After any major surgery, restrictions are necessary to lessen the chance of certain complications from occurring. Because any surgery involves cutting tissue, that tissue can bleed or tear until it is healed. This can lead to a collection of blood, known as a hematoma, that must be surgically removed and the bleeding stopped. You may see some advertisements for “fast recovery” breast augmentation. This is an advertising gimmick, as the surgery is done exactly the same, although the implant is often placed over the muscle rather than under the muscle. The “get back to exercise and activity more quickly” just puts you at greater risk for a postop bleed.
Restrictions, therefore, are aimed at decreasing risks and minimizing harm to the results. After having performed over 5,000 breast augmentation procedures, these restrictions in my practice include:
- No exercise, no lifting over 8 pounds for 4 weeks. This includes lifting children, as this can cause a postop bleed when lifting too much. This also includes sexual activity.
- The same medications that are restricted prior to surgery are restricted after surgery. This includes anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, etc, for three weeks postop. Any steroid medication, including over the counter types such as flonase, must be stopped two weeks preop until 6 weeks postop to minimize disasterous wound healing issues.
- No bra for at least 6 weeks after surgery. There is some residual numbness after surgery, and a bra can cut through the incision without you knowing it.
- I restrict patients from driving for 1 week postop. Any discomfort of the chest may prevent you from making an emergency manuever with the steering wheel.
Following your postop restrictions can greatly decrease certain risks and can provide a smoother recovery.