Since opening my plastic surgery practice over 20 years ago, there has been a markedly positive evolution in the postoperative course that my patients have experienced following a breast augmentation. This has resulted in shorter recuperation times, less discomfort, reduced postoperative nausea and shorter times off from work or school.
All my patients have their breast augmentation surgery performed using general anesthesia as it is far more comfortable and humane. Patients who have had their previous breast enlargement done using a twilight anesthetic (not fully asleep) will relate the uncomfortable nature of this approach – physically and emotionally. The anesthetic agents utilized for general anesthesia today are far more refined, effective, predictable and with fewer side-effects. Patients wake up far more rapidly, are lucid and functional in a much shorter period of time without an anesthetic “hangover”. The incidence of nausea has been markedly reduced and the extent is usually fairly mild and well controlled with one of several effective medications.
With an evolution in technique, I have found that the level of surgical discomfort postoperatively has been reduced tremendously. Though pain tolerance varies from person to person, most of my patients take medication to control the pain just for a few days and often not on a regular basis. They may take an occasional analgesic subsequently as they become more active. Some may only require pain medication for the first twenty four hours.
I do recommend light activities for the first few days with certain restrictions. The surgical dressing is typically removed two days after surgery at which point in time you are placed in a supportive but comfortable bra. At that time, you will notice that your breasts will be moderately swollen and firm. This will rapidly subside in the ensuing several weeks so that even at a month, they will appear closer to their long term shape. However, expect that it can take up to six months or longer for a more “stable” long term appearance.
Most patients can resume driving by three to five days. I strongly discourage driving if you are still taking narcotics as they can impair your senses and therefore your ability to drive safely. You are encouraged to resume most of your normal activities when you feel comfortable. I do restrict vigorous activities such as sports, aerobics, and heavy lifting for three weeks following surgery. Pectoralis muscle exercises should be avoided for eight weeks.
Virtually all of my patients return to school or work within five to seven days. If your job requires strenuous activity or long hours, you may need additional time off from work or some sort of temporary assistance or job modification.
If you would like additional information about recovery from a breast augmentation, information about the breast augmentation procedure in general or to schedule a consultation, please call my office at 480-451-3000.
Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona