I Read in Dr. Tebbetts Book "The Best Breast", That Recovery is Possible in 24hrs?

I Read in Dr. Tebbetts Book "The Best Breast", That Recovery is Possible in 24hrs?

Doctor Answers 19

Many factors affect Breast Augmentation Recovery

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There is no way any surgeon can assure you that you would have a "24 Hour Recovery" from breast augmentation as Dr. Tebbets reports in his book. I've visited Dr. Tebbets and I am familiar with what he has written, and I share his goals of minimizing surgical trauma and using local anesthesia injections to decrease recovery.

That said, I don't take too seriously his "24 hour" claim, nor do I find it particularly helpful for patients. In fact, while I agree that there is a dramatic ability to improve breast augmentation recovery, it is likely that given Dr. Tebbets' very strong personality that patients having trouble with recovery or pain after 24 hours are simply too scared to mention it to him.

Here is our approach to optimizing breast augmentation recovery:

  1. Block sensation to the breast as completely as possible.
  2. Perform surgery using IV sedation.
  3. Minimize trauma to the tissues with gentle, deliberate surgical technique.
  4. Use muscle relaxant medication and, as needed, pain medication after surgery

I use IV sedation for breast augmentation and I spend the first 5 minutes under anesthesia to thoroughly block  sensation to the breast. I believe this approach provides three huge benefits: (1) I learn from every patient how well my block is working, (2) the breast's sensation is blocked before performing surgery, which dramatically decreases the body's physiologic pain response, and (3) patients recovery more quickly from IV sedation with fewer nausea/vomiting side effects and less of the fatigue and "hangover" that comes with general anesthesia.

The vast majority of our patients report minimal or no sharp pain in the operating room at the end of surgery and do not require any pain medication in the recovery room. For many of these patients, perhaps a "24 hour Recovery" would apply. And while I agree with Dr. Tebbets' goals, I feel that his claims are a bit of a stretch.

Hope this helps,

Nick Slenkovich MD, FACS

24 Hour Recovery After Breast Augmentation

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The short answer is YES, but as stated by others, a 24 hour recovery depends how you define recovery. If you define recovery as the ability to resume normal activities and require nothing more than over-the-counter pain medicine within 24 hours, the answer is yes. If you define recovery as feeling like you never had surgery, then the answer is no. Many plastic surgeons, myself include, have adopted Dr. Tebbetts's principles with modifications to assist patients in this rapid recovery. The basic principle is if you are able to limit the amount of swelling and spasm of the chest wall muscles, the discomfort is mild and will not restrict activities. Strenuous activities, such as aerobic exercise and heavy lifting, are generally restricted for 2 weeks. However, every patient is different with respect to the details of their procedure and pain tolerance, and a minority will take several days to reach that point of recovery.

Joseph Fata, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 105 reviews

I Read in Dr. Tebbetts Book "The Best Breast", That Recovery is Possible in 24hrs?

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Thank you for your question! The "rapid recovery" breast augmentation is a newer philosophy with many surgeons to expedite activity and expedite recovery following the breast augmentation procedure. In my practice, utilizing the fast track technique after breast augmentations, women are readily able and doing most things virtually immediately after this procedure. It is the similar techniques as described and is really gaining popularity. Meticulous breast pocket dissection and minimal bleeding have been shown to limit swelling and postoperative pain following the procedure. She is even recommended to go out for dinner that evening. Pain is often minimal and you will likely be on a scheduled antiinflammatory regimen/pain control along with early exercises/range of motion techniques immediately. Pain does vary among patients, however. Certainly, follow your surgeon's instructions for postoperative care and restrictions, but it is common for most women to resume many of the preoperative activities and duties within a week. I typically restrict heavy lifting and vigorous exercise for approximately 4-6 weeks Swelling and settling of the implant typically occurs over a 6-12 week period along with placement in a compression-type bra for the same time period, while your incisions commonly resolve to its final appearance in up to a year.

Consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon well-versed in breast procedures and one you are interested in are useful in order to discuss his/her technique as well as the risks and benefits of the procedure. Hope that this helps! Best wishes for a great result!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Recovery after Breast Augmentation?

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I think it is important not to over promise  when discussing recovery after breast of notation. It is a very unusual patient who has a 24-hour recovery.

Most patients recover within 2 to 4 days after breast augmentation.There will be swelling and bruising which can last for a couple of weeks.  

Best wishes.

Recovery takes longer than 24 hours!

