After breast augmentation surgery, it is important for patients to allow their bodies time to heal following any surgical procedure. Patients should limit activity and exercise for at least four to six weeks after surgery to reduce the risk of complications and experience the best possible outcome. It may also take up a year before the incision scars have taken on their final appearance. During this time, patients should follow specific instructions to minimize the appearance of scars.
Immediate Post-operative Period
The breast augmentation incisions should be “watertight” at approximately 24 to 48 hours following the surgical procedure. This means that it is generally safe to shower with proper precautions. Baths are generally not recommended, as it is not advisable to have the incisions soaking in water for an extended period of time. If there are any surgical drains, caution should be taken during this time so as not to tear incisions.
One to Two Weeks after Surgery
Any sutures that are not dissolvable will usually be removed within one week of surgery, along with any surgical drains. At this stage, the sutures should be closed over, but may be somewhat red. There may even be some lumpiness due to initial collagen formation. This is a natural part of the healing process. During this time, patients should avoid any strenuous activity or exercise, as this could cause the incisions to rupture. Patients should also continue to wear either a special compression garment or binding bandages during this time to reduce swelling and the formation of scar tissue.
Six to Eight Weeks after Surgery
The incision scars will have reached their maximum collagen formation at about six to eight weeks after surgery. At this time, the scars may appear red, raised, and itchy. A scar reducing cream or silicone sheeting can be applied to the scars to reduce their appearance. A moisturizer such as shea butter lotion can be applied to the breasts to reduce itchiness and skin flakiness. It is also important to not expose the breasts to direct sunlight at this time, as it may cause discoloration of the scars.
One Year after Surgery
At this stage, the incision scars should be in their final form. If they have properly healed, they should be barely visible and flat, close to the natural skin tone, and feel soft without any remaining hard lumps of collagen. Additionally, the scars will be easily covered with a bra or swimsuit top. In some cases, the scars can even be minimized by using a bit of foundation makeup that matches the patient’s skin tone.
At any time, if the breasts feel hot or tender to the touch, patients should contact their doctor right away. These are the warning signs that an infection may have developed and will need to be addressed by the use of antibiotics.
Above all, patients need to be aware of their body and give it time to heal following breast augmentation surgery. The results will be well worth the wait.
*The content in this blog is developed to spread the awareness towards plastic surgery. Our blog is not intended to serve as a replacement for an actual in-office consultation with Dr. Marin. As such, the information within this blog reflects the unique cases of our individual patients.