Breast augmentation recovery tips may vary from surgeon to surgeon. However, they all have similar goals: promote healing and eliminate risk factors that can affect the breast appearance.
Prominent Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley shares his surprising recovery tips.
Pain threshold and healing may differ from patient to patient, although most people can expect that the first 1-4 days of recovery is the toughest period due soreness, discomfort, and sometimes nausea.
Patients who want the least amount of pain might be a good candidate for Exparel, a numbing medication injected into the muscle whose effects can last up for four days. This relatively new pain control option has allowed people to reduce or even avoid narcotics entirely.
In the first few days after surgery, the implants sit high and tight on the chest wall, resulting in unnatural appearance and excessive upper pole fullness. But over time, the skin and tissue relax and expand a bit, allowing the prostheses to settle into more natural position.
However, breast implant massage, also referred to as implant displacement exercise, can help accelerate the healing process. Dr. Smiley typically recommends this about a week after surgery.
The idea of breast implant massage is to push the prosthesis into the outermost corners of the pocket; hence, it not only promotes softer and more natural results but also minimizes the risk of capsular contracture by encouraging the scar capsule around the implant to remain flexible and thin.
Getting enough rest and sleep is one of the critical points of breast augmentation recovery. Dr. Smiley warns that rushing one’s recovery—i.e., returning too soon to work and doing strenuous house works—may affect healing and even predispose patients to risk of bleeding and edema (fluids collecting beneath the skin).
Some patients are able to return to work within a week, while others need at least a two-week off. It all boils down to variables such as the nature of work (patients who go to office may return sooner than those with physically demanding job) and the individual healing.
Medical garments are designed to keep swelling under control with the right amount of compression and to protect the sensitive tissue. Some resemble standard bras, vests, or wrap-around garments.
Aside from the surgeon’s core competencies, several factors can also affect facelift results such as the patient’s diet, skin quality, sun exposure, weight fluctuations, and commitment to recovery and healthy lifestyle.
Dr. Tarick Smiley, a prominent Inland Empire plastic surgery “figure,” has recently posted videos on Snapchat to explain the impact of skin elasticity on the feasibility and long-term effects of facelift.
The patient achieves impressive facelift results due to Dr. Smiley’s core approach and her starting anatomy. She has a relatively good skin tone and a great bone structure.
“It is important that you take care of your skin by limiting sun exposure. When the skin has significant sun damage, facelift will have no or very little effect,” he says.
Furthermore, he advises his patients to avoid sun exposure or at least use sunscreen and protective clothing for one year following their facelift surgery to prevent hyperpigmentation in which the scars turn darker permanently.
Aside from photo aging of the skin caused by sun damage, Dr. Smiley explains the other factors affecting facelift results to help people realize that its long-term success would also depend on their level of commitment.
Aside from natural effects of aging, sagging skin and lax facial soft tissue also stem from massive weight loss. Hence, the patient’s chronological age does not determine her candidacy for facelift.
Meanwhile, the right candidate for facelift should be near her ideal weight (at least 25-30 percent of her ideal BMI) and must be fully committed to healthy lifestyle to prevent weight gain, which can affect if not completely reverse the results of surgery.
While postop instructions may differ from doctor to doctor, there are generally agreed upon guidelines such as avoiding over-exertion for at least three weeks; complete smoking cessation one month before and after surgery; use of sun protection for one year; and sticking to the advice of one’s surgeon without any modification.
When the patient rushes her recovery, she runs the risk of less than optimal results, poor scars, and wound healing problems.
All facelift patients are required to achieve their optimal health prior to surgery, which a superb diet plays a critical role. Moreover, consuming the right nutrients can aid in healing and prevent delayed recovery and less than optimal scar appearance.
While the surgeon’s skillset will have a large effect on facelift results, it is important to note that the patient’s underlying anatomy, particularly her facial structure, will also dictate the outcome. For instance, someone with a thinner face generally achieves more rejuvenating effects than someone who carries more weight in her cheeks and neck.
Again, poor lifestyle choices can have a detrimental impact on skin quality. This is particularly true for smokers who are prone to premature skin aging and thus the rejuvenating effects of facelift become limited.
