OPS Blog

Breast augmentation 101: recovery.

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A breast augmentation can give your breasts new volume, rebalance their symmetry, or restore their youthful appearance. It’s one of the most popular surgeries we perform, and it can have a dramatic effect on patients’ lives and self-confidence. Because we know this procedure is a life-changing commitment, we work hard to answer every question our patients have as thoroughly as possible.

This blog is the third in our Breast Augmentation 101 series, where we’ll walk you through the breast augmentation process, step by step. Today, we’re answering the most common questions we receive about breast augmentation recovery.  

How long is breast augmentation recovery? 

Breast augmentation at Ottawa Plastic Surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means you’ll head home the day of your surgery. You may be able to return to most normal activities within a few days, but we usually recommend you plan to take 5-7 days off from work to ensure adequate time for rest and recovery. 

How can I properly prepare for recovery? 

Besides arranging for time off work, we recommend planning to have someone available to help with things around the house for several days following the procedure, and trying to complete all non-essential personal duties and responsibilities before your surgery; recovery will be far less stressful if you can get all of life’s little tasks out of the way beforehand. 

Because we recommend avoiding the use of your arms and chest immediately following surgery, we also recommend that you plan to wear loose-fitting clothing that does not need to be pulled over your head. You will be provided with a bra, though you may wish to obtain 2 or 3 additional sports bras (those that open in the front or back are easiest to put on and take off) to wear at all times in the 4 weeks following your surgery. 

What should I expect from breast augmentation recovery? Will I be in pain?

Pain, bruising and mild swelling are normal and expected after surgery, and a low grade temperature is often seen early after your procedure. Patients typically experience some discomfort for a few days after surgery, but we will discuss pain management options with you and explain how to properly care for your surgical incisions to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible. 

Is there anything I can do to speed up my recovery? 

The most important thing you can do to ensure a speedy, pain-free recovery is follow the pre- and post-operative instructions we provide you with. Be sure to schedule and attend your regular follow-up appointments—the first will take place 2-5 days post-surgery—and properly care for your incisions as instructed. Lastly, you should take all your medications and antibiotics as prescribed.

Is there anything I can do to avoid scarring? 

Scarring from breast augmentation is quite minimal, and usually well hidden in the crease of the breast. Our surgeons don’t advise using scar gel, but if you really want to apply something once your stitches are removed—approximately 2 weeks after surgery—a silicone scar gel is your best option. If the area is itchy, you can apply Polysporin. Please do not apply Bio Oil (many patients believe it speeds up healing but it can actually have the opposite effect), or other creams and lotions. 

What are some things to look out for that would warrant a call to the surgeon?

If you notice a rapid increase in pain, swelling and firmness of one or both breasts with a bluish discoloration of the skin (which may indicate bleeding), high fevers above 38.5℃ or 101.5℉, drainage of fluid from the incision, or increasing redness and pain in the breast, you should call your surgeon. 

When can I exercise again? 

Following breast augmentation surgery, you can normally resume going for walks within a week or two. We recommend avoiding any exercise more strenuous than walking for four weeks after surgery, including heavy lifting, upper body weights, aerobics, jogging, swimming, hiking, yoga, and spin classes.

Can I get my incisions wet?

You can take showers after your first dressing change in the office. For four weeks after your surgery, you should not take baths or spend time in hot tubs, lakes, the ocean, or other bodies of water. You should also avoid saunas.

When can I go back to work? 

Unless your job involves heavy lifting or vigorous physical activity, you can normally return to work 5-7 days after your surgery. 

When will I see my final results?

It’s important to know that mild differences in the size and shape of your breasts are common and normal in the early recovery period. Don’t panic if you don’t immediately love the way your breasts look; the swelling that is present after surgery is only temporary and should resolve within a few weeks. Your implants may take several months to settle, at which point your final results will be visible. 

Discover what is possible. Contact us to schedule your breast augmentation consultation today. 

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