Breast augmentation recovery has several definitions: complete disappearance of pain and discomfort, return to physical activities and social routine, breast implants settling into their final position, scar maturity, and skin redraping to the new contour.
For most patients, the pain after breast augmentation surgery is mild to moderate that oral painkillers are only needed in the first few days. In fact, some women have been able to return to their “quiet” work just three days postop, although it remains imperative to avoid strenuous activities for at least three weeks.
On average, patients are able go back to work a week after surgery if their tasks are not physically demanding. For this reason, women whose jobs require them to move around or carry heavy things may have to wait for another week or two to avoid persistent swelling and other untoward side effects.
Leading breast enhancement surgery expert Dr. Tarick Smaili says avoiding or at least minimizing physical and emotional stress can help the body recover faster from the surgical trauma. For this reason, it is not uncommon for patients to work part-time until their preoperative energy level goes back, a process that can take three to four weeks.
While pain can easily dissipate, lethargy might persist for several weeks because it takes time for the body to heal from any surgery, so some patients may find themselves going to bed earlier than their normal routine because they can easily tire out, explains Dr. Smaili.
But the postop lethargy is not a reason to remain in bed for too long as prolonged immobility after any type of surgery can lead to increased risk of blood clotting in the legs, persistent swelling, chronic fatigue, weight gain, and delayed recovery. As a result, Dr. Smaili instructs all his patients to take a short, gentle walk several times a day to promote good circulation of blood.
The residual swelling also takes time to dissipate, although about a month most of the symptom will be gone. For this reason, the leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon recommends his patients to buy just a few cotton bras (without underwire) because the breast size and shape will change over the course of their recovery.
In addition, the breast implants will take up to six months to settle into their final position and the skin to fully redrape to the new contour, making it ideal to purchase just a few bras to anticipate minute to moderate changes during the entire healing process, explains Dr. Smaili.