Furthermore, the vast majority of facial plastic surgeons discourage or at least limit the types of procedures they perform on smokers—unless they are committed to complete smoking cessation for at least one month—because of the increased risk of skin necrosis, poor healing, bleeding problems, and serious surgical complications.
The patient’s commitment to recovery after Brazilian buttock lift will have a large impact on the long-term success of the surgery. It is important to note that [prolonged] sitting must be avoided for a minimum of three weeks although it remains ideal to minimize “pressure” on the buttocks for a few more weeks to further reduce risk of asymmetry and low survival rate of grafts.
In general, the volume of fat that survives two months after surgery is expected to last a lifetime, as suggested by leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley.
donut-shaped inflatable pillow
The first 10 days of recovery is the most critical period and so any pressure that may kill the fat grafts or cause them to inadvertently shift (causing contour irregularities) must be avoided; this includes sitting, squatting, and stretching.
After 10-14 days, Dr. Smiley says that most patients can return to work and social activities without any problem, although the use of “off-loading” pillows remains important when sitting.
The celebrity plastic surgeon shares his tips on how to enjoy a more convenient recovery after Brazilian buttock lift, which is basically buttock augmentation with the use of the patient’s own fat (harvested through liposuction surgery).
- Ask for help (for house chores and childcare) for at least two weeks.
Brazilian buttock lift is a major surgery as it typically combines large volume liposuction to collect unwanted fats from two or more body areas; followed by fat injection into the butt area (and hips). Hence, the patient will need help for at least two weeks so she can focus more on her recovery.
It is important to avoid rigorous activities, heavy lifting, and squatting for at least 3-4 weeks to allow the body to heal properly.
In the first few weeks, it is highly ideal to sit in a way that the butt hangs freely to prevent inadvertent shifting of fat (which of course can lead to contour irregularities) and low survival rate. Hence, post-Brazilian buttock lift cushions are all designed to let the patient sit on the back of their thigh area.
Nonetheless, despite the use of off-loading pillows it remains ideal to stand up and walk around after 10-15 minutes of sitting.
- Know the correct sleeping position.
In the first few weeks, it is highly ideal to sleep on the side (with the body leaning a bit on the belly) or on the stomach. Meanwhile, the supine position—or sleeping on the back—is best avoided for the meantime.
- Take care of the liposuction sites.
Aside from the buttocks, the liposuction sites also require great care to achieve smooth results and prevent the appearance of ugly scars. The general rule of thumb is to use compression garments for a minimum of one week; avoid sun exposure for at least six months; and never submerge the tiny round incisions for three weeks to prevent infection.
Follow up care after plastic surgery differs from patient to patient. Nonetheless, most surgeons prefer to see their patients the morning after their surgery and a week afterward for monitoring the healing process.
The succeeding follow up visits become less frequent or will have longer intervals (e.g., one month, three months, and six months) provided that the patient heals nicely and does not encounter worrying symptoms such as persistent swelling and bruising, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, and fever.
Dr. Smiley requires regular follow up visits to ensure that his patients are healing nicely.
Should any of the aforementioned symptoms arise during recovery, patients should see their plastic surgeon ahead of the scheduled follow up to prevent more serious complications. Take note that fever is usually a sign of infection, while increasing pain and bleeding signal that the body is not coping well.
Leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley, who regularly performs body contouring surgeries like liposuction and Brazilian buttock lift, may require follow up visits at six months to one year, although it will depend on patient’s availability.
There are specific protocols used by each surgeon during a follow up consultation. Oftentimes, he simply checks if the wound is healing well and asks the patients for symptoms that are bothering or worrying them. In some cases, he removes the sutures and/or dressing, or assess if the patient’s compression garment (commonly used after liposuction and body lift) fits snugly but is not causing skin changes or interfering with circulation.
Furthermore, during a follow up consultation doctors ask their patients about the progress of their healing and their level of pain. If needed, he may adjust the medications to help them cope with any discomfort.
