Rapid Recovery Breast Augmentation represents several decades of advances in surgical technique. Historically, breast augmentation has been associated with prolonged recovery and sustained discomfort. Early range of motion was discouraged and patients were instructed to avoid activities of daily living for long periods of time. With rapid recovery breast augmentation, patients can expect a rapid return to work, daily activities, and even exercise.
The following principles are critical to helping patients quickly recover from breast augmentation with excellent outcomes.
- Before surgery: Patients need to be in good physical condition with no recent illness. Avoid smoking or any products which contain nicotine including vaporized devices. Avoid diet pills, herbal supplements, or aspiring containing products. Maintain a healthy diet and hydration before the procedure.
- Anesthesia: General anesthesia provided by an anesthesiologist is actually better for rapid recovery than "awake breast augmentation" which is done primarily by non board certified surgeons in a nonsterile and poorly controlled office environment. General anesthesia allows the anesthesiologist to safely control blood pressure and heart rate during the procedure which minimizes bleeding. Because there is no pain with general anesthesia, the muscle is more easily and less traumatically dissected and the implant placed without force. General anesthesia also relies more on anesthetic gases which are more quickly eliminated from the body. For these reasons, general anesthesia allows the patient to recover much quicker with less pain.
- Surgical technique: Surgical technique must be both precise and methodical. A skilled surgeon knows exactly how large to make the implant pocket and where each major blood vessel is located to prevent any bleeding or excess dissection. The majority of implants will be placed below the chest muscle (pectoralis). Dissecting the pocket to place the implant is done using cautery and not bluntly. Cautery under direct visualization minimizes bleeding and trauma to the tissue. The pocket should be carefully measured and made to the exact size of the implant. Great care should be taken to avoid any contact with the rib cage which can lead to pain and trauma. Before placing the implant a long lasting local anesthetic is placed into the muscle and breast to help with any discomfort from stretching of the tissue for the first 48 hours. For implant placement, we use the Keller Funnel and a no touch technique to avoid trauma to the patient, the implant, and to maintain sterility. It is important that the implant is placed only one time and avoid taking the implant in and out of the pocket. This avoids contamination and any additional trauma to the breast.
- Post surgical care: All sutures are placed below the skin meticulously lining up the incision edges to optimize the quality of the scar. The skin is then sealed to keep out water and covered with sterile surgical tape which will stay in place for two weeks. There are no sutures to remove, no drain tubes, and no need to care for the incision as it will be sealed and covered. The incision is also numbed with a long acting local anesthetic so that it should be pain free for at least 48 hours. Patients can shower the night of surgery if they wish. Patients can submerge in a bath after 3 days. Each patient is sent home with a soft and comfortable surgical bra which is worn for the first week. There are no tight wraps, surgical dressings, and overly tight garments. Patients can begin wearing normal clothing and bras within a week.
- Implant choice: Obviously, the more stretching that occurs the more pain a patient will feel. Placing a very large implant will stretch the tissue and cause more pain than a smaller implant which does not put much stretch on the tissues. In other words, going from an A to D will be more painful than going from A to B. However, even with larger implants, rapid recovery is still possible and can be expected.
- Medication choice: While patients may request narcotic pain medication, most patients can rely on non steroidal type pain medications (NSAIDS). This antiinflammatory pain medication allows quicker recovery and decreases negative side effects such as sleep disturbances, decreased mental clarity, and constipation.
- Early return to activity: Patients are encouraged to engage in normal activities of daily living such as showering, drying their hair, and arm movement. Return to work is generally possible within 2 or 3 days. Light exercise such as treadmill walking, spin class, or elliptical trainer is possible within a week. More aggressive exercise such as weight training, yoga, Barre classes, jogging, or Crossfit can be resumed in 4 to 6 weeks.
Following these guidelines, rapid recovery from breast augmentation is possible in almost every case. Choosing an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who specializes in Breast Augmentation is important for both rapid recovery and obtain the best aesthetic outcome.
Dallas plastic surgeon Dr. John Burns, a member of the prestigious Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute and a nationally-recognized expert in breast enhancement, welcomes the opportunity to discuss breast augmentation and other cosmetic goals with you. To make an appointment, simply call his office at 214-515-0002, or send an email through his website. Online consultations are also available. Dr. Burns and his staff look forward to meeting you!