Tips for Recovering from Breast Surgery

Tips for Recovering from Breast Surgery

All surgical procedures require a little TLC afterward, and breast surgery is no different. The good news: If you’re like most women, you’ll be back to work and your daily routine within a week. 

But that doesn’t mean your recovery is complete. At Frederick H. Watkins, MD, in McLean, Virginia, and Rockville, Maryland, we believe that your post-surgery plan is just as important as what happens in the operating room. That’s why Dr. Watkins and our team have put together these practical tips to ensure your recovery goes smoothly, and your results are spectacular. 

Prepare for recovery

Your recovery will be a lot easier if you have some things in place before you undergo breast surgery. Here are a few ways to prep your home for a smooth recovery.

Proper nutrition is key to a speedy and full recovery, so skip the processed foods and take-out, and opt for fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins.

As you plan for 3-7 days of downtime, line up some movies to stream, have a couple of books or magazines handy, and have device chargers nearby so you can answer emails from bed.

Take it easy

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 444,000 women undergo breast surgery every year, whether it’s breast augmentationbreast lift, or breast reduction. If you’re one of them, your breast tissues have experienced some significant trauma, and so has the rest of your body. It’s normal to feel overly tired for the first couple of days — don’t fight it. Listen to your body and get plenty of rest.

That means taking it easy while you’re awake and sleeping well and long during the night. This all-important downtime is essential for your recovery, and if you push yourself to stay awake and be productive, you may hinder the healing process.

Manage pain

It’s no surprise that surgery of any kind causes some pain. After your breast surgery, you may feel muscle soreness, incision pain, and tightness across your chest. Don’t worry, this is normal. 

Most often, our patients report that all they need is a little over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, to ease the discomfort for 1-2 days. But if you need something stronger, Dr. Watkins may prescribe a pain medication for you.

The key is to keep your pain under control. Don’t wait until it becomes intense. 

Enlist support

Even if your pain level is low and you feel fine, you still need to take it easy. Plan ahead by arranging for a friend or family member to walk your dog, empty the cat litter box, pick up groceries, and help with other daily tasks. 

If you have small children, you’ll have to avoid lifting them for at least the first week. After the stitches come out around day seven, Dr. Watkins lets you know if you still have limitations.

Follow post-op instructions

Our team gives you thorough post-op instructions after your breast surgery, both general guidelines and specific dos and don’ts for your unique case. We go over exactly what to expect, and how to spot signs of complications, although these are rare. 

We also give you advice on how to minimize the appearance of your incision scars. 

To find out more about how to recover well from breast surgery, call either of our offices today, or schedule a consultation with Dr. Watkins using our online booking tool

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