If I get breast implants on a Thursday, will I be able to go on Vacation by the following Friday? I was unsure of the recovery time because one friend was ok to go back to work in a day, while another one took three weeks. Your advice is appreciated.
Recovery Time for Breast Implants to Go on Vacation?
Doctor Answers (9)
Augmentation and Vacation
1. Pain: In general, breast augmentation is tolerated very well. When the implant is placed sub-facial or sub-glandular, i.e. above the muscle, there is very little pain post-operative. The muscle is left in place and in general, when I perform this technique, women have surgery on Friday, and are back to work (as long as they are not lifting heavy objects) on Monday. When the implant is placed sub-muscular, then there more pain and soreness as the muscle has been elevated which is similiar to having a pulled or torn muscle. This creates more swelling and takes longer to heal. In these case, most women take at least a week off of work.
2. Swelling and Size: It is very common to be about a size bigger right after surgery than what your final result will be. Swelling starts to occur right after surgery and tends to peak in the first week. After about a month you will have lost most of the swelling, but still not completely at baseline. After about another 3 months or so, you will have lost 99% of your swelling, but still have a pretty good idea of your final size at 1 month. I wouldn't spend a lot of money on bras until 3 months though, as they might not fit perfectly after all the swelling goes away. Also, the more activity you have, the longer the swelling stays, the more that needs to be done as far as lift etc. with surgery, the longer your swelling stays. As stated above, going below the muscle tends to produce more swelling and lasts for longer.
3. Scars: The natural healing process undergoes multiple phases, but in general, the first phase is the inflamatory phase were any scar will be firmer and may turn red or darker initially. This tends to last for 3 months. After this phase is the resolution phase where the scar inflammation goes away and all scars will be at their baseline at 1 year. The scars are mostly at their baseline at 6 months. The scars should be minimal if placed well, and sutured properly. I also like to protect the scars from stretching or widening in the first few months with surgical skin tape. The incision will be weak at first and susceptible to stretch or widening.
4. Massage: Your doctor may recommend early or late massage, depending on what is trying to be accomplished. In general, early massage is to manipulate a high implant or stretch a constricted area, such as in tubular breast syndrome, and late massage is to help fight capsular contraction. Search 'Breast Massage' to find my recommendations on this.
5. Exercise: In general, I ask my patients to keep away from aerobic activities in the first 2 weeks following surgery. Increased activity can increase swelling and hyper-swelling can cause stretch marks. Following this, 'non-bouncing' aerobic activity is fine, such as speed walking or cycling, but would like to keep the implants from moving too much until the capsule that forms around the implant has a chance to heal and become stronger. At 6 weeks, I clear any type of activity.
6. Infection: Infection after augmentation is very rare. Most surgeon give post-operative antibiotics to help protect you from infection.
7. Hematoma/Seroma: These are also very rare after augmentation. If the pocket for the implant that is made during surgery is a hand in glove fit, then there is very little room for any fluid to collect. It is important that the surgical pocket be free of any bleeding prior to closure to keep a hematoma from happening. If a hematoma does occur, it is important to drain the hematoma to prevent capsular contraction.
8. Sleeping: I ask women to sleep on their backs with their post-operative bra on after surgery to keep the implants in their proper position until the capsule that forms around the implant has a chance to heal.
I hope this has answered most of your post-operative questions.
Pablo Prichard, MD
It really depends on a few factors. Adequate pain control is likely the most important. Individual pain tolerance differs greatly. I find that women who have had children generally have less post-op pain, as they have a much higher pain tolerance. From a surgical point of view, there are several things the surgeon/anaesthesiologist can do to decrease your post-op pain.
I generally perform breast blocks prior to making any incisions with a mix of short- and long-acting local anaesthetics. I have found this greatly reduces post-op pain. I also encourage patients to take the prescribed pain killers regularly every 4 hours especially for the first 24-48 hours. If you don't stay on top of the pain in the immediate post-operative period, it is extremely difficult to "catch-up". Most of my patients experience very little post-op pain after breast augmentation.
Of course, the type of augmentation you have will also determine your post-operative discomfort. Larger implants, and subpectoral implant placement will also increase post-op discomfort. This doesn't mean you shouldn't get large implants, or place them under the muscle - you simply need to know what to expect. Many women also experience difficulty with sleeping in the first few weeks after augmentation due to the weight of the implants on their chest. This is more significant in back-sleepers.
