Having breast augmentation surgery needs careful consideration. Most women who choose to go ahead do so as they feel it will improve their self-confidence, and often opt for the procedure as a way of boosting not just their breasts, but their self-esteem, too.
However, the clue is in the title. It is surgery after all, and like any type of surgery there is a recovery process to go through and certain procedures which need to be followed to reduce the risk of post-operative complications.
Realistically, your breasts will not feel back to normal for a few months after you have had the operation. You are likely to feel sore and for a few weeks you may notice that your breasts feel very swollen and sensitive.
They may look quite different to your expectations at first too, as they settle their appearance can seem tight, high or round, and you might notice that your nipples are extra sensitive, or seem numb for a while. You might also experience some bruising, redness and tenderness. All this is perfectly normal for the breast augmentation recovery process, and as your body starts to heal you will begin to notice the end results of your operation.
You will not be able to drive yourself home after the surgery, so make sure you have someone there to take you back. Your surgeon will give you a thorough check up before discharging you. Once you are at home, you will need to take great care and give yourself as much rest and relaxation as you can.
Usually, you will be asked to return to the clinic a week later so that your dressings can be removed and everything checked over. This is the ideal time to ask your nurse any queries you might have about your breasts or the recovery process and in particular what you can and can’t do.
If your operation was carried out under general anaesthetic, so you are likely to feel woozy and groggy for a few days afterwards and will need to take some time off work. You will be given plenty of information about how long you need at home and what type of activities and exercises you can resume at what point. You need to make sure you are giving yourself as much opportunity as possible to heal, and there are plenty of things you can do to help yourself. If you operation was carried out under local anaesthetic and sedation you are likely to feel ‘normal’ quicker and experience less sickness and light headedness.
Swelling is one of the main post-operative side effects during breast implant recovery, and while this will eventually subside, you can help to speed up the process. You will also need to stay extremely hydrated, so make sure you are drinking plenty of water. The most important thing to remember is that anything which puts up your blood pressure will increase your swelling and delay your healing. Therefore it is important to avoid the gym and sexual activity for the first few weeks.
It is a good idea to apply a cold compress to your breasts for the first couple of post-operative days, as this can help to soothe them, as well as reducing any swelling. Make sure you are eating wholesome, healthy foods to keep you feeling tip-top, and avoid alcohol for the first couple of weeks.
What else can you do? If possible, try to prop yourself up a bit while you sleep, so your head and shoulders are slightly elevated, and sleep on your back (this can also help to drain any excess fluids). Keep a close eye on your body temperature, too. If it seems raised, you need to speak to your clinic, as this could be a sign of an infection.
While you have had the surgery for a more enhanced bust, the healing process is not particularly glamorous, and you need to be prepared for this in the first couple of weeks especially. You will need to wear a well-fitting surgical bra or sports bra to support your implants. It isn’t for long, but it is important to give your breasts full support using the right garments in the early stages. If you have small children, or pets who need walking or exercising, then you may want to rope in some help for the post-operative stages, as you’ll need to be resting as much as possible. Ask friends and family in advance to help with the school run or dog walking.
Try to plan ahead in terms of household tasks too, so give the house a thorough clean beforehand and stock up on your food shopping. Anything which can be done ahead of your operation will save you worry afterwards. You could even prepare some meals in advance and pop them in the freezer, so you’re not trying to cook for the family as soon as you get home.
You will be desperate to show off your new shape, but there will be plenty of time for this a few months down the line. In the first weeks after your breast augmentation, you should wear light, loose clothing that doesn’t restrict you. So think baggy shirts, floaty tops and non-fitted dresses, rather than tight vests and fitted v-necks. You will usually be offered a programme of after care, during which you can contact the clinic with any queries or concerns. Keep a good eye on your general health after the procedure too, and get back in touch with the medical team if you notice any bleeding, unusual pain, signs of infection, chest pains, shortness of breath, or unusual heart beats.
The aftercare team is there to monitor you and make sure you are not suffering any post-operative complications, so they will give you a number to contact them on any time of day or night if you are worried about any of these symptoms.
Within a few months, most of the swelling and discomfort will have eased, and you will be able to enjoy showing off your new figure and carry on with your daily life as normal.