Breast Augmentation Recovery

Prior to your surgery, you should familiarize yourself with the various aspects of the recovery. The following information – how to prepare, what to expect, and what to look for when you are recovering – is therefore provided as a general guide. After surgery, to allow proper healing and to achieve optimal cosmetic results, it is essential that you follow our care guidelines during the initial recovery phase. Thereafter, in order to maintain the new, beautiful appearance of your breasts, long-term proper care of your implants is also important.

If you need clarification on any of the following instructions, or you have a question that is not answered by the information below, please contact us and one of our experienced staff will be ready to help you. Please also be aware that thorough instructions will be explained and provided for you in person both before and following your surgery.

How to Prepare for Your Recovery

Whether you go home or stay in the Fairmont Royal York Hotel after surgery, you must ensure a capable adult is able to stay with you for the first 24 hours. You cannot be left alone during the first night after your surgery, and more importantly, you should not be walking without assistance during the first 24 hours. During this time, you may be prone to fainting, falling, and hurting yourself. In the event that you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, you must also wake up your companion. You are not allowed to go to the bathroom by yourself during the first night after your surgery.

Preparation for your Breast Augmentation Surgery

Organize your affairs and schedule, so that you can completely relax and rest after surgery.
Prepare a small recovery pack to bring to the clinic containing important items. This will help put you at ease, preventing you worrying about certain things immediately after your surgery. This pack might include a water bottle, simple dry snacks, ID (e.g., driver’s license), some cash and a credit card, for example.
Prepare loose clothing to wear to the clinic and/or to change into after surgery. You do not need to bring a bra to wear after your surgery. A sports bra or surgical bra will be provided for you.
Make sure you arrange for someone to both bring you to the clinic and collect you after the surgery as you will not be allowed to leave by yourself. You should also ensure you have someone who can spend the first 24 hours after the surgery with you. This is for your safety and one of our major rules is you must not be left alone.

What to Expect After Your Surgery

After your Breast Augmentation surgery is complete, the anaesthetist will wake you up from your induced sleep. You will then be transferred to the recovery room where our experienced nurses will monitor you until you are fully awake. You may feel a little tired and groggy at this point. Most women do not remember the first 10 – 15 minutes after they wake up.

As a result of the surgery, you will experience some discomfort, swelling of your breasts, and bruising. To minimize this discomfort, protect your wounds, and hold the breasts implants firmly in place during initial healing, you will have supporting bandages wrapped around your chest and will be wearing your surgical bra.

It is normal to have spots of blood on your bandages and this doesn’t necessarily mean you are bleeding. You will return to see us in the clinic the following morning when we will examine you and, if necessary, change your dressings and bandages. You will also have a compression band applied over the top of your implants and/or under the breast fold. If not staying at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, you will need to have pre-arranged transport to return to the clinic (remember, you will not be allowed to drive yourself). Some of the normal effects following breast augmentation surgery include:

  • Some pain and discomfort in the breast area
  • Swelling of the breasts
  • Bruising around the breast and chest area
  • Small spots of blood on the dressings/bandage
  • Nausea, feeling sick
  • Constipation can occur if too many painkillers are taken
  • Will I Have Pain?

    During the surgery, Dr. Jugenburg’s meticulous surgical technique will result in a minimal amount of pain. In addition, we use local anaesthesia (through a freezing method) to numb the surgical area and minimise the discomfort you feel after the surgery. We will also give you a customized cocktail of medication that we use for all our patients to further minimise levels of discomfort.

    How intense the pain will be, therefore, depends largely on the surgical technique that is used. Going under the chest muscle (sub-pectoral or sub-muscular) tends to be more uncomfortable than going over the muscle (sub-mammary or sub-glandular). Each person also has a different pain threshold. Most women have minimal discomfort and are able to resume regular activities the day after their breast implant surgery. Irrespective of how little discomfort you might feel, however, you must still rigorously follow all our post-operative instructions to ensure proper healing and attain the best results.

    Post-Operative Care

    For the first few days, you will feel fatigue and aches in your upper body. You are also likely to feel tightness, swelling, and pain in your breasts as your implants will force the skin to adjust to the size changes. You may also experience slight and temporary loss of breast and nipple sensation. This may require you to take anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics to reduce the risk of infections.

