by Erfani, Sadi
Recommendations for breast augmentation recovery remain fairly consistent among plastic surgeons.
Immediately after surgery, your breasts and chest wall may be sore and feel tight. The level of soreness obviously varies within each individual. However, some patients may notice that the soreness is enough to give them discomfort even with just arm elevation above shoulder level.
The introduction of breast augmentation implants placed under the skin is responsible for the initial tight sensation. The skin and soft tissue will generally require a few weeks to accommodate the increased volume before feeling and appearing more relaxed and natural. Until that occurs, the breasts may appear a little “high” or very round on the chest. In practice, patients can expect tightness to last anywhere from 1 to 3 months, improving over that time period.
Employ Massage Therapy
Patients are instructed to perform daily breast massage beginning the first week during recovery. This type of massage serves three major purposes in breast augmentation recovery:
First, the act of skin massage on the breast will improve the flow of the lymphatic system which is crucial for the reduction of swelling.
Second, massage therapy is a proactive daily treatment which will actually help to reduce the soreness and discomfort felt in the breasts.
Lastly, the massage will aid in the relaxation of the skin and soft tissue of the breasts which will ultimately improve the position and appearance of the implants.
Use Compression Garments
As is customary, a compression garment will be a necessary aid for comfortable breast augmentation recovery. A compressive bra or a sports bra without underwire is recommended during the first few weeks of the healing process.
Commonly, the incisions for placement of breast implants are located at the lower breast crease (“infra-mammary fold” in medical speak) and the use of an underwire bra may irritate the healing incision, or, over a longer time period, may influence (or prevent) the descent of the implants into a more pendulous-shaped breast (like a tear-drop).
In selected patients, whose skin is very tight or whose implants are very large, the use of a “bandeaux ” (a compressive bandage placed above the breasts and under the armpits) is advised to “coax” the implants into a lower position as the skin envelope of the breast progressively expands and appears more relaxed over a few to several weeks.
Apply Silicone Scar Treatments
Certain people may have an unfavorable history of wound healing. In these types of patients, it is pre-emptively advised that the use of silicone scar treatments to be applied to their incisions after the first week of recovery and up to 12 full weeks of treatment.
Embrace, ScarAway and New Gel+ are recognized compressive scar therapy brands to be applied once a week as an adhesive silicone bandage over the incisions. The adhesive bandage offloads the pressure on the incision, allowing the most favorable tension-free healing environment. The silicone aspect influences and “organizes” the wound healing milieu, effectively reducing the degree of pigmentation and scar elevation during the acute breast augmentation recovery period.
Follow-Up With Your Doctor
All of these guidelines are given under the assumption that no complications develop during the early recovery period. It is imperative to stay in communication and face-to-face follow-up with your plastic surgeon. The complications of hematoma (excessive bleeding) and infection can be quite detrimental to the final result of your breast augmentation if not treated right away. As such, you should give yourself and your physician the earliest opportunity of recognizing these problems so that they may most effectively be managed and controlled.
Significant size distortion or increase, asymmetry, focal or severe pain, blushing of the skin with redness, foul-smelling discharge, or just general malaise (fever, fatigue) may indicate a bleeding problem or infection.
If you have any of these concerns, it is highly recommended to notify your plastic surgeon expediently and be prepared to be evaluated in the clinic on short notice, if necessary to ensure full breast augmentation recovery.