Your recovery time depends on many factors: the type of surgery you had (and whether it was a single or combination surgery), whether or not you experience any complications, and how well you take care of yourself once home. Here are some general guidelines about recovery.
- After you wake up, you’ll need to stay in the hospital/surgery center for a few hours. You may feel groggy, disoriented, or nauseous (the effects of the anesthesia). Someone will need to drive you home.
- You may have drains to allow fluid to drain. (They’ll most likely be removed at your first follow-up visit.)
- In order to speed recovery (and ease pain), some surgeons inject both long and short acting local anesthetics into the implant pocket before inserting the implant. This way, when you wake up, rather than being in a lot of pain, the area is numb so you don’t need much pain medication right after surgery. This also cuts down on the amount of anesthesia that you need (which can speed up your recovery and reduce the risk of nausea.) The numbness lasts for several hours, which allows you to get out of the recovery room faster and go home to start the recovery process.
- Once home, you may want to put ice packs over your breasts for 24 – 48 hours. Your doctor will also send you home with pain medicine and antibiotics. Use the pain medicine as needed and take the antibiotics until they’re gone.
- Your doctor will give you a list of things to look out for, such as fever or redness at your incisions. (You’ll also need to keep the incisions dry.)
- It’s very important not to engage in anything too strenuous for the first week after surgery, and especially to avoid heavy lifting (since your pectoral muscles will be weak and the tissue needs time to heal).
- With all of the surgeries, after one week, you can gradually increase your activity depending on how it feels. Most women can go back to work in about a week (if you have a sedentary job). If you have an active job, it might take two – three weeks. Keep in mind that if you are having multiple procedures (breast implants with breast lift, or breast reduction with additional liposuction), your recovery times may be longer.
- With all of the surgeries, you may stay swollen for three to four months, but you shouldn’t be in pain after the initial recovery days.