After surgery, do I have to sleep on my back?

By Dr. Ted
The information below is what I tell my patients to do and to expect after breast augmentation surgery: Each doctor has his or her specific postoperative protocol, and it might vary greatly from what you read here. It’s imperative that you follow your doctor’s instructions.

There’s a myth that after breast augmentation surgery, you’ll need to sleep on your back for a week or longer. Many of my patients believe it, and they are worried that they won’t be able to get to sleep, because they normally lie on their side or their stomach.

They are not alone. According to the Better Sleep Council, fewer than 15 percent of people prefer to sleep on their back.

Screen shot 2013-08-28 at 3.10.12 PMLet’s bust this myth: You don’t have to sleep on your back after breast augmentation surgery. You don’t have to stay up all night to make sure you don’t doze off and turn over onto your stomach. You can sleep any way you want.

The implants won’t pop if you sleep on them; they are extremely durable and can withstand a lot of weight. In fact, Allergan, an implant manufacturer, tests its implants by exerting 55 pounds of force on them repeatedly, up to 6.5 million times. (That would be equivalent to sleeping on your stomach for the next 17,808 years.)

Just as your contact lens can’t slip behind your eye, your breast implants can’t disappear into your body. They are carefully positioned in a space (a pocket) behind the pectoral muscle. Just like contact lenses, the implants can’t go anywhere because they bounded by muscle and strong tissues. The normal movement in the pocket won’t disrupt your healing.

I instruct my patients to wear a sports bra for one week after their surgery, and they sometimes think that the bra’s purpose is to keep their implants in place. That’s not true. As stated above, the implants aren’t going anywhere!

The bra simply gives the bottom of the breast and the incision a little more support to counteract gravity as you sit, stand and walk around during the day. When you wear a bra, there is less pressure on the incision, which can make you feel more comfortable. The incision, which is made in the crease beneath the breast, won’t pop open, either. It’s closed by three layers of dissolvable stitches, which provide strength to the incision for months until it is completely healed.

Screen shot 2013-08-28 at 3.04.59 PMThe only factor limiting your sleep position is comfort. Most women tell me that they are fully comfortable sleeping on their stomach in about three weeks on average. They are comfortable sleeping on their side much sooner.

Sweet dreams.

 

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