What to expect when you’re expecting… a Breast Augmentation!

what-to-expect

So you’re booked in for your Breast Augmentation Surgery – it’s actually happening! Excitement & nerves build up as your surgery date slowly approaches. So, what can you do to mentally prepare yourself as to what you can expect after your surgery?

Below you will find some things to expect post surgery but please note, as each patient is unique with their own recovery, you may experience these things slightly differently – or not at all.

The post surgery pain and how bad can it really be?

Some level of pain is expected after invasive cosmetic surgery. Swelling, pain and discomfort may occur and there will be some chest tightness and stiffness, due to the tissues around the breast stretching to make room and the weight of your new implants. There may be pricking, shooting pains, or slight burning sensations which can be due to your nerves reconnecting. Everyone will experience a different level of pain and discomfort post surgery. Pain medications will be provided by the hospital to ease the soreness but please remember it will not 100% mask the pain, they are there to make it bearable. Post surgery pain will get better day by day but some sensations, numbness can last for weeks/months or even longer.

Hard, square shaped, swollen and generally pretty ugly “franken boobs” immediately post surgery

Be prepared to not love your breasts immediately. Once your bandages have been removed and you see yourself for the first time, your breasts will appear quite high up on your chest, hard to touch and maybe even cone/square shaped. They will also feel tight and swollen until your body has a chance to recover and accommodate for your new implants. In time, your breasts will begin to soften up and “drop and fluff”, as the breast pocket slowly stretches out, your natural tissue has a chance to expand again and the swelling goes down. They will not look like this forever and you must give them ample time to heal (we are talking 3 – 6 months) before you will really see your true results.

Post surgery blues

A very common post surgery effect is feeling a little down or overwhelmingly depressed after your surgery. This can be due to the anaesthetic, pain medications as well as the limitations you may have post surgery. You will also be tired as your body has been put under stress. You may be bed ridden, in some pain and dealing with the come down of undergoing surgery, this is completely normal! Don’t drown yourself in your sorrows, stay distracted by watching your favourite movies, reading a book or having a friend on call to cheer you up! Our Online Facebook Forum is great also for these situations to talk to other girls who have been through the same thing. It’s important to remind yourself your emotional state is temporary will settle over time.

Wearing your ‘oh so attractive’ post surgery bra

Yes. We admit they are not the prettiest and may not be that lacy Victoria’s Secret bra you pictured yourself in, but your post surgery bra is an extremely important asset during your recovery. You must wear your post surgery bra 23 hours a day for at least 6-8 weeks post surgery OR as recommended by your surgeon. Therefore, bra shopping during this time may be an entire waste of money, as your breasts can dramatically change shape and size during your recovery stage, and not to mention trying on bras can be a very painful and potentially harmful task. But not to worry you will be soon wearing much nicer underwear.

Yes you may gain a few kgs – just in bloating

Don’t stress, don’t freak out.. you didn’t get fat overnight! Feeling a little heavier and looking a little thicker is completely normal. You may have fluid retention and appear bloated due to your medication, the different food in Thailand and the hot, tropical weather – you may also become constipated. To help avoid this try to eat as clean as you can in the first few weeks prior to surgery and first few days post surgery, lots of fiber and fruit and coffee will help to keep you regular as well as trying to do some light walking when you can. If you feel backed up, you can take a light laxative which are easily available from local pharmacies with approval from your surgeon. Also, when you jump on those scales remember to take into account the weight of your new implants!

Be patient

It can take up to several months to a year in some cases for all of the swelling, bruising and scarring to heal, for your boobs to “drop and fluff” into your breast pocket and for the final results to be revealed. Cosmetic surgery is a process that takes time and patience, try not to get down or panic if your recovery isn’t as fast as others. Patients can easily become irritated and impatient with their recovery, especially when comparing their results and recovery to others. Everyone heals and recovers at different rates, nothing can be done to speed your recovery except time, rest, healthy diet and lifestyle.

