensation returning gradually. This may take up to a year.

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24. Can I drive myself home after breast augmentation surgery if I don't have general anesthesia?

No. You must have someone drive you home and care for you during the first 24 to 48 hours after your breast augmentation surgery. In addition to any residual grogginess from the sedative and anesthesia, you may be very sore and bandaged, which could interfere with your ability to drive.

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25. I have a ride home from the surgery center, but my friend can't stay with me that night. Is that OK?

Try to have someone stay with you the night after your surgery. You are going to sleep a lot, but you will need someone to wake you to take your medications and take your temperature during your breast implant recovery. You may also need help getting in and out of bed and going to the bathroom. If you cannot find a friend or family member to stay over that night, ask your surgeon about a home health care aide. You can also stay overnight in the hospital or at an aftercare facility.

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26. I am traveling out of town for my breast implant surgery and will stay at a hotel for a few days. Can I take care of myself?

No. If you are traveling for your breast implant surgery, your surgeon should be able to arrange for a staff member or a homecare nurse to stay with you overnight. Some surgeons have overnight facilities. Find out about your options in advance. It is essential to have a caregiver for the first 24 to 48 hours after breast augmentation surgery.

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27. How soon after surgery can I fly?

You will need to stay at home or near your surgeon for the first week of your breast implant recovery in case of complications. You will also need to be nearby for your follow-up appointments. That said, air travel in and of itself should not affect your body after the first 24 to 48 hours. Be on the safe side and run your air travel plans by your breast surgeon.

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28. I plan on taking a vacation soon after breast augmentation. How long should I wait?

Ask your surgeon. You will need to stay at home or near your surgeon's office for the first week of your breast augmentation recovery in case of any complications, and for follow-up appointments. If you do travel in the first month after breast augmentation surgery, you need to be very careful, because you won't be fully healed. If your vacation involves a bathing suit, ask your doctor when you can stop wearing the postoperative bras.

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  • Greenwald 50x50

    Joshua A. Greenwald, MD, FACS

    Cosmetic Surgery Associates of New York
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  • Greenwald 50x50

    Joshua A. Greenwald, MD, FACS

    Cosmetic Surgery Associates of New York
    10 Chester Avenue
    Second Floor
    White Plains, NY 10601
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  • Grace 50x50

    Douglas Grace, B.Sc., MD, FRCSC

    The Grace Clinic
    481 John Street, Suite 200
    Burlington, ON L7R2K8
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