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A breast augmentation surgery can have significant impacts on a woman’s quality of life.
To achieve ideal results, breast enhancement patients should adopt several lifestyle changes in the weeks and months following their surgery.
These changes will speed the healing process, reduce the risk of complications, and make the surgical recovery process easier.
1. Sleep in a Reclining Position for at Least One Week
Following a breast surgery, patients will experience swelling and pain around their incision sites. By sleeping in an upright or reclining position, patients will reduce swelling in their breasts and reduce the amount of time swelling occurs.
After one week, most women will be cleared to sleep completely flat on their back. Women should avoid sleeping on their side for two weeks and their abdomen for six weeks.
You can learn more about general post-surgery recovery guidelines here.
2. Avoid Standing Water
One concern that can cause complications during a breast surgery recovery is bathing or swimming (pools, hot tubs, oceans). Standing water submerges the incisions, which can lead to infections or other complications during recovery.
It is important to avoid baths and swimming for at least six weeks. This is because partially healed incisions can still get infected if exposed to standing water.
While patients should avoid submerging their breasts in water, showers are essential. Patients are required to shower the day after their surgery, and it is imperative to wash the incision site daily with soap and water. This will help to avoid infection.
3. Avoid Chores or Physically Demanding Activities
After a breast augmentation, patients should avoid physically demanding activities for six weeks. Rigorous activities can place undue stress on the incision sites. This can cause incisions to heal slower and increase the risk of complications.
Surgical procedures take time to recover from, and patients must allow their bodies the opportunity to heal. Light activities, such as walking, are recommended as soon as the patient feels ready.
To help with chores and other physical tasks, we suggest that patients have a friend or family member assist them.
Dr. Hochstein offers recovery rooms for patients to receive professional care during their recovery. These options are ideal for patients who do not have this type of support network in the local area.
4. Maintain Healthy Habits
Smoking is one of the worst things patients can do while recovering from plastic surgery. Nicotine (from cigarettes or other sources) significantly reduces blood flow. This is dangerous during recovery for several reasons. Smoking can increase the risk of:
- Blood clots
- Heart attack
- Tissue necrosis
To be safe, patients must avoid smoking for a minimum of two weeks for their own safety. It is highly risky to smoke, both before and after surgery. Given the amount of time patients must stay off nicotine, the breast augmentation recovery period is ideal for kicking the habit permanently.
Don’t Drink Alcohol
Alcohol is a blood thinner that can increase the risk of complications after surgery. Patients should avoid alcohol and other blood thinners for at least a week.
Before resuming alcohol consumption or any blood-thinning medications, be sure you clear these activities with your board-certified plastic surgeon. This will prevent potential complications with post-surgical pain medications.
Drink Lots of Water
Maintaining good hydration can help patients recover faster. While recovering from a breast surgery, you should drink more water than usual.
Ideally, you should drink at least 64 ounces of water per day. Drinks like electrolyte-rich sports drinks can count towards that amount. Patients should limit consumption of dehydrating beverages like caffeinated tea, coffee, and soda during recovery.
5. Avoid Buying Underwire Bras for a Couple of Months
After your breast augmentation, you may be eager to fill out your new wardrobe. However, there are a few things to consider.
First, it will take a few months for your breasts to take on their final shape. Buying new clothes before then may force you to return those clothes in a matter of weeks.
Second, you will not be able to wear an underwire bra for weeks or months following your surgery as the wire can irritate the incisions. This is especially true for women who get inframammary incisions.
Once your surgeon clears you to wear underwire bras again, that will be the time to fill out your new wardrobe. For most women, this will occur within two to six months of your breast augmentation.
6. Avoid Direct Sunlight on Your Incisions for at Least Six Weeks
One way to speed the recovery process is to keep your incisions out of direct sunlight. Sunlight can slow the healing process and make scarring more visible. For best results, keep your incisions out of direct sunlight for at least six weeks.
You can learn more about how to prevent post-op scarring here.