Arms. They’ll be sore and they won’t have much mobility. Be sure to keep things you will need – food, clothing, toilet paper – at chest level because you won’t be able to bend over or put your arms above your head for the first day or two after surgery.
Buttons. Make sure your shirts have them because you won’t be able to pull them on or off over your head.
Cooking. You’ll want to avoid it. See if you can have someone else do it for you, or purchase food that can be popped in the microwave or doesn’t need to be cooked at all.
Depression. It’s normal following surgery and can last from a few days to a few weeks. A positive, supportive helper and inspirational books and movies are a critical part of after breast augmentation care. Your surgeon may screen you for depression prior to performing the surgery because women who undergo breast augmentation are at a slightly higher risk for suicide than other women. Watch for signs of ongoing depression, and warn your support network to watch for it too.
Elated. Once you get your energy back, you will probably be positively thrilled about your new breasts. Most women are.
Frozen food. You’ll want ice to help reduce swelling and numb some pain. Unfortunately, traditional ice packs don’t work too well on breasts. This is where frozen food – cut vegetables or fruit – comes in. Not only can you relieve your swelling, but frozen fruits and vegetables are nutritious and can be easily prepared in the microwave. Frozen food is an integral multi-tasker in your regimen for after breast augmentation care.
Gauze soaked in witch hazel will help your nipples heal and ease discomfort from bras and clothing.
Help. Get some for the first day or two after surgery. If you don’t have a spouse or significant other who can take care of you, designate a friend or other family member. In some places, there are medical facilities that specialize in after breast augmentation care.
Infection. Though the risk is relatively small (less than 1% of women develop an infection), it is a major complication. Infection usually means the implants must be removed and replaced in a second surgery.
Journal. Keep a journal of your recovery process. It helps sort out the feelings and emotions you will experience and helps you keep track of what’s normal and what’s not. Many women who have breast augmentation post their journals online to help other women through the experience.
Kids. If you have them, send them somewhere else for a day or so. You can barely take care of yourself, let alone your kids. Same goes for pets – the last thing you need is your cat to try to curl up and sleep on your swollen, aching breasts.
Love and laughter. Even though this is a good surgery – one that will make you look and feel better – all surgeries are traumatic. When faced with trauma, it helps to keep a sense of humor and surround yourself with love.
Medicine. You will probably receive a pain medication, an anti-nausea medication, antibiotics, and medication to reduce scarring. Your surgeon may also give you or recommend vitamins and sleep aids. You will have a lot of medicine to take; daily pill holders and calendars can help keep track of them all.
No peeking. Don’t look too soon, your body will be disfigured from scarring and swelling and drain tubes and possibly bruising. Don’t seriously take stock of your new breasts until after a week or so. By then, the swelling will have subsided and you can see what you really got.
Observation. Keep a close watch on what your body and breasts are doing. Watch for signs of infection and other complications such as fever and unbearable pain.
Post-operative instructions. Follow them to the letter.
Quick. Though it sounds like a long, arduous process, most of the hard work of recovery happens in the first one or two days. You’ll be up and around, even back at work, within a few days. You will have surgery and recover much more quickly than you think
Recliner. You’ll probably have to sleep in one to relieve swelling and pain. If you don’t have a reclining chair, stock up on pillows to pile up behind your back.
Support network. This is one of the most important aspects of care after breast augmentation. You will need people to take physical care of you, and you will need people to help you adjust to your new look and the attention it may garner. Though complications are rare, they are serious when they happen, and you may need someone to see you through secondary surgery and other treatments.
Take it easy. No lifting, no exercise, no sex for a few weeks after the surgery.
Fortunately, you can return to having sex the soonest, within about two weeks.
Undergarments, specifically, bras. The only new bra you should have after your breast augmentation surgery is a surgical support bra. Don’t buy any new bras before or for about a month after the surgery. You need to see what size, shape, and location your breasts settle on.
Vitamin E. Contrary to what you may read, topical vitamin E is not good for scars. Not only is it not proven to help reduce the size or appearance of scars, it may make them worse. If you’re convinced of the benefits of vitamin E, talk to your surgeon about oral vitamin E. If you’re really concerned about scarring, just ask your surgeon about surgical tape or Retin A.
Water. Drink lots of it. It will help with swelling and constipation.
Xtreme pain. Some women experience extreme pain the first day or two following breast augmentation. Some women experience no pain. Both are normal. If you continue to experience extreme pain for more than a week or so, talk to your surgeon. It could be a sign something is wrong with the implants
Yeast infection. You will be on a lot of antibiotics. It is not uncommon to get thrush, a yeast infection of the mouth. Your surgeon will probably recommend that you eat yogurt as part of your after augmentation diet.
Zowie! People will notice you, particularly if your breasts are larger than average and larger than they used to be. Mentally and emotionally prepare yourself for positive and negative attention.
Joana is the author of Breast Beauty Guide which contains a lot of information on breast related tips and help.