After reading tons of websites and reviews and talking to friends who have done BA, I realized I'm different from many people on this website: my goal is to look like I have natural breasts proportional to my athletic butt - not to elicit unnecessary attention (I work in banking) or skepticism of whether they're real. I consulted with some of the top BA surgeons in NYC who perform procedures on women with similar longterm goals and did not hesitate to pay a premium for their experience and expertise. Mr dr. and I decided on silicone round implants, 200cc on left and 225 cc on right (my slightly smaller breast).
As a person who has had previous injuries and surgeries, I wouldn't consider myself a wuss by any means but BA surgery recovery was MUCH more painful and uncomfortable than I'd imagined. My doctor explained that, due to my low volume of natural breast tissue, small frame, and tight chest muscles (thanks, SoulCycle pushups) my recovery may be more uncomfortable than for his average patient. Here's a recount of my recovery so far:
Day of surgery: woke up immobilized from pain, and begged for more pain meds (the nurse strictly told my boyfriend not to give in to my demands). Felt every single bump on the road in the car ride home from surgery center. No nausea.
Days 1-3: The first day I couldn't sit comfortably and my best friend fed me because I couldn't raise my arms. My boobs swelled enormously and I felt like someone had filled my rib cage with cement. It was hard to breathe, and the weight of my new breasts caused my shoulders to hunch forward. I had pain in my back, neck, shoulders, and butt from sleeping sitting upright in a massive wall of pillows - resulting in fatigue and grouchiness during the day. I took the max dose of Vicodin that my doctor allowed.
Days 4-7: On Day 4 I saw my doctor again, who took off the detested surgical bra (what I refer to affectionately as the straightjacket). I could finally shower and breathe again! He instructed me to wear a wireless, minimal support bra/cami going forward. Gradually the swelling went down and pain/discomfort eased... I could take short walks without feeling like I was having a mild heart attack. Pushing doors and going upstairs and in subways was a daily challenge to get to work. I have a desk job and can also work from home so it was manageable. My friends joked that my odd shuffle (upper body rigid, short quick steps) made me look like a creeper. My right breast consistently felt tighter/more swollen as it is smaller but had the larger implant.
Days 8-12: On Day 8 I noticed dark blood dripping from my right breast incision site and called my doctor immediately. I taped myself daily with gauze to stop the leakage until I saw him again (Day 9). He explained that there must have been internal bleeding post-surgery that was trapped inside my breast. At his office he manually squeezed some old blood out (after giving me local anesthetic - possibly the most painful experience I've ever had!). He told me to monitor it, and that more leakage would require him to re-open the incision site to fully clean out and drain the residual blood to prevent infection and lessen risk of capsular contracture. I was given antibiotics.
Day 13: I went back to the surgery center to have both breasts' incision sites opened to be rinsed clean of old blood. This time the recovery was much easier as there was no impact on my muscle or implant - in fact the swelling went down after releasing pressure from the trapped blood.
Days 14+: I'm wearing the surgical bra and sleeping upright again (argh) until I see my doctor on Day 17. Fingers crossed for normal recovery this time!