If you’re planning to undergo breast augmentation, congratulations. This is one of the most exciting procedures available to women who want to add or restore feminine curves. And Dustin C. Derrick, MD, the lead plastic surgeon at Cosmetic Surgery of DFW in Fort Worth, TX, specializes in procedures like breast enhancement and mommy makeovers. You can therefore trust you’re in great hands before, during, and after your surgery.
What Should You Avoid After a Breast Augmentation?
After your body experiences a dramatic change, such as that brought by surgery, it needs time to recover. This is why you must take the appropriate time to heal. Equally important, you must also follow the post-op guidelines we provide. These will largely be tailored to suit your individual needs, but some suggestions are universal.
For instance, one of the first recommendations we’ll make is that you refrain from smoking. It’s best to quit one month before surgery, as the chemicals contained in cigarettes can negatively impact your ability to heal and surgery results. Nicotine in particular can put you at risk for infection and damage the capillaries near your surgical wounds. This effect impedes blood flow. If you’ve ever needed a reason to quit smoking, your surgery may provide just that.
Don’t Wear an Underwire Bra
You’ll need to wear a surgical or sports bra after surgery for three to four weeks. The support provided by these garments can keep your breasts in place and help you sleep more comfortably. An underwire bra, on the other hand, can irritate your incisions and prevent implants from properly settling.
With this in mind, you should also delay shopping for new undergarments. You might be tempted to invest in a few lush bras, but you won’t know your new cup size until your breasts ease into their final, more natural position. We recommend that you simply rest and enjoy taking some time for yourself. You’ll have plenty of time to shop for new bras after you’ve recovered.
Don’t Sleep On Your Stomach or Side
The position in which you sleep can greatly impact the appearance of your breast augmentation. This is why it’s crucial you sleep on your back for a short time after surgery. Your body should also be elevated, particularly while you sleep. This enhances circulation, reduces fluid buildup, and keeps the breasts in a more natural position during healing.
Sleeping while you’re elevated can also assist with mobility. You need some upper body strength to get out of bed. But after surgery, we strongly recommend you not use your arm or chest muscles (more on this in a moment). Sleeping upright can keep you from needing these muscles, and many patients sleep in recliners or against a stack of pillows to help them stay in the proper position.
Maximize Your Surgery Results
Sleeping on your stomach or side can apply pressure to your implants and incisions during the recovery process. Rest assured you can return to your normal sleep habits soon enough. In fact, you’ll likely be cleared to return to side sleeping while wearing a supportive bra within just two weeks. Sleeping on your stomach, however, is off the table until a member of our staff gives the go-ahead.
Don’t Take Aspirin
Unless your medical doctor has suggested otherwise, it’s generally not a good idea to take aspirin during your breast augmentation recovery. Aspirin disrupts the normal aggregation of platelets, which can lead to prolonged or abnormal bleeding after your procedure. Additional reasons to skip aspirin as you recover include:
- Potential interactions with prescription medicines
If you were advised by a doctor to take aspirin every day for your heart, you’ll need medical clearance to stop this regimen before surgery. You should never stop prescribed aspirin therapy without your doctor’s guidance. Doing so may increase your risk for a cardiovascular event.
Don’t Take Medications Unless Prescribed
The first two weeks of your recovery are generally the most important. It is for this reason that you must be cautious with the medications you take. The best rule of thumb is incredibly simple: only take those medications prescribed by our office or your doctor. This protocol ensures you don’t take any medications that might interfere with your healing.
We know what you’re thinking: showering is a part of good hygiene. But for at least 48 hours, you must avoid this common practice. Incisions need about two days to completely close. Getting incisions wet too soon after surgery can cause them to re-open, interfere with the healing process, and even lead to infections. Once you’re outside of the 48-hour window, you can gently wash your breasts – but don’t scrub or rub the treated areas.
Getting into a pool, lake, or ocean can expose your incisions to bacteria, meaning you may be vulnerable to infection. We therefore recommend you resist swimming for a bit and simply relax poolside or walk along the beach. You should likewise avoid jacuzzies and hot tubs to further protect your incisions.
Don’t Sit in the Sun
As you’re outside enjoying nature, you should not expose yourself to the sun. Ultraviolet rays can, again, interfere with the way your incisions heal. Even after you receive clearance to go swimming, you should use caution in the sun. The same is true for tanning beds. Avoid them until we give the necessary approval. Or, better yet, make a conscious decision to stay out of the sun and tanning beds from this point forward.
Don’t Engage in Strenuous Activities
This recommendation is important enough that we’ll likely repeat it a few times. All strenuous activities, especially exercise, must be avoided for about a month. You can and should go walking during this time to encourage strong blood flow throughout your body. But other exercises are off the table.
We’ll likely clear you to engage in lower body exercises after your first month of healing. Then, gradually, you can start to again incorporate upper body exercises.
Don’t Lift Heavy Objects
Most surgeries require that you not lift heavy objects for a while. Breast augmentation is no exception. After your procedure, you won’t be able to carry groceries, pets, or even your child for at least a few weeks. This promotes rapid, healthy healing and beautiful results.
As long as you’re watching what you lift, it’s also important you not raise your arms above your head. This means no reaching for objects or lifting your arms to get into a shirt. With this in mind, you should plan to wear button- or zip-up shirts for a brief time.
Don’t Drink Alcohol
A small amount of alcohol is, for most people, absolutely fine. But you can hasten your recovery by abstaining for a couple of weeks. Alcohol is known to inhibit healing by:
- Impeding the immune system
- Contributing to dehydration
- Increasing the risk of bleeding
Don’t Get Steamy in the Bedroom
It’s best to delay intercourse for a brief time after surgery. You and your partner may want to try, but we recommend you wait. If you do decide to be intimate, you need to wear a sports or surgery bra and avoid placing pressure on your breasts.
Don’t Eat the Wrong Foods
A diet low in protein and vitamin C can put you at greater risk for post-operative complications. Your body needs these nutrients to heal, and vitamin C is crucial to collagen formation. You should therefore choose wholesome foods during your recovery like:
- Leafy greens like kale and spinach
- Red and yellow peppers
- Greek yogurt
If you cannot enjoy a diet rich in these nutrients for health reasons, such as digestive issues, it’s important you speak to our office. We can likely recommend dietary supplements that will provide the nutrition you need without compromising your well-being.
Don’t Neglect Your Rest
We’ve mentioned multiple times that your body needs to rest after breast augmentation. The exact amount of time you need to heal will depend on your body, but most women can safely return to work after about one week.
The time you are at home should be spent relaxing. This means napping when you need to and enjoying plenty of downtime. You’ll probably feel more like your old self after just a few days, but we urge you to continue resting. Your body will thank you by healing more quickly.
Get the Body You Want and the Recovery You Need
Augmentation can help boost your confidence and provide a more shapely silhouette. And with our team by your side, you can count on a timely recovery. Simply follow the post-op guidelines we provide and get the rest your body needs. If you have questions about breast implants or a mommy makeover or to schedule a consultation with Dustin C. Derrick, MD, call Cosmetic Surgery of DFW in Fort Worth, TX, at (817) 790-9229.