Meanwhile, long-term follow up visits tend to be more important after a facial plastic surgery—e.g., facelift, neck lift, cheek lift, and fat transfer. This is particularly true for patients who want to maintain their more rejuvenated appearance for as long as possible. For instance, people who have had facelift may need minor tweaks in the form of dermal fillers or mini facelift to preserve their youthful look.
Nonetheless, the details of follow up care after plastic surgery depend on many variables such as the patient’s age, type of surgery she had, her expectations and level of commitment, and lifestyle.
Liposuction scar generally fades into negligible “marks” after 6-12 months, although patient commitment to recovery remains critical to achieve the best results possible. For instance, sun exposure must be avoided for at least six months since UV rays can cause hyperpigmentation in which the scars turn dark.
Leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley shares his scar management tips that will further ensure that your liposuction scar will blend well into the background.
The after photo on the right shows no visible scar, which contributes to high patient satisfaction.
* Minimize tension on the skin. When there is no or very minimal tension on the scar, it tends to heal nicely. Hence, the use of surgical tape and/or Steri-strips can be helpful as they eliminate the stress and “pulling” that can delay healing or cause the scar to widen.
* Achieve your optimal health well in advance of the surgery. When you’re healthy, there is less risk of infection, which can affect the appearance of your scars. Simply put, liposuction or any other body contouring surgeries will require commitment to superb diet and healthy lifestyle.
* Eliminate risk factors of infection. Each doctor has his own specific wound care instructions, although there are generally agreed upon guidelines such as never submerging your incision in water for at least three weeks; not using any topical product unless with the approval of your surgeon; and avoiding smoking.
* Treat infection immediately. In the hands of a board-certified plastic surgeon, infection is extremely rare because of the use of tumescent fluids injected into the fatty area prior to extraction. But should it occur, it must be treated immediately to prevent complications and poor scarring. Common signs of infection include asymmetric swelling, fever, chills, and drainage of pus.
* Use of topical treatments containing silicone. Once the incisions are completely sealed, which happens around three weeks postop, patients may choose to apply topical products such as silicone sheets and creams known for their hydrating effects. Scars that heal in a moist environment usually heal better and fade quicker.
* Use sun protection for one year. While staying out of the sun is the best way to reduce risk of hyperpigmentation, this is generally difficult or even impossible to accomplish. Hence, the use of sunscreen, protective clothing, and makeup products that offer SPF protection remains valuable.
Reducing the amount of rhinoplasty bleeding is one way to promote shorter social recovery. Hence, plastic surgeons who use precise and gentle dissection during surgery have patients “socially” and “professionally” ready at 1-2 weeks.
Aside from meticulous dissection during rhinoplasty, or in layman’s term “nose job,” leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley says that bleeding can also be minimized with careful patient selection. The idea is to reserve this cosmetic surgery to people with no chronic medical condition such as bleeding disorder, heart problem, etc.
Because the patient’s health status is closely tied to the success of rhinoplasty, Dr. Smiley highlights the importance of lab screening whose “details” will depend on the information gathered during the initial consultation. For this reason, he says that patients must fully disclose their medical history and drug use to prevent complications.
Once they pass lab screening, Dr. Smiley says “preparation” is the next step to further reduce bleeding and risk of complications. There are generally agreed upon guidelines such as complete cessation of smoking (minimum of three weeks); discontinuation of drugs and supplements with blood thinning properties (at least two weeks); and controlling medical condition, if there is any, through lifestyle changes and/or medications.
After surgery, a very small amount of bleeding can be expected (and is normal) in the first few days. Severe bleeding in which blood is pouring out or down one’s throat, meanwhile, is extremely rare and requires immediate treatments, says Dr. Smiley.
To prevent bleeding and healing problems, Dr. Smiley says he requires all his patients to avoid nose-blowing, rigorous activities, blood-thinners such as aspirin and ibuprofen, and alcohol for a certain period of time (usually 2-3 weeks, although the specific instructions may differ from patient to patient).
To further promote healing, keeping the amount of bruising and swelling to a minimum can also be a huge help, says. Dr. Smiley who advocates head elevation and cold compress (around the cheeks and eyes for the bruises).