To answer your question about time off work, my experience has been that there is a huge range. I have patients that go back to work the next day (against my advice), and I have had patients take as much as 2 weeks off of work. It really depends on what you do for work, and how you feel. As for taking care of your kids, if your implant is placed under the muscle, it will be a few weeks before you feel comfortable enough to pick them up.
As for scars, I tell patients it will take a year to see the absolute final result. Practically, however, by 3-6 months the scar will be very close to the final result. I suggest 3M paper taping, and have a specific scar massage protocol I use to help speed scar resolution.
I hope this helps. Good luck!
Breast Augmentation Surgery
Thank you for your question. Congratulations on your planned operation and vacation. As you have seen with your friend's experiences, every patient is different. I would certainly not plan on strenuous activity (water skiing or scuba diving) 8 days after your surgery. You may have to clear specific activities planned with your plastic surgeon.
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Vacation after breast augmentation
It depends entirely on what you have planned for your vacation. If you are planning on driving 2 hours to a nice resort and catching up on your reading and embroidery, go for it. If you are planning on flying to Greece for a week of stand up paddle board yoga, forget it. You should discuss this with your surgeon prior to making any reservations!
Recovery time following breast augmentation varies from patient to patient. The most important variable is you – are you healthy? How have you recovered from surgery in the past? Do you have a high tolerance for pain?
Healthy patients not only recover faster but also have fewer complications. Breast augmentation involving placement of implants can be performed placing the implant on top of the pectoralis muscle under the breast gland termed subglandular. This generally has a faster recovery with less discomfort because the muscle is not disturbed by the procedure. Not all patients are candidates for this procedure. In those cases where the procedure is performed by placing the implant under the pectoralis muscle the recovery will usually be a few days longer. I tell patients that they will use pain medications for the first few days and usually be off them by 4-6 days at which time they can go back to light activities which do not cause pain, raise their heart rate or cause sweating. For more sedentary jobs they can return to work at one week. If you are more physically active at work we recommend two weeks. The lingering part of your recovery is easy fatigability. This can take 2-3 weeks to go away less if you are in good physical shape and exercise regularly.
When planning your surgery and vacation be realistic. It won’t be much fun if you are still uncomfortable and cannot participate in activities. Also, if something should go wrong who will see you if you have a problem and are away from your Plastic Surgeon. Make sure you discuss this with your Surgeon and have all your questions answered.
Best of luck,
Dean Johnston, MD FACS
Breast Augmentation Recovery
Breast Augmentation is outpatient surgery. After surgery, you may experience some soreness that should be easily managed with one-two pain pills every 6 hours. Usually, my patients do not require pain medications beyond 2-3 days. After surgery you will have swelling in the upper pole of your breast. This swelling resolves over 2-3 weeks. I recommend no heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 3-4 weeks after surgery. Usually, 24-48 hrs after surgery, most patients feel comfortable doing regular daily activities (minus any heavy lifting or strenuous activity). After 3-4 weeks from the date of your surgery, I clear patients to resume activity as tolerated.
Vacation schedule and breast augmentation
Briefly, there are 2 concerns: 1) Problems with the healing phase or late bleeding- and therefore not having access to your surgeon. 2) Long travel-sitting for extended hours in a plane or car- increasing the chance of a blood clot in the legs after an anesthetic/surgical procedure. Fortunately this is much less common with breast augmentation, in contrast to procedures such as an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). Be sure to discuss these issues with your surgeon well in advance of your surgery.
You did not specify if you will be going out of the country or staying in the States. Under normal circumstances I would say that recovery is adequate for non-vacationers, however, in cases of vacations, unless they are not too remote, I would err on the safe side. Not only would activities be limited, but what if you experienced a post-operative complication and could not reach a doctor. I typically advise my patients to wait one month if they are going out of the country regardless. If they are just going to the beach and laying low so-to-speak, and are near an accredited medical facility, I would be ok with two weeks out.
Recovery Time After Breast Augmentation
Allowing yourself one week to recover is usually ample time to resume 'routine' activities following a breast augmentation. If the implants are placed in the subglandular position, your recovery should be more rapid than if they are placed under the muscle. Keep in mind, that you may be able to go on vacation, your plastic surgeon is likely to give you activity limitations including no heavy lifting or brisk exercise. Hopefully your vacation plans involve relaxation and recovery. Enjoy your trip!