Mr Lambe and his team including the nurses, theatre staff and anaesthetists will look after you during your operation but you can help yourself when you return home and aid a swift recovery. Their focus will be on how to manage any pain or discomfort, any medicines, a plan for low risk practices at work, management of your dressings, what activities or exercises to do and what you should not do. You may have questions on when it is safe to do various actvites like travel, flying, holidays or looking after children.
How to get the best sleep after breast augmentation
Good sleep is so important at the best of times, but it is essential post-surgery and this is especially true after your breast augmentation surgery.
A good sleep is a key element to a healthy immune system which will then give you a better and speedier recovery. It has also been shown to reduce pain in some studies.
- Sleep on your back
It is often recommended for you to sleep on your back and slightly sat up for a while. This helps by reducing any swelling, helps your circulation and keeps your breasts in the most natural position as they are healing, even when wearing a bra.
However, learning to sleep soundly in a new position doesn’t happen overnight. You should practice sleeping on your back as like all things, practice makes perfect and it is even possible to train yourself to sleep on your back. If you try this first, then you can identify what you might need such as extra pillows or a bed wedge to help you. It may even identify problems such as any lower back discomfort which could be addressed and helped, possibly by extra support to the back or under the knees.
- Clean fresh sheets
Make sure that you have clean and fresh spare sheets. You are going to be lying in bed a little longer than usual and won’t be inclined to be doing lots of extra washing as this would involve bending and lifting, which you should not be doing.
- Reduce stimulants before bed
Avoid stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and also limit your screen time in the hours before sleep. Latest reports say that caffeine should be consumed no later than 4pm if you are going to bed at 10pm (that’s 6 hours before sleep).
- Do some activity
But remember, although rest is important, some activity is too. Walk around regularly throughout the day; this helps with your circulation and reduces the risk of developing any blood clots. It also helps keep you from getting stiff and achy from staying in the same position for too long.
How to prepare your kitchen for after surgery
As with sleep, eating and drinking well after surgery is key to a good recovery. You should drink adequate fluids and perhaps buy some drinking straws which may help make drinking easier when you are on your back and they can also reduce the need to bend.
Buy small items
In the first few days after breast surgery, lifting can be painful. After surgery you will not want to lift a heavy kettle, so make sure it is only half full or better still enough for just a cup or two? If you usually buy large cartons of fruit juice or milk, replace these with smaller cartons for a few weeks to reduce the load you’re lifting.
Buy healing foods
Stock up with comfort food that you would want to eat in the week after surgery. May be your favourite chocolate bar or fruit. High calorie foods are not all bad at this stage, but also ensure you have plenty of foods from the following groups to help aid the healing process:
- Nuts such as cashews, almonds, walnuts and pine nuts are great for healing skin tissue.
- Seeds including pumpkin, sesame and sunflower help with tissue regeneration.
- Fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, kiwis and pineapples help boost your immune system.
- Protein, which you can get from chicken, fish, eggs, beans, soy or grains are essential macro-nutrients for repairing tissue.
Eat little and often
One important piece of advice is to eat smaller and perhaps more frequently. Large meals require energy to digest. If you can, eat smaller portions or have light meals to allow your body enough time to recover. Don’t eat large meals right before bed as having a lot of food sitting in your stomach can feel worse when lying on your back and may increase heartburn or indigestion which won’t be comfortable and will hinder a good night’s sleep.
How to reduce exertion after breast surgery
Stretching and bending can be difficult to start with so reduce the need to exert yourself in this way by moving things that are high up, down to your waist level and keep things at ground level (for instance phone chargers or remote controls) which can be easily reached eg on a nearby table.
A good plan is to make your home ‘post-op ready’, To do this, walk around your house, carrying out your usual routine but without reaching or bending. It will help you see what tasks are difficult to perform so you can make any slight changes before going in to hospital, eg moving a table closer to your bed or by the sofa.
How to keep clean after surgery
Mr Lambe will have spoken to you about how long to keep your dressings dry or, if waterproof dressings are used, how to shower. But you could also buying a few packets of cleansing wipes to save you a few extra journeys to the bathroom, and perhaps consider buying or even lending a shower stool to prevent you having to stand for too long in the shower as it’s common for patients to feel a bit weak during the first few days after surgery.
What to wear post surgery
Mr Lambe will advise that you wear a non-underwired bra initially, so there are no wires which can dig into or rub your wounds. He also recommends a front opening bra so that you don’t have to stretch your front or back when clipping the back area. Another possibility is to wear. Another possibiilty is to wear a seamless sports bra as they are more comfortable and attractive, helping you feel more yourself. Whatever you choose, please ensure it is not worn over your head as that would definitely involve some stretching and also would not give you enough support, so no boob tubes initially!
Also, it would be wise to make sure you have loose fitting clothes ready to wear when you’re home, when your scars are still tender it will be easier to slip in and out of loose fitting clothes and they should offer you some extra comfort when you need it, so maybe lounge wear or front fastening pyjamas. Remember again, that these clothes should be in easy reach so maybe leave a few on a chair in the bedroom ready so that you don’t have to search through drawers, washing baskets or your wardrobe.
Be kind to yourself after your breast surgery, ring a friend or invite someone round (family members are often good at this) who will be practical at making cups of tea and sympathetic and understanding, for at least the first couple of days and week after.
If you’d like to know more, please see our frequently asked questions guide, then click here InfoSheetBreastImplants