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Breast Augmentation Recovery FAQs

Breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries performed today and can offer life-changing results to many women. Choosing a board-certified surgeon that is an expert in the type of breast augmentation you desire is a major factor in determining your final results. Another key element that plays a big role in how your breasts will look after recovery is how well you take care of yourself while you recover.

Your cosmetic surgeon will provide you with a set of instructions and the do’s and don’ts of breast augmentation recovery. These instructions will stress the need for you to wear your compression/support bra or garment faithfully and follow the provided instructions diligently to ensure optimal results from your surgery. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor questions if you are unsure about anything.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about breast augmentation recovery.

1. How To Sleep After Breast Augmentation Surgery?

It is recommended that patients sleep on their backs after breast augmentation surgery. This keeps any unnecessary pressure off the incisions and implants and allows the breasts to heal in a relaxed position. Keep in mind you will be wearing a supportive type bra which will be helping keep the incisions stable and the implants in place during the healing process.

It is also helpful to sleep with your body at an incline of at least 30 degrees for the first several weeks. Propping yourself up a bit will help with blood flow and keep the circulatory system moving, mitigating swelling and pain. A recliner-type bed would be a great bonus!

Sleeping on your side or stomach should be avoided as this will put the final results of your breast augmentation at risk. You should not sleep on your side for at least 3 weeks after a breast augmentation and you should not sleep on your stomach for at least 12 weeks after having breast implants. If necessary, surround yourself with pillows to make it harder for you to roll over and change positions in your sleep.

Avoiding a preferred sleeping position is not the easiest task and can be frustrating. Just try to remember that the amazing results of your breast augmentation are going to be worth this short amount of time and inconvenience.

2. When Can I Sleep On My Side After Breast Augmentation?

After undergoing any type of surgery your body needs time to heal. One of the most important parts of the healing process is getting an adequate amount of sleep, at least 8 hours.

Each person has a preferred sleeping position that they feel most comfortable in and their body instinctively gravitates towards when they climb into bed. Some individuals prefer to sleep on their stomachs, some feel more comfortable on their backs, and others prefer to sleep on their sides.

After having a breast augmentation it is important to allow the areas to heal substantially before putting any pressure on the incisions or implants. Sleeping on your side or stomach will jeopardize the results of your breast augmentation surgery.

You need to wait between 2-3 weeks before sleeping on your side after breast implants to ensure the incisions are well healed and the implants are established in place. Even when you are able to return to side sleeping extra precautions should be taken and a soft pillow should be placed under the breast to alleviate pressure.

3. How Should I Sleep After A BBL And Breast Augmentation?

Some patients choose to undergo a Brazilian butt lift and breast augmentation together which makes for a tricky recovery. The directives for sleeping after each of these procedures are complete opposites.

During a BBL, fat is taken from another part of the body such as the abdomen or hips and is transferred through injection into the buttocks. This newly injected fat is delicate and needs adequate time to become established in the new location or it will not survive. It is normal for some of the fat to be reabsorbed and eliminated through the body’s lymphatic system but the goal is to preserve as much as possible.

To ensure the survival of the fat transferred in the BBL, it is necessary to keep pressure and weight off these delicate areas. Sleeping on your back after a Brazilian Butt Lift is not recommended because it will exert too much pressure on the buttocks and can destroy or displace the newly transferred fat. Most doctors will recommend sleeping on your stomach for best results however, this will present an issue if you have also had a breast augmentation where sleeping on your stomach is not recommended.

Most doctors will recommend side sleeping when combining a BBL with a breast augmentation using pillows in strategic locations to alleviate pressure points. Your cosmetic surgeon will provide aftercare instructions specific to your surgery which will include sleeping guidelines and you should follow these as closely as possible. Some doctors will provide creative ideas to manage sleeping after BBL and breast augmentation combination.

We are fortunate to have new options available today to help in BBL recovery and you can purchase a special inflatable bed that has a hole for your butt which will allow back sleepers a compromise. A BBL mattress will allow sleeping on your back while keeping pressure off your buttocks.

4. How Long After Breast Augmentation Can I Swim?

You may feel mentally ready to grab that swimsuit and head to the pool but after having a breast augmentation, it is important to allow your body time to heal properly before diving into all those fun summer activities.

Most patients can get back into the water of a swimming pool about four weeks after their surgery but make sure you are cleared by your surgeon first. It is important that your skin has healed enough and your incision sites are water-resistant.

