Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in getting breast implants but am concerned about the time it may take to recover. I have a 7 year old daughter and need to take care of her daily needs so I can not be limited afterwards. How long will my recovery actually be after surgery?
A: In regards to recovery after breast augmentation, I place all my patients on a rapid recovery program. This means that there are no physical restrictions after surgery and there is nothing you can not do if you feel comfortable. Patients start on arm exercises the first night of surgery to help recover quite quickly. Will you be sore…yes. But will you be limited from doing anything for your young daughter…no. In recovering from getting breast implants, the main source of discomfort from the submuscular dissection for the implant pocket, the lifting off of the pectoralis muscle from the chest wall. Therefore, recovering from breast augmentation is really about taking care of a big pulled muscle. What is the fastest way to recover from a pulled muscle? How do athletes recover quickly when they pull a muscle? Early range of motion and stretching is the key. This is why lifting the arms and stretching them, starting within hours after surgery, will get the discomfort to lessen quicker and range of motion of the arms come back quicker. Breast implants primarily affect lifting and moving of the arms as the insertion of the pectoralis muscle is on the upper humerus and not on the shoulder.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: Dr. Eppley, I have a couple of questions for you. I had breast augmentation about 10 days ago. I am still a little swollen which I have expected. However, I can’t quite put my finger on it to describe it, but after wearing a bra for a while, I get the feeling like I am rubbed raw. But you don’t really see anything and it was mainly around the bottom of the bra. I even bought a bigger size around thinking that was the problem, but it didn’t seem to matter and again, you don’t really see anything so I couldn’t figure it out.
Over the past two days not only is it around where the bottom of the bra hits but on the sides of my breasts as well. I realized last night its like they are extra sensitive. I have worn a silky night shirt throughout the weekend up to last night. It didn’t bother me before but last night it was bothering me a lot. I had to buy a new one since my other ones no longer fit. Since it is bigger, it moves around when I walk etc. and moves over my breasts. It was very irritating to the point I was holding the nightie each time I walked so it wouldn’t move. So I realized, its like my breast are very senstive to anything moving against them like that…if this even makes sense. Its not like that if I touch them myself, but clothing. Is that normal and will it stop?
Also, I think I read I am not supposed to wear underwire bras. Is that only during healing time or never? All the bras I find in department stores look like my grandma would wear them and of course all the pretty ones are underwire. A friend suggested Victoria Secrets, so I plan to try there I just didn’t want to invest in a lot of bras until swelling, etc. is all gone so I buy what I really need, etc.
Thanks for your help.
A: You have inquired about two very typical issues after breast augmentation. The skin feelings that you are having are the tiny skin nerves, which have been temporaily disconnected or stretched, trying to recover. Think of it as the pins and needsl feeling you get when your foot falls asleep. That will typically subside around four to six weeks after surgery. That is different than some longer lasting numbness which may remain on the skin on the bottom part of the breast.
Not wearing an underwire bra for 6 weeks after surgery is to relieve any pressure on the healing inframmary incision It is also to make sure the breast implant and its lower pocket is not pushed upward as it is healing so the implant sits down in a more natural position.
Dr. Barry Eppley