Breast Surgery Healing Process
If you are considering breast surgery, here is some information about what may be expected during the healing process:
Icing Your Breasts After Breast Surgery: Your surgeon may tell you to put cold compresses or ice packs on your breasts for the first 48 hours after surgery.
Drains for Your Breast Surgery Recovery: Your surgeon may have placed one or more drains in your incision to remove excess fluid. (The fluid may be pinkish or brownish.) These thin plastic tubes can be left in place for a few days or a week after surgery. Your surgeon should tell you how to care for and empty your drains. Drains are usually removed painlessly at your first follow-up appointment.
Breast Surgery Incisions: Keep your incisions/suture line dry. Do not let creams or lotions into the incision, as these products may cause inflammation.
Monitor Your Temperature: Take your temperature regularly during surgery recovery. An elevated temperature could mean you have an infection.
Antibiotics: Take all the antibiotics that your doctor prescribes for as many days as the prescription says. Not doing so can result in an antibiotic-resistant infection.
Soreness and Pain: You will experience some pain and soreness during your recovery. Pain medication can help. Do not take pain relievers with aspirin or ibuprofen until your surgeon says that it is okay to do so, as they can cause excessive bleeding.
Swelling: You may be swollen for three or four months after breast surgery. Drinking water, cutting back on salt and engaging in light exercise can help reduce this swelling (edema). Do not take any over-the-counter or herbal diuretics unless advised to do so by your surgeon. If you experience sudden swelling in the days after your surgery, call your surgeon.
Bruising: You will probably have some bruising after your breast surgery, but this will fade. If you still have discolorations after several months, talk to your surgeon.
Bathing: You will not be able to shower until your incisions are closed and your sutures have been removed.
Activities During Breast Surgery Recovery: Walk around as soon as you are able while recovering from breast surgery. This will help prevent blood clots and can also help relieve swelling. Do not engage in strenuous activities, or exercise, for at least 3-4 weeks after your breast surgery.
Breast Surgery Complications: The vast majority of breast procedures go well, but no surgery is risk free. Please contact your surgeon or go to the emergency room as soon as possible if you notice any of the following red flags:
- Blood in saliva, urine or feces
- Abrupt and severe swelling and discoloration
- Blackening of the skin
- Uncontrollable vomiting
- Loss of consciousness or fainting
- Temperature over 105° F
The decision to have breast surgery is extremely personal. It’s very important to understand all aspects of your procedure as well as the healing process. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Serota in Denver, contact Advanced Cosmetic Surgery Center at 303-367-9000 or serotamd.com.