Breast Augmentation Recovery Tips | Donaldson Plastic Surgery

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By Jeffrey Donaldson, MD |

11 Breast Augmentation Recovery Tips

Breast Augmentation Recovery

As one of the leading breast implant providers in the country, we’ve helped countless happy women through their breast augmentation recoveries. According to Columbus, OH board-certified plastic surgeons Dr. Donaldson and Dr. Sieffert, here are the most essential breast augmentation recovery tips to make your downtime as quick and easy as possible.

1. Set Up A Breast Augmentation Recovery Space

It’s very important to prepare your space for your recovery before your breast augmentation. Make sure you have a comfortable space set up with healthy snacks, electronics and chargers, medications, supplements, pillows, water, and everything you’ll need within reach. We also recommend queueing up some of your favorite content to keep you busy during the downtime!

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2. Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate, and Apply Arnica

Remember R.I.C.E. — Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate? Well, it turns out the same things that help you heal from an injury will help you heal from a breast augmentation, too! The purpose behind R.I.C.E is to minimize the amount of potential swelling after surgery. Swelling is your body’s way of telling you not to move an area because it needs to heal — it sends extra fluid to the region, which is why swelling can be so uncomfortable. Your implants may appear high and tight after surgery — they will eventually drop into their natural permanent position as residual swelling goes down over the next few months.

How To Fight Swelling:

  • Coldness helps to reduce discomfort and swelling by constricting the blood vessels and decreasing circulation to the area. Beginning to ice as soon as you’re out of surgery will be your best bet for keeping swelling to a minimum.
  • We highly recommend using arnica montana, an herbal supplement that uses enzymes to help minimize bruising and swelling. Arnica tablets are available to purchase over-the-counter at the pharmacy, but the oral kind may not have a high enough concentration to make a noticeable difference. We supply medical-grade topical arnica gel here in the office — make sure you pick some up at your post-op visit!
  • PRO-TIP: Protect your skin by placing ice over your bra for the first 24-48 hours until the anesthetic wears off. Sensation to the area may be limited during this time.

3. Use Compression Bras

After your breast augmentation, your patient care team will fit you with a surgical compression bra or binder. This bra is specially built to keep even and constant compression on your breasts after your procedure. You’ll wear this binder day and night for four to six weeks after surgery unless otherwise instructed, only removing it to shower or wash the garment. Because you’ll be spending most of your time in this bra, you want to make sure it’s snug, but not too tight. It should feel comfortable and supportive.

  • PRO-TIP: For added comfort, you may wear a thin cotton t-shirt under your binder. You may also switch it out after 48 hours for another compression binder of your choice — just make sure it’s supportive, fastens in the front, and doesn’t have an underwire!

4. Practice Implant Exercises

Your patient care team will recommend performing implant exercises after surgery to help the healing process and reduce the potential for any post-surgical complications. At your one-week post-op appointment, your patient care team provider will instruct you on how and when to perform them. Check out how to perform implant exercises here.

5. Enlist a Partner To Help

Resting up after your surgery is the most important thing you can do to kickstart your body’s recovery. You will likely need assistance at the beginning moving around, changing your clothes and dressings, and taking your medications. Make sure you have a buddy around to help you with the basics!

6. Switch to Front-Fastening Clothes

This is a big one. After a breast augmentation, we want you to avoid lifting your elbows above your shoulders for two reasons: it not only puts tension on your incisions but also stresses the muscle under which your implant is resting. Make sure you only wear loose front-fastening clothing for the first week, and nothing you need to raise over your head to pull on or off. Zippers and front-fastening buttons are great options.

Post Op Breast Augmentation Binder

7. Walk Early and Often, But Take Exercise Easy

Walking is highly recommended during your breast augmentation recovery. Keeping your body moving as normally as possible in the days following surgery is very beneficial for increasing circulation and a proven way to keep excess swelling at bay.

After a breast augmentation, you should avoid lifting any more than a gallon of milk for up to 2 weeks after your procedure. Lifting restrictions will be lifted around the 2-week mark. Don’t push (or pull) too hard during recovery — your body will thank you! When pain and soreness subside, slowly begin incorporating stretching and strengthening exercises back into your routine.

  • PRO-TIP: Try standing up and walking around every 3 hours during the day at mealtimes, when you use the restroom, or by keeping your medications in the next room.

8. Prep Easy, Healthy Meals in Advance

If you like cooking, you might want to freeze some of your favorite meals for easy preparation after surgery. Otherwise, simply stock up on foods that are quick to prepare, or plan to order using a food-delivery service. We recommend protein-rich meals as your body goes through the healing process. Protein bars and shakes make great quick snacks between mealtimes.

We want to make sure you eat plenty of fiber, as well. It’s common to experience constipation after surgery due to anesthesia and pain medications in the body that slow the system. Adding high-fiber foods like fruits and vegetables to your diet and drinking plenty of water will help you keep things moving!

9. Use Pillows to Keep Upright

Try to avoid laying on your stomach or side to help minimize swelling. Any time you are sitting or lying down, make sure your breasts stay in an elevated position. This will help drain fluid away from the area. Kick back, relax, and never underestimate the power of a well-placed pillow if and when you need a little extra support.

10. Give Up Nicotine

Nicotine constricts your blood vessels, which means you are more at risk of experiencing issues with wound healing and potential infection. We recommend going through nicotine cessation prior to surgery for best results.

11. Trust Your Recovery

As board-certified plastic surgeons with decades of experience, we know the recovery after surgery isn’t all just physical. Your patient care team is here to help you navigate your recovery, and walk you through those tough moments, and help you with whatever you’re struggling with.

Angie Walking With An Aveli Patient


Have Additional Questions About Breast Augmentation Recovery?

Our local team of experts is here to help! We invite you to connect with us today to learn more about the augmentation experience.


Author Of Blog Jeffrey Donaldson, MD

About The Author

Jeffrey Donaldson, MD has more than 20 years of experience helping patients achieve incredible results through breast augmentation surgery. He has personally helped along every step of the journey – from initial planning, to performing the surgery, to successful recovery and beyond.

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