From Breast Augmentation
Before any surgery, you will want to discuss with your surgeon a realistic recovery plan so that you can make arrangements as needed. Dr. Vennemeyer and Dr. Loftus recommend that you be aware of the following additional considerations:
If you are 35 or older, a mammogram is usually obtained before breast surgery. As soon as you know you intend to have breast augmentation, try to get your mammogram scheduled. It is critical to get this done as early as possible and not wait until a few weeks before surgery. The reason is because a surprisingly large number of women have mammograms that show abnormalities that require further mammograms, ultrasounds, or biopsies. Even though the majority of these follow-up tests result in clearing the woman for surgery, they must be obtained prior to elective breast surgery, and some of them can be difficult to schedule on short notice. So, do yourself a favor and get your mammogram out of the way as soon as possible.
If you are over 40 or have medical problems, you may also need an EKG or routine blood tests. The preoperative testing process usually requires a separate visit to a hospital or lab and will take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
Planning your Explanation
If you are uncomfortable telling your friends and coworkers you are having cosmetic surgery, then you may wish to tell them you are taking vacation at home (which you are) or you are having “female surgery.” The mere mention of “female surgery” usually is sufficient to silence even the most curious of friends. Further, most people accept that you are justified in choosing to offer no further explanation than saying it was “female surgery.” And, the best part of all is that it is a true statement.
Another option that some women have found useful (but which may not be entirely politically correct in suggesting) is that you may progressively stuff your bra for the weeks and months leading to surgery. During this time, wear tight-fitting clothing. Following surgery, you may complain of weight gain (which is true) and you should wear loose-fitting clothing. You will be surprised at how few people notice or suspect that you had breast augmentation.
First Night at Home
In addition to having a friend or family member stay with you the night of surgery, you will likely find that it is just plain hard to find a comfortable position to sleep. Stomach-sleepers will especially have problems. Aside from the fact that stomach sleeping is just plain bad for your neck (and you should try to convert to side-sleeping in the interest of a healthy neck), you will really not want to sleep on your stomach for the first several nights after breast augmentation. Among the most practical alternatives is to sleep in a recliner. You may also prop yourself up on pillows in your bed, but you will be prone to rolling off of them.
Fill prescriptions for as many anti-nausea medications as you and your doctor may feel are appropriate in your case. This falls under the category of Better Safe Than Sorry.
Expect to look worse before you look better.
Within a few hours of surgery, you will begin to swell. Swelling will peak around 3-5 days after surgery. During that time, many women report that it feels as though their “breast milk is coming in.” How lovely. This is just one of those things that you will have to get through. Knowing to expect it is probably half of the battle. Also, anything that your doctor can do to reduce swelling by way of pain control may help.
Your First Shower
Often showers are allowed within a day of surgery, but you will likely be asked to wait much longer for bathing and swimming.
You will not be able to drive while you are on narcotic pain medication or muscle relaxants. Ask about non-sedating pain medications such as Celebrex, which does not affect bleeding or clotting.
Every plastic surgeon seems to advocate a different bra and different rules for wearing them….check with your surgeon.
Lifting Your Arms
We are aware that some plastic surgeons advocate that women do not lift their arms over their heads for the first few days or weeks following breast augmentation, and Dr. Vennemeyer and Dr. Loftus could not disagree more. Restricting range of motion of your arms will make you more stiff and can slow your recovery, so Dr. Vennemeyer and Dr. Loftus encourage women to regularly, slowly, and gently raise their arms over their heads beginning shortly after surgery. This can be done by “climbing the wall” with your fingers a few times a day. Just sit next to a wall and….have your fingers climb it as high as you can. Now, this is not a license to lift heavy items, exercise, or overdo in any way. This is a simple way to maintain your range of motion without causing problems. As always, check with your own surgeon first.
We did not spell out the word because we do not want our website censored, but you know what we mean. The best thing to do is ask your surgeon when it is OK to proceed. If you are uncomfortable asking your surgeon, then it is generally safe to resume you-know-what when your surgeon says it is OK to exercise.