Many women want to have breast augmentation surgery, but there’s one thing that holds them back – the prospect of pain during the recovery process. Understandably, some women don’t want to endure a painful recovery, even if the promising result is a boost of confidence and achieving your aesthetic results. If worries about pain are holding you back, know that Soler Cosmetic Plastic Surgery in Tampa, FL is a skilled surgeon who knows how to minimize recovery pain for all of his breast augmentation patients.
How Painful Is Breast Augmentation Surgery?
Not as painful as you might think. In fact, the pain of recovery is so negligible that over-the-counter pain medications, such as Advil or Tylenol, are adequate to manage any discomfort felt after the surgery. Of course, there are two main factors that will determine how much pain you experience during recovery.
The first factor is your pain tolerance. Some people have a higher tolerance for pain, which means that they can cope better with discomfort, while other people have a lower pain threshold, which means that they are more sensitive to pain. Pain tolerance is innate in all people, but it may help reduce your discomfort during recovery if you have a higher pain threshold.
The other factor that will determine the amount of pain you can anticipate is time, which can be broken down into four stages:
1. Immediately After Surgery
This portion of your recovery is when you will experience the least amount of discomfort. As you are waking from the general anesthesia that is used for your surgery, you will notice an increase of weight on your chest from the implants and some minor aching or tightness in the breast. Mostly, however, you will be groggy and disoriented from the general anesthesia.
2. Hours After Surgery
Your breasts will continue to have some moderate achiness or tenderness during the hours after your surgery. Some women compare the feeling to pulling a muscle, particularly if they have implants placed beneath the muscle.
3. Days After Surgery
The 3 to 5 days following your treatment is when you will likely feel the most discomfort. This is because the healing process has officially begun, which may mean there is some inflammation around your incisions and your implants as your body adjusts to accommodate the surgery.
Most women feel minor twinges, tenderness, and aching, but usually, this amount of discomfort goes away within the week and can be easily managed by over-the-counter medications.
4. Weeks After Surgery
In the weeks following your surgery, your soreness will gradually disappear as you heal from the procedure. Many women feel little to no pain within 2 to 3 weeks, aside from some mild tenderness.
By the time you have reached 1 month after surgery, most of your soreness should be gone. Some women compare this soreness to breast tenderness associated with PMS.
How Long Is Your Recovery Period?
The recovery period for most breast augmentation surgeries is between 6 to 8 weeks. The length of your recovery period will be determined by your health, how quickly you heal, and the placement of the implants. Your age may also be a factor in the speed of your recovery. The vast majority of women are free to return to all normal activities about 2 months after the surgery, including normal exercise and intimate activity.
What Can You Expect During Your Recovery?
Although your recovery period will last for several weeks, the recovery itself is fairly straight-forward. During your recovery, you will be tasked to follow simple post-operation guidelines to help you through each phase of your recovery. Some of your post-operation guidelines will include:
- Get plenty of rest
- Avoid strenuous activity
- Limit yourself to light activities, such as walking
- Sleep on your back
- Do not take baths
- Avoid excessive heat, such as saunas and hot tubs
We will provide you with other instructions for your recovery, such as how soon you can take a shower, the type of soaps you should use, and the type of clothing that will be best for your recovery, such as loose, cotton clothing that does not have to be pulled over the head. We will also give you specific tools for the most important parts of your recovery, particularly medications, recovery bras, and incision care.
While over-the-counter pain medications may be adequate to handle your discomfort, some patients are prescribed specific mediations to aid recovery. Muscle relaxers and anti-biotics are commonly prescribed following treatment to make the recovery process as seamless as possible. Muscle relaxers in particular may help you manage any post-operative discomfort.
You will be given special bras that need to be worn continuously through your recovery. These recovery bras provide support to your breasts and aid in healing. Your surgeon will give you specific directions on when and how these bras should be worn, but it’s common for recovery bras to be worn 24 hours a day for the 6 to 8 weeks of your recovery.
You will be able to take the recovery bra off to shower. You may also be able to remove your recovery bra for a couple of hours later into your recovery period. Your surgeon will provide further clarification on how to wear recovery bras to have the best results from your surgery.
Your incisions will require certain care so you can heal well and minimize any possible scarring. Part of your incision care will be directions on how to clean your incisions, such as the type of soap and the temperature of the water that is ideal for cleansing. It’s important to pat-dry your incisions.
