The days of a six-week breast augmentation recovery are long gone. In fact, the only operation that takes a full six weeks of recovery may be open heart surgery! Seriously though, even hip or knee replacements have shifted the recovery process to getting the patient up and moving within days and discharged to a rehab facility within the first week. Similarly, breast augmentation recovery has been expedited as well.
There really has been a significant shift in the expected recovery after breast augmentation. It’s part practicality – more women are within the workforce now and simply can’t take six weeks off of work. From a medical perspective, we now realize that the more sedentary you are after surgery, you run the risk of getting blood clots in the leg which can lead to a pulmonary embolus (blood clot traveling to the lungs).
Another big reason we want patients to get moving sooner is that more implants are being placed under the muscle. Naturally this causes muscle pain and the inclination is to avoid movement to avoid pain. But what we’ve learned in the plastic surgery community is that if you get the patient moving sooner with arm exercises, these range-of-motion exercises stretch the pectoral muscles that have been cut. While this hurts initially, earlier movement gets the patient past the pain sooner.
This is the reason more surgeons are giving patients postop instructions that encourage a shower the first night after surgery so the patient can wash their hair, getting their arms above their head and working out those pec muscles. This has led to stories from patients talking about going out to dinner their first night after the shower or jogging the next day!
While jogging the next day isn’t a prerequisite for postop recovery, it does help the patient recover from an emotional standpoint, in the sense that they’re getting back to their regular routine. And that’s all we really want.
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