close up of blond woman's chest with special support bra

Breast augmentation is a major medical procedure. Even if you are excited about changing your breast size, it is normal to be apprehensive before surgery. Breast augmentation requires specific post-operative care to ensure a healthy recovery. 

Proper preparation can help your recovery go smoothly, and many patients feel more at ease going into surgery if they know what to expect. Below, we will go over five tips to help you prepare for breast augmentation recovery.

Learn What To Expect

Before undergoing any surgery – including breast augmentation – it is helpful to learn what you can expect after the procedure. Not only can this ease anxiety, but it also allows you to ensure you fully understand how to care for yourself during recovery.

Typically, the first five to seven days post-surgery are the most uncomfortable. You will likely be taking prescription medications to manage soreness and swelling during this time. Most patients also need to wear a post-surgical recovery bra. You will also have difficulty engaging in day-to-day activities and will need extra help for basic errands and household tasks.

After the first week, you can typically manage pain with over-the-counter medications. You can gradually ease back into most daily activities, including light exercise such as walking, but you should avoid vigorous exercise and heavy lifting. Most patients can resume all regular activities within 6 weeks.

Create A Recovery Station

As you will have limited mobility immediately after surgery, creating a recovery station is important. Place a table next to your bed or couch to keep any items you’ll need on hand for the first few days after surgery. This typically includes:

  • Bottled water
  • Tissues
  • A cell phone charger
  • TV remote control
  • Snacks
  • Bendable straws
  • Any medications you take daily
  • Entertainment items (e.g., books, crossword puzzles)
  • Loose-fitting clothing

Some post-surgical medications can cause nausea, so it’s a good idea to have a trash can within reach just in case. You may also want to stock up on over-the-counter nausea relief medications as a precaution. Just make sure to check with your surgeon to ensure any drugs you take do not interfere with your post-surgical meds.

Enlist Help

On the day of your surgery, you will need someone to drive you home and stay with you overnight. However, most patients will need more help than this, especially for the first week. As previously mentioned, soreness, swelling, and the effects of pain medication can make daily tasks difficult.

Enlist a few friends or family members to help you with tasks like grocery shopping, cleaning, pet care, running to the pharmacy, and anything else you may need following surgery. If possible, see if someone can stay at your house or apartment for at least a few days. In most cases, you can resume the majority of non-strenuous activities within a week.

Arrange For Time Off Work  ​​

Most patients need at least one week of downtime after breast augmentation, during which working – even remotely – will be difficult. After a week, you can likely return to work if you do not have a physically demanding job. However, you may want to discuss remote work options with your boss as commuting can be challenging.

Remember, sick leave policies vary significantly from company to company. If your surgery is considered elective, this could potentially disqualify you from paid sick leave. You may have to use vacation days or schedule your surgery over a holiday break. If you are undergoing breast augmentation after removing breast tissue due to cancer, you may be more likely to receive paid sick leave. 

If you have a physically demanding job, you may need up to six weeks off. Review your company’s sick leave policy carefully to ensure you qualify for extended medical leave. Set up a meeting with your boss well before your surgery.

Stock Up On Household Supplies

Make sure to stock up on any household necessities before undergoing breast augmentation. Fill any prescriptions and buy any over-the-counter drugs you use regularly. Ensure you have enough toilet paper, paper towels, tissue, and other toiletries to last at least two weeks.

Cooking can be challenging post-breast augmentation. Purchase premade or easy-to-cook foods like sandwiches, frozen meals, deli meats, and cereal. On the subject of food, constipation can be a problem post-breast augmentation. Therefore, avoid low-fiber foods such as white bread and rice. Over the counter laxatives are also very helpful. Products like Colace and Miralax are excellent products to incorporate starting post-op day one.

Breast Augmentation Recovery: The Bottom Line

The first weeks after breast augmentation can be very challenging. During this time, you may have difficulty with basic tasks and need extra assistance around the house. Making preparations ahead of time can ensure a safe, healthy recovery.

Ready to get started? Leif Rogers, MD, is an Ivy League-educated, board-certified plastic surgeon and a standing member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. If you’re considering breast augmentation, get in touch with his team to schedule a consultation.

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