< Why I Love Speaking at BRA Day (Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day)
December 12, 2016
Category: Breast Augmentation, Recovery Series
By: Dr Rodger Shortt,
MD, FRCSC
Assistant Clinical Prof. &
Director of Cosmetic Surgery Training,
McMaster University

Recovery Series Vol.2: What to Expect Following a Breast Augmentation


What to Expect Following a Breast Augmentation - Dr. Shortt, Plastic Surgeon - Oakville / Toronto

Previously, I wrote about the Mommy Makeover and what the recovery process entails. Today I am going to do the same for breast augmentation. Breast augmentation is one of the most satisfying surgeries to perform as a surgeon. It gives women a fuller, beautiful breast with minimal recovery time. It is a surgery that has a high satisfaction rate for patients, but it is important to make sure that you are getting the right breast implant for you. I take a lot of time with patients to make sure that they choose the perfect size. There are four key steps that I use to ensure that the perfect breast implant is chosen. It takes a little extra time, but it is well worth it. To date, I have never had to change any implants on my own patients. (Unfortunately that is not always true when I have patients come to me from other offices where they were “told” what size they will get, or rushed to pick an implant and sign on the dotted line.) I believe in taking time over a couple visits to help ensure my patients get beautiful results that exceed their expectations.

Here are some of the common questions that I get when people see me for a breast augmentation:

Q: What is recovery like?

A: It is really not too bad. I give my patients prescription medication but it would be rare that they would ever need a second prescription. If the implants are placed below your muscle, it will be a bit more tender, but nothing that can be easily managed with medicine. I do like people moving right away and walking. I don’t like running or other chest activities for 6 weeks. The reason for this is that you form a scar around the implant (known as a capsule). This can grow into the implant to help keep it in an ideal position for years to come. It takes a bit of time for this to happen. So although you feel up to it, I modify the activities that people do in the early recovery phase. 

Q: How long will I be off work?

A: You should be able to return to office work in a week or so, and a more active job in two to three weeks, depending on what it is that you do. Some people return to office work sooner; for those that can work from home this is especially true. For extremely physical jobs, you will need a bit more time to make sure everything is fully healed before you over do it.

Q. Can I have other surgery at the same time?

A: It is very common to have other surgery at the same time. The most common procedures done at the time of your breast augmentation would be a breast lift (mastopexy), liposuction or a tummy tuck.

Q: How do I know if I need a breast lift?

A: Your surgeon will help you to decide what is the best surgery for you. Essentially, if your nipples are at a good position or a little low you may not need one. If they are very low, then you would most likely look nicer with a breast lift. Your surgeon’s advice is most helpful, when you are uncertain if you may or may not need one. They will help you to consider your choices carefully, to ensure you make the one that is best for you.

Q. What kind of help will I need?

A: If you have small children, then having some support at home for the first few days is helpful, but not imperative. If your children are over 5 years, then you will be pretty good early on. I suggest people get things done ahead of time so they don’t have to do it after surgery. This includes getting your prescriptions, preparing meals, and laundry, etc.  If you have kids that need to be driven around to different activities, then find people to help with that. You can drive after coming off your medications, but that could mean you need some help with that for the first few days. Sort out who at work will be covering you, so you aren’t taking phone calls and emails when you should be resting and recovering.

Q: Will there be a drain?

A: I virtually never use a drain in this type of surgery. Most surgeons do not use drains but there are some that may. 

Q: Do I have to wear a special garment?

A: A bra that provides support while you heal is important over the first 6 weeks. I spend a lot of time in surgery creating the perfect pocket for the implant. I want the implant to create a beautiful breast shape and I want it to stay like that for years to come. By supporting the breast in the first 6 weeks, it helps secure its position.

Q: Is there bruising?

A: All surgeries produce some bruising. I take meticulous care to prevent bleeding in surgery and to make sure that the implant pocket is quite dry prior to closing the incision. However, some bruising is possible.

Q: When can I shower? Or go swimming?

A: Showering can be done a few days after surgery. I use a water proof dressing, but just to be safe, I recommend against showering for a couple days. Some patients like a dry shampoo for the days that they cannot shower. I do suggest waiting closer to 2 weeks for swimming, to really allow incisions to seal over to prevent infection risk.

Q: Can I go out in public?

A: All your surgery will be well concealed with clothing. Other than the first few days when you are may be a touch tender, people should not notice that you had anything done. Some patients having a breast augmentation, may start to wear a fuller padded bra weeks in advance of their surgery so that it is less noticeable afterwards.

Q: What are the risks?

A: There are risks with all surgeries from the biggest case to the smallest. I spend a lot of time going over the common and severe problems that could arise during the consultation. I feel very strongly that my patients are well informed, so that they can make the right decision for them; so that they can help prevent problems from arising; and, if there are any problems that they understood how they came about. With that being said, complications are very rare. Some typical concerns could include bruising or bleeding, infection, poor scar or cosmesis, slow healing, and tenderness. These are usually easily dealt with. Asymmetries can be present especially if present prior to surgery. More severe things could include blood clots, heart attack or stroke and anaesthetic concerns. These are extremely uncommon! With that being said, the only way to not take on risk is to not have surgery at all. More long-term risks include tightening of the capsule and an extremely remote chance of ALCL of the breast. I spend a lot of time going over these risks in detail when I see patients in consultation.

If you are interested in learning more or having a private consultation please click here or telephone 905-849-4282.

Dr Rodger Shortt strives to be the best plastic surgeon in breast surgery, tummy tuck surgery and mommy makeover procedures. He is committed to providing high quality patient care and achieving excellent results.  He is considered one of the top plastic surgeons and one of the few plastic surgeons in Canada that has the top rating of five stars in Realself, Rate MD, and Ontario Doctor review. Dr Rodger Shortt is a specialist plastic surgeon who graduated from Queen’s Medical School in 2004 and became certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 2009. He received further sub-specialty fellowship training with international plastic surgeons in micro-vascular breast reconstruction, cosmetic plastic surgery, and body contouring after bariatric (gastric banding) surgery, significant weight loss or post-pregnancy.


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