Breast Augmentation today is completely different than a few years ago. Most patients who undergo this straightforward procedure are surprised to find that their recovery is smoother than anticipated and that their results can be very natural. In my practice, a majority of patients are most concerned about side-effects related to conventional oral narcotics, when they can lift and hold their children, and when they can eventually return to work.
To address the first concern, most patients are concerned about side-effects related to narcotic pain medications. They simply don’t have the time nor the patience to be senseless, nauseated, and lose their appetite simply to achieve effect pain control. Thankfully, times have changed. Today’s Plastic Surgeon is armed with more options including non-narcotic pain relievers, localized nerve blocks, and topical devices aimed at reducing their post-operative discomfort. In my practice, all patients begin on a loading dose of Celebrex, a non-narcotic pain reliever, the night before surgery. Following their surgery, they continue with a lower dose of this medication and supplement with a narcotic pain reliever as needed. In addition, to help reduce the need for any pain medication following surgery, I not only inject their breasts with numbing medication during the procedure, I also wash out the implant pocket with antibiotic solution and additional numbing medicine. Most importantly, I also perform an Intercostal Nerve Block immediately before the procedure which I feel is extremely effective in reducing immediate post-operative discomfort. As a result, a majority of my patients are able to greatly decrease their reliance on narcotics and transition to non-narcotic pain medications within 24-48 hours following surgery and continually remark to both myself and my staff that their recovery was much easier than anticipated.
As far as activity restrictions, I recommend that they not lift anything heavier than 6-8 pounds (including their children) for one week after surgery and that they hold off on any aggressive physical activities for the first few weeks during their recovery. They are encouraged to return to light exercise one week after surgery as long as it doesn’t involve the use of their shoulders or chest muscles. From here, they can usually return to aerobic activities, running, Yoga, and Pilates within 4-6 weeks.
A majority of my patients return to work as early as 3 days after their surgery as long as their profession does not require extension lifting or use of their chest muscles. As compared to years past, Breast Augmentation is now a more finely tuned procedure in both what we do during and after the actual procedure. The result is a more comfortable and more rapid recovery and an overall very happy patient population.