The ‘Drop and Fluff’

You may have heard of the term ‘drop and fluff’ before, but what does it mean? As you will notice your breast implants will generally sit quite high and square on the chest for the first few weeks after your surgery. You will notice over time as your breast tissue and skin begin to expand around the implants they will gradually seem to drop lower on your chest and appear and feel much softer. Always remember that your breasts are sisters not twins, no two breasts will ever be absolutely identical to the other, nipples be the same height or size. In many cases the “drop and fluff” happens to one breast before the other so don’t panic if within the recovery period your breasts look a little asymmetrical. Give them time to settle fully (6 – 12 months) before you see your final result.

Going back to work

There is no standard recovery time for us to tell patients it’s ok to go back to work. Everyone recovers at different rates and your recovery can depend on the type of breast surgery you have had as well as the techniques used by the surgeon and how your body reacts to surgery. It also depends on what your job entails. Do not assume you are fit to go back unless you physically feel ok to do so. If you are not sure always discuss with CosMediTour or your Surgeon especially if your job is physical and needs the use of your arms for lifting etc. Rule of thumb is no heavy lifting over 5kgs for the first 6 weeks. You should always try to tell at least 1 person at your workplace that you have had surgery so they are aware and can assist you to be put on light duties where possible.

Getting back into the gym

If you’re feeling a little bloated and experiencing some post op blues, you may just feel the urge to hit the gym! You MUST refrain from doing any intense cardio for at least 4 weeks post surgery and weight training on your upper body areas for at least 3 months post, however light walking and low impact exercise is ok. Again your Surgeon may recommend a slightly different timeframe depending on your case and breast surgery. Having a sweaty incision site can cause infections which can cause your scars to heal thick and ugly and delay your recovery. Excessive use of your upper body can manipulate the placement of your implants and the pocket they sit in. It’s just not worth it. Consider this your healthy eating period until you can get back into the gym. By the time you can pick up your exercise regime again, you will be on the ultimate health train ready to get back into it!

The same size implants will look different on everyone!

Forums are great for support and advice, HOWEVER…too many women often compare their outcome to others. Your outcome and surgery statistics will produce a 100% unique result, as this is heavily dependent on the amount of breast tissue you had to begin with, nipple position, your skin elasticity and general anatomy. If you have concerns, do not take medical advice from anyone other than your Surgeon or GP.

Your first breast surgery may not be your last

You may be required to undergo Breast Revision surgery at some point over the coming years. This can be due to weight loss/gain, ageing, pregnancy/breastfeeding, surgery complications or a change in preference are some common factors. Over time gravity will take its toll on your breasts as you age and they will begin to drop naturally, some more severely than others depending on your breast anatomy and skin quality. It is important to keep your post surgery information regarding your implants in a safe place should you wish to have revision surgery in the future this will be very helpful to the surgeon who performs your revision.

Have realistic expectations

The most important thing is to have realistic expectations about your results. Our Surgeons are fantastic but they are not magicians. All breasts are asymmetrical prior to surgery in varying degrees, so do not expect 100% symmetry after your surgery, it is very important to have a good understanding of your natural breast characteristics prior to surgery e.g: tuberous. Your Surgeon will explain to you what factors you need to consider for your recovery and ensure you are aware of this prior to surgery so you are prepared. Remember your breasts are sisters, not twins, not two breast are identical. When you are looking at before and after images, always try to look at nude images (not pushed into a bra or photoshopped with a filter to look different) so you can see how the breasts sit naturally before and after surgery – some people are incredibly blessed with almost perfect breasts naturally so of course that is evident in their surgery results too.

A little tip before you head into your surgery:- Before your surgery set yourself up a ‘post op recovery station’
It’s a good idea to prepare for when you return back to your home or hotel room and create a comfortable place for recovery where all necessary items are in easy reach or on top of your bag. These can be items such as a lip balm, water bottle, TV remote, snacks, baby wipes, tissues, eye mask for sleeping during the day, your mobile phone and laptop (plus chargers) pillows, your meds. Especially if you are travelling by yourself you need to make sure you are self sufficient once you are discharged from hospital – of course there is always room service as an extra treat!

Further Reading:

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Written by Katrina Tilbrook

Marketing Manager at CosMediTour |CosMediTour is an international cosmetic surgery company and medical tourism facilitator, with offices on the Gold Coast in Australia, Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand and Cape Town, South Africa.

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