Everything is smoother when you’re prepared: family dinners, road trips, business trips, emergencies. The same thing applies to breast augmentation surgery.
Chances are, you’ve spent a lot of time anticipating this surgery. You’ve shopped around for the best breast augmentation surgeon, researched the procedure, and decided on the optimal cup size for your body type. The surgeon will now lend their experience and artistry to create a beautiful outcome, but your help is still needed.
In our years of performing breast augmentations in Lexington, Kentucky, we’ve found that patients recover best when they are prepared for the surgery.
Here are some tips to help you prepare so that you minimize complications and heal faster.
1. Take Care of your Body
Surgery takes a toll on the body, but if you are healthy, you’ll increase the chances that the surgery will progress as planned and decrease the chances of post-operative complications.
Stop smoking. If you smoke, we recommend that you stop smoking (or using any nicotine-related products) for at least four weeks prior to the surgery. This applies to cigarettes, vapes, and marijuana. It also applies to second-hand smoke so limit your exposure if possible.
Eat well. While you should eat healthy, now is not the time to go on any drastic diets. Keep it moderate and balanced with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid alcohol; it stops your blood from clotting well. While you should never drink 24 hours before surgery, you can err on the side of caution by abstaining from alcohol for a week prior to the surgery.
Stay active. If you haven’t been hitting the gym, don’t go crazy now. The last thing you need is a pulled muscle as you are trying to heal. However, daily, moderate cardiovascular activity (such as brisk walking or riding a stationary bike with mid-level resistance) paired with low-weight strength training can only help you in your recovery.
Avoid germs. We know…they’re everywhere, especially at this time of year. You can’t always outrun them, but before surgery, it’s worth giving it your best shot. Avoid crowded spaces and individuals who you know are ill. Wash your hands frequently. You may even want to wear a mask when you go out in public. If you do get sick, you’ll have to reschedule your surgery.
2. Take Care of the Details
Most people get a little anxious before surgery; it’s perfectly natural. But too much stress can increase your heart rate and cause you to bleed more. You don’t need either of those problems during surgery! One way to alleviate stress is to nail down your pre and post-surgery “to dos” well in advance.
Enlist a driver and companion. Make sure you have someone to drive you to and from the surgery and stay with you for 24 hours after the surgery is complete.
Arrange for childcare or pet-sitting (if pertinent). No matter how needy your toddler or your German Shepherd is, you will be in no state to lift them after your surgery. The general recommendation is that you don’t lift anything heavy for four to six weeks after surgery. Heavy lifting can open up your incisions, cause internal bleeding, and displace your implants. Make arrangements for someone to do the lifting for you so that you can focus on healing.
Take adequate time off of work (and arrange for someone to cover emergency tasks). If you have a desk job, you may be able to return to work after a week or more, but for anything more strenuous, it may be three weeks or more. Consult with your doctor and follow their guidance.
Arrange for housekeeping. When your chest is sore and swollen, the last thing you will want to do–or should do–is vacuum, mop, or clean toilets. For the first several days (or more), expect to rest full time. Beyond that, you might be able to get up and around for light activity, but overdoing it could set back your recovery. And remember, any kind of heavy lifting or straining can be downright dangerous. Play it safe and arrange for someone else to handle the housework for a few weeks after your procedure.
Follow the doctor’s orders. Pay close attention at your pre-surgery appointment. Among other things, you’ll learn which of your medications you need to stop prior to the surgery and when you need to stop them. You’ll also learn when to arrive for your surgery and if you need to come fasting.
Prepare for the pain. “No pain, no gain” may work in the gym, but it’s a terrible mantra after surgery. Pain can stress your body, and stress can slow down healing. Keep your pain medications handy along with liquids to wash them down. If you’re prone to constipation, anesthesia and pain medications will exacerbate the problem so talk to your breast augmentation doctor about getting laxatives in advance to take prophylactically.
Get ahead of the personal hygiene. Think of your recovery as a bit of a camping trip…you’ll be going “au natural” for a bit. No shaving or washing your hair at first. Give those pits a good shave before surgery–or arrange to have them waxed if you prefer. Wash your hair thoroughly before your procedure.
Get the right bra. Talk to your doctor about the best undergarments to wear after surgery. Some doctors recommend that you wear a compression bra day and night for a couple of weeks. A compression bra is made of breathable fabric, has a supportive band (but NOT underwire), a full cup, wide shoulder straps, and (often) can be fastened in the front. It supports your breasts while they heal, keeps wound dressings and implants in place, and reduces swelling.
After the compression bra, you’ll likely be switching to a supportive sports bra. Make sure that you have all the right undergarments in place so you’re not running from store to store while you’re trying to heal.
3. Take Care of Your Recovery Environment
Remember, stress works against healing. The more restful you can make your recovery environment, the better you’ll support rapid healing.
Facilitate good sleep. Your swollen, tender breasts won’t like it if you try to sleep on your side or stomach. Many patients arrange to sleep in a recliner or sitting up in bed with a couple of pillows propped up behind their back for the first week or so.
Stock your fridge. You’ll want to fuel your body with healthy, low-sodium, protein-rich foods when you get home, but you’re not likely going to feel up to cooking. Prepare a few healthy meals in advance, and make sure you have good food on hand, including lean meats, soup, salad mixes, fruit for smoothies, and protein drinks. Avoid foods that could irritate your gut (such as dairy products or refined carbs) and greasy or sugary foods.
Set up a surface. You’ll want some kind of surface by your bed for your medical papers, medications, etc. It could be a table or night stand. Make sure it’s clear of clutter…you’ll want space to spread your things out.
Make it indulgent. Prepare your mindset so that you’re not sitting in bed nervously thinking of all of the things you “should” be doing. What you should be doing is relaxing and healing. Treat this as “you time”—time to refuel and enjoy. Check out books from the library in advance. Make sure you have a good setup for watching your favorite shows. Have a queue ready so there’s entertainment to look forward to. Make a playlist of relaxing tunes for when you’re reading or relaxing.
Having this “haven” set up before you go to the clinic or hospital will reaffirm that your post-surgery time is for relaxation and healing. Your mindset has a lot to do with your recovery. If you’re relaxed and content, you’re helping the healing process along.
Interested in a breast augmentation procedure in Lexington or Louisville? We can help you learn more about the process in a relaxed, judgment-free setting, and our highly experienced team can guide you through what to expect before and after the procedure if you decide to move forward.