The ERAS Program
Breast augmentation is one of the most common aesthetic procedures in the United States. One of the reasons is the rapid recovery. Patients may feel pressure in their chest for several days but tend to [return] to work and regular activities within a week.
Surgical technique has improved dramatically to make the surgery precise, minimizing discomfort. However, the biggest changes have come from the preventative approach to pain management.
This [approach] includes the ERAS (Enhanced Recovery After Surgery) program. Patients are started on medications the day prior to their surgery. This has been shown to decrease the discomfort from surgery and enhance recovery by minimizing pain and decreasing the side effects from anesthesia.
Breast augmentation surgery is the most common plastic surgery procedure worldwide. It is generally considered safe when performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon and only takes one to two hours in the operating room.
While surgery of any kind can cause a reasonable amount of discomfort, patients regularly report less discomfort than they expected while preparing for the surgery.
As a point of reference, patients can usually expect to return to a desk job after a long weekend (+/- three days) of recovery. There are several ways that patients can easily manage any post-operative discomfort:
● Compression Garments- Your surgeon will likely require you to wear a special surgical compression support bra for several weeks after surgery.
The compression bra helps to reduce swelling of the breasts. It also keeps the breasts and any implants used in an ideal position during the healing process. Patients report that the compression bra also reduces post-operative discomfort by making them feel more “secure.”
● Medications- Both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications can drastically reduce any discomfort associated with breast augmentation surgery.
Your surgeon may prescribe a narcotic medication like Vicodin or Percocet for this purpose. Patients can be expected to take these for one to two days after surgery, at which point they often wean themselves off to Extra Strength Tylenol for a few more days.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin and ibuprofen should be avoided for two weeks before and after surgery as they can increase your risk of bleeding.
Muscle relaxers like Valium may be prescribed to help alleviate any associated muscle spasms caused by the placement of breast implants below the pectoralis “pec” muscles. Valium can also be used to ease into a more comfortable sleep.
● Positioning- Proper positioning during sleep is a key component of alleviating discomfort after breast augmentation surgery.
Patients are advised to sleep on their back at a 30-45 angle for about five to seven days. This allows the natural forces of gravity to aid the body in reducing swelling at the surgical site. It is also important to prevent turning and stomach sleeping [by using] positioning tools like specialty wedge pillows.
● Physical and Emotional Support- Surgery of any kind can be challenging physically and emotionally. New restrictions are placed on your activity, and changes are made to your body. This is especially true when you have added responsibilities such as children, pets, and preexisting life commitments.
Having a significant other, family member, or friend nearby can relieve some of the added stress after surgery. This might be as simple as being there with you to pass the time while you recover at home. The more support you have after surgery, the easier the process will be.
● Stretching and Fitness- The more physically fit a patient is before surgery, the easier their recovery is likely to be. That is because a fit body is accustomed to controlled stress which facilitates a return to equilibrium.
Breast augmentation involves placing an implant below the pec muscle. If that muscle is soft and pliable because of regular stretching, it is less probable that extreme tightness and muscle spasms will occur, causing additional discomfort after surgery.
Always consult with your board-certified plastic surgeon on any recommendations before and after surgery. Following the recommendations of your surgeon can enhance the recovery period.
Restrictions should be closely followed as they are made to promote optimal recovery and minimize your risk for operative complications.
Follow These Tips
The truth is that breast augmentation surgery can be painful and uncomfortable, especially directly after the operation. Many patients describe a burning sensation or ache around the implant sites, lasting up to two weeks. It can also cause swelling and bruising, especially in the chest area.
However, [here are] some tips [that] can help manage the pain and discomfort associated with breast augmentation surgery:
1. Regularly taking painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol is recommended to reduce inflammation.
2. Resting after the procedure is important. Avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous activities.
3. Ice packs can help reduce swelling and support the implant while it heals properly.
4. Wearing a compression bra helps keep the stitches in place and offers additional comfort to the patient during recovery.
Ultimately, pain management depends on individual factors such as age, health condition, and desired results. It is, therefore, important to discuss the procedure with a medical professional and make sure that it is suitable for you.
Have A Good Understanding Of The Surgery
The first step is to understand that breast augmentation surgery is done to increase the size and shape of the breasts. This means that the surgery is likely to be uncomfortable and painful.
Next, patients should make sure they have a good understanding of their surgery and the risks involved. This includes being aware of the potential for bleeding, infection, and other complications.
Finally, patients should take steps to help reduce the pain and discomfort of the surgery. This includes taking ibuprofen before the surgery and wearing a supportive bra after the surgery.
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