Introduction There are many women that are unhappy with the way their cleavage looks. Each year over 300,000 women undergo breast enhancement surgery, and this is only in the US. This elective type of surgery does not seem to affect any major recession or economic issues in the last ten years. Its growth is steady each year, and the cost is not decreasing. Preparing for an operation is never easy, but it is very important to be informed of what you need to do beforehand, what you should expect afterwards, and what exactly you will be going through. The advantage nowadays is that there is a lot of information available online regarding almost anything. You can read a lot, and not only details of what it should be, but also experiences of other people going through the same operation. The first thing you must think of is the doctor you choose to operate on you. You need a certified, experienced doctor that is specialized in breast augmentation. It is not the price, but the reason to motivate your choice. If you’ve found a cheap doctor, he or she is probably not very good. Plastic surgery is expensive, and a good doctor will never be cheap. It is not only the operation that depends on him or her but also the recovery process and all possible issues and problems that might arise afterwards. But just as important as choosing the right doctor is what you need to do after the surgery. Here are some important rules to follow: 1. Listen to your surgeon’s instructions The doctor is a very important and essential part of your surgery. He is the one to tell you what to do beforehand, he is the one doing the actual surgery, and he will be the one to tell you what you have to do afterwards. No matter what you read online or what friends tell you, following your surgeon’s advice is the most important thing you need to do for things to go smooth. The surgery will take somewhere between two to three hours, and often implies the use of general anesthesia, being more comfortable for both the surgeon and the patient. Since it is not a high-risk operation, you will be probably be sent home some hours upon waking up. Your doctor will discuss all the details you need to know, all the dos and don’ts, and all the symptoms that should worry you. There will be a period of 24 hours to 4 days in which you will have to take some pain medication to help you manage the pain. Still, pain is a factor that depends on many things, each person’s physical response to surgery and on each person’s tolerance towards pain. For some, it can be just one day of pain but others will experience excruciating pain for several days. Apart from pain medicine, some doctors might prescribe antibiotics just to prevent possible infections, and some might give anti-inflammatory medicine. For sure, you will be forbidden to take ibuprofen, aspirin, vitamin E, fish oil, Gingko Biloba, garlic supplements or any other medication containing any of these. All these might thin your blood and therefore prevent your wound from healing properly. 2. When to worry One very important instruction your surgeon will discuss with you are the risks and possible complications that might appear following the procedure. You should always be aware of what should worry you, what is normal, and what is not. There are a few things all doctors will advise you to pay attention to. If discovered or suspected, immediately call them if: – One of the breasts feels harder or looks bigger: Normally in the first weeks after the surgery your breasts will not look symmetrical, but if this persists after, it may be a sign of a complication. – There is a leakage from the incision site that is yellow and/or bad smelling; – You have a fever of more than 38°C; – Redness at the incision site that spreads and feels warm at a touch; – Extreme pain that does not go away despite pain medication or acute pain appearing a few days after the initial pain goes away. All the symptoms above might be signaling a possible complication of your surgery. Even if you feel or think that there is something wrong that might not be on the list given by your surgeon, you should still contact him or his office and schedule an appointment. All doctors say it is better to prevent than treat, so it is better to call or visit the doctor for nothing than having to treat a complication and possibly go through corrective operation. 3. Avoid physical activity An important aspect of your recovery is the avoidance of strenuous physical activity. In the first weeks after surgery, you have to avoid any physical activity. Even driving might cause problems to your incision and implant settling. Before returning home from the procedure, you need to arrange everything so that for at least one week after the operation, you will be able to rest and not do anything around the house. A relative or friend will be best to stay with you for about a week and help you with anything you or your family should need. If you have kids, you will not be able to help them with almost anything in the first week. For a few days, you will feel dizzy and probably tired because of the anesthesia. Rest and nourishing meals are very important to help you recover after any kind of surgery. Therefore, you should consider taking some more time off work. Depending on the type of job you have and on your personal ability to heal and be back on your feet, you will have to take a leave from work for one to four weeks. You will be able to resume your normal exercise regimen only after six weeks or so. Start gradually and check with your surgeon first. You will not be allowed to lift weights or even bend down in the first couple of weeks. You should be very careful regarding your arm movements since it is forbidden to lift your arms above your shoulders at least for the first two to three weeks after the procedure. 4. Stop smoking Smoking is bad for your health, and everyone knows this. But when you have surgery, it is very important to quit smoking, maybe more important than ever. No matter if it is in a cigarette or a patch, smoking is a no-no for the healing process. Nicotine makes blood vessels shrink, diminishing blood flow. In the case of plastic surgeries like breast augmentation, tummy tuck and face lifts that involve skin being pulled up, some of the blood vessels will be cut, and the blood flow will already be diminished. Therefore, if you are a smoker and continue smoking before and after surgery, the risk of your wound not healing and blood clots forming is much higher. Oxygen that is carried by blood helps wounds heal, so it is important not to hinder this process. 5. Change in your usual activities You will probably be eager to buy new, wonderful bras to show your new breasts. However, your breasts will only get to their final and best look six months after the operation (or even more in some cases). You will not be allowed to wear any kind of pretty bra for some time after the operation. For about a week after the surgery, you will have to keep your surgical bra on all the time, except when you take a shower. After this time for three more months, you will be advised to wear a sports bra that helps your implants settle and prevent long-term complications like thick scar tissue appearing (capsular contracture). Under no circumstances should you wear an underwired bra because this will interfere in the healing and settling process. Another thing you need to be aware of is that you will not be able to sleep on your tummy or side for some time. Only after two to three weeks will you be able to resume your sleeping habits. Showering will be possible only after 48 hours from the procedure. If you fancy long baths, please take into consideration that you will not be able to have baths for two weeks after your surgery. The reason is quite simple: any wound is prone to infection or a slow healing process if exposed to moisture. Baths, pools, etc. have a high risk since the water does not flow as in the case of a shower. Conclusion There are so many things you will hear you should do, but the most and essential thing to follow is just the instructions of your surgeon. The doctor always knows best, and this is a good thing to keep in mind. If ever in doubt, call him or her. Never feel ashamed or troubled in asking the wrong question or calling for nothing. There have been so many times when a patient disregards an issue only for it to turn out to be a big thing. Trust yourself and the signs your body gives you.