    If you have small children you probably want someone to be around to help you during this time. You will find it difficult to lift them up and carry them, not to mention feel very tired looking after any small children. After 2-3 weeks, you should be able to begin your light exercise routines, such as brisk walking, cycling, aerobics and lower-body weight training. Following your Breast Augmentation surgery you must:

  • Return to the clinic two weeks after your surgery to have your sutures removed (in very rare instances where a surgical drain is used, it will also have to be removed once there is minimal fluid discharge)
  • Massage your breasts as advised by Dr. Jugenburg and his staff (do not massage your breasts if you have also had a breast-lift performed at the time of your breast augmentation)
  • How Long Will the Recovery Process Take

    The actual amount of time required for recovery can depend on many factors including your pain tolerance, your healing abilities, the implant placement, and the type of work you do. Your ability to deal with pain will be the biggest factor in determining the how much time-off work you require. If you have high pain tolerance and are prescribed appropriate pain medications, your recovery will be more tolerable, more pleasant, and you will return to regular activities sooner.

    Furthermore, placement of your implant behind the pectoralis major muscle may prolong the recovery period while also lengthening the period when you see your final results. The positive of going behind the muscle is the additional coverage for the implants which reduces chances of implant visibility, and it is also thought to lower the risk of capsular contracture.

    Depending on the type of work you do and how you feel, you will at least require 3-7 days off, although it varies between individuals. Suppose you do light administrative work, then you may be able to get back to work in a couple of days assuming you aren’t taking any strong pain medications.

    Restrictions After Your Surgery

    Following breast augmentation surgery, do not:

  • Sleep on your stomach or sides for six weeks. You must sleep on your back
  • Run, jump or perform any other vigorous physical activity that will make your breasts bounce. This will potentially break open your wounds or dislodge your implants
  • Try to look at your scars by pulling up on your breasts (to see the breast fold and areola scars) or lifting your arms to see the armpit scars. This will greatly risk breaking open the wounds
  • Lift your arms above your shoulders, especially if your surgery was performed using the armpit (trans-axillary) approach
  • Get your wounds wet for the first 2 – 5 days after surgery, unless Dr. Jugenburg has applied a waterproof bandage to protect your scars. Dr. Jugenburg will always tell you if he has used a waterproof bandage
  • Bath for two weeks. After the first few days you can shower but make sure to thoroughly and gently dry your wounds. We recommend you to use a hair-dryer on a low setting to dry the wound and dressing areas
  • Remove your surgical bra and compression band(s) until Dr. Jugenburg has advised you to do so. This is with the exception of washing, after which they should be replaced immediately after drying
  • Wear an under-wire bra (or push-up bra) for at least six weeks after surgery. This may be longer if your wounds are slower to properly heal or your breast implants require more time to fully settle (further advice on bra support is given here)
  • What to Look for After Your Surgery

    Recovery after surgery is a crucial part of getting the best results, and it should not be rushed nor underestimated. In fact, as a patient, you must diligently follow Dr. Jugenburg’s instructions and take good care of yourself to ensure your body has sufficient time to heal and look its best. If any of the following occur, please contact the clinic immediately on (647) 360-1975:

  • Bleeding soaks through the bandages and does not seem to be stopping
  • One or both breasts seem to be significantly swollen after the surgery
  • Feeling short of breath, having difficulty catching your breath, or experiencing pain deep inside your chest
  • Severe headache
  • A nurse will speak to you over the phone to determine if you need to be seen urgently or not. If you are unable to contact the clinic or if it is after regular business hours, please go to your nearest hospital to have a physician examine you.

    What to Expect from Sub-Pectoral Recovery

    If your implants are placed behind the pectoralis major muscle, then you will also have to avoid any exertion or strenuous activity that requires the use of your upper body (e.g. chest, arms) for at least 6 weeks. This includes but is not limited to running, push-ups, pull-ups, and weight-lifting. You can expect your breasts to remain swollen for 1 month or longer, and you may wear regular bras after 1 month, but will have to continue wearing a sports bra during bedtime for 2-4 weeks extra. After 3-6 months, your final results should appear. Your plastic surgeon may recommend breast massages as in the case of smooth implants which initially ride high to speed recovery and achieve the desired results quicker. It likely that your results may change with pregnancy, weight gain, and menopause.

    Follow-Up Visits

    After your surgery, you will have scheduled follow-up visits at the Toronto Cosmetic Surgery Institute to allow us to monitor your progress and healing. Follow-up visits are very important and we ask that you do not miss them. They allow us to ensure that your breast scars heal beautifully, that the breast implants settle in as expected, and that, ultimately, you are left with the perfect breast enlargement.

