Recovering from breast surgery sounds complicated to many patients, but it is actually very straightforward. So here are seven things to remember while your body is healing after breast augmentation, breast lift (mastopexy), breast reduction or breast reconstruction surgery, during your breast surgery recovery:
1) Wearing Bras After Breast Surgery: At the conclusion of your breast operation, Dr. Brenner will place a comfortable dressing of gauze and surgical bias wrap. This will stay on overnight and be removed on your first post-operative office visit. You will then be placed into either a surgical bra (fit to size) or a sports bra. We recommend that you shop for sports bras prior to your operation. You should plan to purchase bras that clip or zip in the front to facilitate putting on the bras without raising your arms. Further, you should get two bras in two different sizes; the first bra size should be big enough to account for the postoperative swelling that occurs over the first two weeks. The second bra should be one size smaller, so that it will fit comfortably once the immediate swelling goes down. Dr. Brenner recommends wearing either a surgical bra or sports bra for the first four to six weeks after surgery.
2) Breast Swelling: After your breast operation, you can expect to have post-operative swelling within the breast tissues. Swelling can be unpredictable and certainly varies from patient to patient. Post-operative swelling is more prominent during the first 24 to 48 hours after your operation. Swelling tends to subside gradually, and can take several weeks to go away completely.
3) Implant Settling: After breast augmentation (and in particular after sub-muscular placement), breast implants will tend to “ride high.” This is normal. Your breast implants will “drop into position” over about a four to five week period. Occasionally Dr. Brenner will place you into a breast band to help facilitate implant settling. Further, breast massage will further help encourage implant settling.
4) Breast Massage: After your breast augmentation, you will be instructed on breast massage by Dr. Brenner and his staff. Breast massage is usually started two weeks after breast augmentation surgery. This time frame may be different for patients who undergo breast lifting or breast reconstruction with implants, so make sure you ask Dr. Brenner prior to starting.
5) Breast Drains: Occasionally Dr. Brenner will place surgical drains during breast reduction, breast revision, capsulectomy surgery or breast reconstruction. Drains are rarely placed during primary breast augmentation. Surgical drains in breast surgery can stay in for one day or for several weeks. For instance, most breast reduction drains will be removed one to two days after surgery. However, revision or reconstruction cases (especially those that require acellular dermal matrixplacement) may require that drains stay in for a few weeks. You will be instructed on proper drain care by Dr. Brenner and his staff.
6) Scar Management: All breast surgery requires some type of incision; all incisions turn into scars. It is important to realize that scars take about one full year to completely heal, flatten and fade. Scars will appear to be their thickest and reddest at about two or three weeks after surgery. This is normal. From that point on, scars will continue to remodel, and refine for one full year. As the scar tissue heals, so too will their appearance. However, there are a few options for helping out the process. Topical silicone gel (Biocorneum) is available in Dr. Brenner’s office and can usually be applied starting two weeks after surgery. Silicone gel sheeting may also be ordered, especially for patients with longer incisions. Further, laser treatments are available through ROX Spa to help reduce thickening and color change that may occur in some scars.
7) Lifting and Reaching: It is important to remember that during your breast surgery recovery, lifting and reaching with your arms needs to be limited. In general, Dr. Brenner restricts his patients from any heaving lifting for four to six weeks after breast implant surgery. This allows time for the breast tissues to heal around the implant, and reduces any potential complications.
*photos on this post are not actual patients of Dr. Brenner.