After getting out of the pool, dry yourself off completely, and do not let your incision sites stay wet for an extended time after swimming. This may mean removing a bathing suit top that does not dry fast and remains soggy and wet.

Bathing suit season means sun and UV rays so take care to protect your healing scars. Use a good sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and don’t forget to reapply every few hours.

5. How Long After Breast Augmentation Can I Go To The Beach?

how long after breast augmentation can I swim?

Getting into the ocean or a lake is different from swimming in treated chlorinated pool water and can contain many unknown bacteria. Therefore, most cosmetic surgeons recommend waiting longer before braving the beach after having a breast augmentation.

Taking a dip in the ocean can also be more strenuous than leisurely swimming in a pool and may negatively impact your surgery results.

Cosmetic surgeons recommend waiting anywhere from six to twelve weeks before dipping your newly augmented breasts into the ocean or lake. You can wade waist deep to cool off as long as you keep your incisions dry and there are no big waves!

Check with your cosmetic surgeon to find out when it would be best for you to plan your beach vacation!

6. When Does Tightness Go Away After Breast Augmentation?

It is normal for patients to experience tightness and muscle stiffness after undergoing a breast augmentation. Patients can experience different degrees of tightness and stiffness depending on the nature of the surgery, genetics, muscle mass, healing response, and overall health.

Most patients find that the majority of this discomfort lasts between six and eight weeks and dissipates gradually over time. Some patients have reported a degree of tightness lasting six to eight months post-surgery.

If severe pain or discomfort arises during your recovery it is important to notify your doctor immediately. There is a serious condition called capsular contracture that can happen if scar tissue begins to form around the breast implant. It can cause prolonged stiffness and tightness as well as deform the shape of the breast and requires special and immediate care.

7. How To Relax Chest Muscles After A Breast Augmentation?

Tightness in the chest is a common side effect of breast augmentation surgery. The most effective way to relieve this discomfort is to ensure you are following all the post-operative directions provided to you by your surgeon.

The normal tightness and stiffness that is experienced after a breast augmentation can be alleviated a bit through light 5-minute massages throughout the day during the first six to eight weeks following surgery.

Massages performed on the upper back can help relieve tightness in the anterior chest muscles. Also about a week after surgery, you will be directed to massage your breasts and eventually around the implants to help prevent any serious side effects.

You can also use a heated compress on your upper back or above your breasts to help with tightness and stiffness but this is not recommended for use on your breasts until after six weeks while always avoiding the incision sites.

8. What Is The Exercise Timeline After A Breast Augmentation?

Many women are interested in knowing when they can resume exercising after breast augmentation surgery. The first thing the cosmetic surgeon is going to tell you to do after your surgery is to start walking.

You will begin with short walks around the house for a few minutes at a time every few hours. This is essential in preventing postoperative complications. Eventually, you can work up to walking longer distances and at a faster pace.

About two weeks after your breast augmentation you can usually begin doing some moderately intense cardio that does not require a lot of bouncing such as walking uphill or using a treadmill.

After about a month most patients can resume most of their normal exercise routine except for heavy lifting. After you have passed the six to eight-week point, you should be cleared by your cosmetic surgeon to resume most activities.

Some cosmetic surgeons also caution patients, who have implants under the muscle, to avoid certain types of exercises that cause strain on the chest area such as push-ups. These types of exercises require the chest muscles to contract, placing pressure on the implants (squishing them). This should not cause any sort of rupture but can cause them to drop or become displaced over time.

9. How Long After Breast Augmentation Can They Be Touched?

Generally speaking, most cosmetic surgeons will recommend that patients avoid any activity that requires touching or handling newly augmented breasts for at least six weeks. That being said, any “rougher” treatment such as during vigorous sexual activity should be reserved for after the breasts have had time to fully heal and implants have settled.

The best advice would come from the cosmetic surgeon who performed your surgery as they will have an understanding of the exact procedure used and will be aware of your healing progress.

If you have any other questions regarding breast augmentation or are interested in learning more about surgery to enhance your breasts, please contact SurgiCare Arts & Aesthetics today for a consultation.

Angelina Postoev, MD, FACS, a triple-board certified cosmetic surgeon, and Christopher Ibikunle, MD, FACS, offer breast augmentation surgery for women in Atlanta and the surrounding areas of Lawrenceville, Suwanee, Johns Creek, Duluth, Sandy Springs, Buckhead, and more. We now offer cosmetic surgery and med spa services in our locations in Tampa, FL and Hudson, FL. Contact us today and let us help you achieve your aesthetic desires.

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