    Unless there is an unlikely concern about your healing, your initial follow-up visits will be with one of our expert nurses.
    Dr. Jugenburg will see you again once your wounds have healed to monitor the progress of your implants as they settle in.

    With regards to the long-term recovery of scars, there will be some small visible signs left behind. As with any type of scar, they will take time to fade. Initially, your scars will be red and raised but will quickly become less prominent. Within three months of surgery, the scar tissues will relax, soften, and flatten. This will continue to improve for about 12-18 months following surgery at which point it’s unlikely to fade any further.

    The Royal Treatment

    All our patients are offered the convenience of staying in the Fairmont Royal York Hotel the first night after surgery at no additional charge. If you have chosen to do so, we will transport you to one of these luxurious hotel rooms once you are ready to be discharged from the recovery room. From here you will be able to recover while enjoying the comfort of this spectacular hotel. We will also give you a small care package of essentials to use during your overnight stay. The following morning you will return to the clinic, which is only an elevator away, to be re-assessed and have you bandages changed if necessary. Once you have been fully checked out, you will be able to leave and go home by your pre-arranged transport.

    How Long Will My Breast Implants Last

    Breast implants are not lifetime devices and there is no accurate way to predict how long any particular implant will last. Saline and silicone gel implants have individual rates of failure that averages around 1% per year. This means that in 14 years, the likelihood of implant failure will be 14%.

    SO, it is a misconception that implants will only last 10 years or that they need to be replaced after that period of time. They do not have an expiry date and they do not need to be replaced if there is nothing wrong with them.
    This was a recommendation which originated from a study done long ago. This study showed that after 10 years, silicone implants had a high chance of being ruptured. Therefore, it was recommended that the implants are exchanged before the rupture happens. However, we are now two implant generations beyond that study and modern implants do not come with any such recommendation.

    Are Breast Implants Guaranteed to Work

    Breast implants sold in the US and Canada are made by Allergan and Mentor, both highly reputable companies which offer a lifetime warranty on their implants. You are automatically enrolled in their standard warranty programs free of charge when you undergo a breast augmentation. These warranties typically do cover implant failure due to rupture/deflation. Although breast implant warranties cover the cost of the implant itself, some additional costs are covered for a limited period of time, usually a 3-10 years period.

    How to Spot a Leakage Problem With Your Implants

    For saline implants, it is incredibly easy to identify a problem connected with deflation as the breast will immediately become smaller than the opposite breast. The saline solution or “saltwater” will be harmless as it is absorbed by your body.
    In the case of a silicone implant, it is more difficult to detect a rupture just by looking at or palpating the breast. For confirmation of any suspicions, a radiologic study like an MRI for positive diagnosis is required. This is why patients with silicone implants are asked to visit their surgeon regularly to make sure the implants remain in good condition. It is also why there’s an insistence for an MRI scan at regular intervals as per FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recommendations.

    Allergan

    Allergan provides the ConfidencePlus® standard warranty. This covers a lifetime product replacement for saline and silicone implants in the event of implant rupture or deflation, and 10 years of financial assistance of up to $3,500 that can be applied to other costs associated with the surgery for silicone implants specifically. You may also get 10-year implant replacement coverage in the event of a capsular contracture (Baker Grade ¾) or alternatively, for $200 you can upgrade to their Premier warranty which additionally covers up to $2,400 in replacement surgery costs for saline implants.

    Mentor

    Mentor also provides a standard lifetime warranty for both saline and silicone implants, automatic enrolment again being free of charge. This covers the cost of the implant in the case of implant failure regarding deflation or rupture, and it also provides a free replacement of the contra-lateral implant at the surgeon’s request.
    For saline implants specifically, there is a 10-year coverage for financial assistance of up to $1,200 associated with replacement surgery. For a $100 upgrade to the Enhanced Advantage limited warranty, which must be purchased within 45 days of the surgery, you can receive $2,400 in financial assistance for out-of-pocket costs.

    For Mentor’s Memory-Gel and Memory-Shape implants specifically, the warranty covers up to $3,500 in out-of-pocket replacement surgery costs. This lasts for up to 3 years after surgery if there was an implant rupture because of an unknown cause, capsular contracture Grade 3/4, late-forming seroma, or surgeon’s request. For $200, the enhanced warranty extends this 3-year warranty to 10 years.