Procedures of the breast are consistently among the most popular cosmetic procedures performed in America, year after year. In 2020, surgeons performed over 193,000 breast augmentations, more than any other procedure except rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery, facelift, and liposuction.
If you’ve been thinking about a breast procedure–whether it’s augmentation, implants, reduction, or something else, here’s what you need to know to prepare for best results, including what to do and what to expect before, during, and after your procedure.
Early Pre-Op: First Steps
Assuming you’ve already had your consultation with your surgeon and selected your procedure, the next step is preparing for the operation.
Smokers should aim to stop nicotine usage for at least 4 weeks pre-procedure and stay smoke-free for 4 weeks post-procedure to reduce the risk of complications like infection–and to help the body recover naturally. Smoking also may cause nausea and aggravate the lungs during surgery, as well as decrease blood flow, which puts your body more at risk of heart attack or stroke.
Stop taking aspirin and any other blood-thinning medications at least two weeks before your procedure, as these can put you at risk for excessive bleeding. Be sure to talk with your surgeon about any vitamins, supplements, herbs, or medications you take or plan to take throughout your recovery as some of these may interact with anesthesia and/or post-operative prescribed medication.
Finally, depending on procedure, patients may be asked to complete lab work in order to be cleared for surgery.
Pre-Op: Just Before Surgery
The best time to plan your recovery is just before your procedure. In the days leading up to your surgery, fill any prescriptions you’ll need post-op, plan out easy meals, and clear your schedule so you can rest and recuperate.
Patients should also abstain from alcohol for roughly 72 hours before their procedure, as it can affect their immune system.
The Day of the Procedure
If you have questions or concerns, don’t wait until the day of your procedure to bring them up. Remember, communication and transparency are crucial to both a quick recovery and best results.
Your surgeon will tell you what medications you can and cannot take leading up to, directly before, and after your procedure, including the morning of. Be sure to follow your surgeon’s recommendations regarding food and drink; most procedures don’t permit eating or drinking after midnight the night before your procedure.
Dress comfortably and avoid wearing jewelry. Have your insurance card and all proper documents handy, as well as your personal effects securely organized.
Make arrangements for someone to drive you both to and from your procedure, as well as to stay nearby for at least the first 24 hours so you can rest and focus on your recovery. Try to arrive at our facility to give yourself enough time to adequately check-in and prepare for your procedure.
Post-Op: Just After Surgery
The most important things to remember immediately post-procedure are rest and ice–which can help with both bruising and swelling and pain management. Remember, it’s better to take your prescribed pain medication before you start to feel pain and discomfort. Preventing pain is much easier than trying to manage it.
Once our team has determined it’s safe, you can return home. As mentioned, it’s important to have someone to drive you home and stay with you so you can rest and recover.
Within a few days post-procedure, your doctor will check your bandages, assess your condition, and ensure you’re well on your way to optimal recovery. Make sure to let your doctor know if you’re experiencing significant pain or discomfort.
Post-Op: What to Expect After Your Breast Procedure
If you set up your recovery space, you won’t need to risk injury or strain yourself performing simple tasks. Try to stay on the ground floor, if possible, and avoid stairs. Move any frequently-needed items to within arm’s reach and keep a water bottle nearby–hydration is key!
Depending on the procedure performed, recovery time can range from anywhere between a few weeks to a few months. Typically, patients can return to their normal lifestyle within three weeks to a month. However, despite popular belief, the first stage of your recovery (bedrest) may only last three to five days. Being up and moving helps facilitate blood flow, as opposed to a sedentary lifestyle, which may lead to stiffness, pain, and discomfort.
Patients should expect a level of discomfort or muscle soreness similar to that of a workout, especially when they move or raise their arms. Patients may also experience itchiness around the incisions. Both are completely normal and abate with time. Depending on your procedure, your surgeon might also prescribe a surgical bra–as well as advise against wearing an underwire bra until you’ve fully healed.
Your surgeon will also schedule a follow up appointment to monitor your progress and recovery, as well as to finalize any parts of the procedure (like removing a drain). It is possible you may need an additional follow up procedure to correct any issues that arise from the first surgery or if you’re not satisfied with your initial results. However, it may take months before you can accurately determine your satisfaction with your new look.
Pre and Post-Op Recap
Quit smoking & nicotine use.
Talk to your doctor about what medications you can and cannot use.
Complete lab work.
Ask any questions/clear any concerns.
No alcohol for 72 hours pre-procedure.
Fill any prescriptions you need post-op.
Clear out schedule to prepare for rest and recovery.
Day of procedure:
Arrive early enough to check-in and prepare for your procedure.
Dress comfortable, avoid jewelry.
Have insurance card/important documents handy.
Rest & ice.
Avoid strenuous activity for ~one week post-procedure.
Follow up appointments with your team.
Love your new body!
Ready For Your Breast Procedure?
At DeLuca Plastic Surgery, the difference is in the details. Whether you’re looking for breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction, or something else, our team has the experience and proven results you’re looking for. From the moment you meet with us for your consultation to the moment you revel in your new look, you’ll feel comfortable, listened to, and taken care of.