After Surgery

It is helpful to remind yourself that there will typically be ups and downs during recovery from your breast augmentation top surgery. In this article, we provide instructions on the daily activities you can do to optimize your recovery and healing. We discuss various restrictions for physical activity, showering, diet, and lifestyle to help you prepare and know what to expect after your gender affirming surgery.

VERY IMPORTANT: If you have excessive bleeding or pain, call our surgeons at (415) 780-1515. You can reach your surgeon day or night by calling the normal office line.

YOUR FIRST 24 HOURS: When you wake up from surgery in the recovery area of the hospital you were operated on, it is normal to feel groggy or disoriented. Most patients experience some initial bruising and swelling that will gradually dissipate over the course of several weeks.

Your level of discomfort will depend on where your implants are placed. If your implants are placed on top of your chest muscle, your pain will subside quicker (in about a day) than if they are placed under the chest muscle (a few days). Your surgeon  will provide you with prescription pain medication to make sure that you are comfortable during recovery.

If you are going home, a family member or friend must drive you because you have been sedated. Someone should stay overnight with you. If you choose to go to a postoperative center, they will provide transportation. If you have any questions about these matters, please ask one of our nursing staff.

Before you leave the recovery area,  our staff will provide you with specific aftercare instructions for the first 48 hours of your recovery that may include the following:

  • Start with light foods or small meals before resuming your normal diet and avoid heavy meals
  • You should avoid using your arms to support your body or lift anything over 5 lbs (nothing heavier than a gallon of milk).
  • You shouldn’t shower until sutures are removed at your first post-operative appointment. Your incisions should be kept clean and dry at all times during your recovery.
  • Too much activity after surgery can be hard on your body. Bed rest and relaxation after surgery are an important part of the recovery process.

DRESSINGS: Keep your dressings as clean and dry as possible. Do not remove them unless instructed to do so.

ACTIVITY: Take it easy and pamper yourself. Try to avoid any straining. You may go to the bathroom, sit and watch TV, etc., but NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOU FEEL, DO NOT CLEAN THE HOUSE, REARRANGE THE ATTIC, ETC.! We do not want you to bleed and cause any more swelling and bruising than is unavoidable.

ICE PACKS: Cold or ice packs help to reduce swelling, bruising, and pain. Use ready made ice packs, frozen peas in the package, or crush ice cubes and put the ice into an airtight plastic bag. This should help, not hurt. If the ice feels too uncomfortable, don’t use it as often. Place a cloth between your skin and the ice. Also, check the temperature on the back of your hand before placing it on the surgical area; sometimes you can inadvertently hurt your skin if you do not check the temperature.

SHOWERING: Patients are instructed not to shower until after the first visit with your surgeon. He will remove your dressing, inspect the surgical area, and give you the go ahead to begin regular showers. Until that time, please sponge bathe to keep clean. If you had a body or breast procedure, you may visit a hair salon to have your hair washed, if you would like to do so.

DIET: If you have any postoperative nausea, carbonated sodas and dry crackers may settle the stomach. If nausea is severe, use the suppository. If you feel normal, start with liquids and bland foods, and if those are well tolerated, progress to a regular diet. It is important that you avoid salt (sodium) during your recovery. Salt will increase your swelling and may prolong your recovery. Read our page on low-sodium meal options to learn more.

SMOKING: Smoking reduces capillary flow in your skin. We advise you not to smoke at all during the first 21 days after surgery.

ALCOHOL: Alcohol dilates the blood vessels and could increase postoperative bleeding. Please do not drink until you have stopped taking the prescription pain pills, as the combination of pain pills and alcohol can be dangerous.

DRIVING: Please don’t drive for at least 2 days after general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. If  you are still on prescription pain pills, please wait to drive until you have ceased taking them. It’s best to wait to drive until you can do so comfortably and can maneuver a vehicle without any disruption to the area where you had surgery.

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