You will be allowed to remove the initial bandage from surgery, but the sutures, surgical glue, or surgical tape along the incisions should never be removed unless by a medical professional.
What Factors Determine How Much Pain You Should Expect?
In addition to your relative level of pain tolerance, there are a few other factors that will determine how much pain you can expect after your augmentation surgery. These factors include implant size, implant type, implant position, and even if you have had a previous pregnancy.
The size of your implant determines both how many cup sizes you can expect to gain following augmentation, as well as the actual weight of the implants themselves.
Larger implants, or implants that increase your breast size by more than one cup, tend to be associated with greater discomfort during recovery; smaller implants, those that increase breast size by one cup size or are used to correct the shape of the natural breast, tend to be lighter and do not cause as much pain.
The type of implant may also determine how much soreness you will experience during recovery, again because the implant type generally correlates with weight. Saline implants have a less-dense weight than silicone implants, which means they may be moderately more comfortable during recovery.
The position of the implant might be the most telling indicator of how much discomfort you should anticipate. There are two ways to augment the breasts; either sub-muscular or sub-glandular.
Sub-muscular implants are those that are placed beneath the muscle of the breast, meaning the implant is beneath the entire breast tissue, and tend to cause more soreness during healing because the muscle is stretching to accommodate the implant. Sub-glandular implants are those that are placed between the natural breast tissue and the muscle wall of the chest, and they tend to cause less pain during recovery.
Some women who have gone through pregnancy and breastfeeding experience less pain overall following augmentation. In fact, many mothers who seek augmentation after childbirth compare the discomfort of recovery to breast engorgement that happens frequently during breastfeeding.
How Do You Know What Size Implant Is Right for You?
The size of your implant will determine the overall outcome of your augmentation, and the choice of your ideal size is made between you and your surgeon. Many women use augmentation surgery to increase their cup sizes by one or two cups. The best size for your implants will be decided by both your body shape and your aesthetic goals.
How Do You Know What Type of Implant You Should Have?
There are a few implant types you can choose from and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Soler Cosmetic Plastic Surgery, MD uses three main types of implants for his augmentation surgeries, which include:
Saline implants are the original type of implant that was first used in breast implant surgeries. Saline implants are still used today to provide more fullness to the breast.
One of the advantages of saline implants is the fact that the incisions for placement are smaller because the saline is filled during the surgery. However, saline implants are more prone to rippling and rupturing.
Silicone gel implants are currently one of the more popular implant types, mostly because they provide both fullness and a more natural look, weight, and texture to the breast following augmentation.
But while silicone gel implants don’t ripple and may last longer, the incisions required for placement are a bit larger.
Ideal Implant is a type of breast implant that marries both the advantages of saline with the advantages of silicone gel. In other words, Ideal Implant requires a smaller incision but also maintains the natural appearance and natural texture of the breast.
How Should Your Implant Be Positioned?
The positioning of your implant will also determine how natural your implants look. Sub-muscular implants produce a more natural-looking result to the contour of the breast.
However, sub-glandular implants have a more “lifting” effect, which may be ideal for patients who have looser breast tissue. The choice of where your implant should be position will be determined by you and your surgeon according to your body composition and aesthetic goals.
Why Surgeon Experience Might Matter
The experience of your surgeon matters because an excellent surgeon will know the best methods of implant placement and augmentation techniques to minimize your pain during your recovery period. Your surgeon’s experience also matters if your goal is to have natural-looking results.
Who Are Good Candidates for Breast Augmentation?
Good candidates for breast augmentation include any woman who is not satisfied by the shape, size, or fullness of her breasts. Candidates can include women who are naturally thin or have less natural breast tissue, aging women who want to correct loose breast tissue, and women who have finished breastfeeding who would like to return to their pre-pregnancy breast shape and size.
With an Experienced Surgeon, You Don’t Need to Fear Breast Augmentation Pain
It might be surprising, but there really isn’t that much pain associated with breast augmentation surgery, especially when you’re in the hands of a skilled surgeon who knows the best implant type and placement to minimize your discomfort during recovery. Contact Soler Cosmetic Plastic Surgery in Tampa, FL to schedule your consultation appointment today!