Everyday life after breast implant surgery Introduction It seems that for years, breast augmentation surgery has been one of the most popular plastic surgeries in the world. Women are choosing to enlarge their breasts to make them feel better about the way they look. Some have been living for some time with naturally small breasts and have been self-conscious about the way their cleavage looks. Some have been through some pregnancies and breastfeeding and their breasts have lost their beauty and have become saggy and unpretty. No matter the reason, they all choose to have bigger breasts and the most affordable and easy way is to get implants. All those who choose to have this operation know that they want a change in the way their breasts look, but they do not know what they can expect during and after the operation. Even more, they need to know if and how their life will change afterwards. So, let’s see what happens and what changes. Before surgery Probably the most important thing to choose when taking such a decision is a plastic surgeon. You need to choose carefully and not go for the cheapest or for the one with the best sales pitch. You need someone you will feel confident to let your body be worked on by his on her hands. You will go through a recovery period and regular check-ups afterwards. More so, you will have to live with the result. So, ask questions, request all necessary certification, and see more than one doctor. If you’ve chosen an experienced doctor, he or she will tell you that this is a rather simple procedure that involves little risk, but he will stress the fact that risks are still a possibility and inform you of them. Prior to the surgery he or she will measure your chest, evaluate the elasticity of your tissue, and decide together with you on the size and shape of implant that fits your body type and features. Being a simple procedure, it can be performed in a clinic or hospital, but also in an outpatient facility. You need to prepare and arrange a few things before the surgery takes place. You will need to take a short leave from your work for about a week or so. You also have to delegate all other domestic business and chores that you might have to do around the house or with your children because you will not be allowed to be very active and you will probably not feel like doing it either. If you have babies or small children, make sure to talk to a babysitter or maybe a member of your family to come and help you with the baby. You will not be allowed to lift weight of any kind for a while. It’s probably also a good idea to get a friend or a close family member to stay with you for the first couple of days. They will provide not only some needed care but also moral support for the changes you are going through. During the operation, you will be either fully sedated or locally numbed, depending on your surgeon’s decision. The doctor will make an incision, then separate the breast tissue from the muscle, thus creating a pocket in which he will insert the implant. He will then close the incision with sutures or surgical tape. Your breasts will be wrapped in a surgical bra or gauze. First week after the surgery After the surgery, you will begin the recovery period. This should not last more than one week for most patients. If the procedure is made in a hospital, then there are some surgeons that will keep you overnight, just to be on the safe side, but most patients go home after a few hours. You will experience pain, swelling, soreness, and bruising for the first 2 to 3 days. The pain might range from mild to extreme depending on your pain tolerance, your body’s response and the position of the implant, under or above the pectoralis muscle. If you are a person that exercises regularly, you might feel more pain and tightness because the muscle is fit and will relax slower. The pain can be easily managed with usual painkillers such as Advil or with anti-inflammatory medicine. The swelling will be more evident in the first week and will fade in the next couple of months until there will be no more. Remember to put some ice packs in the freezer before going into surgery, as the ice will come in handy for both pain and swelling. You will not be allowed to exercise for at least two weeks after your operation, and you might also be required to wear a surgical bra for some weeks. Your surgeon might even advise you to massage your breasts to avoid capsular contracture and reduce recovery and settling time. Following the steps your surgeon will give you, including massage or even some light exercise with your hands, might really help your tissue to remain elastic and might prevent any thick scar tissue to form around the implant. You are likely to be a bit disappointed immediately after your surgery. Your new boobs will seem tight, too big, and you will feel the implants sit upwards and look very fake. It is normal to feel this even if your doctor has warned you of this. It takes some time for your implants to settle or “drop and fluff” as some say. Your muscle and tissue need to accommodate it, so it needs to relax, and it will do so gradually over the next 6 months. If this does not happen in 6 months or if anything else feels wrong, then go see your surgeon and discuss your concerns. For some, it might take longer for the implants to settle, but it can also be a complication. Life after implants You will be required to avoid any intensive activity for the first few weeks after your surgery, or any activities that might raise your blood pressure or pulse. You will be able to resume your exercise regimen completely only after three months or more from the surgery. A good advice that your surgeon might give to you is to wear a sports bra for the first 2 to 3 months. It will help your implants settle without putting unnecessary pressure on them that might change or deform their appearance. Do not wear underwire bras or any ill-fitting bra, even if you are tempted to show off your new breasts. In fact, a wise thing to do would be not to buy any kind of bra for the first 3 to 4 months from the surgery, even more. Your implants need time to settle, so the way your breasts look and feel will change during this time. Until then, you will not be able to buy any of the beautiful bras you’ve always wanted. The same goes for swimsuits; not only might they not fit after your implants settle, but you might need to invest in those that will be able cover your scars. Scars will be evident for almost a year and at first, they will not look pretty, so instead of buying swimsuits so soon, you might want to let things heal and settle first. Naturally, you will also want to buy clothes to complement your newly acquired figure. No more padded bras and no more turtleneck blouses. You will now be able to go for that plunging neckline, and you will be able to finally wear strapless dresses without overthinking if your bra will show or not. A simple t-shirt will now fit differently and will make you look the way you have always wanted. There are some women saying that their new cup size even allowed them to gain some pounds since no one notices when your body is much more balanced. It is a known fact that implants have a limited lifetime. In the long run, they wear off, or they suffer rupture. That is why the American Food and Drug Administration recommends patients with silicone implants to get an MRI scan every two or three years to monitor the state of their implants. You should also monitor your breasts regularly, especially if you are over 40 years old. There are some that say mammograms could squeeze and break implants, but this is not true. These days, radiologists are trained to perform this safely. Conclusion Even if in the long run you might need to change your implants, this moment can be later then you imagine. If you listen to the advice of your surgeon and take care of yourself, you could live for 10 to 15 years with your implants with no issues or complications. This is valid if you no longer get pregnant when you have your operation and if you maintain a healthy lifestyle that will not change your silhouette too much. So, if you take care of yourself, you will be able to enjoy your new, beautiful breasts for a long time.