As modern healthcare infrastructure and medical techniques have become increasingly sophisticated, it’s easy to understand why the use of breast implants has become more prevalent. That said, many women who are planning to undergo breast surgery may be unsure about what to expect from their recovery period. The Bengtson Center for Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery offers Michigan patients advice on how to optimize their results from breast augmentation, sharing that advice with the greater public for general education.
Breast augmentations, also sometimes referred to as boob jobs or augmentation mammoplasty, involve surgically altering the size, fullness, and shape of the breasts. To do this, surgeons make an incision in one of several strategic areas (under the fold of the breast cup, around the nipple, or in the armpit area) and insert a saline or silicone implant either in front of or behind the pectoral muscle. Afterward, the skin is sealed together with stitches, adhesives, or surgical tape.
While breast augmentation is not a lifetime procedure—with devices typically lasting decades or longer—patients will be interested to learn that there are tips they can follow to get the most aesthetically appealing and lasting results from their surgery.
Some of the most common questions women have about breast augmentation involve how much postoperative pain they are likely to experience and what they can do to manage it. Your plastic surgeon and the practice’s team will give you all of the necessary information on what to look out for during recovery, when to book a follow-up appointment, and other relevant aftercare details. Patients can expect some level of swelling, bruising, soreness and scarring in the days and weeks following breast augmentation surgery, as well as stiffness in their back and shoulders. This is typically more pronounced with larger-sized implants, or when the implant placement is behind the chest muscle, as the muscle fibers must stretch to accommodate it.
Fortunately, the discomfort and other side effects tend to wear off quickly, usually improving within a few weeks, and surgeons often prescribe medications to minimize discomfort and reduce inflammation. Aside from medications, breast implant recipients can also use small, balloon-like devices known as pain pumps, which gradually deliver an anesthetic into the breast pocket to numb the area. Alternatively, depending on patient-surgeon preference, you may opt for pain injections after surgery, which directly infuse the surgical site with long-lasting medications.
Wearing a proper support bra, post-surgical compression bra, or bandages that fit you well in the early stages can help to ensure a smooth recovery process. A compression bra is specially designed to support the breasts and keep them in position as you heal, with breathable, stretchy fabric and adjustable straps.
The material adjusts to your breasts throughout all phases of the healing process and contains no underwires, seams, or fabrics that can irritate sensitive skin. It maintains the shape of the breasts and at the same time encourages blood circulation and drainage to relieve swelling. Patients should take the time to rest and stay away from any form of strenuous physical activity, especially jarring movements, heavy lifting, or physical contact that involves the chest and arms, as this can cause the new breast implants to be shifted out of alignment.
Breast implants typically remain intact for at least a decade, but they do not make the breasts immune to sagging, which can be caused by weight gain, age, pregnancy, or the cumulative effects of gravity over time. To maximize their longevity in the long-term, maintenance and being vigilant of any warning signs or irregularities (such as hardening, deflation, or rippling) is important. Women are encouraged to do self-examinations and go to annual check-ups. Carefully planning everything out beforehand and choosing the ideal implant size and type for your needs can also ensure a longer implant lifespan and greater levels of satisfaction from results. For those with silicone implants, where ruptures are not easily detectable, the FDA recommends regular MRI screenings to accurately identify any tears or leaks.
Breast augmentation is a major decision, but the Bengtson Center team is prepared to guide patients through the process from the start. Dr. Brad Bengtson and Dr. David Alfonso also offer a Fast-Trak recovery program for appropriate patients, with careful planning and meticulous surgical techniques used to create results that allow for an immediate return to daily life. Recovery can take as little as 24 to 48 hours. Direct questions or queries about breast augmentation or other cosmetic surgeries to the Bengtson Center for Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery in Michigan by calling 616.588.8880 or filling out a contact form online.