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I do not know what Dr Tebbetts meant by recovery, but return to full duty after breast augmentation takes from 5 days to 6 weeks depending on the physical demands of your job or personal life.  Recovery can also mean resolution of swelling which takes a full 3 months or so.  Plan on taking pain medicine for several days, having someone drive for you, wait on you hand and foot, and avoid strenuous activity of your chest muscles to avoid stirring up some bleeding.  There is no point in spending time, energy, and money and not taking this surgical procedure seriously.  The only procedures I suggest to patients that recovery is complete in 24 hours are those in which I do not prescribe pain medications, and every patient I have ever performed breast surgery on has received pain medicines.

What is the rush!

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After surgery, pain is related to several issues;

1-Muscle trauma after submuscular placement of implants, ususally lasts for 1-2 days.. If the implants are placed above the muscle then pain is pretty much eliminated.

2-Tissue Trauma and local bleeding - any bruising or blood around the implant can cause unwanted pain and an increased risk of capsule contracture. If we minimize the trauma and bleeding then these issues are mitigated. Most plastic surgeons will attempt to minimize trauma and bleeding - but most will not guarantee 24 hour recovery.

3- Nerve injuries - stretching of the local nerves can cause numbness or burning. These complaints can occur intermittently over the first 3-6 months regardless of the wonderful surgical technique.


As for desired results, most surgeons leave the operating room with the feeling that they have accomplished a great outcome, yet post-surgical bleeding can adversely affect outcome. Bleeding can be spurred by excessive activity within the first two weeks after surgery. So, although there may be no pain or discomfort after surgery, I advise to minimize activity during that time so the final results are the best possible!

Robert M. Freund, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

24 hour recovery after breast augmentation should be defined

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While most doctors will debate on what is defined by "recovery", most patients consider to  have "recovered" from a procedure when they are able to carry on their daily activities without restrictions.  In most cases of breast augmentation where the implant has been placed below the pectoralis muscle, this is not the case.

Some factors that will affect recovery are:

  1. Proportional sizing of breast implant
  2. Short operative time (around 30 minutes) to minimize operative trauma and ensure precise dissection
  3. Accurate anesthesia before, during and after the procedure.

Our patients see full range of motion of their arms and the ability to carry on daily activities with lifting restrictions within 24 hours from surgery.  However, they have not "recovered" fully as their activity has not cleared without restrictions.

Mario Diana, MD
Plano Plastic Surgeon

I Read in Dr. Tebbetts Book "The Best Breast", That Recovery is Possible in 24hrs?

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I would like to be more direct in my answer. After doing breasts implants for over 34 years it is the rarity to see a "full" recovery in 24 hours. Yes, it is possible but very unlikely. The average "full" recovery is in at least a week. More realisticly,  I request my personal patients to plan on 10 days to 2 weeks from full activities. Remember there are so many factors that apply to "fast" healing. Great question

Hoping for "24 hour recovery" from breast augmentation

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Dr. Tebbetts has very carefully defined what is meant by a 24 hour recovery from breast augmentation. Essentially this means that his patients can be up and doing light everyday activities while taking only over the counter medications within 24 hours of having breast augmentation surgery. This is absolutely possible, but requires a number of principles to be followed carefully. With careful patient selection, scripted activities and medication use, proportional breast implant sizing, precise anesthesia and surgical technique - an easier recovery from breast augmentation surgery is achievable. Dr. Tebbetts has validated this approach in his practice over hundreds of patients and published his results in many peer reviewed journals. I have been using this approach since 2004 on over 1000 patients.

In my practice,  I follow Dr. Tebbetts principles and consistently see patients feeling better than expected after surgery and being able to do light activities within 24 hours. Tenderness and swelling exists for a few weeks and vigourous activity is uncomfortable and must be limited for 4 weeks. These principles are applied to all of the surgical procedures that I perform and I thank Dr. Tebbetts for setting the bar high for surgeons to modify their techniques to make recovery from surgery easier as well as minimize the risk of complications. Ask to speak to a few of your surgeon's patients to see what their recovery was like before you proceed.

Dr. Mosher

Mathew C. Mosher, MD
Vancouver Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

24 Hour Recovery and Breast Augmentation

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The principles Dr.Tebbetts has taught us is to minimize the trauma we cause when we perform a breast augmentation or for that matter, any surgical procedure.  All surgery involves trauma and everyone responds to trauma differently. By combining limited trauma to the tissues and having a patient who has a limited response to this trauma, it is possible for some patients to return rapidly to their normal activities.  Still common sense dictates that you should not overstress your body while you are healing; that is only asking for complications and trouble.  Your plastic surgeon will guide you on a recovery program that is designed for you and your lifestyle and your work.  You may be lucky and be one of the quicker ones to fully recover and you may be one of the slower ones but remember, it is not a race.  The key is to recover safely and the long-term results.  Wish you all the best.

Herluf G. Lund, Jr, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.