8 Tips for a Successful Recovery from Breast Surgery

One of the most popular cosmetic procedures for women is breast surgery to increase or improve the shape of the breasts. It is not surprising when so many women report such positive feelings of enhanced confidence after undergoing treatment. There are many reasons why women opt to have their breasts enhanced, the main reasons being:


  • Post-childbirth many women are unhappy with how nature has affected their breasts.
  • Some women have naturally uneven breasts and opt for surgery to even out the balance.
  • After losing weight, many women feel that their breasts have lost their shape or may not fit their new frame.
  • For some women, larger breasts signify femininity.


Whatever their reason for choosing to undergo breast surgery, most women are very happy with the end results, and more often than not wish that they had arranged surgery sooner. It is a common misconception that breast surgery is a lengthy procedure, with an extended hospital stay and then a long, uncomfortable recovery period. This perception couldn’t be further from the truth, as for most women, breast surgery is a quick and straight forward procedure. In most cases, the procedure involves:


  • An initial consultation with an experienced plastic or breast surgery consultant. Here the patient will discuss their desired outcome of the surgery and therefore determine the type of surgery that they will need, breast enlargement or breast enhancement.
  • Patients wanting a breast enlargement procedure will need to decide on the shape and size that they would like their new breasts to be as a result of the surgery. This will be determined by the shape of the implant they have inserted.
  • Patients opting for an enhancement procedure, where the natural breast is reshaped and as a result, lifted and tightened, will also need to discuss the effect that they are hoping to achieve through surgery.
  • Generally, breast surgery through your private consultant will ensure that you won’t have to endure a waiting list to arrange your surgery. It is also worth noting that cosmetic procedures, such as breast enhancement surgery, are rarely carried out under the NHS.
  • In most cases breast surgery is carried out as day surgery and the patient is free to go home shortly after the surgery is completed.


To ensure a successful recovery from surgery it is advisable to follow these 8 steps:


1. Take it easy. As with all types of surgery, it is essential that you give your body time to adjust and recover from the ordeal. Expect to take it easy for the first few weeks after surgery, the less exertion that you put on your upper body the quicker the surgery will heal. If possible, it is recommended that you take two weeks off work to aid recovery.


2. Prepare things at home. Returning home from any kind of surgery invariably comes hand in hand with lots of ‘I wish I had thought about that before’ comments. Although you will still be mobile after surgery, reaching and lifting will be out of the question for a week or two. The following tips can make your day-to-day life post surgery so much easier:


  • Before surgery, move any essential items that you currently store at or above head height so that they are easily accessible without having to stretch.
  • Have plenty of pillows to hand to make sleeping more comfortable whilst the surgery settles down. Having your top half slightly elevated whilst you rest and sleep will help prevent any swelling and it will also help you to get in and out of bed more easily.
  • Arrange help if you have small children, you will be amazed how often you pick them up on a daily basis!
  • Make sure that you have some shirts or front fastening tops handy for easy dressing. For the first couple of days it may be difficult to pull a top on over your head.
  • Give your house a clean in advance. You won’t feel like reaching up to dust or heaving a vacuum cleaner around for a week or two to ensure that you have done any necessary chores before your surgery.
  • Fill up the car with fuel. Although there will be a period of time following surgery where it is not recommended that you drive a car, once you are back behind the wheel you may not feel strong enough to lift and hold a heavy, cumbersome petrol pump.


3. Look after yourself. You will be advised to refrain from heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for at least a month. Try to avoid excessive use of your arms and chest area to prevent irritation and bleeding. Your experienced cosmetic surgeon will be able to give you specific advice over what activities you should refrain from during the recovery period, but in most cases, patients will be able to resume all normal activity within six weeks.


4. Wear the correct underwear. Depending on your personal situation, some plastic surgeons recommend wearing a well-fitting sports bra for 24 hours a day in the months following surgery to take the pressure off the breasts. Once the surgery has settled down, many women love choosing new underwear to flatter their new shape, however, try not to rush into making any expensive purchases, as it will take a while for your new breasts to settle to their proper size and shape. Although the surgery will have created a perkier shape it is still worth investing in supportive underwear, especially if you have gone up in size. Women with larger breasts (even those that haven’t had a breast enhancement) can suffer from back pain from the weight of their breasts. Well, fitting underwear can help counteract the pressure put on the back. A good bra also works against the inevitable sagging, which unfortunately is a symptom of ageing and will eventually affect all breasts, enhanced or not.


5. Get the timing right. As with all surgery, you will be required to wear a dressing for a short time after the procedure. Therefore, try not to schedule your surgery directly before the big event, which may require evening dress. Likewise, try to avoid mid-summer when you are likely to want to wear lightweight strappy tops, also, you may find the dressing uncomfortable in hot weather. The ideal time to schedule your surgery is the autumn when you can wrap up under big sweaters and hide the telltale signs of your procedure. Then, when it is time for the Christmas party season, your healing will be complete and you will have your new look ready to show off in slinky gowns!


6. Cover up. Although you will be eager to show off your newly enhanced beach body, it is important to keep the incisions well out of direct sunlight for the year following surgery. This is because the skin will still be delicate and more sensitive to burning.


7. Be patient! Initially, your new breasts are likely to feel taut and quite rigid. This is completely normal and will settle down in time. It usually takes a few months for the breasts to look and feel more natural, as the breast tissue, muscle and skin will need to adapt to the new implants and the more refined shape. You may also experience changes in sensation in your new breasts, with areas becoming more or less sensitive than they were previously.

Some women initially feel unhappy with their new breasts, and they may worry that the breasts are perhaps positioned differently to how they expected or the nipples are sitting differently. Again, this is part of the settling process and, providing that the surgery is performed by an experienced plastic or breast surgery consultant these worries are practically always unfounded. In fact, women who have previously had successful breast surgery advise others to try not to look at their own new breasts for a few days, as the initial transformation rarely resembles the finished result.


8. Know your body. Breast surgery is extremely common and private surgeons who operate from professional clinics (such as Pall Mall Medical), are very experienced in carrying out the procedure. As a result, it is unlikely that you will experience any problems post surgery. But, as with anything medical, it is worth erring on the side of caution and keeping an eye on your recovery. With all surgery, it is normal to expect some localised pain, swelling, bruising and tenderness, however, these symptoms will settle down naturally after a few weeks. In the rare case that you experience anything out of the ordinary, it is always worth contacting your private plastic or breast surgery consultant who will advise you on the best course of action.

Symptoms which may need medical attention are:

  • Severe pain in one or both of your breasts.
  • Persistent redness of the skin on your breasts.
  • An uncomfortable, intense burning sensation in your breasts.
  • Any unusual or excessive swelling in or around the breasts.
  • Deflated breasts.
  • An unpleasant smell or coloured discharge from your wounds.
  • A high temperature.
  • Any lumps or aching that is causing you concern.


If you would like to speak to one of our consultants about your options for breast enhancement surgery then give the Pall Mall Medical team a call.


Further Resources


Want to find out more about what happens during a breast enlargement procedure? Read our Step-by-Step Guide to Breast Enlargements: From Your Initial Consultation to Recovery


For more information on the procedures available at Pall Mall Medical, visit our pages Breast Enlargement, Uplift and Asymmetry Correction and Breast Implant Removal and Replacement


To find out more about breasts and breast cancer, read DR Jenna Burton’s post on Breasts and Their Bobbly Bits.

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