What will I be able to do for the first 24 hours after my surgery?
In order to be able to achieve a one day recovery from breast augmentation surgery, it is important to follow our detailed recovery instructions to the best of your ability. In a review of our 2008-2012 survey of our patients, we have found that 97% have needed nothing stronger than ibuprofen (Advil) and 98% of patients returned to normal activities of daily living (except for strenuous exercise) 24 hours after surgery. There is no guarantee that you will also recover in 24 hours, however, if you follow the instructions given, based upon our experiences with many other patients, there is a very high probability (98%) that you will do so. We describe a one day recovery as the ability to bring your arms up over your head, lift up to 25 pounds, as well as perform most all your essential activities of daily living (ADL’s) by 24 hours after surgery.
It is important that you not engage in strenuous activities in the first three weeks after surgery. You may lift up to 25 pounds. Aerobic exercise will raise your blood pressure, which could cause late bleeding and harm your result. If your job keeps you sedentary, you may return to work when you feel comfortable. Once you begin exercising again, start gently and let your body tell you what it can tolerate. Don’t rush!!
When you leave our facility, you may be experiencing some discomfort, but after you go home and take the ibuprofen and awaken from the prescribed 2 hour nap, you should feel considerably better. It is anticipated that you will be able to engage in most of your normal activities of daily living the same day as your surgery. There may be some things that you will have some trouble with. We have been taking survey data on our One-Day Recovery Breast Augmentation patients for several years now. The two most common activities that patients report some difficulty with is opening/closing heavy doors (i.e. car doors) and opening pill bottles.
It is recommended to avoid stagnant water for three weeks to prevent infection. Showering on the same day following your surgery is recommended, but submerging your breasts in a bathtub, hot tub, swimming pool or natural body of water (ocean, lake, etc) is not recommended to avoid the development of infection.
Sexual intercourse is permitted the evening of your surgery. Use common sense to avoid trauma to the breasts.
When you awaken right after surgery there may be some discomfort in the breasts. This is entirely normal. You will be given medication in the recovery room for this. When you get home, you will be instructed to take Advil (if we have not given it to you already in the recovery room) and you will take a 2 hour nap. After you awaken from the nap, you should feel dramatically better. Most women describe the discomfort as a sense of muscle soreness, or a feeling similar to “when your milk comes in”, rather than one of true pain. As this resolves, you may have a little soreness on the sides of your breast/chest. Again, this is all normal.
The wounds will be dressed with a Dermabond, a surgical wound sealant. This will create a transparent film over the incision line. Do not pick it off. The sealant provides an antimicrobial barrier to prevent infection, as well as limits drainage through the wound. Gauze dressings are generally not necessary but can be applied locally to any areas that may be oozing.
Following breast augmentation, the breasts will be fairly tight, and there will not be much motion of the breasts. As the breasts stretch and relax, you will see more motion, but this will take several months.
Although you may not choose to do so, it is anticipated that you will feel well enough to venture out shopping or go to lunch or dinner the same day as your surgery. A great many of our patients have done so and we hope that you will as well! We have many patients who travel to us from out of town and stay in local hotels. When I call my patients later in the day or evening after surgery, they are almost always out and about town!
You may drive when driving does not cause pain and you can drive defensively. This may occur as soon as the next day if you have a car with power steering. We strongly recommend that you DO NOT drive the same day as your surgery. This is a general recommendation for anyone who has undergone a general anesthetic.