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Recovery following breast augmentation – What to expect ?

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Day 0

Can go home few hours after the breast augmentation procedure. Take home medications and instruction leaflets. Keep drinking plenty of fluids and keep mobilising.

Days 1-4

Swelling, pain and discomfort may be there after breast augmentation surgery. Early risk for bleeding in first 24 hours. This is the period that requires the vast majority of tablets. Move arms gently. Bruising may appear. Fluid retention is common as is weight gain in this period.

Days 4-10

Wound check at day 7 of breast augmentation procedure. Generally OK to shower and get wounds briefly wet after day 7. Tummy may be swollen as the swelling moves down your body. Possible constipation due to pain medications like codeine or co-codamol. Pain tends to diminish during the day with less need for medications. However, pain tends to occur at night and is worse with submuscular placement ( behind the muscle). Bruising stable. Begin implant displacement exercises. Between 7-10 days be aware of signs of bleeding or infection.

Days 10-21

Now there is lowered risk of infection and bleeding after 10 days of breast augmentation surgery. Increased physical activity such as low impact exercises avoiding upper extremity resistance exercises. Vast majority of initial capsule formation occurs during this period. Vast majority of swelling begins to subside. Occasional pain at night. Nerves begin to wake up and may cause "pins and needles" sensation to nipple area. Normal to have some areas of skin numbness. More aggressive implant displacement exercises are begun.

Days 21-42

Generally a plateau period in terms of wound healing. Not a lot of changes as the remaining 20% of the capsule tends to be formed during this period. Rare to require any pain meds. Generally ok to switch to ibuprofen if needed. May begin transition from low impact activities to higher impact aerobic activities and begin a slow but gradually progressive course of upper extremity resistance exercises.

Days 42-9 months

Progressive relaxation of scar tissues and softening of the initially firm result with descent of the implant and resolution of the remaining 5-10% of swelling. It is at this points that the breasts generally become softer and develop some movement. During this time most patients take "ownership" of the implants and they become part of their body image but this varies tremendously among patients. This is also a common time period where patients may feel that they didn't go big enough. Although the breasts become stable in their appearance, it is important to realize that they are never stable and always changing with the greatest amount of change occurring with pregnancy, weight gain, and menopause.

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