Breast augmentation surgery (top surgery/augmentation mammaplasty) is one of the most sought-after and frequently done embodiment surgeries. In this blog, we want to talk about getting ready for your hospital stay and immediate recovery time and provide a breast augmentation checklist.
Breast augmentation surgery adds volume and fullness to the breasts, and is generally seen as a safer surgery. However, it is a major surgery and your body will need significant healing time afterward. There are multiple techniques that your surgeon may employ to achieve your desired goals. Some of the choices that are made when planning for augmentation include:
- Implants or tissue transfer (or both)
- Type and shape of implant
- Where the implant is placed in the body
We provide some in-depth information about these choices in our surgery series. Our goal here is to help you plan for your hospital stay and early recovery at home.
You will likely be discharged from the hospital/surgery center on the same day as your surgery and will not need to stay overnight. This means that your list can be minimal:
Breast Augmentation Checklist – Day of Surgery
- Your driver/support person – you will not be able to drive yourself
- They can hold on to your ID and any other personal belongings (phone, payment)
- Wear comfortable, loose clothes. Button or zip-up shirts, elastic, stretchy, or drawstring waist bottoms, and slip-on shoes.
- You will wear a surgical bra after surgery. Check with your surgeon to confirm if this bra will be supplied to you or if you need to bring it to the hospital or surgical center.
- Pillow to place between your chest and seatbelt in the car.
- Emesis (barf) bags or a basin.
You likely won’t want to do much else than sleep on your first day home. You will be instructed to sleep on your back with your upper torso elevated. Many patients use pillows for this support or sleep in a recliner. Keeping your chest elevated reduces swelling and bruising and reduces the arm movements needed to get out of bed. Expect to sleep on your back for up to six weeks.
You should have a caregiver with you for at least the first twenty-four hours you are home, and support available full-time for the first few days to a week of recovery. They can help you settle in, manage your pain meds, and help you optimize your early healing.
You will be on lifting and movement restrictions for about a month. These restrictions are to protect your incisions and surgery site during healing.
- Walking is encouraged, especially after the first two weeks, but no strenuous activities or activities that require broad arm movements.
- No lifting anything over five to ten pounds.
- Limited arm movement: T-Rex Time!
- Many surgeons recommend that you do not raise your elbows above your shoulders or your hands above your head and that you minimize arm movement for the first ten days to two weeks, then gradually add in more movement for the remainder of the first three weeks. This is to optimize your scar healing by minimizing tension on your incisions. It also lowers the amount of interior stress in your implant pocket while your body heals.
- Prior to surgery consider a T-Rex challenge day or week to help prep your home. Spend some time going about your daily tasks but don’t raise your elbows above your shoulders. What items in your home need to be moved before your surgery? You can also use this time to identify activities you may need help with during your recovery such as lifting laundry baskets and bags of groceries.
- You will need to wear your recovery bra for up to six weeks. Each surgeon has a preferred timeline.
- You may need to refrain from showering for a day or two.
- No submersion in water including swimming, baths, or hot tubs for about three weeks.
Breast Augmentation Supply Checklist
- Recliner or wedge pillows for sleep positioning
- Ice packs
- Antibiotic ointment if recommended by your surgeon
- Mild, hypoallergenic soap
- Wipes, flannels, washcloths, or sponges designed for sponge baths. You can purchase pre-moistened no-rinse body cloths designed for this use.
- Tips for sponge baths: have two water basins. One for soapy water, one for rinse water.
- Soft fluffy bath towels may be a delight when you are able to shower: remember to pat your incisions dry instead of wiping.
- A shower chair and detachable shower head may also be helpful. A bath brush can also be useful.
- Peri bottle or bidet for easier bottom cleaning while your arm movement is restricted.
- Roomy button-down shirts and comfortable bottoms
- An art bin or organizer for your bedside or chairside table.
- Wedge pillow and body pillows
- Pillows that attach to your seatbelt are also available (or attach velcro to a pillow you already have!)
- A cart for moving items between rooms
- A stash of prepared meals for your first week or two
- High protein and low-salt support healing
- You may experience nausea the first few days: small snacks such as squeezeable applesauce, nutriton shakes, and plain crackers can be useful, especially for medication-taking.
- Bendy straws! Disposable/compostable plates and glasses may help with weight lifting and activity restrictions, too.
- A reacher/grabber tool
- Back scratcher
- Lotion stick for applying moisturizer to places you temporarily can’t reach
There is a lot of assistive and adaptive equipment available to help you complete tasks with minimal arm motion of forward-bends while recovering from surgery.
- Scar tape or
- Silicone scar gel
- Sunblock, if your scars are exposed to sunlight
Second-hand stores and community groups are great resources for obtaining reusable supplies such as wedge pillows, button-down shirts, and accessibility tools.
What to Watch Out For While You Are Recovering
This is not a complete list – your surgeon will also go over what to look out for.
- Sudden swelling or pain
- A fever or chills
- Heavy bleeding from incisions that does not stop
- New or sudden bruising near your incisions
- Wound discharge changes that smell bad or look different
- Significant tightness or pulling sensations on your incisions
Do you have darker skin? Read our blog about differences in surgical complications and hematoma risk for Black or darker-skinned patients
Do you have sensory or chemical restrictions? Read our blog on preparing for hospital stays when you have allergies or sensitivities!
Download our breast augmentation checklist!