Breast Augmentation: What to Expect the First Week After Surgery

“From small beginnings come great things.” – author unknown

From resting and eating to lifting and love-making, here’s what you can expect – and do – from the first day after your breast implant surgery to your first post-op visit one week later. Top tip: Listen to your body.

RECOVERING
How will you feel after getting breast implants? Women most often describe the feeling as discomfort, not pain. Those who have had children say they feel like they did when their breasts were fully engorged with milk after childbirth. Women who haven’t had kids describe the feeling as tightness, burning or pressure. The discomfort usually starts to ease up on the fourth day after surgery. Until then, you can take the medications that are prescribed to make you comfortable during the recovery period. Read more about breast augmentation here.

RESTING
You’ll be home the same day after your surgery, and you need time to rest and heal. That doesn’t mean you have to stay in bed, but you should take it easy for one week. Listen to your body and my instructions – not to the voice in your head that tells you the living room needs vacuuming. If you need an excuse note from chores, I’d be happy to write one for you!

♥ “I was so scared of having extreme pain and I only had a little discomfort. It’s just been 8 days and I feel great, sexy and beautiful.” ♥

EATING
Although patients very rarely report nausea and vomiting after their surgery, it’s best to start off with clear soups the first evening. Although it might be tempting to order a pizza, avoid fast foods the first day. By lunchtime the day after surgery, you can eat whatever you want – even a big meal.

DRESSING
Generally, my patients wear a sports bra day and night the first week after surgery, except for when they take a shower. The band at the bottom of the bra helps to re-establish the crease under the breast. See our Before & After photo gallery here.

♥ “The recovery was way faster then I thought.” ♥

SLEEPING
You don’t have to sleep on your back or sit up all night after breast augmentation surgery. You can sleep any way you want from the night of surgery on, including on your stomach, if you are comfortable enough. You won’t pop or displace your implants by sleeping on them; they are extremely durable. [WATCH OUR VIDEO: Do I Have to Sleep on My Back?]

WASHING
You can take a shower the day after surgery, but you should wait until the third week to take a bath. If you soak in a tub, the water could penetrate the incision and cause an infection. By contrast, the shower water runs off the incision and doesn’t soak into it.

♥  “I went home shortly after surgery, had absolutely no nausea (ever!) and ate dinner regularly. The next day I was up and walking around, even left the house to get a mani pedi. The recovery has been incredibly easy.” ♥ 

DRIVING
Anesthesia stays in your system for at least 24 hours after surgery, which means you’ll be a little groggy. You might also be taking medication for discomfort the first few days. If you aren’t taking any narcotics, you can probably drive as early as Day 3.

LIFTING
For the first few days, you will need to depend on someone else to lift your baby or toddler. On the third day (if you had surgery on Monday, Day 3 is Thursday), you can pick up your child to transfer them to a crib, high chair or car seat. This rule is to ensure your comfort and minimize the risk of bleeding around the implants. You should not carry your child for extended periods until a couple of weeks after surgery

LOVE-MAKING
No sex for a full week. Sexual activity could raise your blood pressure and cause bleeding around the implants. At the first postoperative visit, I’ll examine you to make sure you are healing well – before I give you the go-ahead.

♥ “My recovery was smooth with very little discomfort.” ♥ 

WORKING
More than 90 percent of my patients are back to work in office setting by the fifth day after surgery. Patients who use their arms a lot – including hairstylists, waitresses and nurses – are comfortably back to work by the end of the second week.

Note: This is the protocol for MY patients. Each doctor has his or her specific post-operative protocol, and it’s imperative that you follow your doctor’s instructions, which might vary from mine.

How Much Does It Hurt?

By Dr. Ted

People experience pain differently – some are more sensitive than others, and according to an article on WebMD.com, both biological and psychological factors are at play.

After performing thousands of breast augmentations, talking with women at their first postoperative visit, and reviewing the results of a patient questionnaire that asks them to rate their level of pain/discomfort on the first few days after surgery, I’ve discovered that women usually describe the feeling as discomfort, not pain.

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For three days after surgery, on average, women who have had children tell me that they feel like they did when their breasts were fully engorged with milk after childbirth. Women who haven’t had children describe the feeling as tightness, burning or pressure. The discomfort usually starts to ease up significantly on the fourth day after surgery. About 90 percent of my patients say they are comfortable enough to return to work in an office setting on the fifth day after surgery.

I prescribe medications to make patients more comfortable during the recovery period. These include a narcotic, muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory. While some women take all three as prescribed, others might just take the anti-inflammatory and an occasional pain pill. They might take the muscle relaxant to help them sleep at night.

pp4In addition to oral medications, some surgeons also give their patients a pain pump. They will insert a catheter (a small tube) near the surgery site at the end of the procedure. The tube is attached to a pump that automatically and continuously delivers a local anesthetic for several days after surgery.

I’m not a fan of the pain pump for the following reasons:

  • It can act as an entrance site for bacteria.
  • The patient can’t increase the pump’s rate because too much medication would be toxic.
  • When the patient sleeps, she has to be careful that the device isn’t under the covers or on the floor, because the tube could be pulled out.
  • The catheter site and pump have to be protected from water, making showering more difficult.
  • The device has to be removed at a post-op visit.
  • Most importantly, I find that post-op discomfort can be managed well with oral medications.

Women who must use their arms to lift, push or pull (such as nurses, hairstylists or waitresses) normally return to work toward the end of the second week, around the 14th day after surgery. Although they may experience a little discomfort, they manage and are fully good to go by the third week.

Titbit: Researchers report that redheads, smokers, and people who are obese report more pain. Also, depression and anxiety can make someone more sensitive to pain.